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Approximately 20 missions were founded by Spanish Missionaries during the late 1700's as it became apparent to Spain that other European interests were also wanting to claim the land now known as California.

The Mission of San Luis Rey de Francia was founded near Temecula in 1798. They began the practice of identifying California's aboriginal peoples by Spanish names, and so we Pechanga people came to be called 'san Luiseño' or 'Luiseño' Indians from this time forward.