Eusebio Francisco Kino – Jesuit Priest

Father Eusebio Francisco Kino

Father Eusebio Francisco Kino

Eusebio Francisco Kino, a Jesuit priest, missionary, explorer, map-maker, mathematician, and astronomer, founded many missions and explored areas in southwestern North America, including northern Sonora, Mexico, southern California, and southern Arizona.

Kino was born in Tirol, Italy, educated at the Jesuit college at Trent, and went on to the Jesuit college at Hall near Innsbruck, Austria. He joined the Company of Jesus on November 20, 1665, after an illness that nearly claimed his life. He also attended the Universities of Landsberg, Ingolstadt, Innsbruck, Munich, and Oehingen. In 1665, Kino became a Jesuit priest. In 1681 he sailed as a missionary from Spain to Mexico and was appointed missionary and royal cosmographer for the California Expedition on October 28, 1682. He arrived in Baja, California, on April 4, 1683. On the second expedition to California on October 6, 1683, he built a mission and established a fort at San Bruno near Loreto. On August 15, 1684, he took his final vows as a Jesuit. He was appointed missionary to the Seri and Guaymas Indians on November 20, 1685.

Tumacacori Mission, Arizona

Tumacacori Mission, Arizona

In March 1687, he established his first Jesuit mission in Sonora, Mexico. In 1691, he began a series of more than 40 expeditions exploring southern Arizona, traveling along the Rio Grande, Colorado, and the Gila Rivers. Over 24 years, he established 24 missions and the foundation for modern agriculture and livestock raising. He promoted apprenticeships of artisans and similar trades. He traveled and explored extensively: Tumacácori -1691; Altar River – 1692; Gila River to Casa Grande – 1695; Baja California – 1697; Santa María and San Pedro Rivers – 1698; the Gulf of California from the north, Colorado River – 1700; repeat trip and crosses the Colorado River on a raft – 1701; repeat trip and proof that California is not an island – 1702; Guaymas – 1704; Tiburon Island – 1706; Pinacate and Santa Clara – 1706.

He died shortly after midnight on March 15, 1711, in Magdalena, Mexico. He wrote many books about his explorations.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated December 2022.

Also See:

American History

Discovery and Exploration of America

Exploration of America

The Spanish Explore America