Early HistoryBaja California Sur was inhabited as early as 11000 B.C. Nomadic tribes left behind artifacts such as arrow heads and Clovis points, which have been discovered in the northern part of the state.
Did You Know?
Todos Santos in Baja California Sur is widely believed to have been the inspiration for the Eagles’ song “Hotel California.”
Primitive paintings dating to 1700 B.C. can be seen in Cueva de Palma, San Gregorio, Sierra de San Francisco and Sierra de Guadalupe. The paintings depict animals in motion, such as snakes, cougars, birds and wild cats. Hunters with arrowheads and primitive swords also appear in the paintings. These images are consistent with other evidence suggesting that most of the inhabitants were nomadic hunters and gatherers.
When early explorers and missionaries arrived, they found four ethnic groups, including the Pericú in the south, between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz and on several of the islands in the Gulf. The Guaycura occupied the area north of the Pericú, from La Paz to south of Loreto. The Monquil also lived near Loreto. The final group was the Cochimí, who ranged throughout the middle of the peninsula. Most of these tribes were hunters-gatherers lacking agriculture or metallurgy. However, they produced pottery and were fairly skilled fishermen. The Pericú enhanced their fishing methods by building wooden rafts and other simple forms of watercraft.
Middle HistoryThe first Spaniard to arrive in Baja California Sur is believed to have been Fortún Ximénez who landed there in 1533. Hernán Cortés led an expedition in 1535 but did not stay long. Other explorers came and went over the next century and a half. Since Baja California Sur is one of the most isolated parts of Mexico, there were no serious efforts at colonization until the late 17th century.In 1697 the Jesuit missionary Juan María de Salvatierra established Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, the first permanent mission in Baja California Sur. The Jesuits then extended their presence south to the Cape as well as north to the modern border with Baja California.