ANZA IN ARIZONA
ILLUSTRATION: JUAN BAUTISTA DE ANZA
In the latter half of the eighteenth century Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and Father Francisco Garcés endeavored to extend the Spanish frontier deeper into what is now the state of Arizona. Much has been written about the new beginning made by this team of frontier captain and frontier missionary nearly a century after the pioneering efforts of Eusebio Francisco Kino. In emphasizing their epic expeditions westward to establish an overland route to Alta California, however, their equally important activities at home have been neglected. At the time, Tubac was the northernmost military outpost of Spain in this longitude. Anza was its captain. The first document is a personal-service report made by him from Tubac in 1767.
My name is Juan Bautista de Anza.
I am Captain of the Company at the Royal Presidio of Tubac.
I was born at the Royal Presidio of Fronteras in Sonora.
My age is thirty-three years.
My lineage is Spanish.
The total length of my service to date is twelve years and two months.
I began service as a lieutenant on July 1, 1755
I was promoted to captain on December 12 , 1759.
I began my service as a lieutenant at the Royal Presidio of Fronteras. There I took part in five general campaigns against the Apaches under Captain Gabriel de Vildósola. I was entrusted with the most arduous and dangerous patrols. We killed forty of the enemy and captured more than 200 members of their families. During the last of these campaigns I was under orders to lead a detachment of soldiers and Indian allies to take a stronghold in the Chiricahua Mountains, garrisoned with 180 of the enemy. I stormed the stronghold and retreated with six of their stolen cattle. When the Apaches tried to impede us from recovering the rest of the livestock, I was able singlehanded to capture the captain of the Indian band. The rest of the enemy then retreated to the stronghold, leaving myself and another soldier with only minor wounds. In two other campaigns which I commanded while at that presidio, I killed twenty-nine Apaches during the various skirmishes and captured 114 members of their families. I was able to recover over 500 head of livestock that were stolen from various parts of the province. Also while attached to the Fronteras presidio, I was sent south under the command of Juan de Mendoza, colonel and governor of these provinces, to take part in five campaigns against the Seris. His satisfaction with my conduct is reflected in the report he made when I was promoted to captain.
When I took over my present command in 1760, my section of the frontier was faced with an uprising of over a thousand Papagos. After launching various campaigns to subjugate them, I attacked them personally on May l0, 1760, and took the lives of Ciprián, their captain, and nine others. All of the rest then capitulated and renounced the inconstancy that has been plaguing the Piman nation.
During that same year of 1760, I was sent down to the Seri frontier five times and led three campaigns. I killed thirty in 1762 and captured many members of their families. I received orders just last year from the present governor [Juan de Pineda] to return to that southern frontier to command the campaign there. Besides winning over twenty families of Sibúbapas or Suaquis [Lower Pimas] to obedience to the king, I surprised the horseherd of the rebel Seris and Pimas and captured it despite their massive attack to recover it.
I CAN DECLARE ON THIS FIRST DAY OF SEPTEMBER OF THE YEAR 1767, IN THIS MY COMPANY AND PRESIDIO OF SAN IGNACIO AT TUBAC, THAT MY COMPORTMENT IN EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE BATTLES OF MY SERVICE IS ATTESTED TO BY ALL OF THE GOVERNORS AND COMMANDERS UNDER WHOM I SERVED.
JUAN BAUTISTA DE ANZA1
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Desert Documentary by Kieran McCarty - Chapter 1
Tucson, Arizona: Arizona Historical Society, 1976.
© 1976 The Arizona Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.