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Heroica Mulegé
Mulege Street.jpg
Street in town
Mexico States blank map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Mexico
Coordinates: 26°53′30″N111°58′51″W / 26.89167°N 111.98083°W / 26.89167; -111.98083 Coordinates: 26°53′30″N111°58′51″W / 26.89167°N 111.98083°W / 26.89167; -111.98083
CountryFlag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
State Baja California Sur
Municipality Mulegé
52 ft (16 m)
Time zone UTC-7 (Pacific (US Mountain))
  Summer (DST) UTC-6 (Pacific)

Mulegé is an oasis town in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, situated at the mouth of the Río de Santa Rosalía. It is the fourth-largest community in Mulegé Municipality. It had a population of 3,821 according to the Mexican federal census of 2010. [1]

Oasis Isolated source of fresh water in a desert

In geography, an oasis is the combination of a human settlement and a cultivated area in a desert or semi-desert environment. Oases also provide habitat for animals and spontaneous plants.

Baja California Sur State of Mexico

Baja California Sur, officially the Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur, is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted state of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.

Mulegé Municipality Municipality in Baja California Sur, Mexico

Mulegé is the northernmost municipality of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. It is the second-largest municipality by area in the country, with an area of 32,092.2 km². In the census of 2010 it had a population of 59,114 inhabitants. Isla Natividad is part of the municipality.



Photo taken from the Mulege Mission Mulege oasis.jpg
Photo taken from the Mulegé Mission

Indigenous peoples had lived in this area for thousands of years due to the abundance of water in the river valley. Extensive ancient cave paintings can be found in the nearby Sierra de Guadalupe mountains.

Sierra de Guadalupe cave paintings

The Sierra de Guadalupe cave paintings are a series of prehistoric rock art pictographs near Rancho La Trinidad, Mulegé in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The Sierra de Guadalupe, mountains west of Mulegé, contains the largest number of known prehistoric rock art sites in Baja California.

In 1702, Jesuit Father Juan Maria de Salvatierra identified the valley of today's Mulegé as a place for a mission to the Indians. It was not until 1754 that Father Francisco Escalante started the construction of the mission, called Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé. Years later, many other Jesuit fathers came into today's area of Mulegé to bring the Catholic faith and convert the natives to Catholicism.

Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé

Mission Santa Rosalía de Mulegé is located in the oasis of Mulegé, in Mulegé Municipality, northeastern Baja California Sur state, México. It is a Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia listed Cultural Heritage Monument.

The official name of the town is "Heroica Mulegé."[ citation needed ] This title is based on incidents during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The Americans tried to occupy long stretches of the Pacific coast such as California, Baja California, and New Mexico  all of which were then part of Mexico. The people of Mulegé and surrounding settlements along the Pacific coastline defeated the Americans. As a result, Mulegé was not occupied and was rewarded the official title "Heroica Mulegé" by the national legislature.[ citation needed ] In the 21st century, official letters of the Government of Baja California Sur retain use of the title, "Heroica Mulegé."


Mulegé is internationally famous for its rich fishing grounds in the Gulf of California. A warm current from the southern and a cold current from the northern Pacific come together in the Mulegé area of the Gulf of California and encourage a great variety of different fish species. The Gulf is sometimes known as the "Sea of Cortez", after the Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés, who sailed into the area.

Gulf of California A gulf of the Pacific Ocean between the Baja peninsula and the Mexican mainland

The Gulf of California is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It is bordered by the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinaloa with a coastline of approximately 4,000 km (2,500 mi). Rivers which flow into the Gulf of California include the Colorado, Fuerte, Mayo, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Yaqui. The gulf's surface area is about 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi). Depths range from fording at the estuary near Yuma, Arizona, to in excess of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) in the deepest parts.

Hernán Cortés Spanish conquistador

DonHernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of what is now mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers who began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

In the past, Mulegé's economy was largely based on fishing and farming. Today, tourism is a major income source for Mulegé. Some come for the area's deep sea fishing. Kayaking; cave tours; bird watching; and fishing, with or without charters to catch a big game fish; are popular attractions.

Today's tourism industry in Mulegé is based on the fact that in 1976 the Highway MX 1  a paved road  was constructed and Mulegé became easily accessible by land. A trip from the US border to Mulegé takes no more than 12 hours today. Before the highway was constructed, such a trip could take four days.

The area has suffered damage from Hurricane John in 2006, Tropical Storm Julio in 2008, Hurricane Jimena in 2009, Hurricane Paul in 2012, and Hurricane Odile in 2014. All five hurricanes created major precipitation followed by high floods. All over the Mulegé area, from the Pacific to the Gulf of California, rainfall and floods were devastating. Mulegé was flooded by over 20 feet of water at the highway bridge and by 6 feet in the upper regions of town. Many homes located in the river valley were washed into the Gulf of California. Clean-up was still being done in January, 2015.

Hurricane John (2006) Category 4 Pacific hurricane in 2006

Hurricane John was the eleventh named storm, seventh hurricane, and fifth major hurricane of the 2006 Pacific hurricane season. Hurricane John developed on August 28 from a tropical wave to the south of Mexico. Favorable conditions allowed the storm to intensify quickly, and it attained peak winds of 130 mph (210 km/h) on August 30. Eyewall replacement cycles and land interaction with western Mexico weakened the hurricane, and John made landfall on southeastern Baja California Sur with winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) on September 1. It slowly weakened as it moved northwestward through the Baja California peninsula, and dissipated on September 4. Moisture from the remnants of the storm entered the southwest United States.

Tropical Storm Julio (2008) Pacific tropical storm in 2008

Tropical Storm Julio was a tropical storm that made landfall on the southern tip of Baja California Sur in August 2008. The tenth named storm of the 2008 Pacific hurricane season, it developed from a tropical wave on August 23 off the coast of Mexico. It moved parallel to the coast, reaching peak winds of 50 mph (85 km/h) before moving ashore and weakening. On August 26 it dissipated in the Gulf of California. Julio was the third tropical cyclone to make landfall in the Pacific Ocean basin during the season, after Tropical Storm Alma, which struck Nicaragua in May, and Tropical Depression Five-E, which moved ashore along southwestern Mexico in July. The storm brought locally heavy rainfall to southern Baja California, killing one person and leaving several towns isolated. Moisture from Julio reached Arizona, producing thunderstorms, including one which damaged ten small planes in Chandler.

Hurricane Jimena (2009) Category 4 Pacific hurricane in 2009

Hurricane Jimena was the second-strongest hurricane of the 2009 Pacific hurricane season, and tied with Hurricane Norbert as the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on western portion of the Baja California Peninsula. Forming from a tropical wave late on August 28, 2009, off of Mexico's Pacific coast, the system rapidly intensified into a Category 2 hurricane on the next day. Two days after developing, Jimena strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane. After peaking close to Category 5 intensity on September 1, it encountered cold water and began to weaken. When the hurricane made landfall on the Baja California Peninsula on September 3, it was only a Category 2 hurricane. On the next day, the tropical cyclone entered the Gulf of California, though the storm weakened into a remnant low after looping back eastward towards Baja California. The storm's remnants drifted westward into the Pacific afterward, before dissipating on September 8.

Climate and agriculture

The entire peninsula of Baja California is an area with one of the lowest precipitation rates in the world. Rain is rare but usually occurs between December and March, and hurricanes are occasionally a major threat to the Mulegé area. There is a saying in Baja California: "It never rains in Baja, but if it rains, it pours."

Due to fertile soil and a rich water supply in the Mulegé river valley, irrigation has supported agriculture in this area as a strong part of the economy, unlike other areas of Baja California. Tropical fruits are cultivated, including oranges, bananas, limes, and mangoes.


By land, Mulegé is accessible by Federal Highway 1, which runs from Tijuana at the US-MX border to Cabo San Lucas.

Mulegé is served by three airstrips in the area, which are used for private air travel: El Gallito Airstrip, Mulegé Airstrip, and Punta San Pedro Airstrip. Regional flights are available at the Palo Verde Airport (to the north of town), and international flights are available at the Loreto Airport (123 km to the south).

Historic buildings

The Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé is located above the river, overlooking the river valley.

A special feature of the town is the old prison. It has no bars. The prisoners could freely walk around town and establish or maintain families here. They just had to return to the prison in the evening. Escapes were rare because of the remoteness of Mulegé. Until Mex 1 was paved, the area was surrounded by harsh desert for many miles. All prisoners had to agree to assist in tracking escapees and assist in their capture. Today, the old prison is operated as a museum, with a suggested nominal entry fee.

Mulege Mission Pano.jpg
180° Panorama of the Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé backed by mountains: La Misión and Santa Clara. The meandering Mulegé River appears on the right lined with palm trees as seen on a sunny December afternoon.

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Hurricane Nora (1997) Category 4 Pacific hurricane in 1997

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Spanish missions in Baja California Historic religious outposts in Baja California, Mexico

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Modern-day Río Santa Rosalía in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur was originally named Río Santa Rosalía de Mulegé, the same name given to the Spanish mission in the town of Mulegé. The river empties into the Gulf of California. The name of the river has been shortened to Río Santa Rosalía, and likewise the name of the town has been reduced to simply "Mulegé." Another city grew about 30 miles north of Mulegé because of a large copper mining operation. This city borrowed the name Santa Rosalía and it is likely for this reason that "Santa Rosalía de" was dropped from the name Mulegé.

San Marcos is an island located in the northern portion of Baja California Sur, México. It faces the town of Santa Rosalía on the Gulf of California near Isla Tortuga. The only town on the island is also named San Marcos. The island has a land area of 28.748 km², the 18th-largest island in Mexico. Its population as of the 2005 census was 425 inhabitants. It is part of the Mulegé Municipality.

Visita de San José de Magdalena

The Visita de San José de Magdalena was founded in 1774 by the Dominican missionary Joaquín Valero to serve Cochimí Indians associated with the Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Palo Verde Airport airport in Mulegé Municipality, Mexico

Palo Verde Airport is a paved airstrip located in San Bruno, a town 30 km south of Santa Rosalía, Baja California Sur, Mexico. The airstrip is also known as "Chivato Bay" and the CIB code is used as its identifier. It handles aviation for the city of Santa Rosalía.

San Lucas Military Airstrip is the military dirt airstrip located at Military Camp Number 40-C, located in San Lucas, 5 km South of Santa Rosalía, Municipality of Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico, just on the Gulf of California coast. This military camp is the base of the 16th Infantry Company, that depends from the 40th Military Zone based in Guerrero Negro, BCS. The airstrip is handled by the Mexican Army and is used solely for military aviation purposes.

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Isla Natividad Airstrip is a private dirt airstrip located on the South East coast of Isla Natividad, Municipality of Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico, an island located in the Pacific Ocean, 6 km West of the Baja California Peninsula. The airstrip handles air traffic service for the fishing town of Natividad. The airstrip is handled by "Sociedad Cooperativa de Productos Pesqueros Buzos y Pescadores de la Baja California SCL", a fishing cooperative that exploits the fish resources that exist around the island.

Mulegé Airstrip airport

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Santa María de Mulegé Airport or Playa María Airport is an airstrip located North of Santa Rosalía, Baja California Sur, Mexico. It is handled by the Municipality of Mulegé Government. The SMM code is used as identifier.

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Hurricane Newton (2016) Category 1 Pacific hurricane in 2016

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  1. "Mulegé". Catálogo de Localidades. Secretaría de Desarrollo Social (SEDESOL). Retrieved 23 April 2014.