Tucson was originally inhabited around 7000 BC by early Paleo-Indians, and later replaced by groups designated by archaeologists as the Hohokam. As such, Tucson is at the longest continuously inhabited location in the United States.

Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino visited the area in 1692, and founded the Mission San Xavier del Bac in 1700. The Spanish established a presidio (fort) in 1776 and the town came to be called "Tucson" .

Tucson became a part of Mexico after Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821.

Following the Gadsden purchase in 1853, Tucson became a part of the United States of America. From August 1861, until mid-1862, Tucson was the capital of the Confederate Territory of Arizona. Until 1863, Tucson and all of Arizona was part of the New Mexico Territory. From 1867 to 1889, Tucson was the capital of the Arizona Territory.

The University of Arizona, located in Tucson, was founded in 1885.

By 1900 7,531 people lived in Tucson. The population increased gradually to 13,913 in 1910, 20,292 in 1920, and 36,818 in 1940.

Tucson's early neighborhoods (some of which are covered by the Tucson Community Center) include Barrio Anita, named for an early settler; El Jardin, named for an early recreational site, Levin's Gardens; and El Ollo, named for a lake that was part of the gardens.

  • Bancroft, History of New Mexico and Arizona, (San Francisco, 1880)
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