Hermosillo, formerly called Pitic (“Santísima Trinidad del Pitic and Presidio del Pitic”) is a city located centrally in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora.
It is the capital and largest city as well as the main economic center for the state and region. It contains almost all of the state’s manufacturing and has thirty percent of its population. The major manufacturing sector is automobiles, which was begun in the 1980s, when Ford built the Hermosillo Stamping & Assembly Plant.
According to the results of INEGI, Hermosillo is Mexico’s 16th largest city, with 715,061 people.
Evidence of the area’s first inhabitants dates back 3,000 years, much of which are from a site called the San Dieguito Complex, located in the El Pinacate Zone. Evidence of agriculture dates back 2,500 years. In the pre-Hispanic era, this area was inhabited by the Seri, Tepoca, and Pima peoples.
The first encounter between the Spanish and natives occurred in the middle of the 16th century, when explorers were sent here in search of nonexistent gold. The first missionaries arrived in the state of Sonora around 1614, and Eusebio Francisco Kino arrived in 1687, founding a mission in nearby Cucurpe. What is now the states of Sonora and Sinaloa was loosely organized as the provinces of Sonora, Ostimura and Sinaloa.
In 1700, three small Spanish villages were founded in what is now the outskirts of Hermosillo, Nuestra Señora del Pópulo, Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles and la Santísima Trinidad del Pitic. The native peoples here soon became hostile to the Spanish and managed to drive them out several times in the early 18th century. In 1716, the Spanish offered irrigated lands for farmers to natives who agreed to abide by Spanish law. Around 1726, a fort named the Presidio of Pitic was constructed to stop the domination of this area by the natives, especially the Seri. However, the situation did not settle soon so that the first church was not built until 1787 and the first formal parish was not established until 1822.
During the Mexican War of Independence, Sonora and the town of Pitic stayed loyal to the Spanish Crown. In fact, a general from this area, Alejo García Conde, defeated insurgent José María González Hermosillo, who had been sent here by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. In 1825, the village of Pitic was made the seat of the department of the same name. In 1828, the settlement changed its name to Hermosillo to honor José María González de Hermosillo. A battle between imperial and republican forces occurred here in 1866 during the French Intervention in Mexico. In 1879, the capital of the state of Sonora was moved from Arizpe to Hermosillo. In 1881 the railroad linking Hermosillo with Guaymas and Nogales was finished, allowing for economic expansion in the area by bringing in mining equipment and modern agricultural equipment. Since then, the city has been an economic center for northwest Mexico. During the Mexican Revolution, forces loyal to Pancho Villa were repulsed by General Manuel M. Diéguez. After the assassination of Francisco I. Madero in 1913, Venustiano Carranza, then governor of Coahuila, sought refuge in Hermosillo. Here Carranza began the Constitutionalist Movement, and because of this, Hermosillo has the nickname of the “revolutionary capital of the country.”
From the late 19th century and through the first two decades of the 20th, Chinese immigrants came into Sonora state. One of the places in which a significant number settled was the city of Hermosillo. Some of these immigrants had capital and used it to establish businesses, especially shoe manufacturing and clothing. Some of the most successful Chinese-owned businesses in Sonora were based in Hermosillo and sold their merchandise to other parts of the country. However, by the 1920s anti-Chinese sentiment had become strong in Sonora state, with many Chinese leaving for Mexico City or the United States.
In the 1980s, Ford built a plant here, which had a great impact on the city’s and state’s economy.
Hermosillo is the site of a tragic fire at the ABC child care center on June 5, 2009. According to the Procuraduría General de Justicia en el Estado (State Attorney General Office) of Sonora, 49 deaths were attributed to the fire at the ABC child care center. The fire apparently started at a car and tire depot, then spread to the child care center. Most of the children died of asphyxiation. There were about 100 children inside the building and firefighters had to knock holes in the walls to rescue the children, who ranged in age from six months to five years.
As the municipal seat, the city of Hermosillo is the local government of over 3,800 other localities, with a combined territory of 14,880.2 square kilometres (5,745.3 sq mi). The most important communities outside the city include Miguel Alemán, San Pedro el Saucito, Bahía Kino, Kino Nuevo, La Victoria and La Manga.
The two most important rivers are the Sonora and the San Miguel. Both of these are used for irrigation purposes with the Abelardo L. Rodriguez Dam located on the San Miguel River. The population increase of the municipality, currently at 2.5% annually, puts pressure on the infrastructure of the city, especially its water supply. Decades of overpumping of ground water has led to the aquifer levels being lower than sea levels, and sea water creeping in as an “artificial recharge.”
Under the Köppen climate classification, Hermosillo features a hot desert climate (BWh). Temperatures can range from as low as freezing in January and February to 48 °C or 118.4 °F in July and August. Rain falls mostly between July and September, with annual precipitation between 75 and 300 millimetres (3.0 and 11.8 in). Most of the vegetation here consists of mesquite trees as well as trees such as the desert ironwood, palo verde and the huisache. Desert animals such as the desert tortoise, rattlesnakes, bighorn sheep and lynx are the most notable species. Populations of feral red-masked parakeets and monk parakeets are a local sightseeing attraction here.
Hermosillo’s all-time weather record for high temperature is 49.5 °C or 121.1 °F, which was achieved in June 2014. In recent years, the lowest temperature was −4 °C (24.8 °F), in December.
As the city is located on a plain in the Sonoran Desert, surrounded by flat areas with grass, behind which are greener hills that are then framed by serrated peaks in the background, the city is a common stopover for North Americans traveling by car toward the coast, and is the only city in Mexico that purifies all drinking water before it goes to homes. The city is the major economic center for the state, with about thirty percent of the state’s population living in the city.
The center of the city is Plaza Zaragoza, built in 1865, in which there is a Moorish-style kiosk, which was brought from Florence, Italy in the early 20th century. The plaza also has a flower garden and statues of General Ignacio Pesqueira and General García Morales.
The plaza is framed by the State Government Palace and the Cathedral. The Palacio de Gobierno, Spanish for “Government Palace,” was constructed in 1881, using stone from the nearby Cerro de la Campana mountain, has a white Neoclassical façade, with a central body that extends slightly more in front than the rest. This central body is flanked by Ionic columns and is topped by a semicircular pediment and a clock tower. The side wings have an aligned series of windows on the first level and balconies on the second, with the corners having thick pilasters. The interior has one patio with a main staircase, decorated with murals done between 1982 and 1984 by Teresa Moran, Enrique Estrada and Héctor Martínez Arteche, depicting scenes from Sonora’s history. The building was officially inaugurated in 1906 and reflects elements of French style, which was popular at the time.
The cathedral, named the Catedral de la Asunción, is located next to Plaza Zaragoza. It was begun in the 18th century but was not finished until the beginning of the 20th. However, the first chapels associated with the cathedral were begun in the 18th century. Construction of the cathedral began in 1861 and is a mix of predominantly Neoclassical architecture with Neogothic decorative elements. The main entrance is flanked by paired columns on pedestals and the smaller side doors are topped with semicircular pediments. Above the main doors are two ogival or pointed windows, over which is a crest with a balustrade. The church’s towers have three levels with a dome-like top and are decorated with crosses from Caravaca de la Cruz. The interior of the church is of very austere Neoclassical design.
The Regional Museum was opened in 1960 with only one small hall, which exhibited archeological finds from the region. Today, there are two large halls, one dedicated to anthropology and the other to history. The anthropology hall displays archeological finds such as tools, utensils, textiles, stone objects and more from both the pre-Hispanic and colonial periods. The second focuses on the colonial period and contains items such as documents, maps, tools, coins and more.
The Museo de Sonora (Museum of Sonora) is housed in a building that originally functioned as a prison. It was completed in 1907 and built by the mostly indigenous prisoners themselves. The prison closed in 1979. In the 1980s, the building was reconditioned, reopening as the current museum in 1985. This museum has eighteen rooms covering various aspects of the state including its paleontology, history, archeology and ethnography. It has also conserved some of the cells of the original prison. Some of its more important items in the collection include a serpent’s head from the Teotihuacan period, a collection of coins from the 16th century and various antique weapons.
The Museo de Culturas Populares e Indígenas de Sonora (Museum of Popular and Indigenous Cultures of Sonora) was the former residence of Dr. Alberto Hoeffer. It was constructed in 1904 and restored in 1997, conserving its original French-inspired style. Today, it houses a museum mostly dedicated to the indigenous cultures of the state, including crafts, clothing, customs and ways of life.
The Plaza Hidalgo area of the city was a very fashionable area during the first half of the 20th century when a number of the wealthy and influential of the city built homes here. Today, many of these constructions now house institutions such as the Instituto Sonorense de Cultura, the Colegio de Sonora, Radio Sonora, the Colegio Library and the Colegio de Notarios. Each weekend, the plaza becomes a cultural center, hosting various activities and events such as concerts, exhibitions, theatrical works and more.
The Cerro de la Campana mountain is one of the symbols of Hermosillo. Its summit is 350 metres (1,150 ft) above the valley floor and contains a lookout called El Caracol, which was inaugurated in 1909. There are two theories as to the origin of the mountain’s name. One states that it is from a peculiar metallic sound that is made when the mountain’s rocks fall against each other. The other is based on the bell-like shape of the elevation.
Just outside the city proper on the highway to Guaymas is the Centro Ecológico de Sonora (Ecological Center of Sonora). The Center has more than 300 species of plants and 200 species of animals from both Sonora and other parts of the world. All of the animals live in recreated natural habitats. The Sonoran collection is part of one of CES’s main functions, which is to preserve the flora and fauna of the state. The collection contains representations of animals and plants from the four main habitats of the state: mountains, grassland, desert and sea. Some of the species are in danger of extinction such as the bighorn sheep, the white-tailed deer as well as a number of bird and reptile species.
The Dr. Alfonso Ortiz Tirado Festival has been an annual event since 1985 and is the most important cultural event in northwest Mexico. It takes place in Hermosillo and a number of other municipalities in the state. Representatives from various Mexican states and countries such as Spain, the United States, Brazil, Germany and others send artists to perform and exhibit their work. The event is organized by the Sonoran state government and the Instituto Sonorense de Cultura.
In the Coloso neighborhood of Hermosillo, and other locations in Sonora, the Yaqui people are known for their celebrations of Holy Week, which mix Catholic and indigenous religious practices. In Hermosillo, the main brotherhood that sponsors this event is called the Fariseos. Rites performed during this week are intended to combat evil and sickness, calling upon both saints and “temastians” or medicine men to use magic to expel evil spirits. During this time participants dress in traditional Yaqui clothing and perform native dances such as El Coyote (The Coyote), Matachines, Los Pascolas and especially the Danza del Venado (Deer Dance), animal sacred to the Yaqui as a symbol of good.
Two other major festivals there include the Fiesta de la Vendimia (Grape Harvest Festival) in July and the Feria Exposición Ganadera e Industrial (Livestock and Industry Exposition and Fair) in May.
The main highway serving Hermosillo is Mexican Federal Highway 15. Another important route is Sonora State Highway 100. General Ignacio Pesqueira García International Airport provides domestic and international service to the United States.
Bahía de Kino, also known as Bahía Kino, and in English as Kino Bay, is on the coast of the municipality and named after Father Eusebio Kino. The waters of the bay have little wave action or undertow and are warm year-round. Activities practiced here include swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing a variety of species, boating and sailing. In summer it is possible to catch marlin, sailfish, dorado (mahi-mahi) and tuna. In front of the shoreline is Isla Tiburón, which is a declared ecological zone and is inhabited by wild sheep and deer. Kino Bay is the home of the Seri Museum, which was founded to preserve the Seri language and culture. State and federal officials are looking to develop Kino Bay into a major tourist resort, called a Zona turística prioritaria (Priority Tourism Zone). This would include government investment and the attraction of private investment through tax breaks.
La Pintada is an archaeological zone located 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of the city and was a refuge area for the Seri and Pima Indians. The site is important because of its caves, which were used as dwellings, burial spaces and religious centers. The caves shelter paintings that contain numerous animals such as deer, birds and lizards as well as human figures. The human figures are stylized and some appear to be adorned with skins and/or horns, other are throwing spears and some appear to be dancing, wearing body paint. In addition there are geometric figures such as squares, triangles, circles, straight and wavy lines, all of which combine in one way or another to form complicated designs. In some areas of the caves there is evidence of paintings on top of paintings, testifying to the length of time the area was inhabited. The paintings have been attributed to the Comca’ac or Seri culture.
San Carlos is a beachfront subdivision within the port city of Guaymas, in the northern state of Sonora in Mexico. It is noted for the exceptional clarity and warmth of the ocean water in its shallow bays. It lies on the body of water known as the Gulf of California. Given the size of the city, with nearly 7,000 inhabitants, there is a remarkable number of RV parks, resorts and stores. There is also a very large and active diving community. There are also other outdoors activities like climbing, sailing, horseback riding, aquatic sports, and others.
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