Baja California

Baja California (literally "lower California" in Spanish) is the northernmost state of Mexico. It is considered a portion of Northern America. It is sometimes informally referred to as Baja California Norte[1], to distinguish it from both the Baja California peninsula, of which it forms the northern half, and Baja California Sur, the adjacent state that covers the southern half of the peninsula. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North Territory of Baja California. It has an area of 71,576 km² (about 27,600 mi², or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico). The state is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by Sonora, the U.S. State of Arizona, and the Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California, and on the south by Baja California Sur. Its northern limit is the U.S.-Mexico border, adjacent to the U.S. state of California.

The state has a population of 2,844,469 (2005 census), much more than the sparsely populated Baja California Sur to the south. Over 75% of the population lives in the capital city, Mexicali, or the most populous city in the state, Tijuana. Both these cities are close to the U.S. border. Other important cities include Ensenada, San Felipe, and Playas de Rosarito and Tecate. Baja California is not entirely Mestizo (Spanish and American Indian). The population includes small numbers of other European, East Asian, Middle Eastern and African descent.

The state's inhabitants are known as "Cachanillas," after the wild cachanilla plant which has a fresh aroma and was used by the original inhabitants to make huts. The first Mestizo colonies used these materials with dried mud. Originally, the term "Cachanillas" was applied only to the inhabitants of the Mexicali Valley, although there are tales of the term being used for inhabitants of Santa Rosalía in Baja California Sur. Composer Antonio Valdéz Herrera's work "Puro Cachanilla" (Pure Cachanilla) has made use of the term more common.


  1. Baja California Norte, while it is a well-established term for the northern half of the Baja California peninsula, is incorrect when used in a political sense. Baja California Norte has never existed as a political designation for a state, territory, district or region.


The racial make-up of the state is; 75% Mestizo (Mixed Amerindian and European), 15% White/European, 5% Asian (Most of them Chinese) the remaining 5% is composed by Amerindians, Black africans and North-Americans.


Baja California is subdivided into five municipios (municipalities).

  • Ensenada
  • Mexicali
  • Tecate
  • Tijuana
  • Playas de Rosarito

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