Between the years of 1776 and 1848 Monterey was both the Spanish and Mexican capital of California. During this period, Spain had managed to colonize the West Coast, and its empire stretched all the way to Alta (Northern) California. This mission provided settlers protection and was used as their the government headquarters. Some of the buildings located in the Monterey Old Town Historic District are some of the first public use buildings in the state of California.
Monterey once served as the Spanish and Mexican capital of California. During the late 1700s and early 1800s, Spain's empire had colonized the west coast, and created permanent settlements in California. In 1770, Franciscan Father Junipero Serra and Captain Gaspar de Portola founded the Mission de San San Carolos Borromeo de Monterey and the Presidio of Monterey. The Presidio of Monterey served as the headquarters of the government and Military, while also providing the mission and settlers with protection.