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Sonora, Mexico

Natural beauty, fascinating history and culture
father kino stained glass

A tribute to Padre Kino in stained glass, located in the Palacio Municipal in Magdalena de Kino

sonora mexico birding

Birding on a ranch in Sonora, Mexico

From a historical perspective, until relatively recently the region that encompasses Santa Cruz County, Arizona was part of the state of Sonora, Mexico. Most of Santa Cruz County became part of the Arizona territory in 1848, as the land was ceded following the Mexican War.

The southernmost parts of the county became U.S. soil five years later, with the signing of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. So understandably the history and cultures of this region in Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora have been, and continue to be, intertwined.

The history of the region of Northern Sonora includes pre-Hispanic cultures of indigenous peoples like the Yaqui and Papago (also known as the O’Odham people), and post-European influences of key individuals like Padre Eusebio Kino, an Italian Jesuit priest who introduced many advances in agriculture and animal husbandry that today are strong cultural and economic forces in the region.

Northern Sonora is also a land of great environmental diversity, from the arid High Sonoran Desert to pockets of high-country verdant land in places like Imuris, Sonora.

And both ecosystems are home to a variety of unique flora and fauna just waiting to be explored. The Santa Cruz Nature and Heritage Festival features tours to locales in Northern Sonora for birding trips as well as excursions to sites of historical and cultural interest.