Álamos 1984

Confluences and circumstances influence who we are and where we go.

All the elderly women dressed in white with their stories have left the beach.

I first visited Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 1984. We all have stories about how we came to discover a place that is special to ourselves. My personal Álamos story began when a UCSD art major girl friend, Lisa, asked me to accompany her to a performance art 
project dress rehearsal on a La Jolla, California beach. This was the conclusion to a year long (1983-1984) effort by 
Suzanne Lacy and Sharon Allen: Whisper, the Waves, the Wind

On site there was one local TV crew and Suzanne Lacy, white tables and a large group of women all dressed in white. Suzanne was orchestrating and protecting the unfolding events. There was also a freelancer in a collared blue t-shirt and a big video camera who quickly introduced himself as Kit Nuzum. He was filming for Channel 38, a Del Mar, CA public access station. We struck-up a quick friendship. Several months later he invited me to join him and his girlfriend in his Chevy Nova on a car ride to a town in México that he told he knew I would like. And Kit was correct. I did, and do, like Álamos, Sonora, México. Gracias amigo.

Álamos, Sonora, México the way it was on Anders’ first visit.

Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 1984, Spring time, as seen by Anders Tomlinson via black and white film. Music is “A New Dawn” by the “Dig Brothers” under the musical direction of Denver Clay. Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. It is warm and breezy. The sky is blue. If you stare at a cloud long enough it will disappear.

Below are several photos from the 1984 Álamos expedition. With the photos are a look at what the world was like back then in the United States and around the world.

alamos sonora mexico. 1984. photo by anders tomlinson.

Álamos is at the end of paved road.

•  The Cosby show premiers.
•  Three hundred slain as Indian Army occupies Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
•  Indira Gandhi is assassinated.
• Toxic gas leaks from Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, killing 2,000 and injuring 150,000.

The Mercado in the Alameda is under construction.

• Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman Vice President running mate.
• President Reagan re-elected in landslide with 59% of vote.
•  Reagan ends U.S. role in Beirut by relieving Sixth Fleet from peacekeeping force.
• Congress cuts off aid to Nicaragua, illegal guns sales start to fund the contras.

Turning a corner: embracing the present by making music.

Here are examples of 1984 music that was in fashion: Phil Collins, Alison Moyet,
Billy Joel, Tina Turner with ” What’s Love got to do with it,” David Bowie
Wham! with ” Wake Me up Before You Go, ” Billy Ocean, UB40, Cars,
Stevie Wonder with ” I Just Called to say I love You, ” Kenny Rogers,
Bruce Springsteen, Bananarama, Duran Duran with ” The Reflex, ” Ultravox.

Centro Álamos has several one way streets for horses, bikes, trucks, and cars.

• Stonewashed jeans are introduced.
• The first megabit chip is made at Bell Labs.
• Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, US. The Soviets boycott.
• Mary Lou Retton wins two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

Two powers, side by side, working together

• Old nude photos of Vanessa Williams, first African American Miss America, forced her
to give up her crown.
• The AIDS virus is discovered.
• On January 28, Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire during the shooting of Pepsi commercial.
• The first infomercials appear on TV due to de-regulation by the FCC.

A quiet afternoon in the Alameda.

• The first all rap radio format is introduced at LA’s KDAY.
• Run-D.M.C. are the first ever rap group to have an album certified gold.
• The term cyberspace is coined by William Gibson in his novel “Neuromancer”.
• Bob Geldof and Band Aid release “Do They Know It’s Christmas”.

Bishop Reyes Cathedral seen from the old miners’ hotel.

• In 1984 Reagan makes famous joke: “My fellow Americans, I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” He supposedly didn’t know the mic was on.
• Apple Computer releases the Macintosh personal computer. It has 128K of RAM, a 7,83MHz processor, no hard disk, and the cost is US.$2495.00.
• Calling themselves the PMRC (Parents’ Music Resource Coalition), concerned parents, including Tipper Gore, wife of then-Tennessee Senator Albert Gore, Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker, Georgie Packwood, wife of Oregon Senator Robert Packwood, and Nancy Thurmond, wife of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, construct a campaign designed to ‘educate’ parents about certain alarming new trends in rock music.

Mt. Cacharamba is seen two through windows of an adobe ruin.

• 1 gallon of gas $1.10.
• Dodge RAM 50 Truck $8,995.00.
• Chrysler New Yorker $13,045.
• Chevrolet Corvette $23,392.

Calle Comercio is a quiet street in Centro Álamos.

• Yearly Inflation Rate USA4.3 %.
• Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average is 1211.
• Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 10.75%.
• Recession continues to be a problem in the US and 70 US Banks fail in just one year.

Here one can visit with loved ones and take in the big sky overhead.

• Leader of the Soviet Union, Andropov dies at 69; Konstantin U. Chernenko,
is named as his replacement.
• First robot related death in the US.  A worker in Jackson Michigan is accidentally
crushed by an industrial robot.
• United Kingdom agrees handover of Hong Kong to China.
• Explosions at the PEMEX petroleum storage facility in Mexico City kill about 500 people.

There is the only gas station in town.

• Desmond Tutu wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Bell Telephone System broken up.
• France gets first deliveries of Soviet natural gas.
• Syria frees captured U.S. Navy pilot, Lieut. Robert C. Goodman, Jr.

Alone in thoughts surrounded by family and history.

• Average Cost of U.S. new house $86,730.
• Median Price Of and U.S. Existing Home $72,400.
• Average U.S. Income per year $21,600.
• Average U.S. Monthly Rent $350.

Young entrepreneurs sell cool ice cream on a warm Spring afternoon.

• The big films of 1984 were Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,
Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop, Terms of Endearment, The Karate Kid,
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Police Academy, Romancing the Stone,
Splash, The Terminator, Amadeus, The Killing Fields, A Passage To India.
A movie ticket on average costs $2.50.

The village of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico lives on another day.

• A Man shoots 20 dead and wounds 16 in McDonalds Restaurant in San Ysidro California
• Colonel Joe Kittinger becomes the first person to complete a solo transatlantic flight
in a helium balloon
• The first ever flight in space by humans un-tethered using jet back packs takes place
Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first untethered space walk.

There is much we can learn from the Álamos logo on a work truck’s door.

• John DeLorean is acquitted of all eight charges of possessing and distributing cocaine.
• Jeopardy! begins its syndicated version.
• U.S. performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
• The world-renowned, critically acclaimed Canadian entertainment company,
Cirque du Soleil is founded.

Salvation and shade can be found at Bishop Reyes Cathedral.

• Sony and Philips introduce the first commercial CD Players.
• Sony makes the first 3 1/2″ computer disk.
• Genetic fingerprinting or DNA profiling was developed and is now in wide by Forensic scientists when obtaining evidence in a crime.

Two good friends are walking from here to there arm in arm.

• Miguel de la Madrid is President of México.
• U.S. and Vatican exchange diplomats after 116-year hiatus.
• Widespread Famine in Ethiopia after political conflict with charities believing as many
as 10 million people are facing starvation.
• Planet Earth’s human population in 1984 was 4.769 billion.

Anders’ shadow was here and enjoying every moment.

Alamos, Sonora, Mexcio has made a deep impact on Anders Tomlinson. As a youth
in Southern California he would stand on the El Camino Real, the King’s Highway,
and look north and south. His imagination took over. Where would this road,
in either direction, take him?

Anders enjoys a warm summer night in the Plaza after a long day shooting.
photo-Antonio Figueroa

He would eventually travel north on El Camino Real to San Francisco, California.
Later, Kit Nuzum, who had family in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, invited Anders to come along
for a spring time visit. The journey was magical, traveling across the
Sonoran Desert under a warm star filled sky while listening to an all-night radio
broadcast of Jethro Tull. Arriving in Alamos during predawn hours was
arriving in another land… another era… another spirit.

The lights of Alamos from the Mirador overlook. Every night is a holiday.


For more information visit About Good Morning Álamos, Sonora Mexico

Super-eight Springtime 1984 in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico

It is the spring of 1984. Anders Tomlinson and Kit Nuzum arrive in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico to begin shooting super-eight film footage with single-frame and additional short bursts and several time-lapse sequences. They used Kodachrome asa 40 film stock with a Minolta news camera.

©2017 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos Yesterday – Today

now and then photos of alamos sonora mexico

This is a new section that compares scenes from 2014 to those from 1983 to 1996.
We can see that the trees have grown, the church has painted domes, and new homes can be seen in the background. New and old – past and present, together, is the story
of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

The Alameda Gas Station Now

2014 - Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez. alamos sonora mexico.

2014 – Looking northwest from Guadaloupe Hill. Photo: Huberto Enríquez

The Alameda Gas Station Then

1995 - Looking northwest from Guadalope Hill. Photo: Anders Tomlinson. alamos sonora mexico

1995 – Looking northwest from Guadalope Hill. Photo: Anders Tomlinson.

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The Plaza Now

2014, looking west from El Mirador at Plaza, alamos sonora mexico. photo by Humberto Enríquez

2014 – looking west from El Mirador. Photo: Humberto Enríquez.

The Plaza Then

1993 Looking west from El Mirador at the church and plaza in alamos, sonora, mexico

1993 – looking west from El Mirador. Photo: Anders Tomlinson.

The shooting angles are close. But at this distance a few feet here and there will back a big difference along with the type of lens used. One goal of Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico film project is to replicate scenes that have changed from the same vantage point using the same lens, if possible. Big shout-out to Humberto Enríquez our man of the moment in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Looking at these photos one can also see the difference between 35 mm slide and digital images. But that is another story.

To see more Álamos Journal pages.

To return Home.

©2014 Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com and the respective photographers, all rights reserved.

Álamos 1900 – 1949

This page is under construction

The 1900’s started out with revolution and assassinations.
Álamos was in the middle of it all. The railroad came in 1908 and left in 1931.

portales in Álamos, Sonora, mexico plaza.  photo by anders tomlinson

The early 1900’s would be troubled times in the Plaza.

1904
The Sud Pacifico de Mexico plans to extend its rail line south of Guaymas.

1905 – 06
The Richardson Construction Company invest in 650,000 acres south of the ¥aqui river for agricultural and irrigation development.

1905 -06
John Hays Hammond, associated with the Richardson Company and Boer war hero, is given permission from President Dias dictatorial government for developing and reopening Aduana mines in the Álamos District. He operates the Promontorio and Minas Nuevas mines. He built a smelter near Navajoa and invested heavily in mining equipment. The wealthy have reached a peak of prosperity.

1906
Worker unrest escalates with a strike at the consolidated Copper mines at Cananea.

1907
May, railroad reaches Navajoa.

1908
Railroad from Navajoa reaches Álamos.

1908
Area population estimates included Álamos 3,000 plus, Aduana 1,000 plus, Navajoa 1,000 plus, Promontorios 1,000, Minas Nuevas 1,000 and Camoa 1,000.

1908
Humboldt noted in his records that he “passed a train of over one thousand mules loaded with bars of silver from the Aduana mines on their way to the City of Mexico.”

1910
Report on the Alamos – Promonitos District mines in the Mining and Scientific Press.

1910
One of the Aduana mines reaches a depth of 1500 feet.

1911
January, Francisco Madero,leader of the Reform Movement, arrives in Álamos. Benjamin Hill is a leader in the Reform Movement. The Aduana mines shut down because of the Madero revolution. The rise in quick silvers prices, used in the reduction process, also made mining unprofitable. Álamos Perfecto Francisco A. Salido denied Madero the ability to speak in a public area. Don Miquel Urres invites Madero into his home to meet with powerful Álamos residents.

1911
Minas Nuevas mines are taken over by Amos J. Yaeger. Later, he would shut the mine down and sell mine machinery and smelter for scrap.

1911
Northern and central towns are under attack by Maderistas. Benjamin Hill captures Navajoa. He begins to move on Álamos but is ordered to stop and repair telegraph and railway lines damaged in battle.

1911
November, Madero becomes Mexico’s president.

1912
Early, Pascual Orozco, in Chihuahua turns against Madero, is former ally. Soon Orozco, and an army of 1400 soldiers, crosses into Sonora.

1912
August 21, an Orozquistas column reaches Álamos which is defended by 650 federal and national guard troops. Álamos defenders attacked the Orozquistas outside of town at La Aurora.

1912
August 22, 10 a.m., the Orozquistas retreat from La Aurora. Fighting continues through the day and the Orozquistas leave supplies and over 100 dead men on the ground. The Orozquistas had stopped earlier at Hacienda de Cedros and Rancho de la Uvalama where they had indulged in aguardiente – tequila?, which they had taken with them as they approached Álamos.

1913
President Madero is assassinated. General Victoriano Huerta becomes President. Sonora revolts against Huerta led by Alvaro Obregon, Plutarco Elias Calles, Adolfo de la Huerta and Venustiano Carranza. All four of these men, three from Sonora and Carranza from Coahuila, would become Mexican presidents. Álamos sides with Huerta. Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila states take up arms against Huerta.

1913
April, Benjamin Hill occupies Álamos as the Huertistas surrender. He takes money from wealthy Álamos citizens and captured Huertistas to support his troops in Sinaloa and repair damaged rail lines.
he forced the poor to take down the sandbag barricades in Álamos and return the sand to the surrounding arroyos.

1914
August, Carranza becomes head of government.

1914
General Pancho Villa, and thousands of his troops, fought against Carranza in southern Mexico. Carranza’s troops won several battles and Villa headed north into Sonora. Villa forces lived off the land and terrorized all who they came across. Mines and ranchos were abandoned.

1914
April 8, Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerrean, the famous actress, was born in Álamos. These were turbulent times for the region. Yaquis and Mayos were joining forces with Obregon and Villa’s armies. Venustiano Carranza became the third Mexican President in two years.

1914 – 15
Wars between Sonoran Governor Maytorena and his military leaders. Well armed and trained Yaquis and Mayos Indians join Obregon and Villa’s armies who sided with Maytorena.

1915
Pancho Villa is entrenched in southern Sonora.

1915
May 12, 500 Pancho Villaistas attack Álamos. Major Felix Mendoza has 30 troops and 50 citizens to defend Álamos against Villa’s troops. The five hour battle is waged in the plaza and on Loma de Guadalupe. 25% of Mendoza’s troops are dead or wounded. He orders the survivors to surrender and he himself commits suicide.

1915
April, General Angel Flores’ Expeditionary Force of Sinaloa regains Álamos in a month.

1915
September, the Constitutionalists control southern Sonora. Villa returns to Chihuahua.

1916
Indian uprisings create ghost towns in Sonora. Álamos old families remain in ancestral homes.

1916
The United States sends the American Punitive Expedition into Mexico after Pancho Villa and his troops had entered New Mexico.

1916
Yaguis and Mayos felt they had not be given benefits that had been promised them go on the rampage throughout Sonora. Farmers, ranchers, towns and villages were attacked. Baroyeca becomes a ghost town.

1920
September, Obregon becomes Mexico’s president. Recovery from wars begins. Renegade soldiers, bandits, Yaquis and Mayos continue raiding, plundering and killings.

1920 – 30’s
Sonora re-establishes schools, roads and farming.
Life in Álamos stabilizes. It is now a small mexican town forgotten by many and home to old families. Mansions, neglected by war and neglect, turn to ruins. But Álamos does not become a ghost town.

1929
Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerrean’s family lived in Álamos until they left for Guadalajara. Soon Maria Felix’s beauty would be nationally recognized.

1929
Last Yaqui uprising ends in total defeat for the Yaquis, they have lived in peace with the “Yoris” since then.

1930
One train a week from Navajoa to Álamos.

1930
Planning begins on the Mexican link of the International Highway.
Some thought the highway may follow the old El Camino Real through Álamos to El Fuerte and south. Eventually it is routed through Navajoa and south bypassing Álamos, which is to the east.

1931
Railroad from Navajoa to Álamos disbanded. Traffic to Álamos was on an old narrow dirt road

amos j. yaeger grave in minas nuevas, sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Amos J. Yaeger grave in Minas Nuevas.

1932
Amos J. Yaeger dies at the age of 59.

1933
Álamos city has an estimated population of 1,000.

1937
500,000 hectares of public lands, “ejidos” are allotted to the Yaquis.

1940
The Álamos region had a population of 5,369 men and 4,848 women older than six years.

ruin of the house where actress maria felix was born in 1914.  alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Ruins, like this birhtplace of Maria Felix, are bought and sold.

1948
William Levant Alcorn, a Pennsylvania dairy farmer, arrives in Álamos and bought the Almada mansion on Plaza de Armas and restored it as the Hotel Los Portales. Alcorn helped publicize Álamos and had a successful real estate business buying and selling ruins and property.

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

1900 – 1949 timeline

Geologic timeline

History videos

Álamos population history

La Aduana mining 1910

Conquistadors, silver and gold

Álamos and Horses

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©2015 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos History Directory

alamos, sonora, mexico seen from atop sierra de alamos.  spring 1996.  photo by anders tomlinson

Álamos and surroundings seen from the Sierra de Álamos, spring 1996.

Take a Walk Back in Time
Álamos, Sonora, Mexico was a stepping stone along the El Camino Real. Álamos played a significant role in the settling of the southwest, including San Francisco, Monterey, Los Angeles, southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

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Here are pages related to Álamos events and occurrences through history:

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1500 – 1599 timeline

1600 – 1699 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

Geologic timeline

History videos

Álamos population history

Sonora Population history

La Aduana mining 1910

Conquistadors, silver and gold

Álamos and Horses

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This is a work in progress.

An introduction to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
“Here is something Special”, Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540 as he headed north, passing by tall white rocks on Alamos de Sierra. This is the opening chapter to “A Short History of Alamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by SonicAtomics and Estudiantina de Alamos.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza arrived and departed from Alamos in the spring of 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco. Another expedition, five years later, left Alamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico embraces the Sierra Madre.
Here, Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral in the Plaza, a three-tiered belfry, shines gold in morning light. Here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding beauty of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. Together, they shape the Alamos experience.

To see more Alamos Journal pages.

To return Home

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Álamos 1850 – 1899

The 1800’s were turbulent time for Mexico, Sonora and Álamos.
The faded heydays of Álamos silver and trading wealth were in the past.
Confrontation was at the forefront along the northern frontier.

Governor's mansion on Calle Comercio. alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

Time marches on as haciendas’ portals and the Cathedral’s belfry stand tall.

1850
Hermosilo connected to the port of Guaymas.

1850’s
Military colonies and settlements are encouraged on the northern border to help stop marauding Apaches. Free border land was offered to Mexicans and anyone else except for Americans and Indians. These plans were not successful. The government also was offering a bounty for Apache scalps.

1850 – 1880
Population estimates of 5,000.

1853
December – “Tratado (Treaty) de Mesilla”, the Gadsen purchase was signed between Mexico and the United States. Sonora was paid ten million dollars for land including having its northern boundary cut back to its present border. This allowed the United States to build a southern transcontinental route.

1854
The Gadsen purchase is ratified by Mexico and The United States.

1854
Charles D. Poston, was shipwrecked in the Gulf of california and visited Álamos. He would become known as the “Father of Arizona.” He recalled his visit in an account told to J. Ross Browne: “In about a week from the time of leaving the seacoast we reached the old city of Alamos, famous in Spanish times for its wealth and commercial enterprise. The cathedral is very fine, and yet bears the Royal Arms of Spain over the grand entrance. The merchants of Alamos used to import directly from China, and had a large trade with the smaller towns of Sinola and Sonora, but its principal source of wealth was the rich silver mines in the spur of the Sierra Madre, which were worked with great profit when cheap labor could be obtained from the native Indians under the system of peonage adopted and endorsed by the Spanish government.”
Álamos seemed like ” a quiet old town” to Mr. Poston.

1855
The Centralist’s reign came to an end with the fall of dictator Santa Anna. “Church against State” remains a political contention in Álamos.

1855
The school Seminario Angol-Español changed it name to Liceo de Sonora.

1855 – 1861
“The War of Reform” was a civil war against the “Ley (Law) Juarez” and other reform laws initiated by Benito Juarez and supported by Liberals, reform party members, that took land and power away from the church. The reforms were opposed by the Conservatives – church party members. War took place in across Sonora and into Sinaloa, Álamos was in the middle of many events.
The Conservatives were led by Don Jesus Gandara. The Liberals were led by general Ignacio Pesqueira and were attempting to uphold the new federal laws.

1857
August – General Pesqueria becomes Sonora’s Governor.

1857
Late in the year Gandara led an southern attack along with the Yaquis that was met by troops from Álamos. Gandara was defeated and retreated to the Yaqui river. From here he continued attacks in the north.

1858
Pesqueria stops in Álamos on his way south to help the Liberals in Sinola. Pesqueria gives Álamos special authority in case of emergencies. He also recruits men in Álamos and El Fuerte to join his cause.

1859
Apaches from the north reached the Álamos district. Haciendas and villages are left in ruin.

1859
Álamos mayor, Manuel Salazar, bargains a peace treaty with the Indians and there is an ensuing calm for a short period.

1860
Álamos floods.

1861
Professor Gregorio Almada leaves Liceo de Sonora for Mazatlan and the school is closed.

1861
August – Conservatives under the command of Don Antonio Esteves advance from El Fuerte on the El Camino Real and defeat National Guard troops and armed citizens from Álamos some of whom join the Conservatives. The conservatives march untested in a welcoming Álamos. Don Toribio Almada, the 21 year old son of Don Jose Maria joins up with Don Antonio Esteves, becomes second-in-command, and vow to defeat Ignacio Pesqueira.

1861
October 15 – Pesquiera defeats Esteves / Alamda in Hermosilo.
Pesquierq and General Placido Vega punish Álamos citizens supporting the Conservatives. Vincente Almada, a son of Don Jose Maria was put to death. Toribio Almada escapes to Chihuahua.

1861
Álamos is retaken by Liberal General Plácido Vega.
Governor Pesquiera returns to meet with Vega in Álamos. Pesquiera feel many Álamos citizens were major supporters of the Conservatives and he takes their property as punishment. He has a captured Toribio Almada returned to Álamos to be executed in the cemetery by firing squad.

1861 – 1862
December – January – French troops land on the coast of Vera Cruz. Mexico taxes the country to raise money to fight the French. Most of mexico was against the French invaders but some Conservatives became French allies. Governor Pesquiera prepares to defend Sonora from the French by building his National Guard. he also had to fight the Apaches who were now stronger because American troops in the southwest were now involved with the American Civil War.

1862
May – A club is formed in Álamos to raise money for the federalists to defeat the French. At the same time there are those with 1mperialistic leanings in support of the French. news from the south was of interest to all of Álamos.

1863
Apaches reach the edge of Álamos and kill people and ruin property.

1863
June – Mexico City falls to the French.

1864
Maximilian is made Emperor of Mexico.

1864
Another mint opens in Alamos which produced silver and gold coins and closed in 1895. (Note, a later statement contradicts the 1864 date and uses 1861.  1861 probably is correct since there was a failure of Alamos to report to Mexico City during the days of Maximillian by most of the mints in Mexico. (Information from ‘The Mexican Mints of Alamos and Hermosillo’, by A.F.’Pradeau, 1934)

1865
Early – French troops land in Guaymas.

1865
August 28 – French troops from Guaymas take over the plaza in Álamos. Colonel Jose Tranquilino Almada was put in command and had an additional 1500 Yaquis and Mayos join his forces. Álamos saw an increase in wealth as several mines were operating again and there was a business boom. But this would not last for long. During the French reign Sonora was divided
into three Imperial Departments with capitals in Altar, Urea and Álamos.

1865
September 22 – General Antonio Rosales, with less than 500 troops, leaves El Fuerte to recapture Álamos from the French Imperialists. Rosales forces met Colonel Almada’s larger forces
in a three hour battle on Guadalupe Hill. Rosales and many of his men, possibly a third, were killed. Rosales was buried in the Álamos cemetery. His body was later moved to Mexico City.

1865
Emperor Maximilian declares Álamos capital of the department of Álamos.

1866
January 7 – Álamos is attacked by General Angel Martinez. Colonel Jose Maria Tranquilino Almada leads the Imperialist and retreats to the plaza where he is defeated and escapes to the mayo River. Second-in-command Antonio Anselmo Alamda is one of many Imperialists to die in the battle. General Angel Martinez, a ruthless veteran of wars, plunders all the precious metals in the church and wreaks havoc on the town taking what he wanted and leaving little behind except for strong troops to hold the town.

1866
Don Jose Maria Almada dies. He was married twice and had at least 31 children.

1866
May 31 – Colonel Almada attacks Colonel Adolfo Palecio troops in Minas Nueva. Colonel Almada is defeated.

1866
August 28 – After holding Álamos for a couple of weeks Colonel Almada is forced to abandon city by Colonel Adolfo Palecio.

1866
September 14 -15 – The French garrison on Guaymas is abandoned after several defeats in central Sonora. Governor Ignacio Pesqueira, low on money, Indians and enemies on the attack and floods, now had to attempt to unify Sonora.

1866
September – Sonora returns to the republic of Mexico.

1867
February – French troops leave Mexico.

1867
June – Emperor Maximilian is executed.

1867
July – Mexico is again independent. President Juarez returns to mass celebrations in Mexico City.

1869
October – 50 people died and over 100 homes in the Alameda section were destroyed by floods at daybreak. All of southern Sonora were effected by the Yaqui, Mayo and El Fuerte rivers overflowing their banks. (There are other accounts that indicate the flood was in 1868.)

1870’s – 1880’s
Yaqui Cajeme, ( Jose Maria Leyva), leads Indian raids and highway robberies.

1871
“Plan de la Noria” proclaimers occupy Álamos. They were opposed to President Juarez and favored Porfirio Diaz. They collected $45,000 peso and recruited troops to join them as they headed north. They would lose.

1872
Early – Governor Pesqueira’s troops visit Álamos enroute to Sinoloa. As most advancing forces did, whether headed north or south, Pesqueira demanded, and received money to fund his campaign, in this case he withheld funds intended for Álamos.

1872
Ignacio Pesqueira is reelected Governor of Sonora. álamos, which for the most part did not like Ignacio Pesqueira stage civil unrest – “the Plan of the Promontorios”.

1872 – 1873
There are hostilities between Sonoran legislative and executive branches over the new state constitution. Álamos District has many citizens opposed to Governor Pesqueira.

1873
November – Carlos Conant, leading the “the Plan of the Promontorios”, with 400 men and opposed to Governor Pesqueira, takes over Álamos. He receives $36,000 pesos from local merchants. He creates problems for Sonora for couple of months.

1875
Álamos leads Independents in revolt against Pesqueira.

1875
Colonel Jose J. Pesqueira, nephew of Don Ignacio, was elected Governor of Sonora in a controversial election where ballots from districts that voted against Pesqueira were discarded by the legislature. Several areas of the state, along with Álamos, revolted and a civil war started.

1876
February 8 – Governor Jose Pesqueira occupies Álamos. He demands $72,000 pesos and creates harsh laws and demanded loans from wealthy citizens, loans he had no intention of repaying. Many citizens fled for safety in Sinaloa. Pesqueira jailed people who did not obey his wishes. Travel in and out of Álamos now required passports. People were upset and rebelled.

1876
March 1 – The Federal government had General Vicente Mariscal land troops in Guaymas to restore order. He arrived in Álamos to confer with Governor Jose Pesqueira in the Plaza de las Armas. Pesqueira left Álamos on March first and returns to Hermosillo.

1878
April – More controversy in the Sonora legislature: Governor Mariscal and Vice-Governor Francisco Serna are in opposition to each other. each has their own factions.

1879
February – Francisco Serna, in opposition to Mariscal, invades and controls Álamos. Serna, while in Álamos, is declared Governor by his faction in the legislature. Mariscal, deciding against more civil war in Sonora leaves Hermosillo before Serna returns.

1881
Primary education became compulsory where schools existed.

1882
Mayos are on the attack. They are joined by Yaquis. Navajo is deserted with many leaving for protection in Álamos. Navajo is now a military outpost. The National Guard arrived to fortify Navajoa.

1882
There was a major battle outside Navjoa at nearby Rancho Capetmaya. The battle was a stalement with the Indians retreating to the hills and rivers and the National Guard seeking protection in Álamos and surrounding towns.

1882
Railway connects Nogales with Guaymas. The State of Sonora is raising money to benefit public education.

1883
Álamos is preparing for Indian attacks. Álamos merchants ask that more federal troops be stationed in Navajoa for protection.

1884
13 mining firms are operating 15 mines which employ 750 workers.
Many old mines are shut down and others are in bad repair.

1885 – 1886
Cajeme leads 3,000 to 4,000 Yaquis and Mayo warriors.

1886
Telegraph is connected to Álamos. A new city jail is built on Loma de Guadalupe and the Plaza de las Armas is renovated.

1887
April – Cajeme is captured and executed.

1887
A hospital for the poor is donated to Álamos by Justina Almada de Urrea. It will continue to operate until 1946.

1888
Sonora is improving mining and agricultural districts roads. Estacion Baramotal near Guaymas is connected by stage line to Álamos and the old stage line from Álamos to El Fuerte.

1888
Vice- Governor Ramon Corral, born in the Álamos district, comes to Álamos for a monthand appoints a public education committee of 15 and provides provide state money for Álamos public education.

1895
December – Governor Ramon Corral attends the opening of the new Álamos water system. The city now has access to running water.

1897
Early May – A peace settlement between The Indians and non-Indians was negotiated and agreed to. The peace treaty signing was a festive event.

1899
The peace settlement between Indians and “Yoris”, whites, was broken by the Yaquis. Mexico’s President Diaz had federal troops push back at the Indians to allow the State of Sonora to function with more peaceful times. Yaguis villages were burned and the federal troops kept pressure on the Yaguis and drove many across the border into Arizona. less fortunate Yaguis were sent to Yucatan slave camps.

More to come…

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

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1600 – 1699 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

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Álamos 1800 – 1849

The 1800’s were turbulent time for Mexico, Sonora and Álamos.
The faded heydays of Álamos silver and trading wealth were in the past.
Confrontation was at the forefront along the northern frontier.

Columns and window details, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

End of day’s sun illuminates a classical column of another time and land.

1800
2000 silver bars serve as remittance to Mexico.
Population estimate 9,000.

1800’s
Mexican colonists becoming dissatisfied with Spaniards.

1800’s
In the early 1800’s mines in La Aduana were reaching the depth of the water table.

1803
Father Camilo Sanmartin, (San Martin?), finishes church. He is paid 40,000 pesos for his efforts. Another account states the church was finished in 1804 under the reign of Charles the Fourth.

1804
Yaquis resume plundering raids on the Spanish.
Opatas, Seris, Apaches and Pimas over the coming years would also advance in the central and northern districts as Spanish troops were moved to head off the battle of Independence.

1808
Famed German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt visits the area of Álamos and La Aduana mines.

1808
Population estimate is 7,900 inhabitants.

1810
September 15 – Miguel Hildago y Castilla gives his nighttime “Grito de Delores”, (Cry of Freedom), and the quest for Mexican independence begins. Most of the Sonora, assuming this includes Álamos, were in favor of Imperialists and Spain. During the next 11 years Sonorans, for the most part, stayed out of the war. During this time they were fighting local Indians.

1821
Heavy war tax on quicksilver, used in mining, increases from 80 – 90 to 240 pesos.

1821
9-27-1821 – General Agustin de Iturbide, Spanish rule ends and Mexico becomes an independent nation.

1821
Sinaloa and Sonora remain together in the early years of Mexican

1824
Sinaloa and Sonora are offically joined in the new constitution of Estado Interno de Occidente.

1825
Juan Banderas, (Juan Jusacamea), leads Mayo and Yaquis revolt. Indian prisoners are put to death in Álamos.

1825
population estimate of 5,000 – 7,000.

first printing press in sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Civilization mature and expand with the introduction of printing presses.

1827
Indians sue for peace. The Sonoran governor agreed to forgive and forget. He had little choice fearing civil unrest and faced with diminishing funds.

1827
Álamos is declared capital of Estado del Occidente, a newly created state.

history medallion for first publication in Sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Being the first in Sonora meant being the first in the Californias.

1828
Governor Jose Maria Gaxiola makes Álamos his official residence.

1828 – 1829
Don Jose Maria Almada, owner of Quinterra and Balbanera mines in La Aduana, is off-and-on Provisional Vice – Governor. he and his brothers also own many haciendas in Álamos which remains the wealthiest town north of Guadalajara.

1828
The first mint in Alamos was established by D. Leonardo Santoyo, with a concession or grant, obtained from the federal government, permitting him to coin only copper coins.  Coinage was produced only in 1828 and 1829 since the copper coins were not accepted by the people. (Information from ‘The Mexican Mints of Alamos and Hermosillo’, by A.F.’Pradeau, 1934)
 
1831
March 15 – A separation decree reconstitutes and Sonora as separate states.

1832
Álamos incorporated into Sonora. The citizens of Álamos voted in favor of joining Sonora and the Federal Congress agreed.

1832
Yaquis revolt again. Their goal is to drive the “Yori”, (whites), out.

1838
Petty civil wars involve Jose Urrea – Federalist and governor of the State: favored self government by the states.
Manual Maria Gandara – Centralist and Commandante General favored states become departments of federal government. Centralists were the church’s party of choice.

1838
General Urrea enters Álamos with 700 men and demands 50,000 pesos.

1841
Capilla De Zapopan is built on Calle Hidalgo by Don Ignacio Almada y Alvarado for Doña Juana Mallen.

1846 – 1848
Mexican – American war. It is a time of more taxes, disrupted business and Álamos men called into the army.

1847
Beisbol was introduced to Mexico in 1847 by American soldiers during the Mexican War. Americans overseeing railroad construction also encouraged Mexican workers laying track to play beisbol.

1848
Álamos is selected as one of two places to have primary and secondary education. Professor Gregorio Almada, European educated, was the founder and director. The school was first named Seminario Angol-Español.

1849
January 15 – Disastrous battle. Álamos troops pursue Apaches. Álamos, Ures, and Hermosilo are each taxed 7,000 pesos.

1849
Population estimate 4,000 – 4,300. Trade has shifted from the El Camino Real to the ocean ports.

1849 – 1851
Severe cholera outbreak. Hundreds die and hundreds leave town.

The 1800’s continue with the 1850 – 1899 timeline

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Álamos 1700 – 1799

An A stands for Alamada over a gate on Calle comercio, in alamos, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson

An “A” for Almada over a gate on Calle Comercio.

1700
Camino Real extended out of Culíacan through foothills, northward through El Fuerte and Álamos

1709
Quinterra mine opens up in La Aduana. There is also a reference to Almada but I do not understand the connection.

1732
March 14 – Álamos is no longer part of Nueva Viscaya and is now part of the Sinaloa and Sonora province.

1735
Don Pedro Gabriel de Aragon becomes Parish Priest – reconstructed old church, La Purisma Concepcion

1736
Inventory of sacred vessels and religious objects in church is done by visiting Bishop Martin de Elizacochea Dorre Echeverria.

1736
July 1736 – Juan Bautista de Anza was born, more likely at Cuquiarachi, Sonora, Mexico, to Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and Maria Rosa Bezerra Nieto of Fronteras, Sonora, Mexico. He was their youngest son and grandson of Antonio de Anza, a pharmacist, and Lucia de Sassoeta of Hernani, Guipuzcoa, Spain. He was also the grandson of Captain Antonio Bezerra Nieto and Gregoria Gómez de Silva of Janos, Chihuahua, Mexico. His father, Juan Bautista de Anza, senior, was killed by Apaches on May 9, 1740, when he was not quite three years of age.

1737
War between Spaniards and Yaquis and Mayos

1737
Fiesta of Nuestra Senora de Balvanere in La Aduana.
This celebration begins with Indians seeing a maiden on top of a tall cactus. The Indians rolled rocks to the foot of the cactus but the maiden had disappeared. They then noticed a silver outcropping where one of the rocks had been. The Indians believed this young beautiful maiden had shown them that there was silver here. A church was built on this site and cactus grew out of a wall ten to twelve feet above the ground.

The Bishop of Nueva Vizcaya, in 1737, changed the celebration date from September 8th to November 21 so pilgrims from Álamos could use the arroyos to go to La Aduana and avoid the summer floods.

1740
Calixto Muni, Yaqu leaders burned Camoa, Baroyeca. Took Spanish women and children as captives. 6,000 strong Indians advanced on Álamos. Miners hold them off.

1741
Spanish reinforcements arrive, 3,000 Yaquis and Mayos die on the Hill of Bones

1741 – 1744
Drought

1747-1750
Devastating three year drought.  People and indians reduced to eating roots and roasted maguey plants.

( It is possible these two references to drought could be actually describing the same event. History has a way of slipping one way and another. )

1748 – 1749
King Charles III of Spain responded to the disaster by sending Inspector General of the Interior Don Jose Rodriques Gallardo reports that Álamos has no jail, Municipal buildings or squares. Orders given to layout streets, align houses and build a jail. A new Alamos street-grid was designed with houses that had adjoining walls to keep squatters out of Centro Álamos.

( There is some confusion about these dates. Did Gallardo arrive in response to the plague in Álamos or before? )

1750
Jesuit Juan Jacobo Baegert wrote “in poplar trees I’ve seen women dressed in Golden Velvet”

1750
6,000 die in Álamos from a series of plagues.
Another account states a plague of smallpox and measles which caused the death of 8,000 Indians and Mestizos

1760
Bishop of Durango, Tamaron y Romeral, visits Álamos and observes that Álamos maybe more important than Culíacan in Nueva Viscaya.
He wrote, ” It is a parish with a clergyman and vicar… there are usually five or six priests in residence as aids to the rector. In this real there are many good silver mines, and their principle workings are two leagues distant, in a place called la aduana… it has 800 families and 3400 people.”

1761
Antonio Almada y Reyes is born in Leon Spain.

1765
Don Pedro de Aragon requested in writing, from Álamos, that a presido be built near the Yaqui to hinder the Apaches, Seris and Lower Pimas who were resisting the northward bound Spaniards.

1767
End of jesuit era after sustaining missions for a span of 150 years

1767
July- Jesuits, guarded by 50 soldiers, pass through Álamos on their way to the port of Guaymas.

1769
La Alameda, today’s business district, laid out. Old houses were torn down to make room for a poplar tree lined promenade.

1769
Royal Treasury is established in Álamos. Inspector Don Jose de Galvez remained in Álamos and managed the public finances, sooth relationships with disgruntled Indians, and remodeled missions. He would later become the Marquis of Sonora.

1770
A flood wiped out much of the newly constructed Alameda

1774
January 8, 1774 – Juan Bautista de Anza leaves Tubac Presidio, south of present-day Tucson, Arizona. His expedition had 3 padres, 20 soldiers, 11 servants, 35 mules, 65 cattle, and 140 horses.

1775
January – de Anza, in Mexico City, begins to organize his expedition to to colonize San Francisco.

1775
March – de Anza begins recruiting colonizers in Culíacan, Province of Sinaloa, Mexico.

1775
April 5 – de Anza is recorded as being in Culíacan

1775
March, April, May – de Anza continued recruiting in the villages of Sinaloa and El Fuerte in the Province of Sinaloa, and Álamos, in Sonora. 30 citizens from Álamos, more than any other community, had joined the expedition, now more than 250 soldiers and colonizers.

( Here is a comment from Joan Powell )

“From my research, I see that Anza was in Alamos for some period in May 1775, but it appears that the only Alamos citizens joining the 1775 expedition are Vicente Feliz, his wife and 6 children. A couple of other sources mention 1 or two other members who may be from Alamos, but I haven’t found any Calif. mission records or Alamos baptismal records to support those claims. Alamos was important as the place Anza got funds, supplies, and had to report his accounting of costs and expenses to.

The Rivera Expedition in 1781 had a much larger Alamos contingent. I haven’t added them up, but 30 seems like about the right number.

Also, FYI, apparently he referred to himself as “Anza”, not “de Anza” ( when the Anza Nat’l park guy was here in Alamos a couple of years ago he told us this bit of info. )”

1775
May 1 – de Anza is in El Fuerte.

1775
May 13 – de Anza, Espinosa and six presidial soldiers meet up with Moraga between Álamos and Horcasitas.

1775
June 22 – de Anza in San Miguel de Horcasitas

1775
July 22 – September 13 – diary notes indicate de Anza was in San Miguel de Horcasitas, Terrenate, Cocóspera, Mission San Ignacio… During this period of time the Apaches were restless.

1775
September 29 – de Anza’s expedition leaves Horcasitas, just north of Alamos. From Pedro Font’s diary notes.

1775
October 16 – de Anza arrives in Tubac from Horcasitas in mid-and continues preparations there

1775
October 23 – de Anza’s expedition left Tubac on with some 300 people and 1000 head of livestock. There were no wagons or carts. All supplies were loaded on pack mules every morning and unloaded every night. The expedition was headed to the SF Bay Area following reports of a great river flowing into the bay.
The goal was to establish a presido, mission and San Franciso settlement.

1776
March – de Anza arrived in Monterey, California.

1776
March 28 – Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, Lt. Jose Moraga, and Franciscan priest Pedro Font arrived at the tip of San Francisco. De Anza planted a cross at what is now Fort Point. They camped at Mountain Lake and searched inland for a more hospitable area and found a site they called Laguna de los Dolores or the Friday of Sorrows since the day was Friday before Palm Sunday.

1780
Álamos is at its peak in terms of population and wealth. The mid 1700s was an era of mansions being built and furnished with the world’s finest items. Philippine galleons brought rich silver and the best of the Orient. The silver mines were exporting silver bars and the wealthy business community was importing the best Europe had to offer. During this period Father Baegert wrote, ” even during times of fasting, and when they come to us in confession… such finery among the women as I scarcely ever saw in Mexico… For with astonishment and pity I have seen many a woman dressed in velvet cloth of gold.”

1780
Pope Pius V1- looking for info. (I believe it relates to the new Bishop) Also, in 1780 Pope Pius VI verbally and quietly approved of the Jesuits’ existence.

1781
King Carlos 111 orders a new Bishopric for Sonora, Sinaloa and the Californias. This order separated these provinces from the Nueva Viscaya provinces.

1781
February – Ramoñ Laso de la Vega comes to Álamos to recruit settlers for Los Angeles. He will leave with 11 settler and 17 soldier families. Several of the soldiers were married in Álamos. Ramoñ Laso de la Vega is under the command of Fernando de Rivera y Moncado who is leading a group of 42 soldiers.

1781
Fernando de Rivera followed the de Anza trail north through Sonora to Arizona and then west towards Los Angeles. He had kept 30 some men to stay with the livestock and the rest of the men went with him. He is killed on this day, along with his men, before reaching the San Gabriel Mission.

1781
September 4 – Ramoñ Laso de la Vega arrives in Los Angeles. His party had gone from Álamos to Quaymas and then sailed to Loreto, Baja California. From there they marched up the Peninsula. The official record states that 11 families of settlers from Sinaloa and Sonora along with four soldiers and their families founded Los angeles. Other accounts record 46 people from Álamos settling Los Angeles.

1783
Franciscan Antonio de los Reyes is the new Bishop and intends to live in Arispe

1783
Antonio Almada y Reyes arrives in Álamos, His uncle, Don Antonio de los Reyes is the Bishop of Sonora.

1786
Official records indicate Don Juan Ross was paid $11,250 pesos as the first contractor on the cathedral that stands today.

history medallion in high school walkway, alamos sonora mexico, photo by anders tomlinson.

A cathedral begins construction, today it still the town’s centerpiece.

1787
What is now La Casa de los Tesoros restaurant and hotel was built by Fr. Juan Nicolas Queiros. He lived here for 60 years.

1791
Jose Maria is born to Antonio Almada y Reyes.

1794
Frey de los Reyes starts to build a new church and the first public school in Sonora.

1794
Cemetery opens

1799
Royal Treasury is established in Álamos. It is the largest producer of silver bars in all of Spain

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Álamos 1600 – 1699

sunset and cerra cacharamba, alamos sonora mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Cerra Cacharamba towers over a land rich with silver.

1608
Captain Diego Martinez de Hurtaide and his Spanish soldiers venture into Mayo lands. He and the Mayo agree to a military alliance against the Yaquis and any other waring Indians. The Mayos and Yaquis did not get along.

1610
Defeat of Yaqui, peace to all in Cáhita land.

1613 – 1614
Jesuits enter Mayo territory. 1614 – Padre Pedro Méndez leads a group of missionary priest into Mayo lands. It is thought that the Indians believed having the priests on their land would protect them from the diseases that were killing off the indigenous populations.

1613 – 1620
Missions are established around Álamos in southern Sonora.

1617
First Yaqui missions. The Yaqui were converted by Fathers Andrés Pérez de Ribas and Tomas Basilio. In spite of suffering from uprisings, revolts, torment and murder the conversion of Sonora was faster and more entrenched. For the seventeenth century the jesuits expanded and founded the mission of Yecora Maycoba and in the southwestern part of what were known as Chinipas.
(Father Andrés Pérez de Ribas wrote a book ” History of Our Holy Faith Amongst the Most Barbarous and Fierce Peoples of the World.”)

1621
Padre Miguel Godinez founded the missions of San Andrés of Cornicari and Asunción de Tepahui.

1678
Father Juan Ortiz Zapata with 30 Spaniards – Piedras Verde mining camp

1682 – 1821
Spanish Colonial period.

1683
La Aduana silver. Promotories “La Europa” – Almada. There was already mining in the region, Real de Minas de Nuestra Se´nora de Guadalupe, 15 miles northwest of Álamos on the Río Mayo between Conicarit and el Tabelo. Spanish troups protected the miners and the plan was for this to be the town for both the La Aduana and Conicarit mines. The reasoning was it would easier to protect one town than two. Miners would learn the La Aduana mines were richer so many moved to what would become present day Álamos and settled between the Arroyos Aduana and Escondida. These miners were fined by the Spanish givernment because they had disobeyed orders not to move to Álamos.

1684 history medallion, Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Alamos has become an official city as western colonization expands.


1684
Álamos begins to grow in size.

1685 – 1686
May 1985 to August, 1686 – Bachiller y Licenciado Pedro de Barcelon was acting curé. He would continue to serve as an assistant to the priest.
In those days a priest was responsible for both civil and religious administration.

1686
08-28-1686 – First recorded date and entry in the Parochial Register by Father Francisco de Carissa, the first Álamos parish priest, reads “Book in which are entered the Baptisms, Burials and Marriages started by me on the 28th of August, 1686.”

1686
10-22-1687 – Second recorded entry, Father Carissa writes that his headquarters have moved to Álamos of the declining population in Real Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

1687
February – Father Kino stops in Álamos for two days Alamos to raise money for new mission construction in Sonora and the Californias missions. He successfully established a chain of mission in northern Sonora and southern Arizona, no doubt with the help of Álamos silver. On his first visit he wrote, Wealthy gentlemen and merchants are building at the scene of the rush a real, or mining town, with casas reales, church and residents ranged around the plaza.”

1687
Tarahumare Indians revolt. Álamos becomes headquarters of Spanish operations against Indians.

1688
General Andrés de Rezábal with Spanish soldiers, Mayo and Zuaqui Indians end the Tarahumare uprising.

1689
General Andrés de Rezábal has a watchtower built on “Cerro de la Compana” – Bell Hill. If Álamos was threatened by Indians a bell would be rung to warn the town.

1690
Assay office established. Headquarters for long pack trains, as many as 1000 mules, hauling silver bars to Mexico city two to four times a year depending on weather.

1695
Real de Guadalupe is seat of all civil – military authority.

1695
First assayer was Spanish Juan Salvador Esquer.
( This is marginal information )

1697
Base for Military operations in the Tarahumara rebellion.

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Álamos 1500 – 1599

pond on sierra de alamos during the summer. alamos, sonora, mexico. photo by anders tomlinson

This was then and this is now on Sierra de Álamos.

♦ Before the Europeans

Calimaya, as it was known by the Yaquis and Mayos, was the region surrounding Alamos. The Yaquis, proud and warlike, and the Mayos, friendly and peaceful, both spoke Taracahitan language dialects. The Alamos basin was the land of the Mayo, Warihio and Basiroa. The Basiroa Indians may have had camps in La Aduana and Agua Escondida arroyos. There were as many as 115,000 indigenous people in Sonora and Sinola before the Spanish slave traders arrived. These Indigenous people, speaking one of 18 Cahita dialects, were the largest Indian group in Northern Mexico, and lived along the lower reaches of the Sinaloa, Fuerte, Mayo and Yaqui rivers. The Spanish called these agriculturalist Indians, spread out across the region in small groups, “rancheria people”.

♦ The Spanish are Coming, The Spanish are Coming

1517
Diego de Velázquez, governor of Cuba, sends two ships owned by Bizkaian Lope Ochoa de Salcedo and led by 
Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, the first European to visit Mexico, to explore the Yucatán peninsula. They sail along the Yucatán and Gulf of Mexico for six months collecting gold worth over $20,000 pesos and encounter a wide variety of cultures and lands proving it is a major land mass and not another island. Local Indians killed fifty and captured several more Spanish explorers. Córdoba’s report, on his return to Cuba, makes Governor Diego de Velásquez decide to have Hernán Cortés command a larger, stronger force back to Mexico. Cortés, like all early explores, hopes to discover a route to Asia and its immense riches in spices and other resources.

1519

February, Cortés sails from Cuba on 11 ships loaded with over 450 soldiers, 16 horses and a large number of supplies. Cortés arrives in Yucatán and takes control of the town of Tabasco. Here the Spanish learn of the Aztec empire ruled by Moctezuma II. Dismissing Velasqué orders, Cortés goes on and founds the city of Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico directly east of Mexico City. Cortés begins his famous march inward into Mexico, using the strength of his forces to form an important alliance with the Tlascalans, enemies of the Aztecs. Cortés’s also traveled with an entourage of 400, including capture Indians and a woman translator Malinche, who becomes Cortés’s mistress.

1519
November – Cortés and his men arrive at Tenochtitlán where they are welcomed as honored guests by Moctezuma and his people due to the Spaniard’s resemblance to Quetzalcoatl, a legendary light-skinned god-king whose return was prophesied in Aztec legend. Cortés takes Moctezuma hostage and controls Tenochtitlán.

1521

August 13: After a bloody series of conflicts–involving the Aztecs, the Tlascalans and other native allies of the Spaniards, and a Spanish force sent by Velásquez to contain Cortés – Cortés finally defeats the forces of Montezuma’s nephew, Cuauhtémoc (who became emperor after his uncle was killed in 1520) to complete his conquest of Tenochtitlán. His victory marks the fall of the once-mighty Aztec empire. Cortés razes the Aztec capital and builds Mexico City on its ruins; it quickly becomes the premier European center in the New World.

The above entries. 1519 to 1521,  are from A History Timeline of Mexico

1519
Mexico’s Indian population was estimated to be as high as 25 million in 1519 and as low as 4.5 million, most living in the great valley of Mexico. For more info visit Cambridge Mexico population study, and in particular Population estimate table

1520 to 1580
Fully 80 percent of the ships making voyages between Europe and the Americas are either Basque-manned and/or owned by Basque commercial interests.

1523
The Indian population in Mexico may have been reduced to 16.8 million

1529
December of 1529, Nuno Beltran de Guzman, once a lawyer, led an army of 500 Spanish and 10,000 Tlaxcalans, Aztecs and Tarascans into Sinola.

1531
March of 1531, Guzman defeated 30,000 Indians and founded what is present day Culíacan. Many that survived were captured and enslaved. Later, Guzman’s Amerindian army was wiped out by epidemics and hunger. His was a reign of terror. Spanish colonialization was approaching Alamos.

1533
Diego de Guzman, nephew of Nuño de Guzman, walks through on well-trod Indian trails. He was looking for Indian slaves. He may have been the first European to walk through present day Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. He went as far north as the Yaqui River before being stopped by hostile Yaquis.
Some accounts mention the Spanish being turned back by an elderly man in black robes who drew a line in the sand. Others talk about the vastly outnumbered Spanish turning around to avoid combat with the hostile Yaquis warriors.

1535
The Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio de Mendoza, begins hearing of Guzmán’s atrocities in 1931 involving the Indians and, urged on by Franciscan Father Bartolomé de las Casas and Bishop Zumárraga, he has Guzmán arrested in 1535.
Mendoza returns Guzmán to Spain in 1536 where he dies in obscurity in 1544.

1530’s
Alavar Nuñez Cabeza de Vasa may have neen the first european to reach present day Arizona. He too probably walked through Álamos along Indian trails headed towards Culíacan

1536
Cabeza de Vaca arrives in Mexico City with news of the even Cities of Cibola and its plentiful gold and silver. Viceroy Don Antonio de Mendosa listened with great interest and decides to fund an expedition north.

1539
Franciscan priest Marcos de Niza was appointed leader of Mendoza’s expedition. Estéban the Moor, who had traveled with Cabeza de Vaca, was the guide. They left Culíacan March 7, 1539. The expedition was forced back to Culíacan with little but talk of cities of gold and silver. Estéban had been killed by Indians

1540
Vásquez de Coronado with a large military expedition left Compstela, Navarit and traveled through Sinola and Sonora. de Coronado is thought to have camped on Guadalupe Hill in Alamos. The camp site was called Real de los Frailes, Real de la Limpia Concepcion de los Alamos and Real de Guadalupe

1543
Cristóbal de Oñate makes the first mining strikes in Nueva Galacia: Silver at Espíritu Santo, Guachinango, Xocotlán and Etzatlán – and gold at Xaltepec. The strikes are small, but they encourage new settlement in the area

There are some who think members of Guzman’s expedition, slave traders or Indians, had mined silver near Álamos as early as 1543.

1544
The first book published in the New World is written by Bishop Zumárraga. Titled Doctrina Breve, it instructs the Aztecs, in their own language, about Catholicism

1548
The mexican Indian population may have been reduced cut to 6.3 million by 1548.

1564
In my notes I had a reference to Francisco Ibarra and 1564. I do not know why. As I go through my notes it may become clearer. I did research on Franciso Ibarra and found these entries in a timeline of Basques in New Spain:

1549 — At the age of 10, Francisco de Ibarra comes to the New World to join his uncle Diego de Ibarra.
1554 — Francisco de Ibarra leads his first expedition at the age of 16. At age 17, he leads the first authorized exploration north and west of Zacatecas. Between 1554 and 1574, he and Juan de Tolosa conquer the area of northern Mexico.Northern Mexico is now comprised of the present states of Durango, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sinaloa, Sonora, and some parts of Zacatecas, San Luis de Potosí and León. In the 1560’s Ibarra carries out extensive exploration, conquest and settlement of the unknown lands north of San Martín and names the area Nueva Viscaya after his homeland in the Basque Country.

1572
Jesuits arrive in New Spain.

1580
The Indian population continued to decline in 1580 with an estimated 1.9 million survivors

1583 – 1584
First settlements north of Culíacan in an attempt to bolster Spanish control of northern Sinola.

1590 -1591
Jesuit priests Gonzalo Tapia and Martin Perez establish a mission in Culíacan.

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♦ Other Álamos, Sonora Mexico timelines:

1600 – 1699 timeline

1700 – 1799 timeline

1800 – 1849 timeline

1850 – 1899 timeline

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This is a work in progress.
If you have additional dates and events send a comment

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©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Aduana Mining 1910

This is taken from the Mining and Scientific Press – April 16, 1910 – page 553.
Photos of Aduana, Sonora, Mexico in 1995 by Anders Tomlinson.

Álamos – Promonitos District by T. P. Brinegar.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

In the windy hills of Aduana mining ghosts are there to be seen and felt.

The mines which constitute this group are on the mineral zone which crosses the Alamos Mountains about seven miles west of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. The heart of the zone lies within a rectangular surface 1.5 miles by 4 miles long, which commences at the Zambona mine, near Minas Nuevas, on the northeast, and extends southwest to include the Old Promontorio and San José mines. Precious metals were discovered in this region early in the eighteenth century, and the quantities yielded by this group alone have exceeded $100,000,000 in value. According to Camboa’s ‘Treatise on Mining” one remittance, in 1799 under charge to Alvarez, amounted to more than 1600 bars of silver. Humboldt noted in his records, 1808, that he “passed a train of over one thousand mules loaded with bars of solver from these mines on their way to the City of Mexico.” The production became so great that the Government was induced to establish a mint in Alamos for the special purpose of coining the metals produced at this point.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

Thousands of people have lived and mined here.

The geological formation is clearly revealed. The basel rock of the region is granite which has been disturbed by powerful deep-seated forces. From these earth-disturbances originated two well defined fissure-zones. The uplift of the earth-crust on the southwest formed the Alamos mountains, and its subsidence on the northwest resulted in many irregular folds, which were covered by extensive volcanic eruptives, chiefly of an andesite type. In turn this was covered by sediments, the larger part being limestone. The conditions were favorable for erosion, which reduced the elevation several thousand feet. The fissure-zones, under present surface conditions, are about 5,000 feet apart, striking in a northeast direction. Both have granite ‘floors’ or foot-walls, and dip toward each other. Between them is a ‘core’ of andesite porphyry which forms the hanging wall of each vien-zone. This core was the was the centre of subsequent dynamaic activity, shown by the evidence of upheavals and the rearranged condition of the strata. In it are found many igneous dikes. Constant movement between the walls of the fissure-zones served to keep them open to the free circulation of mineral-bearing solutions. Cerra Cacharamba, a volcanic ‘neck’ 3700 feet above sea-level, is the landmark of the district, and Humboldt during his visit to the camp in 1908, wrote figuratively that, “Cacharamba rests on a bed of silver”. It seems that the past hundred years of mining near its base has demonstrated that the great scientist was not far amiss in his rhetoric.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

To think here was once the world’s great silver mines .

The fissure-zones have been designated as east and west contacts. The east contact is the ‘mother-lode’ of the zone, and is generally known as the Promontoric – Quintera vein. The names of the productive mines situated on the several big ore-shoots of the vein are, Old Promontories, Quintera, Santo Domingo, and Zambona. The Púlipito on the north and the Nueva Promontorio on the south are new properties in course of development and which have mineralized veins that promise future productiveness. generally, mixed ores are extracted from mines on the east contact, which are found in the form of oxides near the surface and turn into rich sulphides in depth. Some of the ore-shoots are over 700 feet long, and in many places over 40 feet wide. Gray copper is the principal ore from this lode, and its fabulous quantities and high silver content are almost unparalleled in the annals of mining. These mines are owned by different companies, each of which has more ‘likely’ ground that it will explore in a score of years.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

How far away could the mining smoke be seen?

The west contact is best known as the san Jose – Claraboya vein. Through the past two centuries it has remained comparatively unexplored. The mineral de Santa Rosa ( Claraboya ) is said to be the oldest in the camp, and from the large drill-holes found in the old Tajos ( open cuts ). one can give credence to the tradition that ” it was the rich mine of the early fathers.” The San Jose – Claraboya is a well defined vein of creamy to reddish – brown quartz, as shown in the workings on the lower levels of the two mines of the same names. In the upper workings or shear zone, the vein branches into seven parts, all of which unite in depth forming a large body about 40 feet wide. The groups of mines which have been under process of development during the past year are: Claraboya, San-Jose, San Clemente, and Plata-Fina. El Ultimo, Parra, and Olividos are held as important prospects. The ores from the mines on the west contact yield native silver, oxides, and gold. They are very docile, and readily yield to simple economic treatment. The assay values range from 15 to 5000 oz. silver and up to $70.00 in gold. the old dumps of the Claraboya have been very profitable to the owner who has been reworking them during the past two years. His developing the mine which an “adit which is giving good results.“(?) The San Jose is regarded as the ‘mascot’ of the camp. it was bought by G.W. DuPes about a year ago, since which time he has been developing and shipping ore, and erecting machinery. The Plata-Fina is between the San Jose and Claraboya, and adjoining them. It is being developed by a shaft on the junction of several veins. The San Clemente is owned by Rafael Ibara, president of the town of Promontories. The ore extracted more than pays expenses, and the owner regards it as the best prospect he has ever owned. These new workings, along with the Pulpito and Nueva Pomomtorio on the east contact, go to show what great possibilities await the judicious investment of capital along these two great fissure-veins. Side by side with these great mines are many undeveloped prospects that, judge by surface indications, warrant exploration.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

life goes on as past, present and future coincide.

The district possesses favorable economic conditions for mine operations. The altitude averages about 2,000 feet above sea-level, and gives a climate, modified by the gulf-breezes, that is as healthy as any place on the Pacific Ocean. Water is abundant and of the best quality. The west part of the zone as access to the wooded hills to the southwest where such fuel is cheap. The transportation facilities are now good, as the recent completion of the Southern pacific Railroad of Mexico affords an outlet from Mínas Nuevas, and good wagon – roads lead to Masiacs, also on the railroad, and to the nearby seaport of Agiabampo. The cost of living and freighting is low.

mine ruins in la aduana, sonora, mexico. which is seven miles west of alamos, sonora, mexico  photo by anders tomlinson

The land is resting. an La Aduana goes on and on.

 This was given to me by a man who had learned of my interest in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico history. He asked me to visit his home that evening on Calle Madero. He told me that he had once been the city manager of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico and took pleasure in sharing his history library. He gave me the above article. I will look in my Alamos notes for his name: He may have been Jose Fabian Villegas Puentes.

When T. P. Brinegar wrote this the Alamos mint had been closed for 15 years. Most of mines had closed by 1909 because of politics, revolution and expensive quicksilver making mining unprofitable. The railroad from Alamos to Navajoa started operations in 1907 and would stop in 1933. Mr. Brinegar seems to have been a mining industry promoter, ever the optimist, and saw things more with his heart than his mind. None-the-less, this article does give one a sense of the geology and scope of Aduana – Promotories mining… Anders Tomlinson.

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

History Medallions

36- A walk through modern history at Escuela Paulito Verjan …

History walk at Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The air is sweet with blossoms, night birds call, and ghosts walk.

The streets are empty. I will see no else on this walk from Calle Comercio to the Middle School and back. But I am not alone. I am with everyone that have walked this very night walk through the years. My shoes fall in their footprints. There is rustling in flowering vines.

History walk Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Shadows are small as the sun nears its zenith. Medallions speak of other zeniths.

How many times as this man took this path to Alamos Centro? How many times has he stopped to read a history medallion? How many times has he appreciated where he is? How many times has he felt grateful this is where his family is? Some of his grand children, at this momen,t may be behind the school’s portales studying.

1684 history medallion, Escuela Paulito Verjan, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Alamos is now an official city as Spanish colonization continues north and west.

1684, sixteen-eighty-four, and Alamos is part of the new frontier. Thinking back makes me wonder about the future. 2084, twenty- eighty-four, and what will one see standing in this very spot? And, 2184, twentyone-eighty-four? and… Whoa! Time to take a couple of deep breathes and enjoy being in the present.

first printing press in sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Civilizations mature and expand with the introduction of printing presses.

History is the record of events occurring and needs being fulfilled. It is easy to ask what came first. The answer, or better yet answers, are part of a grand multiple causation continuum and are not that easy to formulate. But we try, that is part of being human.

history medallion for first publication in Sonora, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Being the first in Sonora meant being the first in the Californias.

This is another milestone in the development of Sonora and all of western settlement. Here, it is easy to answer what came first. First, there was a printing press and then there was a publication. It is the human way. Alamos, Sonora, Mexico has a long and literate history.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Conasupo

40 … Government agencies come and government agencies go …

Conasuop warehouse, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Conasupo, Compania Nacional de Subsistenias Populares, was everywhere.

In the mid-60’s Conasupo was created. Conasupo would impact agricultural policies, food products, food consumption and rural economics throughout Mexico. The Alamos Conasupo distribution warehouse was in the barrios northwest of Alamos Centro and served all of the Alamos municipality. Following the debt crisis of 1982, Conasupo was reformed by the Mexican Government as part of a market liberalization process. For villages, ranches and the poor – Conasupo meant access to subsidized food staples like corn tortillas.

Conasupo truck, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Big truck, large mission, enormous landscape.

Conasupo was seen on signs and trucks throughout Alamos and all of Mexico. It managed stores that sold food staples to the urban and rural poor. Conasupo controlled production, processing and distribution of barley, beans, corn, rice, sorghum, soy beans, wheat, copra, cotton, sesame and sun flowers. It was the Mexican government managing Mexico’s food chain. And it was also human nature taking advantage of opportunities. Corruption and Conasupo were one and the same in the eyes of Conasupo detractors.

loading Conasupo truck, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Boxes, bags, sacks and materials are loaded to be distributed far and wide.

During the 80’s and 90’s the Mexican political landscape was changing with intervention of the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, and the World Trade Organization, WTO. Conasupo began terminating one market-control-crop-subsidy after another. In 1999 the Zedillo administration eliminated corn tortilla subsidies and finally liquidated Conasupo. Direct government intervention in agricultural markets was coming to a close. For the young man above, lifting one heavy sack after another, it meant finding a new job.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Geologic Timeline

A step back in time starting with the coming of the age of mammals…

Atop Sierra de Alamos at sunrise, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Atop Sierra de Alamos, near Gringo Point, looking south at sunrise into Sinola.

So much of Alamos-Sonora-Mexico.com is about history. In that spirit let us peek at the region’s geologic history, stand earth time. The Sierra Madre Occidental and the Rocky Mountains began to form 90 to 30 million years ago along the west coast of North America. Ocean levels were much higher than today, back then there was no Florida. The age of mammals started 66.4 million years ago. Sierra de Alamos was beginning under great pressure deep in the earth along with what would become Aduana’s silver deposits.

Granite Outcroppings on Sierra de Alamos, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Sierra de Alamos is granite, only recently has it emerged from the earth.

Northwest Mexico, including Alamos, was buried under thousands of feet of ash, cinder and lava flows. Volcanic eruptions began 25 million years ago and continued another 12 million years, give or take a day or two. The Sea of Cortez began to form 12 to 3 million years ago as the Basin and Range block building was underway. Sierra de Alamos was still underneath a layer of all things volcanic. Over time erosion cut into ash flow plateaus creating landmarks like Barrancas del Cobre, Copper Canyon, whose materials were washed away and deposited near Sierra de Alamos. The rising mountain was still cover by blankets of earth.

View from atop Mt. al;amos looking south west, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by anders Tomlinson.

Atop the mountain looking southwest towards farmland and the Sea of Cortez.

As time marched on climate changed. The region began to cool 15 to 30 million years ago. Two to four million years ago it was warming up and raining. Most of the past two million years has been an ice age with 15 to 20 glacial periods. And now the planet is warming again. From a distant gallery it may look as if earth’s climate ebbs and flows like clockwork as the solar winds race past our blue planet, a molten rock with the thinest of crust and atmosphere.

Atop Mt. Alamos looking north at Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Spring time on the mountain looking north with Alamos waking up below.

Today, Sierra de Alamos rises thousands of feet above its surroundings. And many have visited Alamos to research the region’s geology, flora and fauna. Josephine Scripps was asked by the San Diego Natural History Museum in the 1940’s to lead a group of six young men, none who spoke spanish, on a natural science expedition to Alamos. They were to bring back a rare mountain sheep’s skeleton and hide. Josphine, 1910 -1992, was the granddaughter of Edward Scripps, founder of the Scripps – Howard newspaper chain. Her life-long pursuit of collecting mineral specimens from across the planet began on that trip to Alamos.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

La Aduana

The landscape of La Aduana has rebounded from the best and worst of man..

Street in La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Downtown Aduana on a typical weekday morning. Remants of mining dot the hills.

Spanish conquistador Vasquez de Coronado camped here during the winter of 1540-41. He was searching for gold in what turned out to be mountains with veins of silver. The mines closed in 1906 after nearly 400 years of continuous mining. La Aduana was the “custom office”, it was all about taxes and royalties. Life was hard and short with the hazards of the mines and the chemicals used in the extraction process. The curse of quicksilver had a wide footprint.

Looking east at La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Today, seven miles west of Alamos, Aduana is what it is.

Here seven miles west of Alamos, at 2,500 feet elevation with surrounding mountains as high as 4,700 feet, Aduana has less than 300 people where once there was 5,000. A church, country store, cemetery, a small restaurant-inn, a plaza with a dry fountain in its center surrounded by the past is Aduana today. And for some this is their home. And these are their hills with their months of desert and long summer of jungle.

Cooperativa Artesanos La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The woman come out to show their wares when visitors arrive.

Located near the church is La Aduana Art & Crafts. This is a cooperative of local ladies, seen here, with their products. This photo was taken in 1997. I wonder what Aduana is like today. I know the dust is the same and radios and televisions sing and speak from isolated homes. But has the realities of 2011 arrived? While researching Aduana on the internet I was surprised to see alamos-sonora-mexico.com being quoted, some would say plagiarized, by others sites. Indeed, this is 2011. In the next wave of Alamos video editing – mid May, scenes from Aduana will be posted.

cactus in wall of la adauna church, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

A cactus grows out of a church wall and people come to pray.

This is not the London Bridge or the Grand Canyon but it is a quiet moment, in a now quiet town, that inspires those who believe.

burros drinking watr in la aduana, sonora, mexico.  photo by anders tomlinson.

Two generations gather for a drink at the local water hole - more puddle.

These burros could be descendants of working Aduana burros from the 1600’s. It was a hard life: grinding down ore in quicksilver or moving silver from the mines, to the Alamos treasury to Mexico City and back for another trip loaded with needed supplies.
Beasts of burden relax and calm La Aduana morning. Birds and insects fill the sky with sound. It is becoming warmer.
entrance to a mine in La Aduana, Sonora, Mexico.  photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Just think of all that took place deep within this silver mine. Think of the men. Think of how and why they are there. Think of their typical day. Think of where they laid down to sleep. Think of what they eat.

Here was Silver

Once this was a major silver mining town in all the world. Today, it is tucked away up in the hills with a quiet plaza and dry fountain. It is calm. Mining remnants dot the hillside. They are reminders of what was and what is.
Photos and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Music from “Camino Songs” by SonicAtomics.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Maria Felix

23 … The view out this window has changed over the past century…

Old adobe ruin at Galeana 41, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

There was a day that this was the edge of town looking west towards wilderness.

1914 was in the middle of turbulent times for the region. Yaquis and Mayos were joining forces with Obregon and Villa’s armies. Venustiano Carranza became the third Mexican President in two years. One of them, Francisco Madero, was assassinated. Hard times were here. Maria de los Angeles Felix Guerrean was born April 8, 1914. This window looked out from her birth place. She had eleven sisters and brothers. They lived here until 1929 when they left for Guadalajara. Soon her beauty would be nationally recognized.

Galeana 41, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Gary Ruble.

An Alamos beauty walks down Calle Galeana in 1993. Photo by Gary Ruble.

This is where Maria Felix was born and raised, riding horseback in a land that was losing its mines. Her father was of Yaqui Indian blood and her Spanish blood mother was raised in a Pico Heights, California convent. Much of the beauty that is seen in the faces of Alamos is a product of interlocking bloodlines that span the globe. There are European, Asian, eastern Indian, Philippine and indigenous Indian features across town. Maria described herself as ” a woman with a man’s heart.” She was a commanding presence, a beautiful liberator, a woman beyond her times. She made 47 films in Mexico and France. She became internationally recognized. She published a bestselling autobiography in 1993, All My Wars. And this is where her life’s journey began..

Galeana 41, 1996, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Step forward in time, it is now September 1996, late afternoon.

Hurricane Fausto was the storm that leveled the walls. The window is gone. Galeana #41 is now a mother of all ruins. A passing carriage takes tourists around town. Tomorrow would be another day. In 1999, Lynda Barondes bought Galeana #41. She was to learn later that this was the birthplace of Maria Felix. In 2002, part of Lynda’s restoration efforts, a Museum opened here with three rooms dedicated to the spirit Maria Felix embodied. The Museum closed in 2012 as Lynda sold the property and moved to the nearby southern foothills overlooking Alamos.

Buckle-up as we take a super fast-rock n’ roll car ride through Alamos on a grey winter day.
Driving Across Alamos on an overcast December day starts at La Puerta Roja Inn. We head east and circle the Plaza de Las Armas before heading to the Panteon – Cemetery. We head back to La Puerta Roja exploring different routes. The best way to travel is walking. Video…

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Short History

Back in the Old West When There Was No Old West

The Chuc

Looking west, explorer Coronado was struck by this mountain and landscape.

Tucked away in a picturesque valley in the foothills of the Sierra Madre is an enchanted Shangri-La that sings of other eras. Indians called this region Calimaya long before Spanish Explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540, ” here is something special…

The Spaniards called this land Real de los Frailes because of some tall white rocks resembling hooded monks overlooking a small Indian village shaded by cottonwoods.

These towering rocks speak loudly. They call for, and command, your attention.

In 1683, 143 years after Coronado, two abundant veins of silver were discovered seven miles to the west of present day Alamos. The mines of Aduana and Minas Nuevas, in a zone 4.5 by 1.5 miles, produced an estimated $100,000,000 in 1910 dollars.

Aduana is now a sleepy little village amid mine ruins.

Soon, Alamos was the richest and most important city on the El Camino Real. Juan de Anza arrived and departed Alamos sometime in the spring of 1775 with local families and freshly mined silver to settle San Francisco. Alamos money and citizens were also vital for expeditions that settled Monterey, Santa Barbara and five years later, Los Angeles. Father Kino used the Royal treasury to finance a chain of missions in northern Sonora and southern Arizona. The Bishop and Governor resided in Alamos, as did the first high school, printing press and newspaper and important trading center.

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♦  A timeline of De Anza in 1775

1775
January – de Anza, in Mexico City, begins to organize his expedition to to colonize San Francisco.

1775
March – de Anza begins recruiting colonizers in Culiacan, Province of Sinaloa, Mexico.

1775
April 5 – de Anza is recorded as being in Culiacan

1775
March, April, May – de Anza continued recruiting in the villages of Sinaloa and El Fuerte in the Province of Sinaloa, and Álamos, in Sonora. 30 citizens from Álamos, more than any other community, had joined the expedition, now more tHan 250 soldiers and colonizers.

1775
May 1 – de Anza is in El Fuerte.

1775
May 13 – de Anza, Espinosa and six presidial soldiers meet up with Moraga between Álamos and Horcasitas.

1775
June 22 – de Anza in San Miguel de Horcasitas

1775
July 22 – September 13 – diary notes indicate de Anza was in San Miguel de Horcasitas, Terrenate, Cocóspera, Mission San Ignacio… During this period of time the Apaches were restless.

1775
September 29 – de Anza’s expedition leaves Horcasitas, just north of Alamos. From Pedro Font’s diary notes.

1775
October 16 – de Anza arrives in Tubac from Horcasitas in mid-and continues preparations there

1775
October 23 – de Anza’s expedition left Tubac on with some 300 people and 1000 head of livestock. There were no wagons or carts. All supplies were loaded on pack mules every morning and unloaded every night. The expedition was headed to the SF Bay Area following reports of a great river flowing into the bay.
The goal was to establish a presido, mission and San Franciso settlement.

1776
March – de Anza arrived in Monterey, California.

1776
March 28 – Mexican Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, Lt. Jose Moraga, and Franciscan priest Pedro Font arrived at the tip of San Francisco. De Anza planted a cross at what is now Fort Point. They camped at Mountain Lake and searched inland for a more hospitable area and found a site they called Laguna de los Dolores or the Friday of Sorrows since the day was Friday before Palm Sunday.

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The plaza was the heartbeat of Alamos as it grew in power and prestige.

The lure of silver brought international miners from Europe and other continents. On the Sea of Cortez galleons from Asia, Phillipines and Europe called on the port of Huatabampo loaded with cargo, a week by burro from Alamos. They brought luxuries such as silk and satin and the world’s finest furniture. Opera Companies visited. China minted coins here. Merchants came from India and Japanese supervised a silk factory. The indigenous population included Mayos, Yaquis, and Tarahumaras. Hordes of miners and traders, who endured great hardships in their travels, overran Alamos.

As many as 30,000 people made Alamos their home during the peak of its glory in the 18th century. Here, new Spain was pomp and circumstance with a beautiful Church, grand haciendas built in the style of Andalusia, Spain, flower-filled patios, romantic serenades, elegant carriages, flourishing commerce, and mines that ranked amongst the most productive in the world.

The Past is Alive in the Structures and the Sparkle of an Eye.

For the past 300 years Alamos has been built and shaped by families of wealth and taste. Experienced builders and skilled craftsmen, through good times and bad, have gone about town building and restoring ruins. Today it is a National Colonial Monument, an ageless tribute to the men and women who entrusted their designs, possessions and dreams to the future.

The Plaza was the prize, conquer the Plaza and Alamos was yours.

The Sunday promenade in Plaza de Armas goes back to the 1680’s. In peaceful times families gathered here for conversation, worship and grand public celebrations. The church and prominent colonial mansions were built surrounding the plaza for protection against the Indians: Tarahumara, Yaquis, Mayos and Apaches. Later, the plaza afforded a prestigious address.

Looking down from the Church at a street sweeper on Calle Comercio.

The Alameda, the commercial center of Alamos, was laid out in 1769.

For Every Action There is An Equal and Opposite Reaction.

With prosperity came hardship. The poor could not afford the inflated prices of merchandise shipped by pack trains from Guadalajara and Mexico City, a hazardous trek that took four months. Indians were used as slaves or cheap labor. Sanitation and disease were a problem: in 1770 alone plague wiped out 6,000 people.

There are times when the Plaza is quiet and reflective and there are times when…

There were continual power struggles between Colonels, Governors, Admirals, Priests, Bishops, and an unending parade of Royal emissaries. The city was heavily taxed by the Crown and by those who controlled the local territory. Political instability raged, treaties and agreements were broken. Alamos had its ups and downs depending on the mood of the day, month and seasons.

Alamos endured two centuries of siege mentality and the prize was control of silver and politics. At one time or another the plaza was overrun by the Spanish, Mexican colonists, Federalists, Liberals, French, Apaches, Independents, Reformers, Pancho Villa, Renegade soldiers and bandits. Along with droughts, pestilence and floods Indians continued constant uprising. Apaches came south to plunder and the independent Tarahumara sought revenge for their forced slavery. By 1849 only 4,000 people remained in Alamos. The miners had left for California’s gold rush.

And Then They Were Gone.

Trade shifted from El Camino Real to coastline ports. Plazas, arches, ornate ironwork, hand carved wood, high ceilings and cobblestone streets fell upon hard times. Roofs caved in leaving two to five foot thick walls open to the sky. The once great patios filled with debris. Despite the wars, bad weather and impoverished neglect. old families stayed, as did some miners. Alamos continued on… the sun would rise another day in this land that remained in a forgotten age.

The streets of this National Colonial Monument echo history, here, one is never alone.

The Plaza is peaceful these days. Alamos streets are safe from intruders and invaders.
Town folks sleep well at night knowing tomorrow is another day, another song, another hug, another laugh, another challenge, another moment to be part of Alamos…

And Then Along Came A Man Named Levant.

Not until the 1950’s did a lone American, Levant Alcorn, come to the cobble stone streets, and see the potential for the future. He saw value in the plazas, arches, ornate iron-work, carved wood doors, high ceilings, five-foot thick walls and proximity to the United States International border.

Late in his life, a childlike Levant had a quick smile and a fading memory.

He began to acquire ruined mansions. Soon, he was selling property to independent Americans hoping to realize their dream standard of living. Restoration projects began and continue today. Now, Alamos has over 200 American families as part of its social fabric.

Roofs are always in need of repair. They are also another place to relax.

Each wall, every window and door is a story. Where did it come from, how and when did it get here? Was it made by an Alamos or imported craftsmen?

There is a prideful sense of ownership that comes with undertaking a restoration project that in reality will never end. And there is a humble realization that the casa is really owned by history and this is but a brief opportunity to be part of a continuum of gatekeepers and masters.

Restoration-maintenance is an industry, it is a way of life. Owners, maestros, workers
and house-help are a team that can last a lifetime.

Think of the coats of paint these columns have worn over the past 200 years.

An introduction to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
“Here is something Special”, Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540 as he headed north, passing by tall white rocks on Alamos de Sierra. This is the opening chapter to “A Short History of Alamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by SonicAtomics and Estudiantina de Alamos.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza arrived and departed from Alamos in the spring of 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco. Another expedition, five years later, left Alamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico embraces the Sierra Madre.
Here, Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral in the Plaza, a three-tiered belfry, shines gold in morning light. Here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding beauty of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. Together, they shape the Alamos experience.

now and then spacer

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Population History

55… Talking population: past, present and future…

Independence day celebration in Plaza, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Alamos school kids attend Independence Day celebration in the Plaza.

When I think of Alamos I think of its history and my first question is how many Indians were in the area when Diego de Guzman, nephew of Spanish explorer Cortes, passed through the region in 1533 on well traveled native trails. Mexico’s Indian population was estimated to be as high as 25 million in 1519, most living in the great valley of Mexico. By 1523 the considered Indian population had been reduced to 16.8 million and further cut to 6.3 million by 1548. The Indian population continued to decline in 1580 with a thought of 1.9 million and one million in 1605. If these numbers are any way close to what actually happened they speak of apocalyptic times for Mexico’s Indians.

Kissing Alley, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

People from many nations have walked, for centuries, on these cobblestones.

The population of Alamos through the years is sketchy at best. The first information I could find was for 1760 when Alamos had an estimated 800 families and a population of 3,400 with 5 – 6 priests. At this time the world’s population was 846 million.
6,000 are estimated to have died from the plague in 1770.
1780 Alamos reaches its largest population, 15,000 to 30,000. Can you imagine what the lifestyles of both rich and poor were in this protected valley at that time?

Funeral procession, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The stories of population are the stories of birth, migration and death.

Alamos populations fluctuated during the 19th Century as mining and political interests rising rose and fell, came and left.1800, Alamos estimated population was 9,000.
1803, there are some 7,900 folks here.
The world’s population reached one billion by 1804.
1825, Alamos population is an estimated 5,000 to 7,000.
1837, an interestingly specific figure of 2,872 people is noted.
1849, 4,300 inhabitants call Alamos home. At this time many miners have, or are, leaving for the California gold fields.
1850 – 1880, the population apparently remains a steady 5,000.
The first official Mexican census was accomplished in 1895.

Night time in the Plaza, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Through feast and famine there has been a Sunday promenade in the Plaza.

Here is an outline of the population in 1908: 10,000 for the region. This figure is then broken down to 3,000 in Alamos, 1,000 in Aduana, 1,000 in Navajoa, 1,000 in Promontories, 1,000 in Minas Nuevas and 1,000 in Camoa.
The world’s population reaches two billion in 1927.
The population estimate for the region in 1940, official census count, was 21,477: 11,543 men and 9,835 women. I found another from another source that the population of the city at this time may have been 5,369 hombres and 4,848 mujeres over the age of six.
The world’s population reaches three billion in 1960, four billion in 1974, and five billion in 1987.
The census for 1990 has Alamos with 6.132 inhabitants and a total of 13,000 for the municipality.
The world’s population reaches six billion in 1999 and is forecasted to reach seven billion in 2011.
Today, Alamos population estimates are 13,000 for the city and 30,000 in the municipality.

And here is a thought for the future, the largest migration across the USA – Mexico border may not be south to north, as it has been in the past, but retired baby boomers heading south during the coming decades. Planet Earth is always in motion, always changing.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

Alamos Horses

100… An Alamos moment with some horses…

A horse on Calle Comercio, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

A solitary horse stands in the middle of Calle Comercio.

A man in the background is working on repairing a drain spout Calle Comercio. Behind the horse is the former Governor’s mansion. Why is this horse here? Because it is here. In the bigger picture the answer could be that Christopher Columbus brought the first domesticated horses on his second voyage to the new world. His expedition selected 25 horses from Andalusia including the Spanish Jennet, know for their athleticism, medium size and comfortable gait. The Spanish royal architects who laid out Centro Alamos as it is found today were also from Andalusia.

Hernandez de Cordoba in 1517 brought horses to Yucatan. Conquistador Cortez set sail with 16 horses, 500 men and 11 ships in February 1519. He landed on Mayan territory in the Yucatan peninsula and marched inland to what is now Mexico City. Today, Andalusians are bred with quarter-horses and Mexican Criolla to produce the Mexican Azteca, beautiful and durable. The horse above, living in the moment, is unaware of all of this.

Horse near buckets of food scraps put out for trash pickup, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

The lone horse knows there is food in the trash buckets waiting for pickup.

The horse has found food scraps to rummage through. Food is food. While taking this photo I wondered if someone realized this horse was possibly not where this horse should be? And, would they go looking for the horse or is this a regular occurrence and the horse returns unassisted? A horse on its own in Centro Alamos is not a common sight but it should not be a surprise given Alamos, Sonora, Mexico’s old west nature.

Posts for hoses to tie up to, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Looking through the Museos' window at the old Alamos fort's front door.

All of Centro Alamos is a museum as illustrated by looking out Museo de Costumbrista de Sonora’s northern windows and seeing La Ciudadella, one of the oldest and best kept buildings on the Plaza. This was the town’s original Spanish fort. It is said that a Spanish soldier’s ghost is here protecting hidden treasure. This ghost is not alone. There are reports of ghost throughout Centro Alamos, purchase a home and a ghost, or ghosts, come along in the deal.

Detail of horse head to tie up horses, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Small details tell stories and events that transcend time and space.

Mystery and magic are in the details seen from the street. Events are recorded in the weave and pattern of old sidewalks. Pride can be found in the well-intended performances of skilled workmen and artisans. Days of old remain with the care and respect of today’s owners and helpers. It is community mindset and municipal dictate that perpetuates past legacies.
The streets of Alamos are living history.

The old fort off the main Plaza in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

Maria Louisa, the first owner of La Ciudadella, died from a loose ceiling brick.

La Ciudadella went from a government fort to a private residence to two residences and then restored back to one 22 room mansion. In the early days this was a fortified mansion to securely store silver bars from the Aduana mines. Behind these doors Important business was conducted that had implications as far north as San Francisico. Inside the compound there were ramps to move the treasure along with a dungeon, deep well and secret emergency escape tunnels.

When I visited La Ciudadella in 1995, David and Jennifer McKay were living there. I sat down with David at a big old table from the soldier’s mess hall and had a glass of water and a brief conversation. Today La Ciudadella, 15 Cardenas, is owned and watched over by Margo and Richard Howell. During the winter and spring seasons La Ciudadella is often included on the Saturday house tour that gathers at 10 or 11 a.m. in the Plaza. The modest house tour fee benefits local charitable organizations, this is a long-standing tradition.

Four horse scenes in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Horses can be seen on the streets and arroyos of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Counter clockwise from upper left: Independence Day celebrations feature horses, music, food and beer in the arroyos. A grandfather and grandson ride together on a quiet weekday in downtown Aduana. A summer rodeo and music concert is staged in the baseball park, nothing started on time. A young man walks his horse in front of the church.

Horse drawn tours of Centro Alamos started in the Plaza, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

A private entrepreneur started a tourist horse drawn carriage ride around town.

And now for a little horse history in Mexico. In 200,000 B.C. Equus Mexicanus were common in North America. Starting around 136,000 B.C. they began to leave for Asia. Some 76,000 years ago Toba, one of the world’s four super volcanos, errupted in Sumatra and wiped out many species on earth. The human population, reduced to a thousand breeding pairs, barely survived. In recent times the onager, a wild ass, was common throughout North America. And then the Spaniards arrived. In the background are the steps leading up to the Monastery, formerly the Boor’s mansion. The pink building on the corner is now the Alamos hostel.

four horse scenes on the streets and roads of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photos by Anders Tomlinson.

Be it for transportation or recreational activity the horse is part of Alamos.

Counter clockwise from upper left: A couple of charros, horsemen. pass Calle 5 de Febrero as they ride eastward in Arroyo La Aduana. Horses and riders gather and celebrate Independence Day in Arroyo La Aduana. A woman and child on horseback near the cemetery along Calle de Las Delicias. Man and horse rest as the Plaza fills with summer tourists.

Rock walled stables on

A magnificent Arabian purebred stands in the high noon warmth of spring

Dr. Martin Dale Edwards and Zora Tyler owned Rancho Las Crucecitas, a 15 minute walk from the Plaza, when these photos were taken in 1995. They had two large houses, with two caretaker families living in one, two barns and 23 corrals. Water was provided by an abundant well and a dam behind the main house which caught and stored runoff from Mt. Alamos. They had an Arabian breeding program that used the son of Fadjur as their primary stallion. We are not sure where Arabian horses came from: northern Syria, southern Turkey, northern edge of the Fertile Crescent, Iraq, across the Sinai, Egypt, southwestern Arabia… We do know that around 1500 B.C. records begin to appear talking of the impacts these powerful “hot blooded” Arabian horses were making.

Horses in front of the main house on what is now Estancia Chrysalis.

Soon the mountain behind the main ranch house will be vibrant green

These horses lived a different life than the horse on Calle Comercio that began this scene-segment-post. Life in the undisturbed country is much different than the narrow streets and homes wall to wall in downtown. These city homes do have their walled-in courts – patios where outdoor living, and privacy, is a given. But in the countryside, wide open spaces present an all encompassing freedom. Here, the sounds are of surrounding wildlife and of your own making. I believe Rancho Las Crucecitas was named for a murder that took place on the property where an old woman is buried. The herd of Arabian horses would die years later at Las Crucecitas from bad food or disease or? Something had gone terribly wrong.

Las Crucecitas’ 175 acres was purchased from Zora by Sharon Bernard and renamed Estancia Crysalis. Frank Bernard, her father, had owned a 1200 acre ranch that was three miles northwest of Alamos and might have been named Estancia Crysalis. He was a hotelman and a former Spanish Consul to Vancouver. After he sold the ranch its name was changed to Rancho El Palomar. Frank, and his second wife, Atie, then purchased Calle Comercio 8, the Bishop’s mansion in Alamos Centro. I met briefly with Frank in 1993 and he told me that I had brought a talented crew to film Alamos over the Christmas holidays. Horse spirits and ghosts are everywhere.

©2013, Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved

Conquistadors

72… Forces of change challenge human nature at every turn…
Part One of Three on an Eternal Debate.

Summer vegetation in the surrounding hills, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson.

In days of old, man moved by foot paths through sparsely populated lands.

There was a time and a day that Indigenous people, speaking one of 18 Cahita dialects, were those who knew this land as their own. They numbered 115,000, the largest Indian group in Northern Mexico, and lived along the lower reaches of the Sinaloa, Fuerte, Mayo and Yaqui rivers. The Spanish called these agriculturalist Indians, spread out across the region in small groups, “rancheria people”. They had come from Asia, and possibly Europe, thousands of years ago. We know that those that came from these distant places were in turn descendants of those who started the great human migrations out of Africa and the Middle-east. There is truth in the belief that we are all, under the sun, brothers and sisters. Various cultures and traditions, if they helped people survive, will be adopted by others. This is a hallmark of human nature – adaptability.

Columns and window details, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

End of day's sun illuminates a classical column of another time and land.

One day the sun came up and menacing rattles of Spanish Conquistador swords, moving fast on old Indian trails, grew louder. December of 1529, Nuno Beltran de Guzman, once a lawyer, led an army of 500 Spanish and 10,000 Tlaxcalans, Aztecs and Tarascans into Sinaloa. March of 1531, Guzman defeated 30,000 Indians in present day Culiacan. Many that survived were captured and enslaved. Later, Guzman’s Amerindian army was wiped out by epidemics and hunger. His was a reign of terror. Spanish colonialization was approaching Alamos.

And then Silver was discovered near Alamos. And the world was attracted by the riches:
miners from Europe, merchants from India, silk makers from Japan, coin makers from China, Philippine sailors and to work the mines: African slaves, local Indigenous people, free mulatos and Indians from other parts of Mexico. Globalization arrived in Alamos.

And the riches brought in the finest goods from around the world. An international settlement was growing along the arroyos. Cultures and traditions blended together as did the people. Apexes of personal consumption were reached by those who could pay the price. The poor observed the rich and knew they were the human engines that made the rich richer. Lessons on modern times were there to be learned and mastered, the art of supply and demand was at hand. Consumerism flourished in Alamos.

Column and shadow on Calle Comercio, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Anders Tomlinson

The shadow of Southern Spain spread across Alamos and the Southwest.

Alamos became a valuable resource to fund California coastal settlements along with emerging political movements – militias throughout Sonora and Sinaloa. Alamos was now helping export traditions and customs that not long ago had arrived here.

And then, things change like things do. Much of the International mining community left Alamos for gold and silver discovered in Central California’s Sierra Nevada foothills. Miners come and go to where there is buried treasure and international prices high enough to make mining profitable. Alamos experienced economic fluctuations that is the nature of mining boom towns. Many of these become ghosts towns and others continue on. Some Alamos families faithfully remained and made their livings amongst the aging architecture in a village that was a reduced footprint of its former self. The world had touched them. It could be seen in the art, furniture, books, and music left here and there, and so it was and so it is. Alamos was one of the mining towns that accepted, adapted and continued on. Over the next hundred years Alamos had a couple of small economic upturns and several longer downturns that turned into dust covering ruins of once grand mansions. The silver boom and busts had come and gone.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

History: Time Marches On

An introduction to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.
“Here is something Special”, Spanish explorer Vasquez de Coronado noted in 1540 as he headed north, passing by tall white rocks on Alamos de Sierra. This is the opening chapter to “A Short History of Alamos” written, filmed and edited by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Bruce Miles. Soundtrack by AtomicSonics and Estudiantina de Alamos.

Alamos shares a strong maternal bond, steeped in history, with all the Southwest.
Juan Batista de Anza departed Alamos in September 1775 with silver, and local families, to settle “Monterey and the Californias”, including San francisco. Another expedition, five years later, left Alamos to settle Los Angeles.

The conclusion to a Short History of Alamos, Sonora, Mexico embraces the Sierra Madre.
Here, Bishop Reyes’ Cathedral in the Plaza, a three-tiered belfry, shines gold in morning light. Here, looking east, one’s imagination is stirred by the forbidding beauty of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. Together, they shape the Alamos experience.

Special thanks to the following contributors:

Pember, Elizabeth and Kit Nuzum, Puerta Roja Inn, Estudiantina de Alamos, Quartet de Alamos, Los Angeles Cathedral Choir, Museo Costumbrista de Sonora, Antonio Estrada, Francis Curry, Antonio Figueroa, Teri Arnold, Sharon Bernard, Rudy Hale, Chaco Valdez, Dr. Joaquin Navarro, Ernesto Alcorn, Antonio Mendoza, San Sanchez, June Ray, Swickards, Meisenheimers, Frielobs, Cooks, Stephanie Meyers, Bruce Miles, Earle and Joan Winderman, Doug Reynolds, Robert Ganey, Gary Ruble, AtomicSonics, William Brady, R. Harrington, Donna Beckett, Del Mar TV 38, Robyn Ardez and all the people of Alamos for their grace, warmth and hospitality.

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