Father Kino: On the 300th anniversary of your passing away. May your soul rest in peace!
Eusebio Francisco Kino S.J. (August 10, 1645 – March 15, 1711) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest who became famous in what is now northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States (primarily northern Sonora and southern Arizona) in the region then known as the Pimaria Alta. He is known for his exploration of the region and for his work to Christianize the indigenous Native American population, including primarily the Sobaipuri and other Upper Piman groups. He proved that Baja California is not an island by leading an overland expedition there from Arizona. He established twenty-four missions and visitas ("country chapels" or visiting stations) and was known for his ability to create relationships between indigenous peoples and the religious institutions he represented.
Interaction with the Natives:
In his travels in the Pimería Alta, Father Kino interacted with 16 different tribes. Some of these had land that bordered on the Pimería Alta, but there are many cases where tribal representatives crossed into the Piman lands to meet this man whom so many had heard of. In other cases, Kino traveled into their lands to meet with them. The tribes Father Kino met with are the Cocopa, Eudeve, Hia C-ed O'odham (called Yumans by Kino), Kamia, Kavelchadon, Kiliwa, Maricopa, Mountain Pima, Opata, Quechan, Gila River Pima, Seri, Tohono O'odham, Sobaipuri,Western Apache, Yavapai, and the Yaqui (Yoeme).
A widely known fact about Kino now is that he fought hard for the rights of the various indigenous Sonoran tribes and their individual members. His conviction for his fight came from his humanitarian values and were proscribed by the Spanish Crown in the Laws of the Indies (Leyes de Indias). He opposed the slavery and compulsory hard labor in the silver mines that the Spaniards forced on native people.
This also caused great controversy among his co-missionares, many of whom acted according to the laws imposed by Spain on their territory. Father Kino was also a writer, authoring books on religion, astronomy and maps. He built missions extending from present day states of Mexican Sonora - northeast for 150 miles (240 km) - into U.S. Arizona. There the Mission San Xavier del Bac near Tucson, a popular National Historic Landmark, is still functioning as a Franciscan Catholic parish church. He constructed nineteen rancherías (villages), which supplied cattle to new settlements. He was also instrumental in the return of the Jesuits to Baja California in 1697.
In addition to his pastoral activities as a missionary, Eusebio Kino also practiced other crafts and was an expert astronomer, mathematician and cartographer, who drew the first accurate maps of Pimería Alta, the Gulf of California and Baja California. Father Kino enjoyed making model ships out of wood. His knowledge of maps and ships led him to believe that Mexican Indians could easily access California by sea, a view that was taken with skepticism by Mexico City missionaries. When Father Kino proposed and began making a boat that would be pushed across the Sonoran Desert and to the Mexican west coast, a controversy arose, as many of his co-missionares questioned Father Kino's mental abilities.
Father Eusebio Francisco Kino remained among his missions until his death in 1711. He died from fever on March 15, 1711 in the city now known as Magdalena de Kino, State of Sonora, Mexico, where his skeletal remains can be viewed today.
Father Kino has been honored both in Mexico and the United States, with various towns, streets, schools, monuments, and geographic features named after him. In 1965,a statue of Father Kino was donated to the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall collection, one of two statues representing Arizona. Another statue of him stands above Kino Parkway, a major thoroughfare in Tucson. Another equestrian statue featuring Kino stands in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza across from the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix. A time capsule is encapsuled in the base.
The towns of Bahía Kino and Magdalena de Kino in Sonora are named in his honor.
Padre Kino is also the name of Mexico's best known table wine.
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz wrote a sonnet about his astronomical work in observing a comet.
Father Kino is believed to have introduced the Zinfandel grape to the area. In Italy it is known as "primitivo" meaning early as the fruit matures earlier than other grapes. As well he may have introduced the "Mission Fig" from cuttings brought from Europe.
24 Missions and Visitas Founded:
Misión San Bruno: founded 1683 (Kino led the Atondo expedition to the Baja California peninsula of the Las Californias Province of New Spain. In 1685, after a prolonged drought there, Kino and the Jesuit missionaries were forced to abandon the mission.
Mission Nuestra Señora de los Dolores: founded on March 13, 1687. This was the first Pimaria Alta mission founded by Father Kino. By 1744, the mission was abandoned.
Nuestra Señora de los Remedios was founded in 1687 and was abandoned by 1730. Nothing remains of this mission.
San Ignacio de Cabórica was founded in 1687 and is located in San Ignacio, Sonora.
Mission San Pedro y San Pablo del Tubutama was founded in 1687, in Tubutama, Sonora.
Santa Teresa de Atil was founded in 1687, in the small town of Atil, Sonora.
Santa Maria Magdalena was founded in 1687, located in Magdalena de Kino, Sonora. Padre Kino's grave is located here.
San José de Imuris was founded in 1687, in Imuris, Sonora.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar y Santiago de Cocóspera was founded in 1689. It is located in Cocóspera, Sonora.
San Antonio Paduano del Oquitoa was founded in 1689. It is located in Oquitoa, Sonora.
San Diego del Pitiquito was founded in 1689. It is located in Pitiquito, Sonora.
San Luis Bacoancos was founded in 1691, but was soon abandoned after Apache attacks.
Mission San Cayetano del Tumacácori was founded in 1691 at a native Sobaipuri settlement. This was southern Arizona's first mission and Arizona's first Jesuit mission. Later a chapel was built. (San Cayetano de Calabasas was established in a different location much later, after Kino's time.) Sometime after the 1751 Pima Revolt the settlement and mission were moved to the opposite side of the river and became San José de Tumacácori.
Mission San José de Tumacácori, the presently known location that is a National Historic Park. The farming land around the mission was sold at auction in 1834 and the mission was abandoned by 1840. It is now a National Monument in Tumacácori National Historical Park in Southern Arizona.
La Misión de San Gabriel de Guevavi was founded in 1691. It became a cabecera or head mission in 1701 with the establishment of what Kino described affectionately as a "neat little house and church." Through the years its name changed many times so that now it is known by the generic name referencing many saints: Mission Los Santos Ángeles de Guevavi. The chapel was initially established in a native settlement, but then was destroyed by fire, probably during an indigenous uprising. The church rebuilt in new locations twice, the final and largest one being built in 1751. Its ruins are part of Tumacácori National Historical Park.
San Lázaro was founded in 1691, but was soon abandoned after Apache attacks.
San Xavier del Bac (O'odham [Sobaipuri-O'odham]: Wa:k), 16 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, founded as a missionary location in 1692. The present building, located a mile from the original Kino-period location, dates from 1785. The interior is richly decorated with ornaments showing a mixture of New Spain and Native American artistic motifs. It is still used by Tohono O'odham Nation members (Wa:k community members especially) and Yaqui tribal members.
San Cosme y Damián de Tucson: founded 1692
La Purísima Concepción de Nuestra Señora de Caborca: founded 1693
Santa María Suamca: founded 1693
San Valentín de Busanic/Bisanig: founded 1693
Nuestra Señora de Loreto y San Marcelo de Sonoyta: founded 1693
Nuestra Señora de la Ascención de Opodepe: founded 1704
Los Santos Reyes de Sonoita/San Ignacio de Sonoitac: a rancheria near Tumacacori, founded 1692.
In addition, several buildings were established as places to say mass in many more native settlements throughout the region. For example, such structures have been identifed at the Sobaipuri settlements of San Pablo de Quiburi and Santa Cruz de Gaybanipitea on the San Pedro River south of Benson and in many more settlements to the north and along the Gila River. Full-scale churches were never established in these locations but the special buildings and rooms in which to say mass were prominent features in these indigenous settlements.
A 1977 movie titled "Father Kino, Padre on Horseback" or "Mission to Glory: A True Story" starring Richard Egan as Padre Kino seeks to portray the struggles of the early padres. The movie, though interesting and well-cast with stars like Ricardo Montalban, Cesar Romero, John Ireland, Kennan Wynn, and others, is often difficult to follow without a basic knowledge of events. The movie is available in DVD format.
Eusebio Francisco Kino
Drawing by Francis O'Brian, 1962
Jesuit Missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino
Padre Kino stood 5'6" tall and was solidly built. He had a broad nose, deep-set eyes and a pronounced brow. He was dark skinned with wavy black hair. He entered the Jesuit college at Trent and went on to the Jesuit college at Hall near Innesbruck, Austria. He joined the Company of Jesus on November 20, 1665 after an illness which nearly claimed his life. He also attended the Universities of Landsberg, Inlolstadt, Innesbruck, Munich and Oehingen. He came to the New World in 1681 and was appointed missionary and royal cosmographer for the California Expedition on October 28, 1682. He arrived in Baja California on April 4, 1683. He was on the second expedition to California on October 6, 1683 at which time he built a mission and established a fort at San Bruno near Loreto. On August 15, 1684 he took his final vows as a Jesuit. He was appointed missionary to the Seri and Guaymas Indians on November 20, 1685. He arrived at Cucurpe in the Pimeria Alta on March 13, 1687 and built his first and home mission just north of there at Nuestra Senora de los Dolores del Cosari. Over the next twenty-four years he established 24 missions and visitas and set up the foundation for modern agriculture and livestock raising. He promoted apprenticeships of artisans and similar trades. He travelled and explored extensively: Tumacácori -1691; Altar River - 1692; Gila River to Casa Grande - 1695; Baja California - 1697; Santa María and San Pedro Rivers - 1698; Gulf of California from the north, Colorado River - 1700; Repeat trip and crosses the Colorado on a raft - 1701; Repeat trip and proof that California is not an island - 1702; Guaymas - 1704; Tiburon Island - 1706; Pinacate and Santa Clara - 1706. He died shortly after midnight on March 15, 1711.
By Dr. Felipe de Jesus Valeñuela
(Translated by Rosarito Velasco Joffroy)
10 Aug. 1645 Born in Segno, Val di Non di Trento, christened with the name of Eusebius, at the Chapel of Torra, in northern Italy.
20 Nov. 1665 Joins the company of Jesus and for the next 13 years, he makes his studies at the University of Landsberg, Freiburg, Ingolstadt and Grammer in Hall.
2 May 1678 Leaves Genoa for Spain with 18 other missionaries and sojourns during three years between Seville and Cádiz.
27 Jan. 1681 Starts his voyage to New Spain that lasts three months.
3 May 1681 Arrives at the Port of Vera Cruz in New Spain.
28 Oct. 1682 He is appointed Missionary and Royal cosmographer to the California Expedition under the command of Admiral Don Isidro Atondo y Antillón. Father Matías Goñi, a missionary, is appointed to join Kino’s expedition.
4 Apr. 1683 Arrives at Bahía de la Paz (Baja California) and names it “La Santisma Trinidad.” However, on July 15, 1683, the expedition abandons La Paz.
6 Oct. 1683 Second expedition to California, arriving in San Bruno (near Loreto). Here, he builds a mission and establishes a Fort. He plants the first vineyard in California. A catechism is written in the “Güimi” language. Father Copart accompanies him on this expedition.
15 Aug. 1684 Father Copart takes Kino’s final vows as a Jesuit.
8 Apr. 1685 San Bruno’s mission is abandoned.
20 Nov. 1685 He is appointed missionary to the Seri and the Guaymas Indian tribes.
13 Mar. 1687 Arrives in Cucurpe and the Pimería Alta, establishing his first mission “Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Cósari” there. It’s the beginning of his life-time titanic work that lasts 24 years, building 24 missions and “visitas.” The Indians’ living conditions in those days were considerably improved. He sets up the basis for agriculture and cattle-growing. He promotes apprenticeships of artisans and similar trades.
19 Jan. 1689 He and Father González--on the latter’s visit--travel together throughout al the missions that had been built to that date: Dolores, Magdalena, San Ignacio, Imuris and Remedios. The first missionaries arrive. They are: Luis Maria Pinelli, to San Ignacio, Magdalena and El Tupo; Antonio Arias, to Tubutama and San Antonio de Oquitoa; Father Pedro Sandoval, to San Lorenzo del Saric and San Ambrosio de Tucubavia; and Father Juan de Castillejo, to Santiago de Cocóspera and San Lorenzo María Sumaca.
24 Dec. 1690 Father Salvatierra and Father Kino visit the missions and both envision the possibility of obtaining support for the missions in California.
Jan. 1691 They visit the Sobaípuris of Tumacácori, thus arriving for the first time in what is the present state of Arizona.
Aug. 1692 He begins explorations up north and reaches what would later become San Xavier del Bac.
1692 Some more missionaries arrive: Father Augustín de Campos to San Ignacio, Magdalena and El Tupo; Father Januski to Tubutama; and Father Barli to Cocóspera.
11 Dec. 1692 Explores the Altar River, together with Fathers Campos and Leal, all accompanied by Capitán Carrasco. They arrive at “Cerro El Nazareno” over-looking California. Upon his return, he establishes “Nuestra Señora de la Purisima Conceptión” in Caborca.
23 Apr. 1693 He distributes his time between the parishes of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores and San Ignacio in Caborca. He makes trips to Caborca in the company of Lt. Juan Mateo Mange and starts the building of a ship.
Feb. 1694 For the first time he enters the Sobe (Caborca) nation, accompanied by Father Marcos Antonio Kappus from Cucurpe and Lt. Juan Mateo Mange. On his second incursion, he discovers the port of Santa Sabina.
21 Oct. 1694 Father Francisco Javier Saeta arrives in Caborca.
Nov. 1694 Explores the Gila River up the Casa Grande ruins.
2 Apr. 1695 Father Francisco Javier Saeta is sacrificed by the Indians. An uprising over the Pimería Alta takes place and Father Kino reestablishes peace.
16 Nov. 1695 He goes to Mexico on horseback, arriving 7 weeks later to explain about the Pimería uprising. He requests authorization for further expeditions to California.
1697 Father Kino makes several incursions up north with the Sobaípuris. He goes as far as San Xavier del Bac and the Quiburi, exploring the Santa María and San Pedro rivers, as far as their merger with the Gila River. He’s accompanied by Captain Juan Mateo Mange.
25 Feb. 1698 The Apaches attach Cocóspera, San Ignacio and Magdalena, whereupon these missions were totally ravaged. Furthermore, the Coro Chief of the Sobaípuris defeats them in battle.
22 Sept. 1698 Together with Capt. Diego Carrasco, he explores the Gila River; however, he falls sick at San Andres. He later heads toward the south and explores the “Papaguería,” and from the top of the “Cerro del Pinicate,” he sights for the first time the Gulf of California.
7 Feb. 1699 Fathers Kino and Adamo Gil, and Capt. Mange, explore what was known as “Satan’s Route.” As they go across the desert, they discover the mouth of the San Pedro River, leading to the Gila. Mange sees, from a distance, the Gila and the Colorado rivers’ merger.
24 Oct. 1699 Fathers Kino, Leal and Gonzalvo explore the Papaguería.
20 Mar. 1700 In Dolores he receives 20 blue shells, as a gift.
Apr. 1700 Second Lt. Juan Bautista Escalante brings in Tepoaca Indians to the village of Santa María de Magdalena.
28 Apr. 1700 The building of a larger church in San Xavier is initiated.
1 May 1700 At the conference of the “Blue Shells,” the natives affirm that a passage by land to California is possible. Kino heads toward this passage which leads to his discovery of California.
Sep. 1700 Expedition to the north and discovery of the Colorado River, across the desert, through “Satan’s Route,” (Camino del Diablo).
1 Mar. 1701 Along with Salvatierra, he plans a new expedition to the Colorado. From Sonoita they head to the Sea of California and, from the top of a mountain, they see far off the tip of the Gulf of California.
3 Nov. 1701 New incursion into the Colorado, crossing again through “Satan’s Route.”
21 Nov. 1701 Crosses the Colorado on raft en route to California.
5 Feb. 1702 Another expedition to the Colorado—in the company of Father Manuel Gonzalez—is successfully undertaken. Father Kino goes across “Satan’s Route” once more.
11 Mar. 1702 While celebrating Holy Mass, Father Kino watches the sun rising from the end of the sea and realizes that he’s standing on firm land. Father Manuel Gonzalez dies upon his return to Tubutama, Sonora, Mexico.
1703 Father Kino goes on building churches, such as Busaric and Sáric, and initiates construction of a major church at San Xavier del Bac.
17 Jan. 1704 Consecration of the Cocóspera and Remedios missions.
2 Apr. 1704 Father Kino arrives at San José de Guaymas.
21 Jan. 1706 Description and exploration of Santa Inés, on Tiburon Island.
2 Mar. 1706 Undertakes major constructions such as the Magdalena, Tubutama, Sáric, Pitiquito and Caborca churches.
22 Oct. 1706 Father Kino heads new explorations to Pinicate or Santa Clara.
15 Mar. 1711 Upon celebrating the Inaugural Mass at the Chapel of San Francisco (St. Francis Xavier) in Magdalena de Kino, Father Kino falls seriously ill and passes away near midnight on that date.
1919 Herbert E. Bolton translates Father Kino’s memoirs of the Pimería Alta.
1928 Professor Serapio Dávila undertakes investigative work in order to discover Father Kino’s tomb.
1936 Bolton finishes Father Kino’s biography, entitled “Al borde de la Cristianidad” (The Rim of Christendom).
1963 The local Lion’s Club forms a team to discover the site of Father Kino’s tomb. Father Charles W. Polzer also lends a hand.
14 Feb. 1965 Father Kino’s statue is unveiled in Washington’s Capitol Rotunda—where the Nation’s Great lie.
19 May 1966 Finally, his mortal remains are found in the city of Magdalena de Kino, Sonora, by a group of researchers from Mexico and the United States.
21 May 1966 It is, therefore, this group of anthropologists’ conclusions that the remains found of Father Eusebio Francisco Kino are authentic.
2 May 1971 On this date, the monumental square in memory of Father Kino is inaugurated in Magdalena, Sonora, Mexico.