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TOPIC: Tucson's Birthday
#39
rbowers ()
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Tucson's Birthday 8 Years, 1 Month ago  
I get a kick every year about the celebration of Tucson's birthday. The first paleolithic people that we can document arrived here 12-14,000 years ago. The first known farmers, raising corn, beans and squash contemporaneous with Central Mexican people, established their presence about 5000 BCE. Sometime around 2500-3000 BCE the people living here began to use extensive irrigation of which evidence survives, but does not mean that earlier people did not use irrigation. The Hohokam of whom we have heard so much were late-comers, arriving about 300 BCE. People have lived in this area continuously for at least 12,000 years, making this one of the oldest sites in the Americas.

When the Irish merchant soldier, Hugh O'Conor, raised the presidio of Tucson in 1775 on the east bank of the Santa Cruz, on the west bank stood the village of Shook-Son for which Tucson was named where there was already a convento and a visita, or outlier congregation, from San Xavier, buildings for those purposes were built in 1757. When Father Eusebio Kino arrived here in 1687, he had found a village of Sobaipura, "cousins" of the O'Odham, living here, and began to minister to them as well as enslave them and the O'Odham unlucky enough to live near what is now Mission San Xavier del Bac. Archaeological excavations have shown that they were the latest in a continual succession of cultures going back at least to 5000 BCE. They did not survive the coming of the Spanish; others of their villages succumbed to harassment by the Apache. The O'Odham survived because most of them lived further in the desert (The Tohono O'Odham people of southern Arizona and northern Mexico are not descendants of the Hohokam as often claimed but pre-dated them and co-existed with them.)

So what we really celebrate on August 20 is not the birth of Tucson, but rather the Spanish official settlement of Tucson. Because it was already here. In fact, there were already Spanish settlers here as well; the presidio was built to protect them from the Apache, and to protect Spain's investment.
 
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Last Edit: 2009/08/23 13:07 By rbowers.
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