Serra, Junípero (1713–84), Spanish Franciscan missionary who founded 9 of California's 21 missions. Serra was ordained (1738) and taught philosophy on the island of Majorca, Spain. He traveled to Mexico City (1749) and then to Sierra Gorda, Mexico to help staff the mission there (1750–59). He joined Gaspar de Portolá's expedition to upper California (1769) and established the mission of San Diego de Alcalá, now the city of San Diego. Between 1770 and 1782 Serra ordered the founding of 8 more missions, including San Luis Obispo and San Juan Capistrano.
See also: Franciscans.