How Arizona Got on the Map - Part 5: Pimeria Alta - The Catholic Church Comes to Arizona

Publish Date: 2018-05-26

By Dave Lewis

Previously:  Spanish explorers first set foot in Arizona in 1539.  They saw the land and major rivers, encountered numerous native tribes, and moved on.  For the next 150 years, with a few exceptions, Spaniards made no attempt to remain in Arizona.


The exceptions: In 1629, Spanish missionaries from settlements along the Rio Grande came into the Hopi lands and established missions which were occupied intermittently for the next 50 years.  At Hopi and throughout New Mexico, Spanish soldiers and priests virtually enslaved native people even as they worked to convert them to Christianity.  In 1680, a rebellion was organized at Taos, and in a remarkably well-coordinated uprising on a single day in August, natives in several dozen far-flung pueblos and villages rebelled.  Four hundred Spaniards were killed, including most of the priests; several thousand settlers were routed and chased down the Rio Grande toward Mexico.  The few Spanish missions at Hopi were destroyed. Once again, Arizona belonged to the natives.

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Sharlot Hall Library & Archives

This photo is a Bate Brother's Studio photograph of both the auto bridge and train trestle crossing Hell Canyon near Drake, Arizona. Thomas and Claude Bate were Arizona photographers that traveled across Central and Northern Arizona capturing a variety of subjects and scenes. They had studios based in Phoenix and Prescott so they could photograph the many mines and mining operations that were in the area for the owners and people back East.

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