Yaqui Rebellion, 1885–1898

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Yaqui Rebellion, 1885–1898

Yaquis resisted Porfirian rule throughout the dictatorship. In 1875, led by José María Leyva Cajeme, they built and maintained a state-within-a-state until 1886. In 1887 the invading Mexican army crushed the defensive system of fortifications erected under Chief Cajeme. Rejecting the government's offer to settle down as colonists on their own land, most Yaquis fanned out to work in mines, railroads, and haciendas on both sides of the Sonora-Arizona border, constituting the critical weapons conduit and social base of support for highly effective guerrilla warfare waged by small bands of warriors under the rebel leader Juan Maldonado Tetabiate.

For the next decade, the governor and general Luis Torres struggled without much success to distinguish between Yaqui broncos (warriors) and pacíficos, prized workers whose employers refused to cooperate with the authorities for fear of losing their irreplaceable labor. In 1897 Tetabiate and Torres signed the Peace of Ortiz to facilitate the repatriation of thousands of war-weary families back to their homeland, but peace lasted only three short years. Realizing the futility of distinguishing between warriors and workers, the Diaz regime embarked on the final solution: the deportation of thousands of Yaqui men, women and children out of Sonora to the henequen plantations of the Yucatán.

See alsoYaqui Indians .


Hu-DeHart, Evelyn. Missionaries, Miners, and Indians: History of Spanish Contact with the Yaqui Indians of Northwestern New Spain, 1533–1820. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1981.

Hu-DeHart, Evelyn. Yaqui Resistance and Survival: Struggle for Land and Autonomy, 1821–1910. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984.

Hu-DeHart, Evelyn. Adaptación y resistencia en el Yaquimí: los Yaquis durante la colonia. Mexico City: CIESAS, 1995.

                                        Evelyn Hu-DeHart