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Brief history of Sonora

Brief history of Sonora

The state of Sonora is located in the northwest part of Mexico, it is the second largest after Chihuahua, with a population of almost 3 million inhabitants. Its capital city is Hermosillo with nearly one million inhabitants, it is also the main point of air connectivity. In the northern part, Sonora has the border with Arizona, to the east the neighboring state is Chihuahua, to the south Sinaloa and to the northwest with Baja California, in its western part it has one of the longest coasts in Mexico with the Sea of ​​Cortez. This last parto of Sonora is like being in Arizona but with a beach.
The state of Sonora has several ecosystems and natural regions, but it can basically be divided into 3. To the south, the region of the valleys with the great rivers, “El Yaqui” and “El Mayo”; in the western part the Sonoran Desert that borders the Sea of ​​Cortez, and to the east the mountains of the Sierra Madre.

Sonora in ancient times

In ancient times this region was part of the cultural area of ​​Arid America, where nomadic people who lived from hunting, fishing and gathering developed. They left some stone engravings that can currently be visited near cities like Caborca (that municipality has the largest sample of rock art in all of Mexico) especially in the La Providera archaeological zone. In the great rivers region we find the Tehuelibampo petroglyphs are also found in the Mayo area in the south of the state. The ancient settlers of Sonora belonged mostly to the Cahite branch of the Yuto-Nahua peoples, that is, they were related to the current Raramuri of Chihuahua or the Navajo of Arizona, likewise, they are part of ancestral groups that came to populate central Mexico, some researchers even think that some of the mythical places like Chicomostoc or Aztlán, the origin of the Aztecs was in this region between Sonora and Arizona.

Throughout the ancient history of Sonora, few towns adopted a sedentary life like the Trincheras culture, which established terraces for the cultivation of corn and beans; The ancient “Cerro Trincheras” is the only oficial archaeological zone in Sonora, while there are many others in private ranchs. The ancient settlers of the Sierra de Sonora were part of the “big house”Casas Grandes” culture that developed from Paquimé Chihuahua to Mesa Verde in Colorado, and which is characterized by its construction of adobe houses on cliffs. Also in the mountain area one of the most famous peoples of Sonora were the Pimas, perhaps descendants of the ancient Casa Grande culture. This ethnic group was fundamental in forming the identity of Sonora, as they settled on the banks of the river that gave its name to the region “El Río Sonora”.

Why is it called Sonora

Some researchers affirm that the tribes of the Sonora River like Pimas and Opatas built their houses on the banks of the river with branches that gave a circular shape, they called this type of housing “sonotas”, and because it was always found on the banks of the river, this body of water took the Spanish name of “Río Sonora”. Another version states that it was a mispronunciation of the Spanish word “lady” that the indigenous people gave he when they saw the image of the virgin or “nuestra señora”. In any case, the region of the Sonora River was fundamental in shaping the cultural identity of this part of the country, in such a way that from the southern valleys, the mountains and the desert began to be called Sonora, even in betwen Mexico and the United States we can indetify the Sonoran Desert.

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