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Volume 1, Issue 7, September 1, 2016
Spanish missions and trading posts have had a significant role in American history. Two noteworthy examples are in Arizona: one site where missions were established as early as the 1690s; the other is a 19th-century trading post used by settlers and the Navajo.

Cynthia Collins
Cynthia Collins  
Hubbell Trading Post
Following the years of enforced relocation of the Navajo from the area near Fort Defiance, AZ, to Bosque Redondo Reservation at Fort Sumner, NM, the reservation and fort closed. The Navajo were allowed to return to their northeastern Arizona home near Ganado, bringing to an end the "Long Walk of the Navajo." Ten years after their return, John Lorenzo Hubbell bought a trading post in 1878 in the same area. It is the oldest trading post that has been in continuous operation in the American Southwest.

Hubbell Trading PostThe Hubbell Trading Post was a place where the Navajo could trade their goods, such as hand-made rugs, pottery, jewelry, and wool, in exchange for supplies like tools, food, and cloth. Hubbell, himself, was fluent in English, Spanish, and the Navajo language and encouraged trade. Visitors can still see weaving demonstrations and purchase Navajo-made rugs and many other items.

In addition to the trading post, the Hubbell homestead is part of the tour available to visitors and includes his home, barns, and a guest house. He went on to establish stage and freight lines, plus more than 20 other trading posts either owned by him or his sons. When the Navajo reservation expanded, it took an act of Congress to allow Hubbell to keep his homestead. The Hubbell Trading Post is a national historic site of 161 acres and part of the National Park Service.

Tumacácori National Historical Park
The missions founded in the upper Santa Cruz River Valley were in the northwestern portion of New Spain, which is now the southwestern United States. The first mission was established by the Jesuits in 1691 at Tumacácori, a Pima Indian settlement, under the name of Mission San José de Tumacácori. During the 1700s, a second mission was added and the first one was relocated. By the late 18th century, the Jesuits had been expelled and the missions were in the hands of the Franciscans. Construction of a new church began in the early 19th century, but work was delayed due to political upheavals. Tumacácori became part of the United States following the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 which was the purchase of southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico from Mexico.

Tumacácori National Historical ParkThe Tumacácori National Historical Park is significant for several reasons. It is a place influenced by various groups from the time the area was part of New Spain through Mexico's Independence and annexation to the U.S. The people who had a hand in shaping it were the Jesuits, Pima, Franciscans, Apache, settlers and  soldiers. Its history spans more than 300 years of not only the role of missions, but also cultural and political differences.

President Theodore Roosevelt named Tumacácori a national monument in 1908. The Visitor Center and Museum was built in 1937 and is also a national historic landmark. In 1990, Tumacácori was named a national historical park. The site offers guided and self-guided tours and includes more than 300 acres with historic trails, an orchard, and part of the Santa Cruz River corridor.
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Photo credits: Hubbell Trading Post: courtesy of SCPN (division of NPS). Tumacáccri National Historical Park: courtesy of NPS.

All articles in this newsletter are by Cynthia Collins. The featured historic site section contains general information. The other articles may not be reprinted without written permission. Subscriber lists are not sold or given to any third parties and historic sites are not charged for being featured. To suggest historic sites for future issues, request article reprint permission, or any comments/questions regarding this newsletter, please contact Cynthia Collins.
Copyright © 2016 Cynthia Collins, All rights reserved.

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