Mexicali is the capital of
the Mexican state of Baja California Norte.
Mexicali is also the seat of the Municipality of Mexicali
March 14, 1903,
Mexicali is situated on the U.S.-Mexico border adjacent to Calexico and is the northernmost city in Latin America, located at .
The link is emphasized by the way each city's name combines the
centuries before the arrival of Europeans, the Colorado River delta had been inhabited
by the Yuman peoples, with the major tribes
being the Kiliwa and the Cucapa.
These cultures had developed
irrigation and other agricultural techniques to produce squash,
melons, peas and five different colors of corn. They also were
navigating the waters of the Colorado on reed rafts.
Spanish arrived to the area after crossing the Sonora Desert's "Camino del Diablo" or Devil's Road.
lead to the evangelization of the area and also the population
collapse of the native peoples. Today Cocopah descendants inhabit a
small government-protected corner of the delta near the junction of
and Colorado rivers. These
people mostly work on agricultural ejidos
fish the rivers, although many have migrated to Mexicali.
The early European presence in this area was limited to the
, who left in the 1780s. After this,
the Spanish and later the Mexicans had little to do with the
northeastern corner of the Baja California peninsula
perceiving it as an untamable, flood-prone desert delta.
In the mid-1800s, a geologist working for the Southern Pacific Railroad
the delta area, discovering what the native Yumans had known for
centuries: that the thick river sediment deposits made the area
prime farming land. These sediments extended far to the west of the
river itself, accumulating in a shallow basin below the Sierra de
Cucap√°. However, from this time period until the 1880s, the area
was almost completely unpopulated, mostly due to its climate. In
1888, the federal government granted a large part of northern Baja
state, including Mexicali, to Guillermo Andrade, with the purpose
of colonizing the area on the recently-created border with the
United States. However, around 1900, the only area with any
real population, aside from the Cocopah, were concentrated in
Algodones, to the east of Mexicali.
In 1900, the U.S.-based California Land Company received permission
from the D√≠az
government to cut a
canal through the delta's Arroyo Alamo, to link the dry basin with
the Colorado River. To attract farmers to the area, the developers
named it "The Imperial Valley". In 1903, the first 500 farmers
arrived; by late 1904, 100,000 acres (405 km¬≤) of valley were
irrigated, with 10,000 people settled on the land harvesting
cotton, fruits, and vegetables. The concentration of small housing
units that straddled the border was called Calexico on the U.S.
side, Mexicali on the Mexican side.
The Mexican side was named Mexicali (From "Mexico" and
"California") by Coronel Agust√≠n Sangin√©z. Initially the area
belonged to the municipality of Ensenada.
town of Mexicali was officially created on 14
when Manuel Vizcarra
was named as the town's
first authority and assistant judge (juez auxiliar
Baltazar Avil√©z declared the municipality of Mexicali on November
4, 1914 and called for elections to create the first ayuntamiento
or district council, which was
then headed by Francisco L. Montejano.
Another U.S. land development country set out to do the same with
the nearby Valley of Mexicali. Led by Los Angeles Times
publisher Harry Chandler
, the company controlled
800,000 hectares of land in northern Baja California by 1905 and
began to construct the irrigation system for this valley. However,
instead of using Mexican labor to dig the ditches, Chandler brought
in thousands of Chinese laborers.
In the 20th century, the Colorado Riverland Company was dedicated
to renting land here to farmers; however, these farmers were almost
always foreigners, such as Chinese, Hindus and Japanese. The
Mexicans were employed only as seasonal labor. This situation led
to the agrarian conflict known as the "Asalto a las Tierras"
(Assault on the Lands) in 1937.
Agricultural production continued to increase during the 20th
century. Cotton became the most important crop and with it
developed the textile industry. In the early 1950s, the Mexicali
Valley became the biggest cotton-producing zone in the whole
country and in the 1960s, production reached more than half a
million parcels a year. Currently, the valley still is one of
Mexico's most productive agricultural regions, mostly producing
wheat, cotton and vegetables. The city of Mexicali is one of
Mexico's most important exporter of asparagus, broccoli, carrots,
green onions, lettuce, peas, peppers, radishes and tomatoes to the
The government of the municipality was reorganized when the Baja
territory became the 29th state in 1953.
View of the Civic Center Monument,
designed by noted Mexicali artist, Francisco Arias Beltr√°n, to the
four original municipalities in Baja California (Mexicali,
The city itself had a 2005 census population of 653,046, whereas
population was 895,962. It is the 13th largest municipality in
Mexico as of the Census 2005 with population estimates exceeding
one million alone. The population is constantly growing due to the
number of Maquiladoras
in the area,lack
of urban planing, and migrational aspects, like seasonal labor and
the constant in-and-out flow of immigrants to the U.S. or into
The city claims to have the largest per capita concentration of
residents of Chinese origin, around 5,000. While this does not
compare to U.S. cities like San Francisco or New
York, early in the 20th century Mexicali was numerically
and culturally more Chinese than Mexican.
arrived to the area as laborers for the Colorado River Land Company
American enterprise which designed and built an extensive
irrigation system in the Valley of Mexicali. Some immigrants came
from the United States, often fleeing anti-Chinese policies there,
while others sailed directly from China. Thousands of Chinese were
lured to the area by the promise of high wages, but for most that
Many of the Chinese labourers who came to the irrigation system
stayed on after its completion, congregating in an area of Mexicali
today known as Chinesca ('Chinatown'). During Prohibition in the
U.S., many Chinese laborers and farmers came to the town to open
bars, restaurants and hotels to cater their American clients,
Chinesca eventually housed just about all of the city's casinos and
bars, and an underground tunnel system to connect bordellos and
opium dens to Calexico on the U.S. side. Bootleggers also used this
route to supply the U.S. with booze purchased in Mexico.
By 1920, Mexicali's Chinese population outnumbered the Mexican
10,000 to 700. A group of 5,000 single Chinese males started the
Asociaci√≥n China, a Mexicali's social organization at least partly
devoted to finding Chinese wives from overseas, which remains
active today. In 1927, a series of Tong
here and other parts of Northern Mexico erupted over
control of gambling and prostitution rings. Mexican alarm over the
Chinese organized crime led to the government-encouraged Movimiento
Anti-Chino. In the late 1920s, a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment
that swept the country and led to the torture and murder of
hundreds of Chinese in northern Mexico‚ÄĒsimilar to what happened on
a larger scale in California in the 1880s. However, the Chinese in
this city were numerous enough and politically strong enough to
protect themselves. After anti-Chinese sentiment faded, more
Chinese arrived here, and it became the Mexican headquarters for
the Kuomintang, or the Nationalist Chinese Party. After events
during World War II and the Communist takeover of China, a large
number of Chinese refugees came to Mexico in the mid-century. The
town was the site of the Taiwan consulate in the 1960s until Mexico
withdrew its recognition of the island nation, ending immigration
of ethnic Chinese to this area.
The percentage of Chinese was so high here that in the 1940s the
town had only two cinemas, both of which played Chinese movies
almost exclusively. However, in the latter half of the 20th
century, steady influx of Mexican migrants here diluted the Chinese
population, until once again they became a minority.
La Chinesca, or Chinatown, still survives near the border close to
the intersection of Avenida Madero and Calle Melgar,although it is
much smaller than in the past. However, Mexicali still boasts more
Chinese restaurants per capita than any other city in Mexico, more
than 100 for the whole town, most with Cantonese-style cuisine.
Local Chinese associations struggle to preserve the arts and
culture of the homeland through the sponsorship of Chinese
festivals, calligraphy clubs, and language classes. However, much
of Chinese cultural life here has blended with local Mexican and
American traditions to create a unique, hybrid culture.
Like many Chinese restaurants outside of Asia, cooks here have
adapted their native cuisine to local tastes. For example,
restaurants here serve their dishes with a small bowl of a sauce
that is similar to a generic steak sauce, common in Northern
Mexico. In many of these restaurants, it is not uncommon to see
Chinese men wearing stiff straw cowboy hats, meeting over
hamburgers and green tea and speaking a mixture of Cantonese and
Spanish. Along with burgers and chow mein, many restaurants here
also offer shark-fin tacos.
The municipality of Mexicali is divided into 1 city area and 14
administrative boroughs (delegaciones
, in Spanish) of
which the city of Mexicali occupies 3 beside the city area. These
boroughs offer administrative services such as urban planning,
civil registry, inspection, verification, public works and
community development and are served by a Delegado
In its beginnings Mexicali was an important center for cotton
production for export until synthetic fabrics reduced the worldwide
demand for the fiber.
Currently horticulture is the most successful agricultural activity
with scallion, green onion and asparagus being among the most
important crops. Cotton and wheat are still cultivated but with
government price guarantees and subsidies making wheat farmer
protests an annual event. There is an annual agribusiness fair in
March drawing interested people from all over Mexico and the United
States called Agrobaja
The current prospects for economic growth in Mexicali rely on
in-bond and assembly plants, mainly for export, including companies
, Cardinal Health
, Price Pfister
Mexicali is also home to many food processing plants such as
There are joint efforts on behalf of the Baja California
and the private sector to attract more companies to
Mexicali based on a cluster strategy focusing on the regions'
strengths of qualified labor, abundant energy and water supplies, a
pro-business environment and its location on the California
Mexicali is considered among the most prosperous cities in Mexico,
although US tourists can observe the level of poverty in rural
villages surrounding the modern, upper-middle class enclave of
Mexicali proper.There"s recent research that indicate a high level
of decease prevalence like respiratory illness,asthma,and other
medical issues in the local inhabitant. The North American Free Trade
of 1994 that eliminated most trade restrictions
between the two nations offers Mexicali an economic boom in the
Silicon Border is a project to promote a high-tech manufacturing
park in the region of the border of Valle de Mexicali and Imperal
Valley which started at 2004 . The aim of the manufacturing park
was to capitalize on Mexicali's proximity to the US. The Mexican
Federal and Baja California governments had committed over $2
million to the project. Former President Vicente Fox
offered 10 years of tax-free status
to any firms that locate in the park and invest $1 billion or more.
The cost of a single semiconductor manufacturing plant can top $1.5
billion. Up to now, only Q-Cells has manifested its intention to
place in the park , and some electrical and water facilities are
already built .Universities as Universidad Autonoma de Baja
California have started new programs in an attempt to create high
tech human resources that can convince the semiconductor firms of
the convenience to start operation in this region.
Some people are opposed to the project because the large amounts of
water required in the manufacturing of electronic equipment, as
well as concerns about inadequate hazardous waste disposal.[no
California's Governor Arnold
had repeatedly promoted cooperation with the
project in his radio addresses before the onset of California¬īs
largest budget deficit and economic troubles.
The proximity of two new power plants was a major aid to this
project, before waste water sipped into the disposal canals that
killed dozens of people in February 2009 in Los Santorales [no
quote]. Further infrastructure improvements associated with Silicon
Border were to include a new highway (under construction) and an
additional border crossing. With the world economic depression of
2008, Q-cells delayed its plans, leading to a decrease of
enthusiasm with the project in the general public . Nevertheless,
the office is still open and working
The New River, which runs north to the state of California from
Mexicali is considered the most polluted river in North America
, has toxic levels of lead and
other heavy metals,fecal bacteria,pathogens and industrial
waste;also air pollution is a problem during summer and winter
months with dust and other particulate levels exceeding healthy
levels and a long time issue.In spite of its arid desert location
Mexicali is watered through a system of aquifers in the valley.
1944 water treaty the city is "...guaranteed [an] annual quantity
of 1,500,000 acre-feet (1,850,234,000 cubic meters) [of water] to
be delivered..." from the Colorado River.
However, a proposed concrete lining in the
United States on the All-American Canal would cut off billions of
leaked gallons of water, which is used to irrigate onions, alfalfa,
asparagus, squash and other crops in Mexicali.
On the nearby Volcano, Cerro Prieto, presides a geothermal plant,
from which electrical energy is generated.
Mexicali also relies on tourism as a medium revenue, and visitors
cross by foot or car from Calexico in the United States every day.
Restaurants and taco stands, pharmacies, bars and dance clubs are
part of the draw for the city's tourists. Many shops and stalls
selling Mexican crafts and souvenirs are also located in walking
distance from the border.
Also many residents from California, Arizona and Nevada look for
medical and dental services in Mexicali, because they tend to be
less expensive than those in the United States.
Mexico's drinking age of 18 (vs. 21 in the United States) makes it
a common weekend destination for many high school and college aged
Southern Californians who tend to stay within the Calzadas Justo
Sierra, Benito Juarez and Francisco L. Montejano.
Mexicali is also home to several pharmacies marketed toward
visitors from the United States. These pharmacies sell some
pharmaceutical drugs without prescriptions and at much lower costs
than pharmacies in the US. Many medications still require a
doctor's prescription, although several accessible doctor offices
are located near the border as well.
As well in the musical side, Mexicali hosts one of the most
important events in Progressive Rock in the world: Baja Prog. As of
the early 1990s (the first concert was held in 1997), Baja Prog has
always been in the eyes of the world for being an event gathering
the best music groups of the progressive rock scene. This show was
created and still organized by local musician and member of the
band CAST Alfonso Vidales Moreno. This massive event, gathers
tourism from all over the world.
is linked to other Mexican cities by the Mexicali International Airport, which serve the city itself and the surrounding
The residents of Mexicali (Mexicalenses
) call themselves
"Cachanillas" (due to a local plant, the cachanilla
, used by the Cucapah tribe to build
shacks) and are from culturally diverse backgrounds, and it is
among the most ethnically diverse cities in Mexico, with people
from various Native American, European, African, (east) Asian, and
Middle Eastern origins.
There is a very popular song called ‚ÄúPuro Cachanilla‚ÄĚ also known as
‚ÄúEl Cachanilla‚ÄĚ that identifies people from Mexicali.
In 2004, there were 11 theaters in the city:
- Teatro del Estado.
- Teatro al Aire Libre del Centro Comunitario Estudiantil.
- Teatro de Casa de Cultura de Mexicali. Idem.
- Teatro del CREA
- Teatro Universitario de Mexicali, it is mainly used for UABC
ceremonies and occasionally for plays.
- Teatro al Aire Libre de Rector√≠a
- Teatro del Seguro Social that was inaugurated in the
- Teatro al aire libre del Centro de Ense√Īanza T√©cnica y Superior
CETYS unveiled on September 2006.
- Teatro del Centro de Ense√Īanza T√©cnica y Superior CETYS.
- IMAX Teatro in The Sol del Ni√Īo Museum
- Centro Estatal de las Artes with multiple theater and
- Teatro del OXXO
Mexicali also has the Baja Prog
a series of progressive rock concerts that take place during four
consecutive days in springtime. It is hosted by CAST
, a progressive
band from Mexicali.
Mexicali has many sites where people from all over the country
visit, as well as visitors from United States and Canada, such as
arena, Plaza Calafia
, where many bullfights ("corridas") are
organized along the year. Mexicali has also a professional 18-hole
"Club Campestre" where both
national and international championships take place regularly.
Beside the amateur leagues, there are a few professional sport
teams which plays in different leagues.
Mexicali's basketball team is the Soles de Mexicali that plays in the
Liga Nacional de
Baloncesto Profesional (LNBP) of Mexico.
were the champions of the LNBP (2006-2007) season. Their stadium is the
del Estado" located in the "Ciudad Deportiva de
Mexicali is also home to a 2007 Pacific Coast
franchise, the Calor de Mexicali
(The Mexicali Heat).
Their stadium is the "Gimnasio de Mexicali" located in the "Avenida
Mexicali is also home to a 2006 American
franchise, the Centinelas de Mexicali
The "Ciudad Deportiva" also houses a football
stadium where the Cachanillas de Mexicali
, a Mexican third division
football team plays.
The home of the Pioneros del
, also a Mexican third division football team, is located
in the Mexicali Valley, near to Ciudad Guadalupe
In addition, "Ciudad Deportiva" is the location of the "CasasGeo"
stadium where the professional baseball
team "√Āguilas de Mexicali
plays every season. The √Āguilas de Mexicali is a Mexican baseball
team playing for the Liga Mexicana del Pac√≠fico
in Mexicali, Baja California. The team was founded in October 14
. They have
won the championship three times, 1985-1986 (coach Benjamin Reyes),
in 1988-1989 (coach Dave Machemer), in 1998-1999 (coach Francisco
Estrada). The team also won the 1986 Caribbean Series, played in
Venezuela. The "√Āguilas de Mexicali" were formed in 1976 and have
been a member of the Mexican Pacific League since. They are located
in the border city of Mexicali, Baja California and have won three
LMP pennants. Their brightest moment came when they won the 1986
Caribbean Series, only becoming the second Mexican team to take the
title. Mexicali will be the host for the Caribbean Series on
The Azules de Mexicali is a professional Mexican baseball team
which plays in the North Sonora
, the main supporting league of the "LMP".
Mexicali young baseball players through the Little League program
had played three times the Little league World Series in
Williamsport, PA. USA. First time in 1985 Felix Arce Little league
representing the West of United States and 2005 and 2007 the Seguro
Social Little League representing Mexico.
The team plays in the newly-built convention center, while local
businessmen negotiate a deal for an American football
team with the af2
under ownership of the Arena Football League
in 2008. . The
owners announced they made a new team, the Mexicali Borregos Salvajes
hasn't officially joined af2 but could play in the Mexican Pro
American Football League in games against teams from across
Mexicali possesses a diversity of shopping malls, the most visited
being Plaza La Cachanilla, located just a few minutes away from the
US border. The mall hosts a variety of shops, which sell a wide
array of things, ranging from cheap Mexican curiosities to
expensive imports. The Plaza La Cachanilla also represents a common
place for people to socialize, especially during summer days when
the weather reaches high temperatures, many families come and spend
the day inside the air conditioned mall.
Just about everything for recreation can be found in Mexicali,
including pool halls, bowling alleys, traditional cantinas, car
clubs, full contact strip clubs, movie theaters, museums, a zoo, a
state university, a convention center, supermarkets, and fast food
Galerias del Valle, anchored by WalMart Supercenter, 12-screen movie theater Cinepolis and
Ashley Furniture is located by Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas and Calle
The mall's food court contains such eateries including
Under the Koppen climate
, Mexicali features a desert climate
. Mexicali is well known for
its extreme weather. The highest temperature recorded in Mexicali
was 52¬įC (about 126¬įF) in July 1995. Average July highs hover
around 42¬įC (107¬įF). On the other hand, winter normals are quite
low, with average January lows of 5¬įC (41¬įF) and a record low of
-8¬įC (18¬įF) recorded in January 1949. The city received snow only
once in recorded history, in December 1932.
The climate in Mexicali is extremely arid
average annual rainfall of less than three inches.
Notable natives and residents
- Eduardo Auy√≥n, painter
- Norma Enriqueta
Basilio de Sotelo, first woman Olympic cauldron lighter
- Dino Cazares, musician, former
member of Fear Factory, Asesino and
- Nikki Clan, successful pop-rock
- David Cort√©s, MLB player for
the Colorado Rockies
- Carlos Gir√≥n, Silver medal
winner in diving during the 1980 Olympics
- Lupita Jones, Miss Mexico 1990/Miss
- Reik, Latin Grammy-nominated pop group
- Fernando Valenzuela, major
league pitcher for the Los Angeles
Dodgers during the 1980's
- Manuel Vizcarra, Mexican judge,
founder of Mexicali
- Ernesto Zedillo, former
President of Mexico
- San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora
- Navojoa, Sonora
- Nanjing, China
- Gumi, South
- Calexico, United
- El Centro, United States
- Indio, United States
- San Bernardino, California, United States
- Yuma, United
- Vancouver, British Columbia,
- SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Mexico - Partners
pushing 'silicon' center
- The Mexican Water Treaty:
- Global Volcanism Program | Cerro Prieto | Summary
- CFE - Cerro Prieto, geotermoel√©ctrica
- Sistema de Informaci√≥n Cultural - Conaculta -
- Mexicali, MEX Weather - Forecasts, Radar Maps,
Video, and News
- IID Water Department
- Weather.com: Average Weather for Mexicali, BC,
Retrieved March 20, 2009