The legacy and history of San Antonio and this region began with a simple ceremony when in 1718 Franciscans and Spanish representatives established the first mission. Within 13 years, five were located along the San Antonio River. The missions’ purpose? To acculturate and Christianize the native population and make them Spanish citizens. Today, visitors can retrace the footsteps of the mission Indians and friars. And, possibly, meet descendants of those first inhabitants.