The Hispanic-American History Timeline
1775 Captain Hugh O’ Connor
builds Presidio San Agustin del Tucson
Presidio San Agustín del Tucsón, the foundation for the City of Tucson, Ariz., is established by Spanish army soldiers led by Captain Hugh O’ Connor, an Irish mercenary working for Spain, also known as El Capitan Colorado (The Red Captain).
Seeking to gain greater control of Arizona and strengthen New Spain's northern border, O'Connor decides to move the Spanish fort at Tubac, Ariz., built 23 years earlier, almost 50 miles north, to an area surrounded by mountain ranges, the site of present-day Tucson.
But the original Tucson fort is poorly constructed, and, after an Apache assault in 1783, its palisade (wooden stakes) fence is replaced by an 8 to 12-foot-high a mud-brick wall that is about 700 feet long on each side -- making the Tucson Presidio one of the strongest and largest frontier forts.
After the Americans arrive in 1856, the original walls are demolished, with the last section torn down in 1918. But almost a century later, following an archaeological excavation that located the fort's northeast tower, the northeast corner of the fort is rebuilt in downtown Tucson in 2007.
It is now a museum paying tribute to Arizona's Spanish history, at 196 N Court Ave, Tucson, AZ. It is open Wednesday thru Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children. They offer guided tours and "Living History Days" with Volunteer re-enactors of life at the fort in the late 1700s. Museum visitors can see the small living quarters of a military family, the barracks where some soldiers stayed, the ammunitions room, and the presidio warehouse where food and other commodities were kept. Visitors can an enjoy Spanish colonial food, listen to the stories of early Tucsonans and get a glimpse into the lives of Spanish-Americans in the 18th century.
By Dahianna Feliciano, Lehman College