Mission San Carlos Borromeo del rio Carmelo, also known as the Carmel Mission, is a Roman Catholic mission church in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
The mission was the headquarters of the Alta California missions headed by Father Junipero Serra from 1770 until his death in 1784. It was also the seat of the second presidente, Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen. The mission buildings had fallen into disrepair by the mid-19th century, but were restored beginning in 1884. It remains a parish church today. It is the only one of the California Missions to have its original bell tower dome.
Junipero Serra, (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, which at the time were in Alta California of the Las Californias Province in New Spain. He began in San Diego on July 16, 1769, and established his headquarters near Monterey, California at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.
The missions were primarily designed to convert the natives. Other aims were to integrate the neophytes into Spanish society, and to train them to take over ownership and management of the land. As head of the order in California, Serra not only dealt with church officials, but also with Spanish officials in Mexico City and with the local military officers who commanded the nearby presidios (garrisons).