A sculpture of the founder of the Santa Barbara Mission, Father Fermin Lasuen. Known as the "Queen of the Missions," Mission Santa Barbara is now a National Historic and a California Landmark, and is a popular destination for visitors. It's of the larger ones and is fairly well-preserved. The mission was founded in 1786, but almost the entire structure was destroyed by a large earthquake in 1812. It was rebuilt and dedicated in 1820 but was again seriously damaged in another earthquake in 1925. Again, sections were rebuilt. The appearance of the interior of the church has not changed much since its reconstruction in the 19th century, however. The mission is named for Saint Barbara, an early Christian martyr supposedly beheaded by her father because of her faith. Much of the actual construction was carried out by indigenous laborers, the Chumash people who previously occupied the area. Father Fermin Francisco de Lausen de Arasqueta was a Spanish missionary; he was born in Vitoria and joined the Franciscan order in 1752. He later volunteered to serve in the Americas and arrived in Mexico in 1761 where was sent to Baja. He established the Mission of San Diego de Alcala in 1769, and then went to Northern California in 1773. He was responsible for the founding of nine of the 21 "Alta California" missions, including Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and San Jose.
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