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Cananea, a copper mining center in the northwestern state of Sonora that became for the Mexican Revolution a symbol of North American control over the economy, of the Porfirio Díaz regime's compliance in it, and of the rise of the labor movement to correct abuses and resist that alliance.

Though mines in the locality had been worked since the 1760s by a series of owners, they had remained small operations due to limited capital and Apache raiding (1820s–1860s). The North American adventurer-entrepreneur William Greene—through the application of large-scale corporate finance and organization beginning in 1896—transformed Cananea into one of the leading mining centers in Mexico. In addition to the mining of copper, Greene formed land, cattle, lumber, and railroad companies which, along with government concessions to supply basic services, enabled him to attain hegemony over the area's economy. Close ties with the political circle of Luis Torres that controlled the state government ensured cooperative local authorities.

Syndicalist ideas among workers from the United States and a cell of followers of the opposition Mexican Liberal Party helped foster unionist sentiment among the nearly 5,400 Mexican workers. The strike of 1-3 June 1906 involved a large proportion of the latter. Alarmed North American employees initiated the subsequent widespread violence, which brought in federal troops and "volun-teers" from Arizona, whose presence sparked a formal national inquiry. Strike leaders Manuel M. Dieguez and Esteban Baca Calderón figured prominently in the Revolution.

See alsoTorres, Luis Emeterio .


Esteban Baca Calderón, Juicio sobre la guerra del Yaqui y génesis de la huelga de Cananea (1956).

David M. Pletcher, Rails, Mines, and Progress: Seven American Promoters in Mexico, 1867–1911 (1958).

Manuel J. Aguirre, Cananea: Las garras del imperialismo en las entrañas de México (1958).

Ramón Eduardo Ruiz, The People of Sonora and Yankee Capitalists (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Gonzalez, Michael J. "U.S. Copper Companies, the Mine Workers' Movement, and the Mexican Revolution, 1910–1920." The Hispanic American Historical Review 76, no. 3 (August 1996): 503-534.

                                         Stuart F. Voss