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Tecate

Tecate History

Tecate is the oldest border town in Baja, though in terms of peninsular history, it's still relatively young. In the early 1800's, a few mestizo farmers began working the valley lands. As word got around that the valley was fertile and water - supplied by the Tecate and Las Palmas Rivers - was abundant, more followed. In 1831, Peruvian Juan Bandini receive a land grant of 4,500 hectares from the Mexican government and two years later lais out a town to serve the budding farming community.

Long before Bandini's arrival, the valley surrounding Tecate had been sporadically inhabited by Yuma Indians, who called it Zacate. The Yumas revered 1,520 - meter (5,000 foot) Monte Cuchumá, the valley's most outstanding geographic feature, which today straddles the U.S. - Mexico border. Surviving Kumyais, a sub-tribe of the Yumas, still revere the mountain, and in 1982 they successfully obtained a U.S. agreement to dismantle radio towers on Cuchumá's California side.

Most likely the name Tecate developed from a Spanish corruption of the Indian name for the valley, Zacate. Another theory, rather unlikely, has it that Tecate comes from the English "to cut," since Anglos to the north often came to the valley to cut wood in the late 19th century - though the vegetation in the valley has always consisted mostly of treeless chaparral. The settlement became the capital of a new Mexican municipality in 1892, following completion of a railroad built to connect Tijuana, Tecate, and Mexicali with the national rail system.

Tecate became a household word in Mexico after the founding of the Tecate Brewery in 1943. Aside from the brewery and a few maquiladoras east of the city on Mexico 2, the town remains primarily dependent on agriculture. Tourism, though relatively limited, is also a source of local revenue.

Primary reference source: BAJA HANDBOOK by Joe Cummings

 

 

 

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