Arizona Mission Guide

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The Spanish Missions in Arizona

Between 1691 and 1768, Spanish friars travelled north from Mexico into the area that is now the state of Arizona, where they built a series missions and presidios (military forts).

The first Arizona missions were founded by the Jesuits, but after the Jesuits were expelled by the Spanish government in 1767, the operation of the missions was taken over by the Franciscans.

The goal of the friars was to spread the Catholic faith by converting the native Indians, and to establish a productive local economy. The missions were supported by the Spanish colonial government, which saw them as a means of spreading Spanish influence and claiming territory.

More Spanish Missions in North America

Old Mission PhotoThe Arizona missions were not unique… Spain built missions throughout Mexico and the southwest to convert the Indians to Christianity and to consolidate their hold on territory.

Read about the Spanish missions in California and the Spanish missions in Texas.