Ten Thousand Years Of Tucson History
Tucson Is Unique To The Southwest
Believe it or not, the history of Tucson began around 10,000 B.C. About that time Paleoindian ad Archaic hunters migrated to the area.
Those events puts Tucson on the list of one of the oldest inhabited locations in North America.
And Hohokam Indians are a key part of Tucson history. This tribe farmed for 4,000 years before Spanish missionaries and soldiers arrived. The Spanish arrived in the later part of the 1600s.
Tucson is in the Southern part of Arizona in the Southwest United States. The city sits in a Sonoran Desert valley surrounded by 5 mountain ranges.
An obscure fact is that the trip from the 2,389-foot valley floor to the 9,157-foot Mt. Lemmon peak traverses seven of the earth’s nine life zones.
To put that in perspective, that is the same as driving from Mexico to Canada.
National parks abound. These include the Coronado National Forest, Ironwood and Forest National Monument. And the Saguaro National Parks two locations – East and West.
Hohokam Tribes Inhabit The Area Around 200 A.D.
Between A.D. 200 and 1450 period of Tucson history, the Hohokam tribes flourished. Todays Pima and Tohono O’odham cultures are the descendants of that society. They have lived in the region since the Hohokam decline.
Around 1540 the Coronado Expedition crosses Arizona in search of the “7 Cities of Gold.” Father Francisco Kino establishes the Mission San Xavier del Bac in 1699.
It took almost 100 years to build. The mission has been a focus for Tucson history since that time.
The history of Tucson includes the Mission San Agustin. Mission San Augstin, a “visita” of San Xavier, was established on the western bank of the Santa Cruz River in 1757. The mission and monastery were completed in the 1790’s.
The City of Tucson Is Established In 1775
Around 1775, Hugo O’Conor establishes the Tucson Presido. That is the formal birthday of Tucson. Tucson was part of Mexico during Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain in 1821.
Eventually the town was named “Tucsón” and was part of the Mexican state of Occidente. Upon its gaining independence from Spain, Occidente later became know as Sonora about 1830.
Mormon soldiers came along the San Pedro River, north of Tucson, around 1846. The Mormon soldiers fought the “Battle of the Bulls” during this point in Tucson history. This was actually a skirmish between the soldiers and wild cattle roaming the area. The engagement resulted in 2 soldiers being injured and a large number of pounds of fresh meat for the soldiers.
On December 16, 1846, the Mormon soldiers marched into Tucson. The small Mexican garrison of Fort Tucson, promptly fled without conflict. Tucson history records a brief occupation by the Mormon soldiers before they continued their procession to the Pacific.
Tucson Become Part Of The United States With The Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase by the United States in 1854 is a key date in Tucson history. With out it, Tucson may still be part of Mexico. On that date, Tucson came under the jurisdiction of the United States. A few years later, Arizona becomes an official territory in 1863. Between 1867 and 1877, Tucson was the capitol of the Arizona territory.
In 1880, the Southern Pacific Railroad reaches Tucson and the migration of people from the eastern cities to the Southwest began in earnest. Tucson history shows the population of Tucson at this time was about 8,000.
In 1885, the University of Arizona, was founded as a land-grant college on over-grazed ranch land between Tucson and Fort Lowell. This is also the time of Wyatt Earp and the Earp brothers being in Tombstone. The fight at the OK Coral has been a topic of TV shows and movies for many years.
Arizona Becomes The 48th State And Grows
In 1912, Arizona becomes the 48th state in the Union.
By 1950 Tucson’s population has reached 120,000. Just 10 years later, it nearly doubled to 220,000. In 2012 the population of the Tucson greater metropolitan area stands at 992,000. Estimates for the 2020 census suggest over 1 million now reside in the greater Tucson metro area.
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