Baja California Sur

Baja California Sur

Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur  (Spanish)
Free and Sovereign State of Baja California Sur
Flag of Baja California Sur
Flag
Nickname(s): 
El Acuario Del Mundo
(The aquarium of the world)
Anthem: Canto a Baja California
Baja California Sur within Mexico
Baja California Sur within Mexico
Coordinates: 25°51′N 111°58′W / 25°51′N 111°58′W / 25.850; -111.967
 • Senators[3]Ricardo Velázquez Meza
Jesús Lucía Trasviña Waldenrath
María Guadalupe Saldaña Cisneros
 • Deputies[4]
Area
 • Total73,909 km2 (28,536 sq mi)
 Ranked 9th
Highest elevation2,080 m (6,820 ft)
Population
 (2015)[7]
 • Total763,929 [1]
 • Rank31st
 • Density rank32nd
Demonym(s)Sudcaliforniano (a)
Time zoneUTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
Postal code
23
Area code
ISO 3166 codeMX-BCS
HDIIncrease 0.811 Very High Ranked 2nd of 32
GDP$7 billion[a]
WebsiteOfficial Web Site
^ a. The state's GDP was 50,785,641 thousands of pesos in 2006,[8] amount corresponding to 3,967,628.2 thousands of dollars (one USD=12,80 pesos as of June 3, 2010).[9]

Baja California Sur (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbaxa kaliˈfoɾnja ˈsuɾ] (About this soundlisten); English: "South Lower California"), officially the Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California Sur (English: Free and Sovereign State of South Lower California), is the second-smallest Mexican state by population and the 31st admitted state of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico.

Before becoming a state on October 8, 1974, the area was known as the El Territorio Sur de Baja California ("South Territory of Lower California"). It has an area of 73,909 km2 (28,536 sq mi), or 3.57% of the land mass of Mexico, and occupies the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula, south of the 28th parallel, plus the uninhabited Rocas Alijos in the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered to the north by the state of Baja California, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and to the east by the Gulf of California. The state has maritime borders with Sonora and Sinaloa to the east, across the Gulf of California.

The state is home to the tourist resorts of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Its largest city and capital is La Paz.

Geography and environment

Political geography

The state is the southern part of the Baja California Peninsula, located in the northwest of Mexico, part of the larger The Californias region of North America. With a territory of 73,909 km², it is about 750 km long and averages about 100 km wide.[10][11]

The state is divided into five municipalities. Comondú is located in the center of the state with its seat at Ciudad Constitución. It borders the municipalities of Mulegé, Loreto and La Paz with the Pacific Ocean to the west.[12] Mulegé is in the north of the state with its capital in Santa Rosalía, with two other important population centers at Guerrero Negro and Mulegé. It borders the municipalities of Comondú and Loreto with Baja California Norte to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Gulf of California to the east. It accounts for almost 45% of the state's territory.[13] The municipality of La Paz is in the south of the state. It is the second largest municipality, accounting for just over 27% of the territory of the state. It borders the municipalities of Comondú and Los Cabos and extends from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of California.[14] The municipality of Los Cabos is at the southern tip of the state, with its seat at San José del Cabo, and its most populous city is Cabo San Lucas. The municipality is one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico. The municipality borders that of La Paz to the north, with the rest defined by the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California.[15] The municipality of Loreto is in the center of the state, with the city of Loreto as its seat. It borders the municipalities of Mulegé and Comondú with the Gulf of California to the east.[16]

Largest cities

Natural geography

The arch at Land's End, Cabo San Lucas

The state is on a narrow peninsula which broke away from the mainland about two million years ago due to tectonic activity.[17] The territory is primarily mountains or mountain ranges and coastal plains. The mountain ranges parallel the coastline and are of volcanic rock. The local name for the main mountain range is the Sierra de la Giganta and the highest peak is the Sierra de la Laguna at 2080m above sea level. The coastal plains are significantly wider on the Pacific side, averaging about 40 km, with much wider plains such as those of Santa Clara, Berrendo and Magdalena y Hiray. These areas are dominated by sedimentary rock, especially limestone of marine origin.[10][18]

The state is divided into five regions: Central Desert, La Serranía, the Vizcaíno Desert, the Magdalena Plains and Los Cabos. The Central Desert has desert plants, with vegetation springing up during short and irregular rains. The La Serranía is the high mountain areas with significant tree cover, some species of which are commercially valuable. The Vizcaíno Desert runs along the Pacific coast around the Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio lagoons; it contains lower mountain ranges such as the San Francisco, San Alberto, Las Tinajas de Murillo and El Serrucho, along with the El Azufre and Las Vírgenes volcanos. The Magdalena Plains is a large, flat area near the Pacific coast, and the Los Cabos region is distinguished by microclimates determined by the geologic change in the area and rain patterns.[10]

The climate of the state is dry, with an average annual temperature of 18–22 °C and average annual rainfall of less than 200mm.[11] The lower elevations are the driest and hottest, with summer daytime temperatures above 40 °C; wintertime temperatures may fall below freezing. The exception to desert conditions is the Los Cabos region, classified as semi-moist because of Pacific hurricane activity which affects the region. In the spring, prevailing winds are from the west and in the summer from the south and southwest. In the fall, they are from the northwest and in the winter from the north and northwest.[10][18]

Most of the surface water is in the form of seasonal streams, which are fast-flowing and only active during stormy weather. Most of these drain into the Pacific Ocean, with a number flowing south into the Bahía de Ballenas.[18]

View of the San Jose Estuary

The main geological feature of the state is its coastline which measures 2230 km, making it Mexico's longest with 22% of the total. It also has the most islands, mostly in the Gulf of California. There are three in the Pacific, Natividad, Magdalena and Santa Margarita (the largest). In the Gulf of California, they include San Marcos, Coronados, Carmen, Monserrat, Santa Catalina, Santa Cruz, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Partida, Espiritu Santo and Cerralvo. Major bays include Sebastian Vizcaino, Magdalena, La Paz, Asunción, Ballenas, Concepcion and San Carlos. Estuaries and lagoons including those at Puerto Escondido, Nopoló, Blandra as well as the San José estuary at Cabo Colorado, the San Ignacio Lagoon and the Ojo de Liebre.[10][19][18]

The ecological system here is considered to be recently evolved with a number of endemic species.[10] The lower elevations are dominated by desert and arid condition plants. This includes the world's largest species of cactus, the cardón cactus, which can reach heights of 15m.[19] Other plant species include mesquite, chironola, lechuguilla, nopal and barrel cactus, choyas, paloadan and pitahaya. The higher elevations have forests of pine and holm oak with some deciduous forests, with leaves falling in the dry season, generally no taller than fifteen meters.[18] Wildlife in the desert areas is restricted to birds, reptiles and small to medium mammals such as rabbits and coyotes. Upper elevations with more vegetation can have wild sheep, pumas and other wild cats, raccoons, deer, and foxes. Marine species include whales, seals, dolphins, gray whales, manta rays and sea turtles.[10][17][18]

National parks and other protected areas include the Sebastian Vizcaino Bay, the San Ignacio Lagoon, the Sierra la Laguna, Laguna Ojo de Liebre and the islands in the Gulf of California.[10][18]

Playa Santispac on Bahía Concepción

Adjacent states

Other Languages
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Паўднёвая Ніжняя Каліфорнія
Bahasa Indonesia: Baja California Sur
interlingua: Baja California Sur
Kapampangan: Baja California Sur
Bahasa Melayu: Baja California Sur
norsk nynorsk: Baja California Sur
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Quyi janubiy Kaliforniya
Simple English: Baja California Sur
slovenčina: Baja California Sur
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Južna Donja Kalifornija
татарча/tatarça: Баха-Калифорния-Сур
Tiếng Việt: Baja California Sur