Term Paper: Father Eusebio Kino

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[. . .] The area at the time was under a constant threat from the powerful Apache Indian tribes so Padre Kino's used his ability to speak to the various Piman groups to bring them together in an act of unity against a common enemy. "This skirmish was a prelude to the events of March 30, 1698, when some 600 Jocomes, Sumas, Mansos, Janos, and Apaches attacked the new Sobaipuri rancher'a at Santa cruz, a league and a half from Quiburi. The people from Quiburi and other Pimas came to the rescue and eventually sent the enemy fleeing. On the ground 54 of the attackers lay dead, and 168 reportedly died later from the effects of the Pimas' poisoned arrows." (Wilson)

Through the Piman's common enemy, Kino helped establish peace to the Pimer'a. In thanks, the Pimas and other tribes of the area supported Kino's pursuits. Examples of his strong negotiation skills can be demonstrated by his part in the Pima Revolt of 1695. Trade routes and other paths were safe once peace was established. "Southern Arizona, at that time a part of northern Sonora, undoubtedly witnessed traffic back and forth as a result of these activities. Indeed Father Kino said he had reports that before the Pueblo Revolt (in 1680) the Spaniards of New Mexico.".. used to come by way of Apacher'a to these our most remote Pimas Sobaiporis to barter hatchets, cloth, sackcloth, blankets, chomita [a kind of coarsely woven cloth], knives, etc., for maize." (Wilson)

Father Kino was instrumental in bringing all sides to the negotiation tables and reestablishing peace by pointing out that a tragic misunderstanding was the cause of the upheaval. He could instruct the locals in either the word of the Christian faith or the applications of irrigation - whatever was needed at the time. "The voices of Serra and Kino in the Southwest and Edwards and Williams on the East Coast spoke (more or less) for a single people who shared a single faith. Their stature as regional figures reflects this peculiar circumstance." (Szasz) His intelligence allowed him to easily acquire the necessary skills for that part of the world. He became excellent at cattle driving as well as a highly qualified farming expert who was known to help introduce several new crops into the Senora area.

What father Kino may be best known for is his ability to provide accurate maps on the regions of his travels. His educational background was a major in cartographer and astronomy. That skill set helped him to craft the very first accurate maps of regional areas such as the Pimer'a Alta, the Sea of Cortez, and today's Baja California region. He was also the first to prove that Baja California was actually a peninsula as opposed to the popular belief at the time that it was an island.

His work and natural curiosity led him to travel and explore extensively. From 1691 until his death in 1711, Father Kino made the first of more than forty expeditions into then uncharted Arizona. Kino was the first white man (European) to visit the Hohokam ruins of Casa Grande back in 1694. Although he is not officially credited with it, historians presume that he was also the first white to explore the sources of the Rio Grande, the Colorado and Gila rivers. It was on one of these excursions around the mouth of the Colorado River around 1701 that fully convinced him that Baja California was in fact a peninsula. Future explores used his maps as the standard reference guides for the southwestern desert region. This trend continued for well over one hundred years.

With his explorations came an interesting phenomenon. There have been numerous occasions where natural landmarks where thought to have been named by Indians but historians are finding that Father Kino may actually have named many mountains, streams, lakes and forests. "The earliest known reference from this part of Arizona was to the Sierra de Huachuca, south and west of present-day Sierra Vista. Captain Juan Mateo Manje, a frequent companion of Father Eusebio Kino, made a passing mention of this range in his journal for June 1694, citing a campaign that had taken place there some six years before." (Wilson)

Other examples include "There is no real evidence that Father Eusebio Kino named the Santa Catalina or the Santa Rita mountains. Whether these ranges even had names in Kino's time is not known; the earliest specific references to them came in the aftermath of the 1751 Pima Revolt. Father Kino did visit an Indian rancher'a called Santa Catherina de Cuytoabucam northwest of modern Tucson, and this village may be the namesake of the Santa Catalina Mountains; until around 1880 the name was usually spelled Catarina, or even Catherina." (Wilson) Over the course of his life he visited or explored:

Tumacacori -1691

Altar River - 1692

Gila River to Casa Grande - 1695

Baja California - 1697

Santa Mar'a and San Pedro Rivers - 1698

Gulf of California from the north, Colorado River - 1700

Repeat trip and crossed the Colorado on a raft - 1701

Repeat trip and proved that California is not an island - 1702

Guaymas - 1704

Tiburon Island - 1706

Pinacate and Santa Clara - 1706


In conclusion, this report was about Father Eusebio Kino. Father Kino may be the greatest Spanish missionary and his been called the greatest Arizonian. Over the course of his life he was known to have influenced us even to this day in the southwestern portion of the United States and Northern Senora region of Mexico. This report attempted to present some of his greater accomplishments as well as an account of his interesting life. Over the course of thirty something years, Father Kino worked untiringly as a pastor, explorer, teacher, rancher, farmer, ethnographer, diplomat and cartographer. He has been credited with having founded over twenty five missions and vistas. His ability to create extremely accurate maps of southern Arizona and the surrounding areas was proven by the fact that his maps were still in use for well over a century after his death. Although considered a Spanish Missionary, ironically Father Kino was not Spanish and he did not choose to serve in the Americas. However, his accomplishments are astounding and the fact that he fulfilled his life's mission on this continent is fortunate. As if the life of Eusebio Kino was not busy enough, he also found time to write. His book "Favores Celestiales" written in 1708 was eventually translated into English as a two-volume book called "Kino's Historical Memoir of Pimer'a Alta in1919." Today, if one was to visit his shrine in Magdalena, Sonora, they could still appreciate the sense of devotion the locals continue to offer Father Kino - the spirited Padre of the Pimer'a Alta.

Works Cited

Butler, Ron. "The Colors between Earth and Sky." Americas, March-April Volume 45 (1993).

Griffith, James S. A Shared Space: Folk Life in the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands. Logan: Utah State UP, 1995.

Scully, Sean. "Kansas Getting Ready to Swap Statues in Capitol: Critics Concerned That Large Exodus Could Follow." The Washington Times [Washington] April 17, 1999.

Southard, Mark. "Howdy Pardner: Get Your Western Duds Ready!" PSA… [END OF PREVIEW]

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