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San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano (săn wän kăpĭsträˈnō) [key], city (1990 pop. 26,183), Orange co., S Calif.; inc. 1961. San Juan Capistrano has some manufactures, including aircraft parts, medical apparatus, and boats, but the economy is based chiefly on tourism. Junípero Serra founded a mission there in 1776 and named it after St. John of Capistrano, a Crusader. The mission church, completed in 1806, was ruined by an earthquake in 1812, but the chapel is still in daily use. Renovation of existing mission buildings to protect them from earthquakes was undertaken in the 1990s. It is said that swallows come to the ruins of the church every Mar. 19, the feast day of St. Joseph, and depart on Oct. 23, the death date of St. John of Capistrano. An annual fiesta celebrates the arrival of the swallows.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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