Ohlone dancers at Mission Dolores. Louis Choris, 1816.

The evolution of these complex Ohlone societies would eventually become another casualty of European colonialism. In 1769, Spain expanded its presence into Alta California.

During this early contact period before the missions were built, the Spaniards were not viewed as enemies by the Ohlone, but in most cases they were invited into the villages and treated as distinguished guests.

An example of one such encounter in the San Francisco Bay Area occurred on April 2, 1776, near the Carquinez Straits, when Father Font wrote the following account:

We set out from the little arroyo at seven o'clock in the morning, and passed through a village to which we were invited by some ten Indians, who came to the camp very early in the morning singing. We were welcomed by the Indians of the village, whom I estimated at some four hundred persons, with singular demonstrations of joy, singing and dancing.

The Spaniards referred to the aboriginal Ohlone people as Costeņos or People of the Coast.