Tucson Claims It's Own Contributions To Cause Of 1776 - Tucson News Now

Tucson Claims It's Own Contributions To Cause Of 1776

By Jim Becker, KOLD News 13 Reporter
Posted 7-04-06

While students in most US classrooms learn about the struggle by colonists for independence from Great Britain, few if any are aware of contributions made by people living in Tucson at the time.

There wasn't much here in 1776, but an Arizona Historical Society historian explains  groundwork was being laid for what would become El Presidio De Tucson.

"Don Pedro O'Conor said this place has good water, good pasturage and plenty of wood for fires," said Jim Turner.

In August of 1775, O'Conor, an Irishman serving in the Spanish army, recommended what is now Tucson as a location for a new fort, replacing the settlement at Tubac, to the south.

By then, war was raging along the Atlantic coast, between British regulars and American colonists.

"Spain was at war with Britain at the same time we were," adds Turner.  "Every soldier and resident of the Presidios was asked by King Charles III of Spain to give two pesos each to the cause of the war with Britain.  This money would go to help blockade the southern ports and to patrol the Mississippi and to provide supplies."

Turner says records show El Presidio de Tucson donated a total of 459 pesos, or roughly $45,000 by today's value.

It would be more than half a century before the stars and stripes would fly over Tucson, but sympathy for the cause of 1776 was there from the beginning and has been ever since.

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