Nogales, Sonora

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Heroica Nogales
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Location of Nogales in Mexico
Coordinates: 31°19′07″N110°56′45″W / 31.31861°N 110.94583°W / 31.31861; -110.94583 Coordinates: 31°19′07″N110°56′45″W / 31.31861°N 110.94583°W / 31.31861; -110.94583
Country Mexico
State Sonora
FoundedJuly 9, 1884
Founded byLuis Emeterio Torres
  Municipal PresidentJesus Pujol Irastorza (Morena Party)
1,199 m (3,934 ft)
 (2010) [1]
Demonym(s) Nogalense
Time zone UTC-7 (MST)
  Summer (DST) UTC-7 (No DST observed)
Area code(s) 631
Website Official Website

Heroica Nogales (Spanish pronunciation:  [eˈɾoika noˈɣales] ), 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.

Nogales Municipality, Sonora Municipality in Sonora, Mexico

The Municipality of Nogales is a municipality of northern Sonora state, in Northwestern Mexico.

Sonora State of Mexico

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 primarily with the state of Arizona with a small length with New Mexico, and on the west has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of California.

Nogales, Arizona City in Arizona, United States

Nogales is a city in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. The population was 20,837 at the 2010 census and estimated 20,407 in 2014. Nogales forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area, with a total population of 1,027,683 as of the 2010 Census. The city is the county seat of Santa Cruz County.



The independent Nogales Municipality, which included the town of Nogales, was established on July 11, 1884. [2] The Nogales Municipality covers an area of 1,675 km². Nogales was declared a city within the Municipality on January 1, 1920.

Batalla del 27 de agosto de 1918 ~ Battle of Ambos Nogales

The international trade that existed between the two cities greatly propelled the economic development of Nogales, Sonora, and the greater Northern Sonora region, but that did not prevent significant problems from forming in the area after the outbreak of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

Mexican Revolution major nationwide armed struggle in Mexico between 1910 and 1920

The Mexican Revolution, also known as the Mexican Civil War, was a major armed struggle, lasting roughly from 1910 to 1920, that transformed Mexican culture and government. Although recent research has focused on local and regional aspects of the Revolution, it was a genuinely national revolution. Its outbreak in 1910 resulted from the failure of the 31-year-long regime of Porfirio Díaz to find a managed solution to the presidential succession. This meant there was a political crisis among competing elites and the opportunity for agrarian insurrection. Wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero challenged Díaz in the 1910 presidential election, and following the rigged results, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Potosí. Armed conflict ousted Díaz from power; a new election was held in 1911, bringing Madero to the presidency.

Panoramic view of the city of Nogales, Mexico, ca.1905 Panoramic view of the city of Nogales, Mexico, ca.1905 (CHS-1523).jpg
Panoramic view of the city of Nogales, Mexico, ca.1905

On August 27, 1918, at about 4:10 pm, a gun battle erupted unintentionally when a Mexican civilian attempted to pass through the border, back to Mexico, without being interrogated at the U.S. Customs house. After the initial shooting, reinforcements from both sides rushed to the border. On the Mexican side, the majority of the belligerents were angry civilians upset with the killings of Mexican border crossers by the U.S. Army along the vaguely defined border between the two cities during the previous year (the U.S. Border Patrol did not exist until 1924). For the Americans, the reinforcements were the 10th Cavalry, off-duty 35th Regimental soldiers and militia. Hostilities quickly escalated and several soldiers were killed and others wounded on both sides. The mayor of Nogales, Sonora, Felix B. Peñaloza was killed when waving a white truce flag/handkerchief with his cane.

United States Border Patrol

The United States Border Patrol (USBP) is the United States Customs and Border Protection's federal law enforcement arm within the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The USBP is the armed and uniformed federal police that secure the borders of the United States by detecting and preventing illegal aliens, terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, and prevent illegal trafficking of people and contraband.

Immigration Act of 1924 immigration-related US Congress Act of 1924

The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the Asian Exclusion Act and National Origins Act, was a United States federal law that prevented immigration from Asia, set quotas on the number of immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere, and provided funding and an enforcement mechanism to carry out the longstanding ban on other immigrants.

The tomb of Felix B. Penaloza (Mayor of Nogales, Sonora, in August 1918) at the Panteon de los Heroes, Heroica Nogales, Sonora, Mexico Tumba de Felix Penaloza 2008.jpg
The tomb of Felix B. Penaloza (Mayor of Nogales, Sonora, in August 1918) at the Panteon de los Heroes, Heroica Nogales, Sonora, Mexico

Due in part to the heightened hysteria caused by World War I, allegations surfaced that German agents fomented this violence and died fighting alongside the Mexican troops it was claimed they led into battle. U.S. newspaper reports in Nogales prior to the August 27, 1918 battle documented the departure of the Mexican garrison in Nogales, Sonora, to points south that August in an attempt to quell armed political rebels. [3] Furthermore, an investigation by Army officials from Fort Huachuca, Arizona, could not substantiate accusations of militant German agents in the Mexican border community and instead traced the origins of the violence to the abuse of Mexican border crossers in the year prior to the Battle of Ambos Nogales. The main result of this battle was the building of the first permanent border fence between the two cities of Nogales. [4] Though largely unheard of in the U.S. (and even within most of Mexico), the municipal leaders of Nogales, Sonora, successfully petitioned the Mexican Congress in 1961 to grant the Mexican border city the title of "Heroic City", leading the community's official name, Heroica Nogales, a distinction shared with the Sonoran cities of Guaymas, Caborca, and Ures, and a number of other cities in Mexico.

Fort Huachuca US Army base

Fort Huachuca is a United States Army installation, established on 3 March 1877 as Camp Huachuca. The garrison is now under the command of the United States Army Installation Management Command. It is located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, approximately 15 miles (24 km) north of the border with Mexico and at the northern end of the Huachuca Mountains, adjacent to the town of Sierra Vista. From 1913 to 1933, the fort was the base for the "Buffalo Soldiers" of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. During the build-up of World War II, the fort had quarters for more than 25,000 male soldiers and hundreds of WACs. In the 2010 census, Fort Huachuca had a population of about 6,500 active duty soldiers, 7,400 military family members, and 5,000 civilian employees. Fort Huachuca has over 18,000 people on post during the peak working hours of 0700 and 1600 on weekdays, making it one of the busiest Army installations.

Guaymas city in Sonora, Mexico

Guaymas is a city in Guaymas Municipality, in the southwest part of the state of Sonora, in northwestern Mexico. The city is 117 km south of the state capital of Hermosillo, and 242 miles from the U.S. border. The municipality is located on the Gulf of California and the western edge of the Sonoran Desert and has a hot, dry climate and 117 km of beaches. The municipality’s formal name is Guaymas de Zaragoza and the city’s formal name is the Heróica Ciudad de Guaymas.

Caborca is the municipal seat of Caborca Municipality in Sonora. The municipal population was 85,631 (2015). The official name of the municipal seat is Heroica Caborca.

Escobarista Rebellion

Early in March 1929, the Escobarista Rebellion exploded in Nogales, sponsored by Obregonistas, supporters of Mexican president Álvaro Obregón, who had been assassinated on July 17, 1928. General Manuel Aguirre, commanding the rebellious 64th Regiment, took power without firing a shot, causing federales from Naco to send a daily airplane to attack the rebels. It dropped a few bombs over Nogales without doing any damage, while the rebels fought back with machine guns from the roofs without doing any damage to the airplane. There was only one casualty, a woman who was scared by a bomb explosion and had a heart attack. That same month, a hooded man appeared at night driving a tank on Morley Street on the U.S. side, then entered Mexico to help the federales in Naco. It seems that the tank had been bought in 1927 for fighting the Yaquis, but U.S. officials prohibited it from leaving the U.S., and it had been kept in a warehouse in Nogales, Arizona. [5]

Álvaro Obregón Mexican politician, president of Mexico

Álvaro Obregón Salido was a general in the Mexican Revolution, who became President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He supported Sonora's decision to follow Governor of Coahuila Venustiano Carranza as leader of a revolution against the Huerta regime. Carranza appointed Obregón commander of the revolutionary forces in northwestern Mexico and in 1915 appointed him as his minister of war. In 1920, Obregón launched a revolt against Carranza, in which Carranza was assassinated; he won the subsequent election with overwhelming support.

Naco, Sonora Town in Sonora, Mexico

Naco is a Mexican town in Naco Municipality located in the northeast part of Sonora state on the border with the United States. It is directly across from the unincorporated town of Naco, Arizona. The name Naco comes from the Opata language and means pricky pear cactus. The town saw fighting during the Mexican Revolution and during a rebellion led by General José Gonzalo Escobar in 1929. During the second conflict, an American pilot by the name of Patrick Murphy volunteered to bomb federal forces for the rebels, but mistakenly bombed Naco, Arizona, instead. Today, the town has been strongly affected by the smuggling of drugs, people and weapons across the international border.


Nogales has a semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk) with hot summers and cool winters, often presenting freezing temperatures. [6]

Climate data for Heroica Nogales, Sonora (1981-2010, extremes (1963-present)
Record high °C (°F)31.0
Average high °C (°F)17.8
Daily mean °C (°F)10.1
Average low °C (°F)2.3
Record low °C (°F)−10.0
Average precipitation mm (inches)24.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Source: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional [7]


As of 2000, the census reported that the City of Nogales had a population of 159,103 people, representing approximately 50% growth from 1990. By the 2005 census the official population of the city was 189,759, and that of Nogales Municipality was 193,517. At the latest census in 2010, the official numbers were 212,533 for the City of Nogales, and 220,292 for the Municipality.

The city and the municipality both rank third in the state in population, after Hermosillo and Ciudad Obregón. The municipality includes many outlying but small rural communities. The only other localities with over 1,000 inhabitants are La Mesa (2,996) 31°09′35″N110°58′28″W / 31.15972°N 110.97444°W / 31.15972; -110.97444 and Centro de Readaptación Social Nuevo (2,203) 31°11′04″N110°58′04″W / 31.18444°N 110.96778°W / 31.18444; -110.96778 . Nogales is served by Nogales International Airport.

The population growth is in part due to the influx of industry that has come since the opening of the maquiladora industry through the National Industrialization Program, decades before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). During the 90s, this economic context was, in part, held by an important Sonora state social policy by the Secretary of Urban Infrastructure and Ecology, Vernon Perez Rubio, accomplishing the city's total coverage on drinking water, with a 20-year guaranteed service. [8] Manufacturing now accounts for 55% of the city's gross domestic product, and services are growing as well, most of this caused by the growing jobs in the city.

Nogales is known for its recent enormous population growth which covers the hills along the central narrow north-south valley. Dispersed among the houses, the visitor will find a mixture of factories, stores, etc. In 2006, the southern half of the city experienced a modern urbanization development including shopping malls, wide avenues, and modern housing conglomerations.


At the center of Nogales, there is the Plaza de Benito Juárez. Here there is a statue with two leading figures designed by Spanish sculptor Alfredo Just. This is a tribute to Mexican President Benito Juárez, and the other is the "Monument to Ignorance", where a naked man who represents the Mexican people is fighting with a winged creature that represents ignorance.



The primary commercial artery is Mexico Federal Highway 15, which links the state with the U.S. as well as major cities in Mexico.

In aviation, the city is served by the Aeropuerto internacional de Nogales, which, as of 2015 had no commercial airline service.


Due to its location, Nogales is one of the most important ports of entry for U.S. tourists. The downtown area consists of bars, strip clubs, hotels, restaurants, and a large number of curio stores, which sell a large variety of artesanias (handicrafts, leather art, handmade flowers, clothes) brought from the deeper central and southern states of Mexico. Local dishes commonly available in restaurants include many types of antojitos (Mexican food) such as enchiladas, tacos, burritos with carne machaca (dried meat), menudo and tamales. [9]


Maquiladoras, or manufacturing plants, employ a large percentage of the population. Nogales' proximity to the U.S. and the abundance of inexpensive labor make it an efficient location for foreign companies to have manufacturing and assembly operations. Some of the companies that have established maquiladoras in Nogales include: Continental AG, The Chamberlain Group, Walbro, General Electric.

Production and export

Approximately 92 establishments produce foreign exports. Sixty-five of these establishments are located in seven industrial parks, which employ approximately 25,400 workers, around 50 percent of the total employed population of the municipality. [9] Also important to the economy is livestock for both foreign export and cattle breeding.


Produce is one of Mexico's largest exports to the United States and the Mariposa Port of entry, at Nogales, is the most widely used route for produce destined for the U.S. It is estimated that over 80 percent of Americas produce passes through Nogales each year.[ citation needed ] The produce industry requires facilities for the storage, packing, transport and logistics of these goods and provides many with employment on both sides of the border. November through March represent peak harvesting season and it is during these months when jobs are abundant and importation is at its highest.

Municipal government

The Nogales Municipality was governed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for its entire history until the 2006 elections, when power shifted to the National Action Party (PAN).


Since 13 March 2015, its Catedral Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is also the episcopal cathedral see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nogales. It is a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Hermosillo, from which its diocesan territory was split off.

Nogales is discussed at length in the popular political economics book Why Nations Fail , comparing the relative success of Nogales, Arizona north of the border to the poverty of Nogales, Sonora to the south. [10]

See also

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The Battle of Ambos Nogales, or as it is known in Mexico La batalla del 27 de agosto, was an engagement fought on 27 August 1918 between Mexican military and civilian militia forces and elements of U.S. Army troops of the 35th Infantry Regiment, who were reinforced by the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, and commanded by Lt. Col. Frederick J. Herman. The American soldiers and militia forces were stationed in Nogales, Arizona, and the Mexican soldiers and armed Mexican militia were in Nogales, Sonora. This battle was notable for being a significant confrontation between U.S. and Mexican forces during the Border War, which took place in the context of the Mexican Revolution and the First World War.

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  1. "Principales resultados por localidad 2010 (ITER)". Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía. 2010.
  2. date of the publication of Law No. 29, which had been signed the previous day by the then Governor of Sonora, Luis Emeterio Torres.
  3. General DeRosey C. Cabell, “Report on Recent Trouble at Nogales, 1 September 1918,” Battle of Nogales 1918 Collection, Pimeria Alta Historical Society (Nogales, AZ). See also DeRosey C. Cabell, “Memorandum for the Adjutant General: Subject: Copy of Records to be Furnished to the Secretary of the Treasury. 30 September 1918,” Battle of Nogales 1918 Collection, Pimeria Alta Historical Society (Nogales, AZ).
  4. “Military Commanders Hold Final Conference Sunday,” Nogales Evening Daily Herald (Nogales, AZ), September 2, 1918; Daniel Arreola, “La Cerca y Las Garitas de Ambos Nogales: A Postcard Landscape Exploration,” Journal of the Southwest, vol. 43 (Winter 2001), pp. 504-541
  5. Municipio de Nogales. "La rebellion escobarista". Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
  6. "Nogales, Sonora Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  7. (in Spanish). National Meteorological Service of Mexico. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  8. Sonora State Government. Newsletter from the Sonora State Diffusion Board, Puerto Peñasco County. Volume CLV, Number 40, Secc. V. 18 May 1995, Hermosillo, Sonora.
  9. 1 2 City of Nogales. "Municipio de Nogales Official Site". Archived from the original on 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
  10. Acemoglu, Daron; Robinson, James A. (2017). Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. Currency. ISBN   978-0307719225.