Sidebar by Ed Quillen
History – August 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine
Juan Bautista de Anza was born in July, 1736, in Sonora, Mexico. His father, captain of the presidio at Fronteras, was also named Juan Bautista de Anza. Anza is a Basque name which means “pasture in the dwarf elder trees” and describes areas in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain. His father was killed fighting the Apaches in 1740. Anza joined the militia in 1751, and became a cadet in the cavalry in 1754 at Fronteras, Sonora, Mexico. He was soon promoted to lieutenant and then captain, and was in charge of the presidio at Tubac, Sonora, Mexico (now in Arizona) in 1759. He was soon distinguished for his military skills.