Ensenada, Baja California

Ensenada
Ciudad de Ensenada
City of Ensenada
Images from top, left to right: Carnival Paradise docked in the Port of Ensenada, Bahía Todos Santos, Villa Marina Hotel, Grapes from the Guadalupe Valley
Images from top, left to right: Carnival Paradise docked in the Port of Ensenada, Bahía Todos Santos, Villa Marina Hotel, Grapes from the Guadalupe Valley
Nicknames: 
The Pacific's Cinderella, Pearl of the Pacific, Ensenada de todos los santos
Ensenada is located in Mexico
Ensenada
Ensenada
Location in Mexico
Coordinates: 31°51′28″N 116°36′21″W / 31°51′28″N 116°36′21″W / 31.85778; -116.60583UTC−7 (PDT)
Postal code
22800-22899
Area code(s)646

Ensenada (Spanish pronunciation: [enseˈnaða]) is a coastal city in Mexico, the third-largest in Baja California. Lying 125 kilometres (78 mi) south of San Diego on the Baja California Peninsula, it is locally referred to as La Cenicienta del Pacífico, "The Cinderella of the Pacific".[2]

One of the first settlements founded in the Californias, Ensenada has emerged as a cruise ship destination, aerospace center, and a jumping-off point for Valle de Guadalupe, a local wine region. It is said that the first Vitis vinifera made it to the region's San Ignacio Mission in 1703, when Jesuit Padre Juan de Ugarte planted the first vineyards there.

Situated on the coastline of Bahía de Todos Santos—an inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the peninsula's Gold Coast—the Port of Ensenada is an important commercial, fishing, and tourist port. The city is home to a navy base, army base, and Ensenada Airport, a military airfield that doubles as an airport of entry into Mexico.

Ensenada is the municipal seat and cultural and commercial center of Ensenada Municipality, one of five into which the state is divided. As of 2015, the municipality had a population of 519,813.[1]

Ensenada is backed by small mountain ranges. Proximity to the Pacific and a warm Mediterranean latitude create mild year-round weather. The rainy season during the winter is short and the area is prone to prolonged droughts, which can threaten its grape harvests. The National Park, Constitution of 1857,is nearby as are also the Sierra de Juarez and San Pedro Martir National Park, which maintain one of the best astronomical observatories in the country.

Ensenada is part of UNESCO´s Creative Cities Network since 2015.[3]

History

When the first European explorers arrived in the region, the Yuman People inhabited the region, of which tribal groups such as the Kiliwa, Paipai and Kumeyaay still exist. These semi-nomadic indigenous people lived in the bay area and interior valleys of the Sierra de Juárez and San Pedro Mártir.

Bahia Todos Santos, which Ensenada now borders, was first reached by sea by the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo on the vessels El Salvador and Victoria. The city was founded September 17, 1542 under the name San Mateo.[4][5] In 1602, while mapping the coast of the Californias in search of safe harbors for returning Spanish galleons from Manila to Acapulco, Sebastián Vizcaíno renamed the city to Ensenada de Todos Santos.[4] Ensenada means "bay" or "cove".

The first permanent settlement was established by the Jesuits during the 17th or 18th century. After the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1768, the Dominicans took over the representation of Europe in what is now Ensenada. In 1805, José Manuel Ruiz Carillo obtained permission to establish himself in Ensenada, being appointed governor of Baja California and building in Ensenada a house that survived until the final part of that century, despite being briefly taken by William Walker, the self-declared "president" of the Republic of Lower California, in 1853–54.[6]

In 1882, Ensenada was designated the capital of Baja California, and attempts at developing the area were made by the English Mexican Land and Colonization Company. These were interrupted by the Mexican Revolution, which left the area devastated. In 1915, the capital was transferred to Mexicali, and in 1930 the population of Ensenada was only 5,000.[7] During the early part of the twentieth century, the city's name was shortened from Ensenada de Todos Santos to Ensenada, a change made in order to avoid confusion with Todos Santos in Baja California Sur.[6]

The twentieth-century development of Ensenada was assisted by prohibition, which sent Americans and Canadians south of their border in search of entertainment and alcohol, developing first Tijuana, then Rosarito, and finally Ensenada as tourist destinations. The Hotel Riviera del Pacífico was opened in 1930, briefly placing Ensenada on the international glamor map and was visited several times by President Miguel Aleman, international artists and political personalities; yet unlike the Hotel del Coronado, it was never a sustained success (despite giving rise to the claim that the Margarita was invented there). It really flourished only in the early 1950s, at which time Ensenada's population had risen to 20,000. The hotel finally closed in 1964. It was later reopened as a cultural center and museum.[7] By this time, other hotels had opened, and the population and economy of Ensenada had grown and diversified towards their present status.

On January 26 of 2007 Pope Benedict XVI created the Diocese of Ensenada with territory taken from the Archdiocese of Tijuana and Mexicali Diocese, making it a suffragan of the Metropolitan Church of Tijuana.[citation needed]

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