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Mexicali is the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Nortemarker. Mexicali is also the seat of the Municipality of Mexicali. Founded on March 14, 1903, Mexicali is situated on the U.S.-Mexico border adjacent to Calexicomarker and is the northernmost city in Latin America, located at .

The link is emphasized by the way each city's name combines the words "Mexico" and "California."


For centuries before the arrival of Europeans, the Colorado Rivermarker 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.

The Spanish arrived to the area after crossing the Sonora Desertmarker's "Camino del Diablo" or Devil's Road. This 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 the Hardy and Colorado rivers. These people mostly work on agricultural ejidos or fish the rivers, although many have migrated to Mexicali.

The early European presence in this area was limited to the Jesuits, 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 came to 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 Los Algodonesmarker, 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 Agustín Sanginéz. Initially the area belonged to the municipality of Ensenadamarker. The town of Mexicali was officially created on 14 March 1903 when Manuel Vizcarra was named as the town's first authority and assistant judge (juez auxiliar). Mayor Baltazar Aviléz 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 world.

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, Mexico)
The city itself had a 2005 census population of 653,046, whereas the municipality's 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 Mexico.

Chinatown, Mexicali

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 Franciscomarker or New Yorkmarker, early in the 20th century Mexicali was numerically and culturally more Chinese than Mexican. The Chinese arrived to the area as laborers for the Colorado River Land Company, an 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 never materialised.
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 wars 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.

Boroughs (delegaciones)

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 Municipal (Municipal Delegate).


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 like Sony, Selther, Daewoo, Mitsubishi, Honeywell, Paccar, Vitro, Skyworks Solutions, Cardinal Health, Bosch, Price Pfister, Gulfstream, Goodrich, Kenworth and Kwikset. Mexicali is also home to many food processing plants such as Nestlé, Jumex, Bimbo, Coca-Cola and Sabritas.

There are joint efforts on behalf of the Baja California government 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 border.

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 Agreement of 1994 that eliminated most trade restrictions between the two nations offers Mexicali an economic boom in the next decade.

Silicon Border

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 quote]

California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger 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

Natural resources

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. Under a 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 Rivermarker. 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.

Air travel

The city is linked to other Mexican cities by the Mexicali International Airportmarker, which serve the city itself and the surrounding towns.


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:

  1. Teatro del Estado.
  2. Teatro al Aire Libre del Centro Comunitario Estudiantil.
  3. Teatro de Casa de Cultura de Mexicali. Idem.
  4. Teatro del CREA
  5. Teatro Universitario de Mexicali, it is mainly used for UABC ceremonies and occasionally for plays.
  6. Teatro al Aire Libre de Rectoría
  7. Teatro del Seguro Social that was inaugurated in the 1970s.
  8. Teatro al aire libre del Centro de Ense√Īanza T√©cnica y Superior CETYS unveiled on September 2006.
  9. Teatro del Centro de Ense√Īanza T√©cnica y Superior CETYS.
  10. IMAX Teatro in The Sol del Ni√Īo Museum
  11. Centro Estatal de las Artes with multiple theater and convention center
  12. Teatro del OXXO

Mexicali also has the Baja Prog festival, a series of progressive rock concerts that take place during four consecutive days in springtime. It is hosted by CAST, a progressive rock 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 the bullfighting arena, Plaza Calafia, where many bullfights ("corridas") are organized along the year. Mexicali has also a professional 18-hole Golf Course "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 Mexicomarker. They were the champions of the LNBP (2006-2007) season. Their stadium is the "Auditorio del Estadomarker" located in the "Ciudad Deportiva de Mexicali".

Mexicali is also home to a 2007 Pacific Coast Basketball Circuit franchise, the Calor de Mexicali (The Mexicali Heat). Their stadium is the "Gimnasio de Mexicali" located in the "Avenida Reforma".

Mexicali is also home to a 2006 American Basketball Association franchise, the Centinelas de Mexicali (The Sentinels).


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 Valle, also a Mexican third division football team, is located in the Mexicali Valley, near to Ciudad Guadalupe Victoria.


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, 1976. 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 2009.

The Azules de Mexicali is a professional Mexican baseball team which plays in the North Sonora League, 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.

American football

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 but hasn't officially joined af2 but could play in the Mexican Pro American Football League in games against teams from across Mexico.


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 restaurants.

The Galerias del Valle, anchored by WalMartmarker Supercenter, 12-screen movie theater Cinepolis and Ashley Furniture is located by Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas and Calle 11. The mall's food court contains such eateries including Carl's Jr., Applebees, Starbucks and Burger King.


Under the Koppen climate classification, 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, with average annual rainfall of less than three inches.

Notable natives and residents

Sister cities


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  7. > News > Mexico - Partners pushing 'silicon' center
  8. [6]
  9. [7]
  10. The Mexican Water Treaty:
  11. Global Volcanism Program | Cerro Prieto | Summary
  12. CFE - Cerro Prieto, geotermoeléctrica
  14. Sistema de Información Cultural - Conaculta - Mexico
  15. Mexicali, MEX Weather - Forecasts, Radar Maps, Video, and News
  16. IID Water Department
  17. Average Weather for Mexicali, BC, Retrieved March 20, 2009



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