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Heroica Nogales

Coordinates: 31°19′07″N 110°56′45″W / 31.31861°N 110.94583°W / 31.31861; -110.94583
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Heroica Nogales
Signboard of 'Visit Nogales'
Signboard of 'Visit Nogales'
Official seal of Nogales
Nogales is located in Mexico
Location of Nogales in Mexico
Coordinates: 31°19′07″N 110°56′45″W / 31.31861°N 110.94583°W / 31.31861; -110.94583
FoundedJuly 9, 1884
Founded byLuis Emeterio Torres
 • Municipal PresidentJuan Francisco Gim Nogales (Morena)
1,199 m (3,934 ft)
 • Total264,782
Time zoneUTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (No DST observed)
Area code631
WebsiteOfficial Website

Heroica Nogales (Spanish pronunciation: [eˈɾojka noˈɣales]), more commonly known as Nogales, is a city and the county seat of the Municipality of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora. It is located in the north of the state across the U.S.-Mexico border, and is abutted on its north by the city of Nogales, Arizona.

The name Nogales is the Spanish term for "walnut trees." The municipality had a population of 264,782 as of the 2020 census.



The independent Nogales Municipality, which included the town of Nogales, was established on July 11, 1884.[2] The Nogales Municipality covers an area of 1,675 km2. Nogales was declared a city within the Municipality on January 1, 1920.

Battle of Ambos Nogales


The international trade that existed between Heroica Nogales and Nogales, Arizona greatly propelled the economic development of Heroica Nogales, and the greater Northern Sonora region, but that did not prevent significant problems from forming in the area after the outbreak of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

Panoramic view of the city of Nogales, Mexico, circa 1905

On August 27, 1918, at about 4:10 pm, a gun battle erupted unintentionally when a Mexican civilian attempted to pass through the border, back to Mexico, without checking in at the U.S. Customs house. After the initial shooting, reinforcements from both sides rushed to the border. On the Mexican side, the majority of the belligerents were civilians upset with the killings of Mexican border crossers by the U.S. Army along the vaguely defined border between the two cities during the previous year (the U.S. Border Patrol did not exist until 1924). For the Americans, the reinforcements were 10th Cavalry and 35th Infantry soldiers, and civilians. Hostilities quickly escalated and several soldiers were killed and others wounded on both sides. The mayor of Nogales, Sonora, Felix B. Peñaloza, was killed when waving a white truce flag or handkerchief with his cane.

The tomb of Félix B. Peñaloza (Mayor of Nogales, Sonora, in August 1918) at the Panteón de los Héroes, Heroica Nogales, Sonora, Mexico

Due in part to the heightened hysteria caused by World War I, allegations surfaced that German agents fomented this violence and died fighting alongside the Mexican troops it was claimed they led into battle. U.S. newspaper reports in Nogales prior to the August 27, 1918 battle documented the departure of the Mexican garrison in Nogales, Sonora, to points south that August in an attempt to quell armed political rebels.[3] Furthermore, an investigation by Army officials from Fort Huachuca, Arizona, could not substantiate accusations of militant German agents in the Mexican border community and instead traced the origins of the violence to the abuse of Mexican border crossers in the year prior to the Battle of Ambos Nogales. The main result of this battle was the building of the first permanent border fence between the two cities of Nogales.[4] Though largely unheard of in the U.S. (and even within most of Mexico), the municipal leaders of Nogales, Sonora, successfully petitioned the Mexican Congress in 1961 to grant the Mexican border city the title of "Heroic City", leading the community's official name, Heroica Nogales, a distinction shared with the Sonoran cities of Guaymas, Caborca, and Ures, and a number of other cities in Mexico.

Escobarista Rebellion


Early in March 1929, the Escobarista Rebellion exploded in Nogales, sponsored by Obregonistas, supporters of Mexican president Álvaro Obregón, who had been assassinated on July 17, 1928. General Manuel Aguirre, commanding the rebellious 64th Regiment, took power without firing a shot, causing federales from Naco to send a daily airplane to attack the rebels. It dropped a few bombs over Nogales without doing any damage, while the rebels fought back with machine guns from the roofs without doing any damage to the airplane. There was only one casualty, a woman who was scared by a bomb explosion and had a heart attack. That same month, a hooded man appeared at night driving a tank on Morley Street on the U.S. side, then entered Mexico to help the federales in Naco. It seems that the tank had been bought in 1927 for fighting the Yaquis, but U.S. officials prohibited it from leaving the U.S., and it had been kept in a warehouse in Nogales, Arizona.[5]



Nogales has a semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk) with hot summers and cool winters, often presenting freezing temperatures.[6]

Climate data for Heroica Nogales, Sonora (1981-2010, extremes (1963-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.0
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 17.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.1
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 2.3
Record low °C (°F) −10.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 24.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 3.5 3.5 2.6 1.4 1.2 1.6 10.1 9.9 4.8 2.6 2.6 3.5 47.3
Source: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional[7]



As of 2000, the census reported that the City of Nogales had a population of 159,103 people, representing approximately 50% growth from 1990. By the 2005 census the official population of the city was 189,759, and that of Nogales Municipality was 193,517. At the latest census in 2020, the official numbers were 264,782 for the Municipality. As of 2020, 1,980 inhabitants spoke a Native language, with the Mayo language being the most spoken at 1,024 speakers. There were 2,410 documented immigrants living in Nogales in 2020, most of them from the United States (2,368). In that census, it was recorded that 71% of households had access to the internet and 95.6% of households had at least one cellphone. 46.8% of residents ages 15+ had an education of middle school or lower and the rest (53.2%) had a high school diploma/general baccalaureate or a college degree. This number has increased rapidly since the 2000 census. Nogales had the lowest rating on the Gender Inequality Index (0.33) of any municipality in Sonora, indicating higher gender equity than other places in the state. Just under 30% of inhabitants lived in poverty as of 2020, which is lower than Mexico's average of 44.2%.

The city and the municipality both rank third in the state in population, after Hermosillo and Ciudad Obregón. The municipality includes many outlying but small rural communities. The only other localities with over 1,000 inhabitants are La Mesa (2,996) 31°09′35″N 110°58′28″W / 31.15972°N 110.97444°W / 31.15972; -110.97444 and Centro de Readaptación Social Nuevo (2,203) 31°11′04″N 110°58′04″W / 31.18444°N 110.96778°W / 31.18444; -110.96778. Nogales is served by Nogales International Airport.

The population growth is in part due to the influx of industry that has come since the opening of the maquiladora industry through the National Industrialization Program, decades before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). During the 90s, this economic context was, in part, held by an important Sonora state social policy by the Secretary of Urban Infrastructure and Ecology, Vernon Perez Rubio, accomplishing the city's total coverage on drinking water, with a 20-year guaranteed service.[8] Manufacturing now accounts for 55% of the city's gross domestic product, and services are growing as well, most of this caused by the growing jobs in the city.

Nogales has experienced enormous population growth[when?] which covers the hills along the central narrow north–south valley.[citation needed] Dispersed among the houses, the visitor will find a mixture of factories, stores, etc. In 2006, the southern half of the city experienced a modern urbanization development including shopping malls, wide avenues, and modern housing conglomerations.



At the center of Nogales, there is the Plaza de Benito Juárez. Here there is a statue with two leading figures designed by Spanish sculptor Alfredo Just. This is a tribute to Mexican President Benito Juárez, and the other is the "Monument to Ignorance", where a naked man who represents the Mexican people is fighting with a winged creature that represents ignorance.





The primary commercial artery is Mexico Federal Highway 15, which links Nogales to major cities in Mexico as well as Interstate 19 at the U.S. border.

In aviation, the city is served by the Aeropuerto internacional de Nogales, which, as of 2015 had no commercial airline service.



Due to its location, Nogales is one of the most important ports of entry for U.S. tourists. The downtown area consists of bars, hotels, restaurants, and a large number of curio stores, which sell a large variety of artesanias (handicrafts, leather art, handmade flowers, clothes) brought from the deeper central and southern states of Mexico. Local dishes commonly available in restaurants include many types of antojitos (Mexican food) such as enchiladas, tacos, burritos with carne machaca (dried meat), menudo and tamales.[9]



Maquiladoras, or manufacturing plants, employ a large percentage of the population. Nogales' proximity to the U.S. and the abundance of inexpensive labor make it an efficient location for foreign companies to have manufacturing and assembly operations. Some of the companies that have established maquiladoras in Nogales include: Continental AG, Amphenol Corporation, The Chamberlain Group, Walbro, ABB, Javid LLC.

Production and export


Approximately 92 establishments produce foreign exports. Sixty-five of these establishments are located in seven industrial parks, which employ approximately 25,400 workers, around 50 percent of the total employed population of the municipality.[9] Also important to the economy is livestock for both foreign export and cattle breeding.



Produce is one of Mexico's largest exports to the United States and the Mariposa Port of entry, at Nogales, is the most widely used route for produce destined for the U.S. Currently, 37% of all produce imported from Mexico to the U.S. passes through Nogales, making Nogales the largest border crossing for Mexican fresh produce.[10] In the winter, the percentage of U.S. imported vegetables passing through Nogales jumps up to about 60%.[11] In 2020, an estimated $3.7 billion worth of fresh produce entered the U.S. through Nogales, with significant portions originating from the Western Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa. As of 2021, in descending order of volume, the top commodities shipped through Nogales were tomatoes (19%), watermelon (16%), cucumbers (14%), squash (13%), bell peppers (9%), grapes (6%), chili peppers (5%), mangos (4%), honeydew melon (2%) and eggplant (2%).[12] Going the other way, the Nogales Arizona-Nogales Sonora Port of Entry was the fourth-largest crossing point for U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico in 2020, with $1.05 billion worth of fresh fruits (34%), grains (26%), meat and meat products (9%), and fresh vegetables (8%) transported by truck and rail.[13]

The produce industry requires facilities for the storage, packing, transport and logistics of these goods and provides many with employment on both sides of the border. November through March represent peak harvesting season and it is during these months when jobs are abundant and importation is at its highest.



The municipality of Nogales was governed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) from 1931 to 2006, when power shifted to the National Action Party (PAN). After more than seven decades of being in power, the PRI was defeated by the PAN when the businessman and philanthropist Marco Antonio Martínez Dabdoub ran for the presidency of Nogales, and gained access to the municipal government after having won by 30,826 votes against 23,892 of his PRI opponent.[14]

Municipal presidents

Term Municipal president Political party Notes
1910–1913[15] Fernando F. Rodríguez
1913–1914 Antonio Varela
1916–1917 Astolfo R. Cárdenas
1917–1918 Félix B. Peñaloza
1918–1919 Astolfo R. Cárdenas
1919–1920 Alberto Figueroa
1920–1921 Alejandro Villaseñor
1921–1922 Francisco V. Ramos
1922–1923 Francisco A. Casanova
1923–1924 Walterio Pesqueira
1924–1925 Jesús E. Maytorena
1925 Jesús Siqueiros Acting municipal president
1925–1926 Fernando E. Priego
1926 Guillermo Mascareñas Acting municipal president
1926–1927 Carlos Revilla
1927 Apolonio L. Castro Acting municipal president
1927–1929 Macedonio H. Jiménez
1929–1930 ?
1931–1932 Eduardo L. Soto PNR
1932–1933 José S. Elías PNR
1933–1935 Rafael E. Ruiz PNR
1935–1937 Enrique Aguayo PNR
1937–1939 Gustavo Escobosa PNR
1939 Manuel Mascareñas, Jr. PRM
1939–1941 Lauro Larios PRM
1941–1943 Anacleto F. Olmos PRM
1943–1946 Luis R. Fernández PRM
1946–1949 Miguel F. Vázquez PRI
1949–1952 Gonzalo Guerrero Almada PRI
1952–1953 Víctor M. Ruiz Fimbres PRI
1953–1955 Ernesto V. Félix PRI
1955–1958 Miguel Amador Torres PRI
1958–1961 Otilio H. Garavito PRI
1961–1964 Jesús Francisco Cano PRI
1964–1967 Ramiro Corona Godoy PRI
1967–1970 Leopoldo Elías Romero PRI
1970–1973 Octavio García García PRI
1973–1974 Ricardo Silva Hurtado PRI
1974–1976 Enrique Moralla Valdez PRI
1976 Jesús Retes Vásquez PRI Acting municipal president
1976–1979 Héctor Monroy Rivera PRI
1979–1982 Alejandro Silva Hurtado PRI
1982–1985 Enrique Moralla Valdez PRI
1985–1988 César José Dabdoub Chávez PRI
1988–1991 Leobardo Gil Torres PRI
1991–1994 Héctor Mayer Soto PRI
1994–1997 Abraham Faruk Zaied Dabdoub PRI
1997–2000 Wenceslao Cota Montoya PRI
2000–2003 Abraham Faruk Zaied Dabdoub PRI
2003–2006 Lorenzo Antonio de la Fuente Manríquez PRI
2006–2009 Marco Antonio Martínez Dabdoub PAN
2009–2012 José Ángel Hernández Barajas PAN
2012–2015 Ramón Guzmán Muñoz PRI
2015–2018 David Cuauhtémoc Galindo Delgado PAN
2018–2021 Jesús Antonio Pujol Irastorza PT
2021– Juan Francisco Gim Nogales Morena



Since 13 March 2015, its Catedral Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is also the episcopal cathedral see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nogales. It is a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Hermosillo, from which its diocesan territory was split off.


Nogales is discussed at length in the popular political economics book Why Nations Fail, comparing the relative success of Nogales, Arizona, north of the border to the poverty of Nogales, Sonora, to the south.[16]

Notable people


See also



  1. ^ "Principales resultados por localidad 2010 (ITER)". Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía. 2010.
  2. ^ date of the publication of Law No. 29, which had been signed the previous day by the then Governor of Sonora, Luis Emeterio Torres.
  3. ^ General DeRosey C. Cabell, "Report on Recent Trouble at Nogales, 1 September 1918," Battle of Nogales 1918 Collection, Pimeria Alta Historical Society (Nogales, AZ). See also DeRosey C. Cabell, "Memorandum for the Adjutant General: Subject: Copy of Records to be Furnished to the Secretary of the Treasury. 30 September 1918," Battle of Nogales 1918 Collection, Pimeria Alta Historical Society (Nogales, AZ).
  4. ^ "Military Commanders Hold Final Conference Sunday," Nogales Evening Daily Herald (Nogales, AZ), September 2, 1918; Daniel Arreola, "La Cerca y Las Garitas de Ambos Nogales: A Postcard Landscape Exploration," Journal of the Southwest, vol. 43 (Winter 2001), pp. 504-541
  5. ^ Municipio de Nogales. "La rebellion escobarista". Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
  6. ^ "Nogales, Sonora Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  7. ^ [1] (in Spanish). National Meteorological Service of Mexico. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Sonora State Government. Newsletter from the Sonora State Diffusion Board, Puerto Peñasco County. Volume CLV, Number 40, Secc. V. 18 May 1995, Hermosillo, Sonora.
  9. ^ a b City of Nogales. "Municipio de Nogales Official Site". Archived from the original on 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
  10. ^ "Produce – City of Nogales". Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  11. ^ "Some 60 million pounds of imported produce could get dumped at the U.S.-Mexico border every year. Here's why—and who is rescuing it". The Counter. 2019-05-28. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  12. ^ Bareuther, Carol M. (2021-04-15). "Port of Nogales Update: More Volume & Variety, Faster & Fresher". Produce Business. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  13. ^ "Mexico: Nogales Port of Entry Update 2021". USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  14. ^ "Consejo Estatal Electoral de Sonora. Cómputo Global en Ayuntamientos, 2006" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Enciclopedia de los Municipios y Delegaciones de México. Estado de Sonora. Nogales" (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  16. ^ Acemoglu, Daron; Robinson, James A. (2017). Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. Currency. ISBN 978-0307719225.