So, my pals, let's dive into some historical stuff that's as juicy as a ripe Californian orange! You see, the Spanish, those fine folks from across the Atlantic, had their eyes set on California in the 18th century. Why, you ask? Well, it wasn't for the surf and the sunshine, I'll tell you that! They built missions there as part of their grand plan to spread Christianity to the natives, and also to secure the territory against those pesky Russians and British who had their sights set on the place too. So, in a nutshell, it was a grand ol' mix of divine duty and land-grabbing strategy. Fascinating, right?