Tubac, Arizona

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Tubac is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, United States. The population was 949 at the 2000 census. The place name Tubac is an English borrowing from a Hispanicized form of the O'odham name, which translates into English as "rotten". The original O'odham name is written Cuwak, remembering that the initial syllable is accented. When first taken into Spanish speech, it was spelled Tubaca. Finally over time the last "a" was dropped.

[1] Tubac is situated on the Santa Cruz River.

Tubac was the original Spanish colonial garrison in Arizona. It was depopulated during the O'odham Uprising in the eighteenth century. During the nineteenth century, the area was repopulated by miners, farmers and ranchers, but the town of Tubac is best known today as an artists' colony.



Tubac is located at 31°37′32″N 111°3′7″W / 31.62556°N 111.05194°W / 31.62556; -111.05194 (31.625462, -111.051921).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.2 square miles (21.2 km²), all of it land.


Established in 1752 as a Spanish presidio, the first Spanish colonial garrison in what is now Arizona, Tubac was one of the stops on the Camino Real (the "Royal Road") from Mexico to the Spanish settlements in California.

Tubac's most famous Spanish resident was Juan Bautista de Anza. While stationed at Tubac (1760–1776), de Anza built the chapel of Santa Gertrudis, the foundations of which lie beneath today's St. Ann's Church.

Apaches attacked the town repeatedly in the 1840s, forcing the Sonoran Mexicans to abandon both Tumacocori and Tubac.

California gambler and highwayman Jack Powers was murdered in Mexico in November 1860, south of Nogales, and his body fed to a pen of starving hogs. The uneaten part of his corpse was buried in the Arizona Territory south of Tubac.

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