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Mexican Opium and the history of Sinaloa and the Guzman clan
History of Sinaloa Mexico 1820--2009

Early History

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, Sinaloa was inhabited by six major tribes of hunters and gathers: the Cahita, Tahue, Totorame, Pacaxee, Acaxee and Xixime. The Acaxees lived in rancherías (settlements) dispersed throughout the gorges and canyons of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. Along with the Xiximes, Pacaxee and Tahue, the Acaxees were nonaggressive agricultural gatherers who took no part in human sacrifice rituals. The Cahita, on the other hand, were ferocious warriors who practiced cannibalism in the belief that they could acquire the strength of their most valiant enemies.
Little is known of Sinaloa’s early history. Prior to 1529, the region was part of the unexplored Spanish province called Nueva Vizcaya, which also included present-day Chihuaha, Durango, Sonora and Coahuila.
Middle History

The first Spanish foray into Sinaloa took place in 1529. The Spanish conquistador Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán battled his way through central Mexico to the Pacific coast with an army of 300 Spaniards and 10,000 indigenous fighters. When they reached the vicinity of the Culiacán River, they met and defeated a force of 30,000 Cahita warriors. At that time the Cahita constituted the largest single language group in northern Mexico, numbering about 115,000 in Sinaloa and Sonora.
Many of Guzmán's troops succumbed to an epidemic while in Sinaloa, but he still managed to establish the city of San Miguel de Culiacán before continuing his exploration. When the army journeyed north several years later, they encountered diverse indigenous groups that the Spaniards referred to as ranchería people, whose settlements were scattered over large areas.
The Sinaloan city of El Fuerte was founded by Francisco de Ibarra in 1563. Despite frequent battles with Zuaque and Tehueco Indians, El Fuerte prospered and became a vital economic link to Mexico’s vast northwestern region.
Like much of the region, in the early 17th century, Sinaloa was organized into encomiendas which subjugated the native people to Spanish rule and required them to work land that did not belong to them. Consequently, the 17th and 18th centuries saw several indigenous uprisings. One in 1740 was particularly violent, costing the lives of several thousand Spaniards and more than 5,000 Indians. Following the 1740 rebellion, the Spaniards became slightly more cautious of the native population and, by the end of the 18th century, the rebellions had largely come to an end.
Recent History

After Mexican independence in 1824, Sonora and Sinaloa were combined to form the Estado de Occidente (Western State), with El Fuerte serving as the capital. In 1830 the state was split into present-day Sonora and Sinaloa.
During the second half of the 19th century, Sinaloa experienced dramatic economic expansion under the rule of President Porfirio Díaz (1830-1915). However, the state’s small population limited its ability to continue growing.
In the late 1800s, partly because of the recent influx of Chinese settlers, Sinaloa became a significant source of opium derived from the cultivation of poppies. Sinaloa’s proximity to the United States provided a large market for the drug, which was legal at that time.
Throughout the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917), Sinaloans were divided in their loyalties to the various factions. Many in Sinaloa supported the revolutionary party led by Pancho Villa and by 1917 the state of Sinaloa was ultimately controlled by the newly established constitutional government of Mexico. (*1)
Meanwhile, Sinaloa continued to be a major producer of opium in spite of the United States’ Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, which tightly regulated the sale of opium in that country. Opium production rose further as a result of World War II, which increased the demand for morphine, an opium extract. Since Japan controlled most of the world’s opium supply, the United States turned to Mexico--specifically Sinaloa--for assistance. Although the morphine supply was a benefit to the military, the legal market for opium opened the door for more widespread illegal distribution. (*2)

(*1) Guzman Lookout Mountain in south central New Mexico is named after the Pancho Villa supporters of the 1917 era. It is now a major lookout point for drug trafficing into the southern united States from New Mexico)

(*2) Now look what we have in Mexico and the United States. You could say we are the cause, starting the drug craze in Mexico around WWII. It appears we asked them for their help to produce the opium drug... perhaps that is a reach... BUT, just last week (4-05-09) 600 kilos of high grade Opium was confiscated at a Mexican check point in Sinaloa district. ???

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