Origin of state name: The name Sinaloa comes from the Cahita language. It is a combination of the words sina, which means pithaya (a plant with thorny stalks), and lobola, which means rounded. The pithaya is a common plant throughout the region.
Capital: Culiacán (coo-lee-ah-CAHN).
Entered country: 1830.
Coat of Arms: The state coat of arms is an oval shield set on top of a solid rock base and crowned with a variation of the national emblem. There are five footprints in the border of the shield. Pictures inside the shield include a castle, anchors, and a deer head.
Holidays: Año Nuevo (New Year's Day—January 1); Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day—February 5); Benito Juárez's birthday (March 21); Primero de Mayo (Labor Day—May 1); Revolution Day, 1910 (November 20); and Navidad (Christmas—December 25).
Flag: There is no official state flag.
Time: 5 AM = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Sinaloa lies along the coast of the Gulfo de California. It covers an area of 58,091 square kilometers (22,429 square miles), which is a little smaller than the US state of West Virginia. The state is bordered on the north by the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua; on the south by the Mexican state of Nayarit; and on the east by the Mexican state of Durango. Sinaloa has eighteen municipalities; its capital is Culiacán.
In Sinaloa, there are three types of landscape: a coastal plan in the west, mountains (sierras) in the east, and valleys between them. In the eastern part of the state Sierra Madre Occidental is known by different names. Valleys lie between the ranges of mountains and the coastal plain, where the land is flat with few hills.
The rivers rise in the Sierra Madre Occidental and cross the state to flow into the Gulfo de California and the Pacific Ocean. Major rivers are the Fuerte and Sinaloa.
The state features a wide variety of climates. The climate along the coastal plains is generally hot. In the valleys, the climate can range from temperate to hot, while in the mountain regions temperatures range from temperate to cold.
In the summer months of June, July, and August, the daytime temperature averages 32°c (90°f); in the winter months of December, January, and February, the daytime temperature averages 27°c (80°f). Most of the rainfall occurs during July, August, and September. In the capital city of Culiacán, the average year-round temperature is 24°c (76°f) and the average rainfall is 54 centimeters (21.3 inches) per year.
Some of the most common trees in the state include oaks, poplars, ceiba, and mangroves (a tropical evergreen that usually grows along the coast). The pithaya (for which the state is named) is common throughout the state, as are laurels and bougainvilleas. Fruit trees such as lemons, peaches, and pears are found as well.
Some common mammals include deer, wildcats, badgers, wild boar, coyotes, and tlacuaches (Mexican possums). There are also many rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons. Sparrow hawks, buzzards, ducks, and swallows are common birds. Turtles, iguanas, and alligators also can be found.
Through the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), the state of Sinaloa has formed a partnership with the US state of Alaska in a project called the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. The Sinaloan wetlands serve as the winter home of over 30% of the Pacific Flyway shorebirds that breed in Alaska, Canada, and other West Coast regions of the United States. The Bahia Santa Maria (Santa Maria Bay) is one of several protected areas in the state.
Sinaloa had a total population of 2,536,844 in 2000; of the total, 1,264,143 were men and 1,272,701 were women. The population density was 44 people per square kilometer (114 people per square mile). In 2000, the capital, Culiacán, had a population of 744,859.
Almost all citizens speak Spanish as their first language. A small number, about 2.2%, of the population speaks indigenous (native) languages.
According to the 2000 census, 77% of the population, or about two million people, were Roman Catholic; almost 3%, or 65,346 people, were Protestant. That year there were also 32,783 Jehovah's Witnesses and over 180,000 people who reported no religion.
Sinaloa has three international airports: Mazatlán, Culiacán, and Los Mochis. There are 16,335 kilometers (10,146 miles) of roads. Culiacán has a highly developed highway network, including a four-lane highway direct to the United States. The railroad network links Sinaloa with the rest of Mexico and with key cities in the United States. There are about 1,234
Some nomadic tribes regularly visited the region as early as 12,000 B.C. Yet, the first permanent settlements emerged around 250 B.C. around the Baluarte River area. A Yuto-Aztec cultural renaissance took place at the northern end of the state around 900 A.D. in the settlements of Culiacán and Guasave. When the Spanish conquistadors (explorers who sought to claim Mexico for Spain) arrived, the region was inhabited by six different groups of sedentary and nomadic indigenous peoples. In 1529, Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán initiated the conquest of northern Mexico.
The slave trade of native Indians provoked revolts and uprisings that forced the Spaniards to relocate their main settlements. Indigenous leader Ayapín led one of the most notorious uprisings that forced Spaniards to request military support from neighboring Nueva Galicia (a former Spanish administrative region). Although that uprising was defeated, other indigenous uprisings forced the Spanish to abandon some settlements. Indigenous rebels executed Spanish conqueror Pedro de Montoya in 1583 when he attempted to colonize the area. Starting in 1591, a number of Jesuit missions won the sympathy of the otherwise resistant indigenous population. During most of the 17th century, colonial penetration was possible because of the successful Catholic conversion efforts by Jesuit priests. The province of Sinaloa was created in 1732 by royal decree. In 1767, a royal decree was issued to remove the Jesuits from Spanish America. This caused more problems for Sinaloa. Missions were abandoned and the indigenous people were robbed of their communal lands and forced to become feudal peasants and miners.
Although some independence leaders sought to provoke an uprising in the region, royalist forces (those loyal to Spain) soon controlled the revolts in 1810. During the decade-long independence quest, Sinaloa became a major center for contraband and illicit traffic. The states of Sonora and Sinaloa were initially part of the same federal entity, but they were formally separated into two different states in 1830. Local land-owning elites controlled state politics for much of the remaining 19th century, with little influence or authority from central Mexico.
During the liberal-conservative conflict of the 1860s, British and US troops attempted to invade the city of Mazatlán to protect the interest of foreign nationals. But conservative elites successfully subdued the challenge of those liberals loyal to President Benito Juárez (1806–1872). As a result, most local leaders fought against the presence of foreign troops on nationalist grounds. After being occupied by French troops during the reign of Emperor Maximilian (1832–1867)—France briefly controlled parts of Mexico from 1863 to 1867—Sinaloa was freed. It was later controlled by the federal troops loyal to president Juárez.
During the porfiriato period, from 1876 to 1910, when Porfirio Díaz (1830–1915) was in power as president of Mexico, Sinaloa experienced economic growth, but its small population hindered economic development and consolidation. Different factions fought in Sinaloa during the Mexican Revolution, which started in 1910, with some Francisco "Pancho" Villa (revolutionary leader; 1878–1923) loyalists claiming control of significant portions of the state. Yet, by 1917, forces loyal to the newly established constitutional government controlled the state. Some conflicts arose with the land reform initiatives promoted by the dominating political party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which affected large land estates owned by US companies. However, Sinaloa's scarce population prevented large land-related conflicts from emerging in the post-revolutionary period. The state's proximity to the United States, where there is a large market for illegal drugs, made it a prime candidate for the illegal production of the poppy, the plant used to produce opium.
The state governor is democratically elected for six-year terms and cannot be re-elected when the term expires. The legislature is comprised of a forty member unicameral (single chamber) congress. Twenty-four members are elected in single member districts and sixteen are elected by proportional representation. Congressional
The eighteen municipalities that comprise Sinaloa hold democratic elections for municipal presidents and council members every three years. Immediate re-election is not allowed. Some decentralization initiatives are producing positive results. However, the fact that the PRI continues to control state level politics has prevented important decentralization initiatives from being implemented.
The three main political parties in all of Mexico are the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). The PRI continues to exercise strong control of state level politics. That party has never lost a gubernatorial election since the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1917. The conservative PAN has shown a growing and consolidating electoral strength. Yet, alternation of power at the state level has yet to occur.
The Supreme Tribunal of Justice is the highest court in the state. Its eleven members are appointed for fifteen-year terms with no re-election provisions. There is a mandatory retirement age of seventy. In addition, an electoral tribunal and local courts also comprise the state judicial system. The lack of alternation in power at the gubernatorial level has made it difficult for the Supreme Tribunal to become fully autonomous.
The main economic activities of Sinaloa are agriculture, fishing, livestock breeding, commerce, and industry. Agriculture is the dominant economic activity. Crops are mainly under irrigation. The state is the leader in rice and vegetable production and second in wheat and bean production in the country. Fishing is the second most important economic activity.
Agriculture and livestock account for about 21% of the economy. Service-based companies account for another 21% of the economy, followed by trade activities at 19%, finance and insurance at 16%, transportation and communications at 11%, manufacturing at 8%, construction at 3%, and mining at 1%.
Industrial parks are scattered throughout the state. They are linked to agriculture production and the fishing industry, including canning, packing, and frozen food plants. Industrial trained workers are primarily in the textile and agriculture industries. Industrial products produced in Sinaloa are tomato purée, flour, sugar, beer, edible oil, and chilorio (pork cooked in chili). The city of Los Mochis has developed a special ecological industrial park dedicated to housing nonpolluting industries.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Mexican workers saw their wages increase 17%, from $2.09 per hour in 1999 to $2.46 per hour in 2000. (The average US worker earned $19.86 per hour in 2000.) After one year, workers are entitled by law to six days paid vacation.
Agriculture products coming from Sinaloa include tomatoes, beans, corn, wheat, sorghum, potatoes, soybeans, sugarcane, and squash. Crops are grown near sea level under irrigation in large fields using mechanized methods. Sinaloa is one of Mexico's leading sugarcane producers; sugarcane is one Mexico's main sources of income.
The beekeeping industry that contributes to the pollination of these crops was devastated by the arrival of the Africanized honeybee (AHB) in Sinaloa around 1990. Eighteen deaths resulted and many beekeeping businesses closed.
Products that come from livestock breeding in Sinaloa are meat, sausage, cheese, and milk.
Fishing harvests include shrimp, tuna, sea bass, sardines, and marlin. Mineral resources include gold, silver, lead, and zinc. Nonmetallic minerals include limestone, talc, and salt.
Almost all of the energy in Mexico is provided by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). In February 2002, the CFE introduced new electric rates. For households that use less than 140 kilowatt hours per month, there was no rate increase. (This is about 75% of all households in Mexico, according to CFE).
Sinaloa has six hydroelectric plants, two thermoelectric plants, and one turbo gas plant with a total generating capacity of 1,800 megawatts. The hydrological (water system) infrastructure is one of the most advanced in Mexico.
There are 31 general hospitals, 432 outpatient centers, and 86 surgical centers in Sinaloa.
Most of the Mexican population is covered under a government health plan. The IMSS (Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social) covers the general population. The ISSSTE (Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de Trabajadores del Estado) covers state workers.
About two-thirds of the housing available in the state of Sinaloa is in good repair. Only about 13% is in need of significant upgrading. These homes do not have running water or access to electricity.
The system of public education was first started by President Benito Juárez in 1867. Public education in Mexico is free for students from ages six to sixteen. According to the 2000 census, there were approximately 573,000 school-age students in the state. Many students elect to go to private schools. Sinaloa has twenty-five universities and technical schools with sixty-two campuses distributed throughout the state and 106 technical training facilities. The Sinaloa Science Center was opened in 1993 to provide interactive educational activities for children and adults. English is taught in most private and public schools.
The state of Sinaloa has many performing musical groups. There is Ballet Folklórico (a contemporary dance group), an opera chorus, a percussion ensemble, and an orchestra. Sinaloa has twelve theaters including a Greek theater, seventeen auditoriums, and various local cultural centers.
The state of Sinaloa has 140 libraries. There are over twenty museums in the state, including a museum of art and science in Culiacán, the capital. Mazatlán has an aquarium, an art museum, and an archeological museum.
The capital, Culiacán, has three daily newspapers: El Debate, El Sol, and Noroeste. Los Mochis publishes the daily newspaper El Sol. In Mazatlán, there are two daily newspapers: Adelante and El Sol del Pacífico.
Founded in 1531, Culiacán is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. The city offers sport hunting and fishing for tourists. Many hunters come to shoot white-winged pigeon when in season. Los Mochis is the point of origin of the railroad that connects the Sinaloan Coast with the Sierra Tarahumara.
The capital, Culiacán, has a professional baseball team, the Tomateros, which plays in the 16,000-seat General Angel Flores stadium. Mazatlán has a baseball team, the Venados, which plays in the 12,000-seat Teodoro Mariscal stadium. Mazatlán also has an 8,000-seat bullring. Guasave has a baseball team, the Algodoneros, which plays in the 8,000-seat Francisco Carranza Limón stadium.
Juan S. Millán was elected as governor of Sinaloa in 1999 and is expected to hold office until December 2004. Mexican singer and songwriter Chalino Sanchez died in Sinaloa in 1992.
DeAngelis, Gina. Mexico. Mankato, MN: Blue Earth Books, 2003.
Supples, Kevin. Mexico. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2002.
El Portal del Gobienero de Sinaloa (English version). http://www.sinaloa.gob.mx/english/index.html (accessed on June 17, 2004).
Mexico for Kids. http://www.elbalero.gob.mx/index_kids.html (accessed on June 15, 2004).