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Tijuana is the most heavily populated city in the state of Baja California. It is known in many places as the Mexican corner or the door to Mexico and to Latin America. It is found at 32° 31′ 30″ Northern latitude and at 117° West latitude. Its northern boundary stretches through 26.4 miles with San Diego County (California), to the south it borders the cities of Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, Tecate in the east, and to the West with the Pacific Ocean. It has a territorial extension of 1,727 Km². The Coronado Islands are located just offshore from the Pacific Ocean art of the Tijuana territory. The city’s motto: “Aquí empieza la Patria.”. Means: The country starts here.

The name originated from a Ranch whose owner was called “Tía Juana” (Aunt Juana), however, it is recognized by non-local historians that the name comes from the yuman tongue, an ancient language spoken in the region. Other names are: “Tiguana”,”Tiuana”, “Teguana”, “Tiwana”, “Tijuan”, “Ticuan”, “Tijuana”. Some historians think the Word “Tijuana” and their derivations actually mean “Junto al mar” (By the sea). Some say this is untrue, that the name comes from another place south of the peninsula.

Originally, Tijuana was populated by the Kumiai (K’miai), one of the Indian tribes that along with the Cucapá, Pai PAi, Kiliwa, and Akula populated the northern part of the Baja California Peninsula.

Tijuana Cultural Center
Tijuana Cultural Center

The first European explorer who actually sailed through the shores in what we now know as the Tijuana municipality was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. They traveled the coast of the port city of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, making his way north in six days, from September 23 to 28 in 1542.

In 1769, in the journal of Fray Junípero Sera exists the following entry: “Day 1st of July (1769) Saturday, eight of John the Baptist, we started with a good morning our last journey […] not far from the mouth where the boats San Carlos and San Antonio where anchored (the ships where anchored at San Diego Bay)”. The last journey of Father Serra before reaching the mouth (San Diego Bay) where the ships were, was spent at the region where the Tijuana city is today.

Between January 29th and June 22nd of 1944, the Baja California state suffered an invasion of American freebooters. They were trying by these means to appropriate the state like they’d done before with other states of the Mexican territory. On the morning of May 8th of 1911, when the first clashes between invading troops commanded by Sam Wood, were considered one of the most brave and capable of the invading freebooters. From the Tijuana side, Sub-lieutenant Miguel Guerrero in command of only 25 men figured some soldiers, plaza police, and some voluntaries, fend off the first wave. This reduced defensive column worked pretty well. They caused the enemy 40 casualties of which Sam Wood was a part. However, the superiority in numbers did come true and took the plaza; they also scored a casualty in the Tijuana group, policeman Juan Osuna, the first victim in the heroic defense of Tijuana.

The city of Tijuana, During the ’50s, ’60s, and part of the ’70s of the twentieth century. It was considered one of the most visited cities in the world, even though there is no system or anyone who keeps a trustworthy account. But as the demands from the North American customs increased to let people in and out of the United States, tourism coming to Tijuana decreased proportionally. Today, Av Revolución and the Northern part of Tijuana are just a glimpse of past years of glory. One of its more symbolic attractions is the donkeys painted as zebras for black and white pictures. You can also enjoy excellent clamatos and the traditional Caesar salad (both invented in Tijuana).