A man of many talents, Eusebio Kino was born on August 10, 1645, in Segno, Italy, a small town in the Tyrolese Alps. After recuperating from a serious illness, Kino joined the Society of Jesus in 1665. Although he wanted to go to the Orient, his orders gave him the choice of Spain or Mexico. After drawing his lot, Father Kino set out for Mexico in 1678. Four years later, as the head of a Jesuit mission, he led the Atondo expedition to lower California. After a drought in 1685, Kino was forced back to Mexico City.
In 1687, he journeyed to southern Arizona to work with the Pimas. Especially adept in mathematics and geography, he was one of the first scientific explorers, cartographers, astronomers, historians, builders, and ranchmen of the Pimera Alta. Due to his efforts, missions and stockyards were developed. Roads were built to connect previously inaccessible areas. His many expeditions on horseback covered over 50,000 square miles, during which he mapped an area 200 miles long and 250 miles wide, and deduced that California was a peninsula.
He built missions extending from the interior of Sonora 150 miles northeast to San Xavier del Bac. He constructed 19 rancheras, which supplied cattle to new settlements. He was also instrumental in the return of the Jesuits to California in 1697. Father Kino remained in southern Arizona until his death in 1711.