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Baja CaliforniaSometimes informally referred to as ('North Lower California') to distinguish it from both the
Baja California Peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while be ...
, of which it forms the northern half, and
Baja California Sur Baja California Sur (; en, "South Lower California"), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California Sur ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur), is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted ...

Baja California Sur
, the adjacent state that covers the southern half of the peninsula. While it is a well-established term for the northern half of the Baja California Peninsula, it has never existed as a political designation for a state or region.
(; ('Lower California'), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California), is a state in
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
. It is the northernmost and westernmost of the 32 federal entities of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1952, the area was known as the North Territory of Baja California (). It has an area of (3.57% of the land mass of Mexico) and comprises the northern half of the
Baja California Peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while be ...
, north of the 28th parallel, plus oceanic
Guadalupe Island Guadalupe Island or Isla Guadalupe is a volcanic island located off the west coast of Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), is a List of sovereign states, country in the souther ...

Guadalupe Island
. The mainland portion of the state is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean; on the east by
Sonora Sonora (), officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora ( en, Free and Sovereign State of Sonora), is one of the 31 states which, along with Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbreviated as CDMX; nah, Āltepētl Mēx ...
, the U.S. state of
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States, Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain States, Mountain states. It is th ...

Arizona
, and the
Gulf of California The Gulf of California ( es, Golfo de California), also known as the Sea of Cortés (''Mar de Cortés'') or Sea of Cortez, or less commonly as the Vermilion Sea (''Mar Bermejo''), is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocea ...

Gulf of California
(also known as the "Sea of Cortez" and "Vermilion Sea"); and on the south by
Baja California Sur Baja California Sur (; en, "South Lower California"), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Baja California Sur ( es, Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur), is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted ...

Baja California Sur
. Its northern limit is the U.S. state of
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
. The state has an estimated population of 3,769,020 (2020), significantly higher than the sparsely populated Baja California Sur to the south, and similar to
San Diego County, California San Diego County, officially the County of San Diego, is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by W ...
, to its north. Over 75% of the population lives in the capital city,
Mexicali Mexicali (; ) is the capital city of the States of Mexico, Mexican state of Baja California and seat of the Mexicali Municipality, Municipality of Mexicali. The City of Mexicali has a population of 689,775, according to the 2010 census, while the ...

Mexicali
; in Ensenada; or in
Tijuana Tijuana ( ,"Tijuana"
(US) and
) is a city in
. Other important cities include San Felipe, and
Tecate Tecate () is a city in Baja California Baja CaliforniaSometimes informally referred to as ('North Lower California') to distinguish it from both the Baja California Peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsu ...

Tecate
. The population of the state is composed of
Mestizos (; ; fem. ) is a term used in Hispanic America Hispanic America ( Spanish: ''Hispanoamérica'' or ''América Hispana'') (also known as Spanish America ( es, América española)) is the portion of the Americas comprising the Spanish-speaki ...
, mostly migrants from other parts of Mexico, and, as with most northern Mexican states, a large population of Mexicans of Spanish ancestry, and also a large minority group of
East Asian East Asia is the eastern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and ...
, Middle Eastern and
indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ' ...
descent. Additionally, there is a large immigrant population from the United States due to its proximity to
San Diego San Diego ( , ; ) is a city in the U.S. state of California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Mexico–United States border, Mexican border. With a 2020 population of 1,386,932, San Diego is the List of United ...

San Diego
and the lower cost of living compared to San Diego. There is also a significant population from Central America. Many immigrants moved to Baja California for a better quality of life and the number of higher-paying jobs in comparison to the rest of Mexico and
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
. Baja California is the twelfth largest state by area in Mexico. Its geography ranges from beaches to forests and deserts. The backbone of the state is the Sierra de Baja California, where
Picacho del Diablo ('Devil's Peak') is the highest peak on the Baja California peninsula The Baja California Peninsula ( en, Lower California Peninsula, es, Península de Baja California) is a peninsula in Northwestern Mexico. It separates the Pacific Ocean fro ...
, the highest point of the peninsula, is located. This mountain range effectively divides the weather patterns in the state. In the northwest, the weather is semi-dry and
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
. In the narrow center, the weather changes to be more humid due to altitude. It is in this area where a few valleys can be found, such as the
Valle de Guadalupe The Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) is an area of Ensenada Municipality, Baja California Baja CaliforniaSometimes informally referred to as ('North Lower California') to distinguish it from both the Baja California Peninsula, of which ...

Valle de Guadalupe
, the major wine-producing area in Mexico. To the east of the mountain range, the
Sonoran Desert The Sonoran Desert ( es, Desierto de Sonora) is a North American desert and ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an and geographically defined area that is smaller than a , which in turn is smaller than ...

Sonoran Desert
dominates the landscape. In the south, the weather becomes drier and gives way to the Vizcaíno Desert. The state is also home to numerous islands off both of its shores. In fact, the westernmost point in Mexico, Guadalupe Island, is part of Baja California. The
Coronado Islands The Coronado Islands (''Islas Coronado'' or ''Islas Coronados''; en, Islands of the Coronation(s)) are a group of four islands off the northwest coast of the Mexico, Mexican States of Mexico, state of Baja California. Battered by the wind and ...
, Todos Santos islands and are also on the Pacific shore. On the Gulf of California, the biggest island is Angel de la Guarda Island, separated from the peninsula by the deep and narrow Canal de Ballenas.


History


Prehistory and Spanish colonial era

The first people came to the peninsula at least 11,000 years ago. At that time, two main native groups are thought to have been present on the peninsula – the Cochimí in the south, and several groups belonging to the Yuman language family in the north, including the Kiliwa, Paipai,
Kumeyaay The Kumeyaay, also known as Tipai-Ipai or by their historical Spanish name Diegueño, is a tribe of Indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the A ...

Kumeyaay
,
Cocopa The Cocopah are Native Americans Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigen ...
, and
Quechan The Quechan (or Yuma) (Quechan language, Quechan: ''Kwtsaan'' 'those who descended') are an Native Americans in the United States, aboriginal American tribe who live on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation on the lower Colorado River in Arizona an ...
. These peoples were diverse in their adaptations to the region. The Cochimí of the peninsula's Central Desert were generalized hunter-gatherers who moved frequently; however, the Cochimí on Cedros Island off the west coast developed a strong maritime economy. The Kiliwa, Paipai, and Kumeyaay in the better-watered northwest were also hunter-gatherers, but that region supported denser populations and a more sedentary lifestyle. The Cocopa and Quechan of northeastern Baja California practiced agriculture in the floodplain of the lower
Colorado River The Colorado River ( es, Río Colorado) is one of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The river drains an expansive, arid drainage basin, watershed that encompasses parts of ...

Colorado River
. Another group of people was the Guachimis, who came from the north and created much of the
UNESCO World Heritage A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...

UNESCO World Heritage
-recognized Sierra de Guadalupe cave paintings. Not much is known about them except that they lived in the area between 100BC and the coming of the Europeans in 1300AD. Europeans reached the present state of Baja California in 1539, when
Francisco de Ulloa Francisco de Ulloa () (died 1540) was a Spanish explorer who explored the west coast of present-day Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), is a List of sovereign states, country ...
reconnoitered its east coast on the Gulf of California and explored the peninsula's west coast at least as far north as Cedros Island.
Hernando de Alarcón Hernando de Alarcón (born 1500) was a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (maz ...

Hernando de Alarcón
returned to the east coast and ascended the lower Colorado River in 1540, and
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo ( pt, João Rodrigues Cabrilho; March 13, 1499 – January 3, 1543) was a Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ...

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo
(or João Rodrigues Cabrilho ) completed the reconnaissance of the west coast in 1542.
Sebastián Vizcaíno Sebastián Vizcaíno (1548–1624) was a Spanish soldier, entrepreneur, explorer, and diplomat whose varied roles took him to New Spain, the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of ...
again surveyed the west coast in 1602, but outside visitors during the following century were few. The
Jesuits The Society of Jesus ( la, Societas Iesu; abbreviated SJ), also known as the Jesuits (; la, Iesuitæ), is a religious order (Catholic), religious order of the Catholic Church headquartered in Rome. It was founded by Ignatius of Loyola and six co ...
founded a permanent mission colony on the peninsula at Loreto in 1697. During the following decades, they gradually extended their sway throughout the present state of Baja California Sur. In 1751–1753, the Croatian Jesuit mission-explorer Ferdinand Konščak made overland explorations northward into the state of Baja California. Jesuit missions were subsequently established among the Cochimí at Santa Gertrudis (1752), San Borja (1762), and Santa María (1767). After the
expulsion of the Jesuits The suppression of the Jesuits was a politically instigated removal of all members of the Society of Jesus from most of the countries of Western Europe and their colonies, beginning in 1759, and ultimately approved by The Holy See in 1773. In 181 ...
in 1768, the short-lived
Franciscan , image = FrancescoCoA PioM.svg , image_size = 250px , caption = A cross, Christ's arm and Saint Francis's arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans , abbreviation = OFM , predecessor = , ...
administration (1768–1773) resulted in one new mission at San Fernando Velicatá. More importantly, the 1769 expedition to settle Alta California under
Gaspar de Portolà Gaspar is a given and/or surname of French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish origin that could refer to: Names * Gáspár, the Hungarian language cognate of Gaspar * Caspar (magus), one of the wise men mentioned in the Bible Given name * Gasp ...
and
Junípero Serra Junípero Serra y Ferrer (; ; ca, Juníper Serra i Ferrer; November 24, 1713August 28, 1784) was a Spanish Roman Catholic priest and missionary of the Franciscan Order. He is credited with establishing the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra ...

Junípero Serra
resulted in the first overland exploration of the northwestern portion of the state. The
Dominicans Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic ( , stress on the "mi"), on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles, in the Caribbean ** People of the Dominican Republic ** Demographics of the Domin ...
took over management of the Baja California missions from the Franciscans in 1773. They established a chain of new missions among the northern Cochimí and western Yumans, first on the coast and subsequently inland, extending from El Rosario (1774) to Descanso (1817), just south of Tijuana. In 1804, the Spanish crown divided California into Alta ('Upper') and Baja ('Lower') California at the line separating the
Franciscan , image = FrancescoCoA PioM.svg , image_size = 250px , caption = A cross, Christ's arm and Saint Francis's arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans , abbreviation = OFM , predecessor = , ...
missions in the north from the
Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the C ...
missions in the south. The colonial governors were José Joaquín de Arillaga (1804–1805),
Felipe de GoicoecheaDon (honorific), Don Felipe Antonio de Goicoechea was born in 1747 in Cosalá, Sinaloa, Mexico. He joined the Spanish military at age 35 as a cadet. In June 1782, was promoted to alférez. In 1783 while serving in the presidial company of Buenavista ...
(1806–1814), and
José Darío Argüello José Darío Argüello (1753–1828) was a Spanish soldier, California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territ ...

José Darío Argüello
(1814April 11, 1822).


Post-independence, 1821–present


Early republic

Mexican liberals were concerned that the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
retained too much power in the post-independence period and sought to undermine it by mandating the secularization of missions in 1833. In the aftermath of the
Mexican American War Mexican may refer to: Mexico and its culture *Being related to, from, or connected to the country of Mexico Mexico ( es, México ; Nahuan languages: ), officially the United Mexican States (; EUM ), is a List of sovereign states, country ...
(1846–1848) and the
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ( es, Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo), officially titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, is the peace treaty A peace treaty i ...

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
, the United States gained sovereignty over territory previously held first by
New Spain New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain ( es, Virreinato de Nueva España, ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as th ...

New Spain
and then Mexico, most of which was sparsely settled. Alta California was incorporated into the U.S., and during the
California Gold Rush The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a that began on January 24, 1848, when was found by at in . The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into ...
, quickly gained enough population to be admitted to the union as a state. Baja California remained under Mexican control. In 1853, soldier of fortune (
mercenary A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, who takes part in military conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societi ...

mercenary
)
William WalkerWilliam Walker may refer to: Arts * William Walker (engraver) (1791–1867), mezzotint engraver of portrait of Robert Burns * William Sidney Walker (1795–1846), English Shakespearean critic * William Walker (composer) (1809–1875), American Bapt ...

William Walker
captured
La Paz La Paz (), officially known as Nuestra Señora de La Paz (Spanish pronunciation: Help:IPA/Spanish, nwes.tɾa seˈɲoɾa ðe la pas ''English: Our Lady of Peace''), and also Chuqi Yapu in Aymara language, Aymara, is the seat of government ...
, declaring himself president of the Republic of Baja California. The Mexican government forced his retreat after several months.


Era of Porfirio Díaz

When liberal army general
Porfirio Díaz José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori ( or ; ; 15 September 1830 – 2 July 1915) was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico The president of Mexico ( es, link=no, Presidente de México), officially kn ...

Porfirio Díaz
came to power in 1876, he embarked on a major program to develop and modernize Mexico. *1884: Luis Huller and George H. Sisson obtain a concession covering much of the present state in return for promises to develop the area. *1905: The '' Magonista'' revolution, an
anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. Anarchism calls for the abolition of the State (polity), state, which it holds to ...

anarchist
movement based on the writings of
Ricardo Flores Magón Cipriano Ricardo Flores Magón (, known as Ricardo Flores Magón; September 16, 1874 – November 21, 1922) was a noted Mexican anarchist and social reform activist. His brothers Enrique Enrique () is the Spanish language, Spanish variant of ...
and Enrique Flores Magón, begins. *1911: Mexicali and Tijuana are captured by the
Mexican Liberal Party The Mexican Liberal Party (PLM; es, Partido Liberal Mexicano) was started in August 1900 when engineer Camilo Arriaga published a manifesto entitled ''Invitacion al Partido Liberal'' (Invitation to the Liberal Party). The invitation was addr ...
(, PLM), but soon surrender to Federal forces.


Postrevolutionary Mexico

*1917: On 11 December, " prominent Mexican, close friend of President " offered to U.S. Senator Henry Ashurst to sell Baja California to the U.S. for "fifty million dollars gold". *1930: Baja California is further divided into Northern and Southern territories. *1952: The ''North Territory of Baja California'' becomes the 29th state of Mexico, Baja California. The southern portion (below 28°N) remains a federally administered territory. *1974: The ''South Territory of Baja California'' becomes the 31st state, Baja California Sur. *1989:
Ernesto Ruffo Appel Ernesto Ruffo Appel (born June 25, 1952) is an American-born Mexican politician A politician is a person active in party politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other ...
of the National Action Party (PAN) becomes the first non-
Institutional Revolutionary Party The Institutional Revolutionary Party ( es, Partido Revolucionario Institucional, ; abbr. PRI) is a political party in Mexico that was founded in 1929 and held uninterrupted power in the country for 71 years, from 1929 to 2000, first as the Nati ...
governor of Baja California and the first opposition governor of any state since the
Revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...
.


Geography

Baja California encompasses a territory within
the Californias The Californias (Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambig ...
region of North America, which exhibits diverse geography for a relatively small area. The
Peninsular ranges The Peninsular Ranges (also called the Lower California province) are a group of mountain ranges that stretch from Southern California Southern California (sometimes known as SoCal; es, Sur de California) is a geographic and cultural region ...
of the California cordillera run down the geographic center of the state. The most notable ranges of these mountains are the Sierra de Juárez and the
Sierra de San Pedro Mártir Sierra de San Pedro Mártir (Kiliwa language, Kiliwa: ʔxaal haq, en, mountains of Saint Peter the Martyr) is a mountain range located within southern Ensenada Municipality and southern Baja California (state), Baja California state, of northwes ...
. These ranges are the location of forests reminiscent of
Southern California Southern California (sometimes known as SoCal; es, Sur de California) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the southern portion of the U.S. state of California California is a in the . With over 39.3million resi ...

Southern California
's
San Gabriel Mountains The San Gabriel Mountains ( es, Sierra de San Gabriel) are a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with simila ...
. Picacho del Diablo is the highest peak on the peninsula. Valleys between the mountain ranges are located within a climate zone that is suitable for agriculture. Such valleys include the Valle de Guadalupe and the Valle de Ojos Negros, areas that produce citrus fruits and grapes. The mineral-rich mountain range extends southwards to the Gulf of California, where the western slope becomes wider, forming the Llanos del Berrendo on the border with Baja California Sur. The mountain ranges located in the center and southern part of the state include the Sierra de La Asamblea, Sierra de Calamajué, Sierra de San Luis and the Sierra de San Borja. Temperate winds from the Pacific Ocean and the cold
California Current The California Current is a cold water Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) ...
make the climate along the northwestern coast pleasant year-round. As a result of the state's location on the California Current, rains from the north barely reach the peninsula, thus leaving southern areas drier. South of the El Rosario River, the state changes from a Mediterranean landscape to a desert one. This desert exhibits diverse
succulent In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the An ...

succulent
species that flourish in part due to the coastal fog. To the east, the Sonoran Desert enters the state from both California and Sonora. Some of the highest temperatures in Mexico are recorded in or nearby the Mexicali Valley.Delta in the northeast recorded on 3 August 1998. However, with irrigation from the Colorado River, this area has become a true agricultural center. The
Cerro Prieto Cerro Prieto ( coc, Wee Ñaay, eng, "Black Hill") is a volcano located approximately 29 km (18 mi) SSE of Mexicali in the Mexican state of Baja California. The volcano lies astride a spreading center associated with the East Pacific Ri ...

Cerro Prieto
geothermal province is near Mexicali as well (this area is geologically part of a large ); it produces about 80% of the electricity consumed in the state and enough additional power to export to California.
Laguna Salada Laguna Salada (, ''Salt Lake'') is a Municipalities of the Dominican Republic, municipality (''municipio'') of the Valverde Province, Valverde province in the Dominican Republic. Within the municipality there are three municipal districts (''distr ...
, a saline lake below sea level lying between the rugged Sierra de Juárez and the Sierra de los Cucapah, is also in the vicinity of Mexicali. The state government has recently been considering plans to revive Laguna Salada.The state is currently (2008) looking at a plan by SDSU Adj. Professor Newcomb (ICATS) to do this using his geothermal desalination system to supply water locally. SEMARNAT believes this to be the first viable plan presented. The highest mountain in the Sierra de los Cucapah is Cerro del Centinela or Mount Signal. The Cucapah are the primary indigenous people from the mountains north to Yuma, Arizona. There are numerous islands on the Pacific shore. Guadalupe Island is located in the extreme west of the state's boundaries and is the site of large colonies of sea lions. Cedros Island exists in the southwest of the state's maritime region. The Todos Santos islands and Coronado Islands are located off the coasts of Ensenada and Tijuana, respectively. All of the islands in the Gulf of California on the Baja California side belong to the municipality of Mexicali. Baja California obtains much of its water from the Colorado River. Historically, the river drained into the Colorado River Delta and then flowed into the Gulf of California, but due to large demands for water in the American Southwest, less water now reaches the Gulf. The Tijuana metropolitan area also relies on the Tijuana River as a source of water. Much of rural Baja California depends predominantly on wells, a few dams and even oases. Tijuana also purchases water from San Diego County's Otay Water District. Potable water is the largest natural resource issue of the state.


Climate

Baja California's climate varies from Mediterranean climate, Mediterranean to arid climate, arid. The Mediterranean climate is found in the northwestern corner of the state, where the summers are dry and mild and the winters cool and rainy. This climate is observed in areas from Tijuana to San Quintín, Baja California, San Quintín and nearby interior valleys. The cold oceanic California Current often creates a low-level marine fog near the coast. The fog occurs along any part of the Pacific coast of the state. The change of altitude towards the Sierra de Baja California creates an alpine climate in this region. Summers are cool, while winters can be cold with below freezing temperatures at night. It is common to see snow in the Sierra de Juárez, Sierra de San Pedro Mártir and in the valleys in between the two ranges from December to April. Due to orographic effects, precipitation is much higher in the mountains of northern Baja California than on the western coastal plain or eastern desert plain. Pine, cedar and fir forests are found in the mountains. The east side of the mountains produces a rain shadow, creating an extremely arid environment. The Sonoran Desert region of Baja California experiences hot summers and nearly frostless mild winters. The Mexicali Valley (which is below sea level) experiences the highest temperatures in Mexico, frequently surpassing in mid-summer, and exceeding on some occasions. Further south along the Pacific coast, the Mediterranean climate transitions into a desert climate but it is milder and not as hot as along the gulf coast. Transition climates, from Mediterranean to desert, can be found from San Quintín to El Rosario, Baja California, El Rosario. Further inland and along the Gulf of California, the vegetation is scarce and temperatures are very high during the summer months. The islands in the Gulf of California also have a desert climate. Some oases can be found in the desert where few towns are located – for instance, Catavina, San Borja and Santa Gertrudis.


Flora and fauna

Common trees are the Jeffrey pine, sugar pine and pinon pine. Understory species include manzanita. There is a variety of reptiles, including the Western fence lizard, which is at the southern extent of its range. The name of the fish genus ''Bajacalifornia'' is derived from the Baja California peninsula. In the main wildlife refuges on the peninsula of Baja California, Constitution 1857 National Park and Sierra de San Pedro Mártir National Park, several coniferous species can be found. The most abundant are Jeffrey pine, ''Pinus ponderosa'', ''Pinus cembroides'', ''Pinus quadrifolia'', ''Pinus monophylla'', ''Juniperus'', Arctostaphylos pringlei, ''Arctostaphylos pringlei'' subsp. ''drupacea'', ''Artemisia ludoviciana'' and ''Adenostoma sparsifolium''. Baja California shares many plant species with the Laguna Mountains and San Jacinto Mountains in southwest California. The lower elevations of the Sierra de Juárez are characterized by chaparral and desert shrub. The fauna in the parks include a large number of mammals, primarily mule deer, bighorn sheep, cougars, bobcats, ringtail cats, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels and more than 30 species of bats. The park is also home to many avian species like bald eagles, golden eagles, falcons, woodpeckers, black vultures, crows, and several species of Sittidae and duck.


2010 earthquakes

At 3:40:41 pm PDT on Easter Sunday, 4 April 2010, a 7.2 (on the moment magnitude scale) magnitude northwest-trending strike-slip earthquake hit the Mexicali Valley, with its epicenter southwest of the city of Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California. The main shock was felt as far as the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas metro, Las Vegas, Phoenix metropolitan area, Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, and in Yuma. At least a half-dozen aftershocks with magnitudes between 5.0 and 5.4 were reported, including a 5.1-magnitude shaker at 4:14 am that was centered near El Centro, California, El Centro. As of 6:31am PDT on 5 April 2010, two people were confirmed dead.


Government and politics


Government


Municipalities of Baja California

Baja California is subdivided into six ''municipio (Mexico), municipios'' ('municipalities'): Ensenada Municipality, Baja California, Ensenada, Mexicali Municipality, Baja California, Mexicali, Tecate Municipality, Baja California, Tecate, Tijuana Municipality, Baja California, Tijuana, Rosarito Beach Municipality, Rosarito and San Quintín, Baja California, San Quintín.


Politics

For a list of the state's past governors, see Governor of Baja California.


Demographics

The majority of the population of Baja California is Mestizo, however the state has one of the larger percentages of White Mexicans (European Mexicans), making up about 40% of the population. There are small indigenous communities as well. Historically, the state has had sizable East Asian immigration. Mexicali has a large Chinese community, as well as many Filipinos who arrived to the state during the eras of Spanish and American rule (1898–1946) in much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Tijuana and Ensenada were major ports of entry for East Asians entering the U.S. ever since the first Asian-Americans were present in California. A significant number of Middle Eastern immigrants, such as Lebanese people, Lebanese, Syrians and Armenians, settled near the U.S. border. Small waves of settlers in the early 20th century, usually members of the Molokan sect of the Russian Orthodox church fleeing the Russian Revolution of 1917 when the Soviet Union took power, established a few villages along the Pacific coast south of Ensenada. Since 1960, large numbers of migrants from southern Mexican states have arrived to work in agriculture (especially the Mexicali Valley and nearby Imperial Valley, California, U.S.) and manufacturing. The cities of Ensenada, Tijuana and Mexicali grew as a result of migrants, primarily those who sought U.S. citizenship. Those temporary residents awaiting their entry into the United States are called , which is derived from the Spanish word , meaning 'fleet'. There is also a sizable immigrant community from Central and South America, and from the United States and Canada. An estimated 200,000+ American expatriates live in the state, especially in seaside resort, coastal resort towns such as Ensenada, known for affordable homes purchased by retirees who continue to hold U.S. citizenship. San Felipe, Rosarito and Tijuana also have a large American population (second largest in Mexico after Mexico City), particularly for their cheaper housing and proximity to San Diego. Some 60,000 Oaxacans live in Baja California, the vast majority being indigenous. Some 40% of them lack proper birth certificates. According to a Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Mexico), Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Conacyt) investigator, a little under a million people were classified as "poor" in the state, up from 2008 when there were roughly 810,000. Exactly who these people are, whether locals, interstate or international migrants, was not explained.


Education

Baja California offers one of the best educational programs in the country, with high rankings in schooling and achievement. The state government provides education and qualification courses to increase the workforce standards, such as school–enterprise linkage programs which help the development of a labor force according to the needs of the industry. 91.60% of the population from six to fourteen years of age attend elementary school. 61.95% of the population over fifteen years of age attends or has already graduated from high school. Public school is available in all levels from kindergarten to university. The state has 32 universities offering 103 professional degrees. These universities have 19 research and development centers for basic and applied investigation in advanced projects related to biotechnology, physics, oceanography, computer science, digital geothermal technology, astronomy, aerospace, electrical engineering and clean energy, among others. At this educational level, supply is steadily growing. Baja California has developed a need to be self-sufficient in matters of technological and scientific innovation and to be less dependent on foreign countries. Current businesses demand new production processes as well as technology for the incubation of companies. The number of graduate degrees offered, including PhD programs, is 121. The state has 53 graduate schools.


Economy

As of 2005, Baja California's economy represents 3.3% of Mexico's gross domestic product, or US$21.996 billion. Baja California's economy has a strong focus on tariff-free export oriented manufacturing (maquiladora). As of 2005, 284,255 people are employed in the manufacturing sector. There are more than 900 companies operating under the federal Prosec Mexico, Prosec program in Baja California.


Real estate

The Foreign Investment Law of 1973 allows foreigners to purchase land within the borders and coasts of Mexico by way of a trust handled through a Mexican bank (Fideicomiso). This trust assures to the buyer all the rights and privileges of ownership, and it can be sold, inherited, leased, or transferred at any time. Since 1994, the Foreign Investment Law stipulates that , with the option to petition for a 50-year renewal at any time. Any Mexican citizen buying a bank trust property has the option to either remain within the trust or opt out of it and request the title in . Mexico's early history involved foreign invasions and the loss of vast amounts of land; in fear of history being repeated, the Mexican constitution established the concept of the "Restricted Zone". In 1973, in order to bring in more foreign tourist investment, the Bank Trust of Fideicomiso was created, thus allowing non-Mexicans to own land without any constitutional amendment necessary. Since the law went into effect, it has undergone many modifications in order to make purchasing land in Mexico a safer investment.


Highways

*Mexican Federal Highway 1 *Mexican Federal Highway 2 *Mexican Federal Highway 3 *Mexican Federal Highway 5 *Mexican Federal Highway 12


Media

List of newspapers in Mexico, Newspapers of Baja California include ''El Centinela'', ''El informador de Baja California'', ''El Mexicano (edición Tijuana)'', ''El Mexicano Segunda Edición'', ''El Sol de Tijuana'', ''El Vigía'', ''Esto de las Californias'', ''Frontera'', ''La Crónica de Baja California'', ''La Voz de la Frontera'', and ''Semanario Zeta''.


See also

* History of the west coast of North America * The Californias, Las Californias * List of Baja California cities * Spanish missions in California#Missions in present-day Baja California (Mexico), Spanish missions in present-day Baja California


Notes


References


Further reading

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External links

*
Baja California Sur: Cabo Pulmo Coral Reef in DangerInteramerican Association for Environmental DefenseEnciclopedia de los Municipios de México
{{Use dmy dates, date=November 2019 Baja California, States of Mexico States and territories established in 1952 1952 establishments in Mexico