The Cochimi Kingdom of California

In the silence of the mountains of the Baja California Sur desert, between the Sierra de Guadalupe and the Sierra de San Francisco, in the streams, caves and mountains, it is still possible to feel the presence of these men and women returning from a day of hunting, having conversations in the shadow of those caves that shelter their murals.

San Ignacio (Kadá-Kaamán) and Heroica Mulegé are the most representative communities of this Cochimí kingdom.

This artery of my country -the peninsula of Baja California- as poet Fernando Jordán put it, has an infinity of oases, approximately 184 of which 171 are in Baja California Sur. Two of those sublime oases are found in San Ignacio and Heroica Mulegé; sister communities, with great natural and cultural similarities, with tourist attractions that integrate missions, cave paintings, oases and a diversity of cultural manifestations.

Heroica Mulegé

A picturesque community, its oasis is an attraction that is combined with the remains of the Santa Rosalía de Mulegé Mission founded in November 1705 by Father Juan Manuel Basaldúa. Nearby there are three caves with paintings of enormous importance.

The closest is the Piedras Pintas region, a singular and unique place where there are an incredible number of petroglyphs. In a small mountain, paintings of various figures of marine and terrestrial animals can be seen, which the ancient inhabitants must have observed either by the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of California.

La Trinidad is another wonderful place where, along the way, you can see some ranches that still practice the trade of saddlery and raise goats. It also has an interesting area of cave paintings.

In La Cueva de San Borjitas almost all the paintings are found on a rocky ceiling and show men standing stretching their arms to their sides, they are very famous in the peninsula for their impressive dimensions, as they are approximately 12 feet tall and 1 foot wide; and there are about 20 yards from the entrance to the bottom.

The poem “The Possible Myth” by Raúl Antonio Cota illustrates part of this Cochimí Kingdom through its rich stanzas:

…I believe in the California that the 16th century European dreamed of…of enigmas: the paintings…torsos and small hands…guard of the cliffs…in the oddly quiet bustle of shoals and the prickly haughtiness of cacti. I believe in the California that built temples…that exerts power in the signs of sea and desert…in the rhetoric exerted by the silence of the California rancher, in his anaphoric language…I believe in the California of myth…


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