Located some 50 miles south of Tucson Arizona, Mission Tumacácori is rich in history. Before becoming a National Historic Site, it served as a Spanish mission in the Pimería Alta, Land of the Upper Pimas. It barely survived a revolt by the Pima Indians in 1751 and eventually was abandoned due to the constant Apache attacks during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. Pimería Alta is a part of Mexico at this time.
The following is an historical timeline.
We also have 3 videos on Mission Tumacacori which may be of interest to you.
- 1572 - Missionaries Focus on New Spain
- 1687 - Father Kino Arrives
- 1691 - Kino Visits Indian Villages
- 1749 - Mission Guevavi
- 1751 - Pima Revolt
- 1753 - Presidio de Tubac
- 1757 - New Church for Tumacacori
- 1767-68 - Jesuits out, Franciscans in
- 1771 - Headquarters Moved
- Early 1770's - Apache Wall
- Circa 1800 - Big Ideas
- 1801 - Apache Attack
- 1821 - Mexican Independence
- 1823 - Construction Begins Anew
- 1828 - Mexico expels the Spanish
- 1848 - Mexican-American War Begins
- 1854 - Gadsden Purchase
- 1908 - A National Monument is established
- 1918 - Clean up
- 1937 - Visitors Center
- 1990 - National Park Status
- 2002 - Tumacacori Grows
1572 - Missionaries Focus on New Spain
Indians kill pioneering Jesuit missionaries in Florida and on Chesapeake Bay. These failures, and a rebellion by Indians at a mission in what would become Carolina, cause Jesuits to shift efforts to New Spain (Northern Mexico and Southwest U.S.)
1687 - Father Kino Arrives
Father Eusebio Francisco Kino is the first Jesuit missionary permanently assigned to Pimería Alta, home of the Upper Pima Indians, which stretches from Northern Mexico to Southern Arizona, then part of Mexico.
1691 - Kino Visits Indian Villages
Father Kino first visits Tumacácori and Guevavi at request of Indians from those villages and San Xavier del Bac. Father Kino, impressed by this tribe of the Pima nation and their land, decides to expand the missionary effort there.
1749 - Mission Guevavi
At Guevavi, in February and March, disease kills nearly two neophytes (newly converted) daily. Today, the rangers at Tumacácori host occasional tours of the ruins at Mission Guevavi, east of Rio Rico.
1751 - Pima Revolt
The Pima Revolt: Indians kill two priests and more than 100 Spanish settlers and destroy buildings at several missions. Tumacácori and Guevavi are temporarily abandoned.
1753 - Presidio de Tubac
In response to the revolt, a presidio (fort) is built at Tubac, 3 miles north of Tumacácori. The mission is moved to the west side of the Santa Cruz river. Its name is changed from San Cayetano de Tumacácori to San José de Tumacácori.
1757 - New Church for Tumacacori
New missionaries complete a small church that serves for 65 years.
1767-68 - Jesuits out, Franciscans in
Jesuits are expelled from New Spain. Franciscans are assigned to former Jesuit missions.
1771 - Headquarters Moved
Mission headquarters is moved from Guevavi to Tumacácori; for the first time the mission has a resident priest.
Early 1770's - Apache Wall
Franciscans redecorate the church, build adobe dwellings for Pimas, and wall-in the mission.
Circa 1800 - Big Ideas
Franciscans begin building larger church. Lack of funds soon brings construction to a halt.
1801 - Apache Attack
A June Apache attack wipes out nearly all of Tumacácori's livestock.
1821 - Mexican Independence
Mexican gains independence from Spain. Construction on the Church resumes, but Spain withdraws its aid to the missions, and the work ceases.
1823 - Construction Begins Anew
Final phase of church construction begins.
1828 - Mexico expels the Spanish
Mexico orders Spanish-born residents to leave the country. Only the native-born Mexican priests are left to care for missions, causing an extreme shortage of priest administrators. Tumacácori becomes a visita again.
1848 - Mexican-American War Begins
War with Mexico cuts supply lines. The Apache increase attacks, and the winter is extremely cold. In December soldiers abandon Tubac; the last residents leave Tumacácori.
1854 - Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase: The Tumacácori sites become part of the United States as does Tucson, now New Mexico Territory.
1908 - A National Monument is established
President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Tumacácori National Monument on 10 acres of land relinquished by local homesteader Carmen Mendez. According to Wikipedia, the communities of Tumacacori and Carmen make up the Tumacacori-Carmen census-designated place.
1918 - Clean up
The first custodian, Frank Pinkley, is assigned to Tumacácori. Clean-up and stabilization begins a year later.
1937 - Visitors Center
A Visitor Center and Museum are built in traditional mission style as observed in northern Sonora.
1990 - National Park Status
Congress creates Tumacácori National Historical Park which includes the old monument land and the missions of Guevavi and Calabazas.
2002 - Tumacacori Grows
Approximately 310 acres of neighboring land is authorized by Congress to be added to Tumacácori National Historical Park. This includes the historic orchard area, one mile of Santa Cruz River corridor, and a section of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail which you can hike to Tubac. It follows the river north.