Like the other six missions, San Juan Capistrano was established to expand the boundaries of Spain and to spread Christianity to the Native peoples of California.The missions were the center of learning and training for the Natives.
Over the next thirty years the Mission grew by leaps and bounds. In 1806 Mission San Juan Capistrano had a population of over 1,000 people, over 10,000 head of cattle and they had completed the “Great Stone Church”
Sadly after 1812 the mission began to decline an earthquake struck causing the Great Stone Church to cave in killing forty people who tried to escape through the doors that had been twisted in there frames.
The Spanish government could not protect and keep the mission’s supplied with the supplies they needed.
In 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain, By 1834 the Mexican government decided to end the mission system completely, giving the land from Mission San Juan Capistrano were divided and sold to twenty prominent Families from California.
The Mission was sold at auction to John Forster Governor Pio Pico’s brother-in-law for $710 even though it was valued to be worth more than $54,000.
Over the next twenty years the mission was a private ranch property of the Forster family
In 1848 California became part of the United States as part of the “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” Only two years after become a territory of the United States in 1850 it became a state. President Lincoln gave the mission back to the Catholic church.