Striking workers in Cananea confront American possemen protecting the company store.
|Objective||Obtain better working conditions for Mexican employees at the Cananea mines.|
|Date||June 1, 1906|
The Cananea strike, also known as the Cananea riot,or the Cananea massacre, took place in the Mexican mining town of Cananea, Sonora, in June 1906. Although the workers were forced to return to their positions with no demand being met, the action was a key event in the general unrest that emerged during the final years of the regime of President Porfirio Díaz and that prefigured the Mexican Revolution of 1910. In the incident twenty-three people died, on both sides, twenty-two were injured, and more than fifty were arrested.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
Cananea is a city in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, Northwestern Mexico. It is the seat of the Municipality of Cananea, on the U.S−Mexico border.
Sonora, officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora, is one of 31 states that, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 federal entities of United Mexican States. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo. Sonora is bordered by the states of Chihuahua to the east, Baja California to the northwest and Sinaloa to the south. To the north, it shares the U.S.–Mexico border with the states of Arizona and New Mexico, and on the west has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of California.
In 1906 Cananea was a company town with a population totaling 23,000. Of these 21,000 were Mexican and the remainder American. Order was kept by a private police force maintained by the Cananea Consolidated Copper Company. The only source of foodstuffs and other commodities was a company store, which reportedly sold its goods at high prices.
By 1906, the Nogales-based Cananea Consolidated Copper Company had some 5,360 Mexican workers employed at its Cananea copper mines, earning three and a half pesos per day while the 2,200 American workers there were earning five pesos for the same job. Conditions in which the Mexican employees worked were deplorable. During the celebrations of Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican employees made public their complaints while the local authority applied martial law to avoid further conflicts.
Heroica Nogales, more commonly known as Nogales, is a city and the county seat of the Municipality of Nogales. It is located on the northern border of the Mexican state of Sonora. The city is abutted on its north by the city of Nogales, Arizona, across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually from an ore body, lode, vein, seam, reef or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized package that is of economic interest to the miner.
On June 1, most of the Mexican miners went on strike. Led by Juan José Ríos, Manuel Macario Diéguez and Esteban Baca Calderón, their demands were the removal of one foreman named Luis, the pay of five pesos for eight hours' work, the employment quotas ensuring seventy-five percent of the jobs for Mexicans and twenty-five percent for foreigners, the deployment of responsible and respectful men to operate the cages and that all Mexican workers to be entitled to promotions, in accordance with their skills.
The company executives rejected all of the petitions and the workers decided to march and gather people from other towns in the municipality. The population supported the workers and the crowd numbered more than 3,000 people. While they were marching in front of the wood shop of the company, the American employees in charge of that department, the Metcalf brothers, threw water at them and then fired shots, killing three people. The angry mob detained the brothers and lynched them by setting them on fire. When they approached the government building of the municipal president they were received by a 275-man American posse led by Arizona Rangers. Other workers were killed while the strike leaders were sent to prison. Contemporary news reports in The New York Times on June 3, 1906 reported that on June 1, strikers destroyed a lumber mill and killed two brothers who were defending the mine. Eleven casualties were reported among the Mexican "rioters".
Lynching is a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a group. It is an extreme form of informal group social control such as charivari, riding the rail, and tarring and feathering, and often conducted with the display of a public spectacle for maximum intimidation. It is to be considered an act of terrorism and punishable by law. Instances of lynchings and similar mob violence can be found in every society.
A presidente municipal is the chief of government of municipios in Mexico. This title was also used in the Philippines under the Spanish and American colonization; it is comparable to a mayor of the town or city. The position is comparable to the county executive of a county in the United States or to the mayor of a city in the United States, although the jurisdiction of a presidente municipal includes not only a city but the municipality surrounding it. Nationally, this position is also equivalent to that of Head of Government of the Federal District and that is why these positions are sometimes referred to as "mayors" in English-language publications.
The Arizona Rangers are an Arizona unpaid, non-commissioned civilian auxiliary nonprofit that is available to assist and support law enforcement modeled on the Texas Rangers. The Arizona Rangers were created by the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1901, disbanded in 1909, and subsequently reformed in 1957 as a nonprofit organization. They were originally created to deal with the infestations of outlaws in the sparsely populated Arizona Territory, especially along the Mexican border. The original rangers were an elite, well-trained, and originally a secretive agency mounted on quality horses and well equipped with modern weapons at the state's expense. The rangers were very effective in apprehending members of outlaw bands. The modern day Arizona Ranger organization is a private nonprofit organization with no governmental authority.
About half of the company police avoided involvement in the disturbance. Responding to a telegraphed plea from Colonel William Cornell Greene of the Greene Consolidated Copper Company, a posse of 275 volunteers from Bisbee, Douglas and Naco, Arizona, commanded by Captain Thomas H. Rynning of the Arizona Rangers, entered Mexico against the orders of Joseph Henry Kibbey, Governor of Arizona Territory. At the order of Rafael Izabal Governor of Sonora, forty Rurales (mounted police) were despatched from Hermosillo to reinforce a detachment under Colonel Emilio Kosterlitsky already present. Mexican Federal troops were also sent to Cananea.Four troops of the 5th Cavalry en route from Fort Huachuca were held at Naco, Arizona, on the border on the orders of President William Howard Taft.
Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.
Colonel William Cornell Greene was an American businessman who was famous for discovering rich copper reserves in Cananea, Mexico, and for founding the Greene Consolidated Copper Company in 1899. By 1905, Greene was one of the wealthiest businessmen in the world.
Bisbee is a U.S. city in Cochise County, Arizona, 92 miles (148 km) southeast of Tucson. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city was 5,575. The city is the county seat of Cochise County.
A tense confrontation between striking miners and approximately 200 Americans ensued. Many participants were armed and shots were exchanged. At Colonel Kosterlitsky's orders the American interventionists left the town by rail, to return across the border. Mexican Rurales and Federal soldiers then disarmed the strikers and made arrests.
According to Colonel Green the "trouble was incited by a Socialistic organization that has been formed by malcontents opposed to the Díaz government."Shortly before the strike, a political party called the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM) had been established with wide support. The PLM quickly became involved in aggressively pressing for industrial and rural reform. At both the French-controlled Rio Blanco textile factory and the American-owned Cananea Copper Company mine, PLM literature was subsequently to be found distributed through the workers' settlements.
Although the government forces present had behaved with relative restraint, the entry of armed foreigners into national territory caused Mexican outrage against the Diaz administration. Diaz had sent orders to Governor Izabal not to accept any American involvement in restoring order in Cananea but the telegram had arrived after the trainload of Arizona Rangers and civilian supporters had crossed the border.
The incident became linked with the Río Blanco strike of January 1907 as two symbols of the Porfirio Díaz administration's corruption, subservience to foreign interests and civil repression. They became "household words for hundreds of thousands of Mexicans".
A corrido titled " Cananea jail " written in 1917 commemorates the incident.
The Cananea municipal jail, built in 1903 and located in downtown Cananea, is currently a museum Workers' Struggle Museum and also houses exhibitions of photographs and instruments used in mining.
The mine in Cananea currently continues to be worked for copper. After the original 1906 strike the Cananea mine has remained the scene of frequent labor disputes, with the most recent incident being a miners strike of 2007-2008.
Phelps Dodge Corporation was an American mining company founded in 1834 as an import-export firm by Anson Greene Phelps and his two sons-in-law William Earle Dodge, Sr. and Daniel James. The latter two ran Phelp, James & Co., the part of the organization based in Liverpool, England. The import-export firm at first exported United States cotton from the Deep South to England, and imported various metals to the US needed for industrialization. With the expansion of the western frontier in North America, the corporation acquired mines and mining companies, including the Copper Queen Mine in Arizona and the Dawson, New Mexico coal mines. It operated its own mines and acquired railroads to carry its products. By the late 19th century, it was known as a mining company.
A charro is a traditional horseman from Mexico, originating in the central-western regions primarily in the states of Jalisco, Michoacan, Zacatecas, Durango, Chihuahua, Aguascalientes and Guanajuato. The Spanish terms vaquero and ranchero are similar to the charro but different in culture, etiquette, mannerism, clothing, tradition and social status.
Cipriano Ricardo Flores Magón, was a noted Mexican anarchist and social reform activist. His brothers Enrique and Jesús were also active in politics. Followers of the Magón brothers were known as Magonistas. He has been considered an important participant in the social movement that sparked the Mexican Revolution.
Rurales is a Mexican term used to describe two different government forces. The best known is the Guardia Rural, founded by President Benito Juárez in 1861 as a rural police force controlled by the president and expanded by President Porfirio Díaz, a former army general, and used as an effective force of repression. It was a counterweight to the Mexican Army, whose nineteenth-century generals often overthrew the president. The rurales were dissolved during the Mexican Revolution.
Cananea is a municipality in the northern portion of the Mexican state of Sonora, on the U.S. border. Its municipal seat is the city of Cananea, located at.
Grupo México is the largest mining corporation in Mexico and the third largest copper producer in the world through ASARCO.
The Arizona copper mine strike of 1983 began as a bargaining dispute between the Phelps Dodge Corporation and a group of union copper miners and mill workers, led by the United Steelworkers. The subsequent strike lasted nearly three years, and resulted in replacement of most of the striking workers and decertification of the unions. It is regarded as an important event in the history of the United States labor movement
The Bisbee Deportation was the illegal kidnapping and deportation of about 1,300 striking mine workers, their supporters, and citizen bystanders by 2,000 members of a deputized posse, who arrested these people beginning on July 12, 1917. The action was orchestrated by Phelps Dodge, the major mining company in the area, which provided lists of workers and others who were to be arrested in Bisbee, Arizona, to the Cochise County sheriff, Harry C. Wheeler. These workers were arrested and held at a local baseball park before being loaded onto cattle cars and deported 200 miles (320 km) to Tres Hermanas in New Mexico. The 16-hour journey was through desert without food and with little water. Once unloaded, the deportees, most without money or transportation, were warned against returning to Bisbee.
Thomas Harbo Rynning was an officer in the United States Army who served with Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders during the Spanish–American War. He was also the captain of the Arizona Rangers, warden of Yuma Territorial Prison, and a United States Marshal in San Diego, California.
Heraclio Bernal (1855-1888) was a bandit from the Sinaloa region of Mexico. He is widely known as the "Thunderbolt of Sinaloa."
Valentín Campa Salazar was a Mexican railway union leader and presidential candidate. Along with Demetrio Vallejo, he was considered one of the leaders of the 1958 railway strikes. Campa was also the founder of the National Railroad Council, and the defunct underground newspaper The Railwayman.
The Detroit Copper Mining Company was an American copper mining and smelting operation based in Morenci, Arizona. Incorporated in July 1872, it existed as an independent company until 1897, when a controlling interest in the company was purchased by the predecessor of the Phelps Dodge Corporation. It continued to exist as a subsidiary of Phelps Dodge & Co until 1917, when all Phelps Dodge operations in the area were consolidated into the new Phelps Dodge Corporation, Morenci Branch.
The Fairbank train robbery occurred on the night of February 15, 1900, when some bandits attempted to hold up a Wells Fargo express car at the town of Fairbank, Arizona. Although it was thwarted by Jeff Milton, who managed to kill "Three Fingered Jack" Dunlop in an exchange of gunfire, the train robbery was unique for being one of the few to have occurred in a public place and was also one of the last during the Old West period.
XHFQ-FM is a radio station in Cananea, Sonora. Broadcasting on 103.1 FM, XHFQ is owned by the Instituto Mexicano de la Radio and broadcasts a varied music format under the name "La FQ".
The Río Blanco strike of January 7 and 8, 1907 was a workers' riot related to a textile strike, near Orizaba in the Mexican state of Veracruz.
The Empire Zinc strike, also known as the Salt of the Earth strike, was a 15-month-long miners' strike in New Mexico against the Empire Zinc Company for its discriminatory pay and housing practices. The strike drew national attention, and after it was settled in 1952, a movie entitled Salt of the Earth (1954) was released that offered a fictionalized version of events.
Thomas Frederick Cole (1862–1939) was a mining executive active in Michigan, Minnesota, and Arizona. He was President of the Oliver Iron Mining Company from 1901 to 1909. His namesake boat the SS Thomas F. Cole was built by United States Steel's Pittsburgh Steamship Company in 1907.