Mexican StateSonora, the second largest state in Mexico, is bounded on the north by the USA (Arizona), on the west by Lower California and the Gulf of California (Mar de Cortés), on the south by Sinaloa and on the east by Chihuahua.
The landscape consists of desert and semi-desert rich in cacti, wooded mountain chains forming part of the Sierra Madre Occidental, artificially irrigated valleys and the coastline, which is both rocky and sandy. The largest island in Mexico, the Isla del Tiburón, lies off the coast of Sonora. The state is populated by a majority of whites and mestizos, but there are also still some of the original Indian tribes such as the Pápagos, Opatas, Pima, Seri, Yaqui and Mayo.Of the few archaeological sites in Sonora, such as Caborca, Sahuaripa, La Pintada and Yécora, only those with cave paintings are really worth visiting.HistoryIn pre-Columbian times Sonora (Spanish for "resonant", named after the sound of marble being hewn here) was the home of a number of both nomadic and settled Indian tribes, whose descendants are still living here in certain defined areas.The first Europeans to reach the region were Spanish conquistadores, including Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, Álvaro Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Pedro Almindes Chirinos, who arrived in 1531 and 1533 and met powerful resistance from the Indians. An expedition led by Francisco de Ibarra discovered the first valuable treasures in 1567. A number of Spanish settlements over the next 100 years all fell victim to attacks by Indians, notably by the Yaqui tribe. It was not until the great explorer Pater Eusebio Francisco Kino arrived in 1687 and established a network of Jesuit missions across the country that a short-lived peace occurred. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from New Spain in 1767 Indian rebellions flared up again.At the beginning of the 19th c., Sonora with Sinaloa became part of the western province within the Spanish viceroyship. In 1830, after the War of Independence (1810-21), in which José María González Hermosillo played a prominent part, Sonora was made a state in its own right, separate from Sinaloa. There were large Indian uprisings among the Yaqui and Mayo tribes in 1825, 1875 and 1886. Towards the end of the 19th c., during the period in which Porfirio Díaz was in power, the transport system and mining industry were dramatically extended, while at the same time rebellious Yaqui Indians were deported to Yucatán, later to return and stage their final uprising in Sonora in 1927.The sons of Sonora played an important part in the War of Revolution (1911-20), some of them later becoming presidents of Mexico, including Álvaro Obregón, Adolfo de la Huerta, Plutarco Elías Calles and Abelardo Rodríguez.EconomyUntil the Second World War Sonora, with its rich mineral deposits, was important merely as a supplier of precious metals (gold, silver, copper, lead and tin). Today, besides fishing and cattle-rearing, artificially irrigated areas of cultivation are of considerable importance and cotton, fruit, vegetables, wheat, soya beans, maize, sugar cane and tobacco are all grown. The metal-refining and tourist industries have also enjoyed a continuous upward trend in recent years. The state is fortunate in having good rail and road connections.SightsApart from the capital Hermosillo, the port of Guaymas, Álamos and their surrounding areas.
Several hundred Indians of the Pápago tribe still live in Sonora. This tribe, which is closely related to the Pima, also has about 12,000 members in South Arizona. In 1950 there were still 15,000 Pápagos in Mexico but the majority of these subsequently emigrated to the United States. It is believed that the Pima-Pápagos are descendants of the Hohokam people, whose civilisation flourished in the south-west of the USA from about AD 700 to 1400 (Pima: "the people who have gone"). This half-nomadic tribe, which has constantly feuded with the Apaches, became partially converted to Christianity at the end of the 18th c. by the Jesuits. In the middle of the 19th c. there were large rebellions which were however put down by the Mexican government. The Pápagos today live as farmers, hunters and gatherers. Their religion, which exhibits only certain Christian characteristics, embraces a belief in the immortality of the soul and includes the sun and stars among its deities. Its festivals, which have a strong dance element, generally take place in connection with harvesting and hunting. Their main Catholic feast day is October 4th (Día de San Francisco).
Magdalena de Kino, Mexico
Magdalena de Kino (893 m (2930 ft); population 40,000; fiesta: October 4th, Día de San Francisco Xavier), another frontier town about 90km/56mi to the south of Nogales, is noteworthy for the Church of San Francisco Xavier, in which Pater Kino's grave was discovered as late as 1966.Other well-known mission stations which go back to Pater Kino's time are those of Cocospera, Caborca, Pitiquito, Sonoita, Oquitoa and Tubutama.
Nogales (1179 m (3868 ft); population 180,000; fiesta: May 5th, Battle of Puebla). Although undoubtedly important as a frontier town, adjoining the U.S. state of Arizona and facing the American town with the identical name on the other side of the border, Nogales does not really have any noteworthy places of interest.