San Juan Capistrano is the site of a Christian mission for which it is named, Mission San Juan Capistrano. When the Mission was founded in 1776, the region was populated by the Acjachemen band of Native Americans, called Juaneños by the Spanish. The mission was named after Giovanni da Capistrano (1386–1456), the Franciscan saint from Capestrano, in the Italian region of Abruzzo.
Giovanni da Capistrano, although raised to the sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church is documented by historical research by the Oxford University historian Norman Davies to have burnt to death more than 50 Jews in May 1453 in the Polish city of Wroclaw.
San Juan Capistrano is Orange County's oldest community. It's the birthplace of Orange County and home to its oldest traditions. It has its swallows, history, legends, storybook heroes, and beautiful archeological monuments.
Most of that history is wrapped up and epitomized by our living historic landmarks, the most beautiful and best known of the California missions, old Mission San Juan Capistrano-our mission! It belongs to all of us. It's our inheritance.
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