Tucson: Genesis of a Community

The South-western United States were first explored by Spaniards from Mexico in the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries; Edward P. Murray describes how these states were ceded to the U.S. in 1848.

When Coronado’s expedition passed through what is now the State of Arizona, it most likely passed well to the east of the spot where stands the modem American city of Tucson. The Indian villages, or rancherías, which existed in the area continued their accustomed way of life, unaware of the events that would mark the beginning of the end of their isolation from the rest of the world.

The question of how long the site of the present city has been inhabited—either by Indians or Europeans—has given rise to some interesting theories on the part of historians and to some unsubstantiated claims by other writers. The Aztecs and related tribes of central Mexico had legends of their people originating somewhere far to the North-west, in the land of Chicomoztec, the ‘Land of The Seven Caves’. This name might also be translated as the ‘Land of The Seven Nations’.

The greatest of these ‘nations’ was named Huehuetlapallan, translated either as ‘Old Red Country’ or ‘the place of red earth’. The Mexican historian, Alfredo Chavere, identified Huehuetlapallan as the ruins of ‘Casa Grande’, located just south of the Gila River.

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