History

Before Europeans arrived, an estimated 48,000 mobile hunter-gatherers were living in today’s Baja; their mysterious murals still grace caves and canyon walls. European settlement failed to reach Baja until the Jesuit missions of the 17th and 18th centuries, and the missions soon collapsed as European-introduced diseases ravaged the indigenous people. Ranchers, miners and fishers were the next to arrive. During the US Prohibition era of the 1920s, Baja became a popular south-of-the-border destination for gamblers, drinkers and other ‘sinners.’ Today the region is growing in economic power, population and popularity, albeit with problematic ecological and environmental consequences.