The Weekly Arizonian, territorial Arizona’s very first newspaper, began its print run 157 years ago. Publishing began on March 3, 1859 in Tubac, and then moved to Tucson in August that same year. The inaugural issue proclaimed the paper “devoted to the interests of Arizona, and the development of its resources” (page 2).
In addition to announcing its formation, the first issue also reported news from around the world and “the States” -- including the closing of the 35th Congressional session during which“little has been done for the public good. There has been the usual amount of speech-making, corruption and hum-buggery, such as distinguishes a latter-day American Congress…”
Readers may take that with a grain of salt, as the editors of The Weekly Arizonian were displeased at Congress’ refusal to send U.S. troops into Mexico to extend the Arizona territory all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Reading old newspapers provides a fascinating glimpse of history, because they provide real-time insight into the issues and concerns considered relevant at the time. Some are familiar, others less so – frustration with government, conflicts between neighboring states and peoples, and apparently, a serious problem with horse thieves.
Annual subscriptions to The Weekly Arizonian started out at $3.00 and the paper continued its publication schedule until 1871. To read more of The Weekly Arizonian and other Arizona historical newspapers visit the Digital Arizona Library and explore the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program.