When the Spanish first arrived in this area, they called the O'odham Indians Pimas. This area of present-day southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico, became known by the Jesuit order of Catholic missionaries as the Pimería Alta, and is still known by the same name today. The Spanish words Pima-ería alta mean "place of the upper Pimas" in English.
Beginning in the 1680's, the lush river valleys of the Pimería Alta attracted Padre Kino and other Jesuit missionaries to the O'odham communities already established along the riverbanks.
Did You Know?
Arizona takes its name from a ranch of the same name, meaning "the good oak tree" in Basque, established by Bernardo de Urrea in 1735 in the rugged, mountain country about forty miles southwest of Tumacácori.