Although the Yaqui people have been fighting since the time of the conquest to maintain the lands of the Yaqui in what became the state of Sonora , it is known as the Yaqui War, the period that goes from 1870 to 1910, in this period there were uprisings armed by the Yaquis , and there were attempts to colonize the so-called Yaqui territory by the Mexican government and independent colonizers.
Why such a long and fierce struggle? What were the causes and consequences of such a long war? Who finally triumphed or won? Keep reading the following summary and you will find the answers.
When and where did the Yaqui War take place?
To speak of the Yaqui and the wars for their lands is to go back to the time of the Spanish conquest, as early as 1533 the Spanish explorer Diego Guzmán attacked the Yaquis with artillery, and finally had to flee for his life; But here we will talk about the war of the Mexican government against the Yaquis to conquer their lands, basically this took place in the state of Sonora between the years 1870 and 1910 ; This war took on characteristics of ethnocide during the time of the Porfirio Díaz government .
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Who participated in the Yaqui War?
The Yaqui War is the longest and bloodiest armed struggle in Mexican history, the Yaqui people for decades faced the Mexican government, the state government of Sonora and also had to fight in defense of their lands and ideals against the armed guards of the white landowners .
Yaqui leaders who fought in these wars
- Juan Banderas from 1825 to 1833 when he was shot.
- José María Leyva (Cajeme) from 1875 to 1887, was captured and shot.
- Juan Maldonado (Tetabiate) from 1890 to 1901, dies fighting.
- Luis Bule from 1902 when he took up arms until 1910, during the Mexican Revolution the Yaqui people fought in those battles, but they returned to war for their lands.
Mexican government leaders in these wars against the Yaquis
- Governor of Sonora Manuel Escalante and General Juan Urrea , confront Juan Banderas.
- Prospero Bustamante, José Carbo, Bonifacio Topete, Marcos Carrillo and Ángel Martínez were some soldiers who faced Cajeme in several battles.
- General Lorenzo Torres , governor of Sonora, faced Tetabiate.
- The pacification finally arrived in 1937 under the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, recognizing the just right to their lands and to fight for them.
Causes of the Yaqui War
The cause of the Yaqui war, although several can be pointed out, all are related to the Yaqui lands or territory . We were saying that from the moment the Spaniards arrived on the banks of the Yaqui River at the time of the conquest, it was clear that the Yaqui people were very jealous of their land, and were not willing to allow freedom over them . Basically, the federalist government of Mexico always tried to do the same during the Spanish colonization, to take the Yaqui Valley by force , this is the fundamental cause of this long war.
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The other reason that can be pointed out, perhaps more to understand why it lasted so long, is the way the Yaqui sees their land, they and the land of their ancestors are fused, they are part of that land, it is like trying to remove a river or a mountain that is part of an area. Another reason that could be given is the warlike and indomitable nature of the Yaqui , but this only explains why they endured so much injustice and abuse.
Summary of the Yaqui War
We will begin our summary from 1825, when the independence of Mexico from Spanish rule had already been achieved; around that time the Yaqui chief Juan Banderas took up arms against the recent Mexican federal government , this Yaqui managed to group the Yaquis and other indigenous peoples and in intermittent battles kept the federals busy, with some periods of peace, when they were granted some rights.
Other Yaqui leaders such as José Leyva (Cajeme) and Juan Maldonado (Tetabiate) staged a series of battles over several decades, against generals and colonels with their cavalry troops , and always advocating their rights to govern those fertile lands, and demanding that they be respect its independence from the Mexican federal government, this lasted until the beginning of the 20th century, with the death of Tetabiate in 1901 , at that time the federal troops in the Yaqui Valley amounted to about 4,800 well-armed soldiers, of course there was some other period of relative peace between one uprising and another, but it always returned to the armed uprising and the chases and battles. The situation reached a point where the federal government made the decision toto expel the entire Yaqui nation from the state of Sonora , although this was not completely achieved.
Finally, from 1910 onwards, things began to change, with the occasional uprising, until in 1929 the air force was used to quell a revolt , and finally in 1937, rights were granted to the Yaqui people , and the legitimacy of their long struggle for their lands and ideals.
Consequences of the Yaqui War
The main consequence of this Yaqui War is that despite almost 100 years of struggles to colonize or remove the Yaqui Valley from its inhabitants, it finally had to be recognized that the Yaquis will always be inhabitants of those valleys , despite so much blood. spilled, they are still sown there.
Another consequence of those wars was the suffering and death that brought to the state of Sonora, much pain, injustices and damage to the land.
A lesson that remains in history: with diplomacy and respect for the rights of others, even if the adversary seems fragile, it is achieved more than by force and authoritarianism, President Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, by recognizing their rights to the Yaquis, achieves that these lands can be populated in a more homogeneous, civilized way and that the rights of all be respected, both that of a settler who wants to move to the Yaqui Valley, and that of its oldest inhabitants.
Winner of the Yaqui War
Obviously, the winner of the conflict was the Yaqui people , because despite the apparent numerical and armed disadvantage, the attack by armies with heavy weapons, and all the suffering that war always brings, the Yaqui Indians could not be exiled , although it was tried, to the point that the term ethnocide is used, especially during the government of Porfirio Díaz.
The loser of this war was the enemy of always, authoritarianism, abuse, injustice, human selfishness that, mixed with the power of the ruling classes, always ends up generating much suffering and injustice.