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Garcés, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo (1738–1781)

Garcés, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo (1738–1781)

. Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo Garcés (b. 12 April 1738; d. 19 July 1781), Franciscan missionary who traveled extensively in Sonora, Arizona, and California. Born in Morata del Conde, Spain, Garcés entered the Franciscan order at age fifteen. In 1768 he joined the Franciscans in Sonora as a missionary to the Pima and Papago Indians. From his post at San Xavier del Bac, Garcés made several expeditions into the surrounding areas. In 1774 he joined Juan Bautista de Anza in opening a route from Sonora to Monterey, establishing a vital supply line to the Spanish settlements of California. In 1775 Garcés again joined Anza in a colonizing expedition to San Francisco. On his return from California, Garcés became the first to break a trail from the Pacific Coast to the Hopi pueblos of northeastern Arizona. In 1779 Garcés journeyed to Yuma to establish missions among the Indians on the Colorado River. Two years later, he was beaten to death in an uprising of Yuma Indians.

See alsoFranciscans; Missions: Spanish America.


Elliott Coues, trans., On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer: The Diary of Francisco Garcés, 2 vols. (1900).

Herbert Eugene Bolton, Outpost of Empire (1931).

John Galvin, trans., A Record of Travels in Arizona and California 1775–1776, by Fr. Francisco Garcés (1965).

John L. Kessell, "The Making of a Martyr: The Young Francisco Garcés," in New Mexico Historical Review 45, no. 3 (1970): 181-196.

Additional Bibliography

Wild, Peter. True Tales of the Mojave Desert: From Talking Rocks to Yucca Man. Santa Fe, NM: Center for American Places, 2004.

Garcés, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo, John Galvin, and Alejandro Salafranca. Diario de exploraciones en Arizona y California, 1775–1776. Málaga: Algazara, 1996.

                                     Suzanne B. Pasztor

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