is a small town and a municipality
in the northeast part of the Mexican
state of Sonora
The municipality is located in the northeast of the state at . The elevation of the administrative seat is 902 meters above sea level. It has boundaries with the following municipalities: in the north with Agua Prieta
, in the south with Bacerac
, in the west with Nacozari
and in the east with the state of Chihuahua
Area and Population
The area of the municipality is 2,475.82 sq. km., which makes up 1.34% of the state total. The municipal population in 2005 was 1,263, a drop from the 1,377 recorded in 2000. The municipal seat had a population of 715 in 2000.
Origin of the Name
The land now occupied by the municipality was once inhabited by the Opata tribe, from which came the name. Bavispe is derived from the word "Bavipa", which means "place where the river changes direction".
Bavispe was founded in 1645, by the Jesuit
missionary Cristóbal García
and called San Miguel de Bavispe. The town was later a military fort with the name of Compañía de Opatas de Bavispe.
On May 8, 1887, a strong earthquake, felt as far north as Central Arizona, reduced the church of San Miguel de Bavispe to a crumbled wreck and left every home in the village uninhabitable. A new modern church was built on the same site. It acquired municipal status in 1931.
Most of the area is mountainous, since it lies on the west side of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Due to the elevation the average annual temperature is 20.8°C.
The only river of any importance is the Rio Bavispe, which begins in Chihuahua and crosses the region from north to south.
The population is highly dependent on agriculture and cattle raising. Grasses are grown as cattle fodder. Beans and corn are also grown for subsistence. The cattle herd is sizable with over 11,000 head counted in 2000.
Part of Los Ajos-Bavispe National Forest Reserve
is adjacent. This is one of Mexico's oldest protected areas, created almost 70 years ago. The reserve was created to preserve eight mountain tops, or "sky islands," and to protect the watersheds of three important Sonoran rivers: the Rio Sonora
, the Bavispe-Yaqui River
and the San Pedro River