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The Sobaipuri (or Soba , as the Spaniards sometimes called them) were a small tribe of the Uto-Aztec -Tano language family and are generally counted among the Upper Pima . The meaning of her name is not known. The Pima called them Rsársavinâ , which means something like spotted . They also spoke a slightly modified dialect of the neighboring Pima.

residential area

Their habitat at the time of their first contact with whites were the main and side valleys of the San Pedro and Santa Cruz Rivers, as well as the area between the mouth of the San Pedro River and the Casa Grande ruins, probably also east of these areas in southern Arizona . In each of the two valleys the Sobaipuri had at least ten to twelve larger settlements, and in the side valleys several smaller villages were scattered around. Each settlement was autonomous and had its own head. However, if there were major war ventures or if the settlements had to be defended against a common enemy, several neighboring settlements formed short-term alliances. The Sobaipuri practiced intensive agriculture like their neighbors, the Akimel O'odham.

Former settlements attributed to the Sobaipuri: Alamos, Aribaiba, Babisi, Baicadeat, Busac, Camani, Causac, Comarsuta, Esqugbaag, Guevavi, Jaumalturgo (?), Jiaspi, Muiva, Ojio, Optuabo, Quiburi, Quiquiborica, Reves San Angelo, San Clemente, San Felipe, San Salvador, Santa Eulalia, San Xavier del Bac, Sonoita, Suamca, Tube, Tumacacori, Turisai, Tusonimon, Tutoida


When the Jesuits and the Spaniards advanced into the Pimeria Alta, the Sobaipuri were living in armed conflicts with the Opata in the south and the Western Apaches and Chiricahua in the north. Like the Upper and Lower Pima, Opata and Tarahumara , the Sobaipuri quickly adopted Christianity and asked for missionaries to be sent and missions to be set up on their territory in order to find protection from the increasingly brutal and frequent Apache raids. But it wasn't until 1694 to 1702 that Father Kino was able to set up several missions.

The Sobaipuri, together with the Pima and Opata, quickly became the most important support of the Spanish missions, settlements and cities and a bulwark against the Apaches. In addition to the opata, the sobaipuri suffered most from the attacks, the abducted women and children, the robbery of food and the destruction of the crops. The Sobaipuri were considered by the Spaniards among the Pima to be the bravest and most daring warriors and scouts, as their settlements were in the middle of the great Plunder Trails of the Chiricahua and Western Apaches.

But at some point the Sobaipuri could no longer withstand the constant attacks of the Apaches, and in 1705 they left the San Pedro Valley and moved to San Xavier del Bac ( wachkk or Wa: k - "there where the water flows" or "there where the water ( of the Santa Cruz River) seeps into the ground ”, a mission station of Tohono O'Odham ) and Tucson (derived from S-cuk Son , pronounced:“ Schook-schon ”-“ [at] the foot of the black [mountain] ” on one or both of the volcanic hills on the west bank of the Santa Cruz River, one of Akimel O'Odham ) as well as Tubac . The Tohono O'Odham-Sobaipuri are now known as Wa: k O'odham .

For a short time they returned to the San Pedro Valley under Spanish protection, but had to leave it together with the Spaniards after several years of uninterrupted war. The population in the Santa Cruz Valley also began to decline from around 1750, largely because of the Apaches, but also due to epidemics and diseases. Tired of the constant wars with the Apaches, the Sobaipuri mostly left their villages in 1762 and sought protection in the Soamca , San Xavier del Bac and Tucson missions . The last sobaipuri left the valleys in 1775 and sought refuge with the Tohono O'Odham and Akimel O'Odham and lost their identity over time. Some, like other smaller groups (nomadic Janos , Sumas , Jocomes and Mansos ), joined their former enemies, the Apaches, and made it possible for them to undertake even larger raids and war expeditions and to incorporate the former areas of the Sobaipuri into the Apacheria .


It is believed that around 600 sobaipuri lived around 1680, but this number is believed to be too low. According to Father Kino's reports, the Sobaipuri numbered around 4500 to 5000 people in the 17th century. After years of fighting and heavy losses by the Apaches, as well as introduced diseases and epidemics, only a few hundred remained. The last person to identify as Sobaipuri died in 1932.

Web links


  1. The former Sobaipuri-Tohono O'Odham settlement is now called Wa: k hekihukam ("old-Wa: k") or Wa: k to distinguish it from the later mission settlement Wa: k (San Xavier del Bac) ge'echu ("the older Wa: k").

Individual evidence

  1. San Xavier del Bac Mission-Tohono O'odham (accessed November 3, 2012)
  2. ^ San Xavier del Bac, Wa: k O'odham, and Wa: k Ge'echu (accessed November 3, 2012)
  3. ^ San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation (accessed November 3, 2012)

See also

List of North American Indian tribes

This article is based on the article Sobaipuri ( memento of July 1, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) from the free encyclopedia Indianer Wiki ( memento of March 18, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) and is under Creative Commons by-sa 3.0 . A list of the authors was available in the Indian Wiki ( Memento from July 1, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).