Mission San Diego de Alcala is also known as Mission Basilica. It was the first Franciscan mission in San Diego, California and the Las Californias Province belonging to the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It began in 1769 with help from Spanish Friar Junipero Serra. The land was used by the Kumeyaay Indians long before the mission or Spanish ever arrived in North America.
The mission and area was named after Saint Didacus, who was more commonly referred to as San Diego. The Mission had a lot of firsts including the first Christian burial. It was also the site of the first execution in 1778. Father Luis Jayme was considered California's first Martyr and he is buried below the chancel floor. The original Mission no longer stands. In fact there have been three more churches since the first, with the fourth still standing on the same location. The mission is considered a National Historic Landmark.
The mission also has some very important bells, which were part of daily life at the church. The bells were rung at mealtimes, during work, religious services, births, and funerals, and when ships approached all to alert those living in the mission of what was going on.