Photo taken from the Mulegé Mission
Mulegé is an oasis town in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, situated at the mouth of the Río de Santa Rosalía. It is the fourth-largest community in Mulegé Municipality. It had a population of 3,821 according to the Mexican federal census of 2010.
The river valley of today's Mulegé was discovered in 1702 by the Jesuit Father Juan Maria de Salvatierra as a place for a mission and consequently for a settlement. The valley of the then-unnamed river was ideal for a mission and a settlement, because of its abundance of water.
In 1754 Father Francisco Escalante started the construction of the mission. Years later many other Jesuit fathers came into today's area of Mulegé to bring the Catholic faith and convert the natives to Catholicism.
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The official name of the town is "Heroica Mulegé." This title is based on incidents during the American-Mexican war 1846-1848. The 'Americanos' tried to occupy long stretches of the Pacific coast like California, Baja California and New Mexico which belonged to Mexico at that time. The effort was made as a blockade and to battle Mexican General Santa Ana who was fighting a war in Texas (the Battle of the Alamo, Battle of San Antonio, Battle of San Jacinto, and so on.) (Santa Ana was no longer at war with Texas, that was 1836). The people of Mulegé and surrounding settlements along the Pacific coastline defeated the 'Gringos.' As a result Mulegé was not occupied and was rewarded the official title "Heroica Mulegé." Even today, on any official letters of the Government of Baja California Sur you will find the title "Heroica Mulegé."
Tourist Spots / Attractions
The Mission, founded in 1705, is one of the most famous attractions in Mulegé. It is located high above the river, overlooking the entire river valley.
The caves in the 'Sierra de Guadalupe' near Mulegé with extensive cave paintings are worth a visit, as are the caves in the 'Sierra de San Borjita' and La Trinidad.
A special feature of the town is the old prison. It was erected completely without bars. The prisoners could freely walk around town and even go as far as to establish and maintain families. They just had to return to the prison in the evening. Escapes were rare because of the remoteness of Mulegé and until Mex 1 was paved there was nothing but empty desert to which to flee. Also, all prisoners had to agree to assist in tracking any escapist and assist in their capture. Today, the old prison is a museum suggesting a nominal (M$15) fee for entry.