Baja California

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Baja California

(Span.: bä`hä kälēfōr`nyä), state (1990 pop. 1,660,855), 27,628 sq mi (71,576 sq km), NW Mexico, on the Baja CaliforniaBaja California
or Lower California,
peninsula, c.760 mi (1,220 km) long and from 30 to 150 mi (48–241 km) wide, NW Mexico, separating the Gulf of California from the Pacific Ocean. The peninsula is divided at lat.
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 peninsula. MexicaliMexicali
, city (1990 pop. 438,377), capital of Baja California state, NW Mexico, across the border from Calexico, Calif. Once noted chiefly as the center of a cotton- and cereal-raising area, it also has experienced since the late 20th cent.
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 is the capital. A rapidly growing state, Baja California is a center of development for maquiladorasmaquiladoras
, Mexican assembly plants that manufacture finished goods for export to the United States. The maquiladoras are generally owned by non-Mexican corporations.
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, foreign-owned assembly plants that produce finished goods for export to the United States. The plants are centered around Mexicali and TijuanaTijuana
, city (1990 pop. 698,752), Baja California state, NW Mexico, just south of the U.S. border. It is a gaudy border resort, noted for its racetracks and bullfights. An irrigated agricultural area surrounds the city.
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. Mexicali also serves as the center of a rich cotton producing area, while Tijuana is a noted tourist center and point of entry from the United States. EnsenadaEnsenada
, city (1990 pop. 259,979), Baja California state, NW Mexico. Developed in the 19th cent., Ensenada is the oldest deep-sea port in Baja California and is one of the most important ports in Mexico.
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 is the state's most important port and is also a manufacturing, fishing, and tourist center. Baja California became a state in 1952.

Baja California

(Span.: bä`hä kälēfōr`nyä) or

Lower California,

peninsula, c.760 mi (1,220 km) long and from 30 to 150 mi (48–241 km) wide, NW Mexico, separating the Gulf of California from the Pacific Ocean. The peninsula is divided at lat. 28° N into the state of Baja CaliforniaBaja California
, state (1990 pop. 1,660,855), 27,628 sq mi (71,576 sq km), NW Mexico, on the Baja California peninsula. Mexicali is the capital. A rapidly growing state, Baja California is a center of development for maquiladoras, foreign-owned assembly plants that produce
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 in the north, and the state of Baja California SurBaja California Sur
, state (1990 pop. 317,764), 27,571 sq mi (71,428 sq km), NW Mexico, on the S Baja California peninsula. La Paz is the capital. Most of the area is lightly populated and has little arable land.
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 in the south. Except for two large coastal plains on the Pacific side, the peninsula consists largely of rugged mountain ranges averaging 5,000 ft (1,524 m), with one peak, San Pedro Martir, more than 10,000 ft (3,048 m) high. The land is generally desolate and arid. The only naturally cultivable areas are isolated mountain valleys. However, irrigation systems on the Colorado River have made possible the development of a rich farming area around Mexicali, and the region is a leading national producer of cotton and wheat. There are fisheries and fish canneries at Ensenada, which is also developing as a resort. Wealthy Mexicans, who have bought large estates and established resort ranches on the scenic coasts, have done much to stir tourist interest in regions other than the border towns and to open up hitherto inaccessible areas. Hunting and deep-sea fishing are favorite sports. Baja California Sur is not economically prosperous, although tourism is developing rapidly, particularly around Los Cabos. The peninsula and surrounding waters are a paradise also for naturalists and archaeologists, offering unparalleled opportunities for the study of marine life, plants and animals, and archaeological artifacts. Since 1962 remarkable mural paintings have been discovered in many caves there. Perhaps the most important development for the northern state is the growth of U.S.- and foreign-owned factories (maquiladorasmaquiladoras
, Mexican assembly plants that manufacture finished goods for export to the United States. The maquiladoras are generally owned by non-Mexican corporations.
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) in the border areas. A large, rapidly expanding population and low labor costs have led to the opening of many maquiladoras in Baja California.

The coasts were first explored by Francisco de Ulloa and other Spaniards in the 1530s. Attempts to colonize the interior were largely unsuccessful. U.S. forces occupied (1847–48) Baja California during the Mexican War, and William Walker attempted (1853–54) to wrest it from Mexico in his first disastrous filibustering expedition. In 1911 the area was the scene of an abortive uprising against Porfirio Díaz—the so-called desert revolution led by Ricardo Flores Magón, a liberal anarchist, who was a precursor of Francisco MaderoMadero, Francisco Indalecio
, 1873–1913, Mexican statesman and president (1911–13). A champion of democracy and social reform, he established various humanitarian institutions for the peons on his family's vast estates in Coahuila.
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 and Emiliano ZapataZapata, Emiliano
, c.1879–1919, Mexican revolutionary, b. Morelos. Zapata was of almost pure native descent. A tenant farmer, he occupied a social position between the peon and the ranchero, but he was a born leader who felt keenly the injustices suffered by his people.
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.

Bibliography

See J. Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951); H. Crosby, Last of the Californias (1981); D. Polk, The Island of California (1991).

Baja California

 

(Lower California), a state in northwestern Mexico most of which lies on the northern part of the California peninsula. Area, 70, 100 sq km; population, 870, 400 (1970). Its capital is Mexicali. The main economic activity is irrigated agriculture, including cotton, wheat, alfalfa, and tomatoes. Meat stock raising and fishing are also carried on; condiments are made in Tijuana and Mexicali, and cement is also produced. Assembly plants for U. S. electronics industries operate in Baja California.