Friday, October 5, 2012

mission san xavier del bac

a little south of tucson
there stands one of the oldest
european structures in arizona:
mission san xavier del bac.

the mission was founded in 1692
by father eusebio kino,
a jesuit priest,
who traveled around pimerĂ­a alta,
an area that encompasses
the sonoran desert
both in mexico and in arizona,
founding spanish missions and towns
and interacting with the native peoples.

the structure that stands today
was built in the 1780s and 1790s
and is still used,
mainly by the tohono o'odham tribe.

and it is stunning.

on a complete side note:
i mentioned that this mission was built in 1692
because i still can't get over the fact
that in the western part of the united states
everything happened so much later
than on the east coast.
 for example,
william and mary was founded in 1693;
one year after this mission was founded.
that's crazy.
mainly because when the europeans
take over an area the first thing they do
is set up religious institutions;
schools are established way later.
so it's a little wild that a school was started in va
only a year after a mission was founded in az.
2012 is arizona's cenntenial.
how is arizona only 100 years old?
virginia was discovered and settled
over 400 years ago.
i realize, of course,
that there have been people 
living here since the BCs.
in fact, systematic agriculture 
began in this region in the 8000BCs,
but it all still feels so young.


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