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Father Eusebio Francisco Kino: Missionary and Explorer

Eusebio Francisco Kino mapFather Eusebio Francisco Kino, S. J., (Aug. 10, 1645 - March 15, 1711) was a Jesuit priest, missionary, explorer, map-maker, mathematician, and astronomer. Kino was a missionary who founded many missions and explored areas in southwestern North America (Pimería Alta), including areas in what are now northern Sonora (Mexico), southern California (USA) and southern Arizona (USA).

Kino was born in Tirol, Italy, and was educated in Germany. In 1665, Kino became a Jesuit priest. In 1681 he sailed as a missionary from Spain to New Spain (to what is now Mexico City, Mexico).

He established his first Jesuit mission in March, 1687, in what is now Sonora, Mexico. In 1691, he began a series of more than 40 expeditions exploring southern Arizona, traveling from his base (Nuestra Señora de los Dolores in Sonora) along the Rio Grande, the Colorado River, and the Gila River. During these expeditions, he may have discovered the sources of these rivers. He was the first person to map this region. Kino also established that Lower California was not an island; it was a peninsula, the Baja Peninsula.

Father Kino helped the Pima Indians (of Sonora, Mexico) in farming methods, bringing them new types of seeds and farm animals. He also fought against the forced labor of Indians in northern Mexican silver mines.

Kino wrote many books, including: Favores Celestiales (published in 1708), Exposición Astronómica de el Cometa (an account of the Comet of 1680-1681, published in 1681), and a map of the Pimería Alta region (published in 1705). Father Kino died on March 15, 1711, in Magdalena, Mexico.

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