The history of Tucson is important to the casual visitor if only to help you begin to understand the environment and the people. This is just a brief history to put the city and area into context.
Tucson is Arizona's second largest city and the oldest continually inhabited city in the country. Set between two ranges of mountains, the valley floor was farmed by Hohokam Indians as long ago as AD 100, and later by Pima and other Indian Tribes. When the Spanish arrived in the 16th century they found a Pima Indian village called Stjuk-shon, which translates as 'the foot of the dark mountain'. The named was changed to Tucson by the Spanish in 1775.
The Spanish settlement was surrounded by adobe walls 12 feet high and 750 feet long as fortifications to keep out the roving Apaches. In 1821 Mexico inherited Tucson from Spain, and just over 30 years later Tucson became part of the United States in 1854. Still menaced by Apaches, but attracted by the area, Americans began to drift in earnest to this southern city, adopting much of the culture, including the food and building techniques or the Mexicans. This, and the intermarriages between Anglos and Mexicans give Tucson its character today.
Tucson really was the Wild West. Hot, and dusty, marauding Apaches, men went armed into the streets, and shootouts were frequent. But Tucson continued to grow and prosper to become as you see it today - a city where four cultures coexist in harmony, Spanish, Mexican, Native American and contemporary American.
Historically agriculture and copper mining were the economical base in this part of the state of Arizona, but tourism is fast becoming the most important industry.
If you are interested in learning more about the history, take a tour round the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block which contains a number of original adobe buildings from the 1800s.
Tucson Potted History
El Presidio Park, Tucson
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