"El Rosario (The Rosary) - As recently as the mid-1960s, El
Rosario was portrayed as "the end of the line". Roads to
the south could only be described as primitive. Mail service and
the weekly bus from Ensenada proceeded no further. The completion
of the Tran peninsular Highway in 1973 was to alter El Rosario's place
in the sun. Rather than end, the town is now more properly
looked upon as the beginning; for here the new highway starts its
lengthy journey through the interior mountains and deserts of the
El Rosario was also the point of beginning for Baja's Dominican
friars, for it was here that they established their first mission in
1774, only two years after they took over administration of the
peninsula's missionary activities from the Franciscans. It was to
be the jumping-off point for the founding of eight additional missions
between there and the international border.
The original mission site was up-river from the center of town.
In 1882, it was moved about one and one-half miles downstream. A
sign in front of the site notes, "1434 Christian Indians registered
between 1774 and 1817. These were supported from products of
desert, sea, cattle, sheep, goats, and plantings of cereals imported by
the Spaniards". Many of these Indians were soon to die in the
epidemics which accompanied the Spanish wherever they went".
THE MAGNIFICENT PENINSULA,
by Jack Williams