Magdalena de Kino, Sonora
Marie Magdalena Mission
Magdalena de Kino is the first small
city you pass when you pass the border and drive south down Highway 15.
And therein lies the problem for this charming town of 23,000
inhabitants. People drive by as they rush to the beaches to the south
and inadvertently miss this tiny historic town.
The Pima and Papago Indians inhabited
the territory around the valley of the Magdalena River and the present
day site of Magdalena de Kino long before the arrival of the Spanish.
1541 - The settlement
was known as a Buquibavic. Spanish expeditionary Francisco Vazquez de
Coronado said the farming village of Buquibavic had a population just
over 300 Indians and described them as not surpassing the Stone Age.
1688 The Jesuit missionary Eusebio
Kino figures founded the Santa Maria Magdalena de Buquivaba Mission on
the site inhabited by the Pima Indians.
1700 Lieutenant Juan Bautista
Escalante founded the municipality.
of Padre Kino
1711 Father Kino passed away at the
1966 the city was renamed Magdalena de
Kino. The Plaza Monumental was constructed after discovery of Kino’s
Tourist Services and Attractions
Magdalena has six hotels and six
restaurant/bars. One of the hotels, Hotel Kino, provides hookups for
constructed in 1966, is the center of cultural activities of the town.
Here you can find the Crypt of Father Kino, Saint Mary Magdalene Temple
(and the venerated image of San Francisco Javier) and the cultural
Eusebio Kino Museum has diverse objects exhibited representing
indigenous culture, photographs, weapons and other objects of great
The Mausoleum of Luis Donald Colosio
and Diana Laura is located in the municipal cemetery where the remains
of the would- be (he was assassinated) Mexican presidential candidate
and those of his wife.
Every October 4 the town celebrates
San Francisco Javier a co-founder of the Jesuit order. The celebration
is the largest fiesta and religious event in the Sonoran desert.
Thousands of pilgrims come to worship and party annually during Catholic
feast days. Festivities include regional foods, traditional dances, and
music and important rituals for the Church.
Eusebio Francisco Kino was an
extraordinary explorer and humanist. As a priest he founded 24 missions
and chapels throughout the Baja, Sonora and Arizona. His curious mind
and subsequent talents in writing, mathematics, astronomy and cardiology
have influenced the discovery and development of Sonora, Arizona and
Baja California. He was the first to prove, for example, that the Baja
was a peninsula rather than an island.
A Kino Map
illustrating the Baja
Born August 10, 1645, Eusebio
Francesco Chini (Kino is the German version of Chini) in Segno Italy and
was educated in Austria. After a serious illness he joined the Jesuit
order and was ordained June 12, 1677. While he wished to serve in the
Orient, his superiors ordered him to establish missions in Baja
California and North West New Spain; present day Sonora and Arizona. In
1681 at the age 36 he departed Spain for Mexico.
After establishing a mission in San
Bruno Baja California Sur, Kino arrived in Sonora in 1687 to work with
the Pima Indians. He established the first church in the area and also
explored areas to the north including modern day Arizona and California.
It is said that his horseback expeditions covered over 130,000 km2
(50,000sq miles) – much of which he mapped.
Kino the humanist taught European
agriculture techniques and animal husbandry to the indigenous groups. He
was known to create positive relationships with the Indians; he opposed
slavery and mandatory work in the silver mines and instead taught them
trades and skills to assist their lives. The 20 cattle herd of cattle he
imported, developed grew during his lifetime to over 70,000. The
Zinfandel grapes are still common to the area.
Kino died suddenly in the town bearing
his name; Magdalena de Kino. His remains were lost for many years and
after a concerted search were discovered in 1966 near the site of his
mission. The city proudly encased his remains in a crypt located in the
Agriculture is the main economic
engine providing the majority of economic and employment opportunities.
A well/river irrigation system ensures a healthy harvest of 18,000 tons
of vegetables, fruit, wheat, and sorghum.
Animal husbandry is also important;
20,000 head of cattle are raised to produce the “best in Mexico” Sonoran
Due to its proximity to the border,
maquiladoras (tax-advantageous assembly plants) thrive in the
municipality. Magdalena also has a thriving furniture industry.
Meeting the demands of the local
population, Magdalena also has a healthy construction and service
sector; grocery, hardware, liquor, clothing stores and restaurants.
The valley of: Magdalena has water year-round and boasts a “medium dry
climate” with more rainfall than the surrounding desert locations. With
a 3000ft (1000 Meter) elevation, Magdalena has a comparably moderate
climate considering it is in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. Maximum
daily average temperatures range from 80F in July and August to 52 F in
December and January.
Drive 85 kms (53 miles) South on
Highway 15 from Nogales to KM 190.
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