The Cochimí were the aboriginal inhabitants of the central part of the Baja California peninsula, from El Rosario in the north to San Javier in the south.
They spoke a set of dialects or closely related languages that have been classified in a variety of ways. The most prominent division, between Northern Cochimí and Southern Cochimí, has generally been put to the south of San Ignacio (Mixco 1978, 1979, 206; Laylander 1997). Sometimes designated "Peninsular Yuman", Cochimí bears an evident relationship to the Yuman languages of northern Baja California, southern California, and western Arizona. Yuman-Cochimí is a family of languages spoken in Baja California and northern Sonora in Mexico and southern California and western However, Mauricio J. Mixco (1978, 2006) has reassessed this relationship and judged it to be too distant for Cochimí to be included within the Yuman family proper. He placed Cochimí as a sister language to the Yuman family, thus forming the Cochimí-Yuman family.
The Cochimí were first encountered by Spanish seaborne explorers during the sixteenth century, including Ulloa, Cabrillo, Vizcaíno, and others. See also Francisco Ulloa (accordionist Francisco de Ulloa (died 1540 was a Spanish explorer who explored the west coast of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (ca 1499 &ndash January 3 1543 was a Portuguese explorer known as João Rodrigues Cabrilho in Portuguese noted for his exploration Sebastián Vizcaíno (1548-1624 was a Spanish soldier entrepreneur explorer and diplomat whose varied roles took him to New Spain, the Philippines, the Baja Sporadic encounters continued until the Jesuits established missions on the peninsula in the late seventeenth century. The Society of Jesus ( Latin: Societas Iesu, SJ and SI or SJ, SI) is a Catholic religious order Eusebio Francisco Kino made an abortive foundation at San Bruno, to the north of Loreto, in 1683-1685. Eusebio Francisco Kino SJ ( August 10, 1644 &ndash March 15, 1711) was a Catholic priest who became famous in what Juan María de Salvatierra began the first successful mission in 1697 at Loreto among the Monqui, who were southern neighbors of the Cochimí. Juan María de Salvatierra ( November 15, 1648 &ndash July 17, 1717) was a Catholic missionary to the Americas Mission Loreto was founded on October 25 1697 at the Monqui settlement of Conchó in the present city of Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico The Monquis were the Native American inhabitants of the vicinity of Loreto Baja California Sur, Mexico at the time of Spanish contact This was quickly followed by Francesco Maria Piccolo's Cochimí mission at San Javier in 1699. The Spanish mission of San Francisco Javier was initially founded by the Jesuit missionary Francisco María Piccolo in Over the next seven decades, the frontier of Jesuit control over the Cochimí gradually extended northward, with missions at Mulegé (1705, Comondú (1708), La Purísima (1720), Guadalupe (1720), San Ignacio (1728), Santa Gertrudis (1751), San Borja (1762), and Santa María (1767). Mission Santa Rosalía de Mulegé was founded in 1705 by the Jesuit missionary Juan Manuel de Basaldúa at a ranchería of the local Cochimí San Ignacio is a palm Oasis town in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, located between Guerrero Negro and Santa Rosalía Mission Santa Gertrudis, called Dolores del Norte by some historians was founded by the Jesuit missionary Jorge Retz in 1751 among the Cochimí Indians Mission Santa María de los Ángeles was the last of the missions established by the Jesuits in Baja California, Mexico in 1767. After the Spanish crown expelled the Jesuits from Baja California in 1768, the Franciscans under Junípero Serra established an additional mission at San Fernando Velicatá (1769) on their way north to Alta California. The term Franciscan is commonly used to refer to members of Catholic Fra Junípero Serra ( November 24, 1713 &ndash August 28, 1784) was a Spanish Franciscan Friar who founded Another mission bearing the name San Fernando Rey de España is located in the Mission Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles California. The Franciscans' successors in Baja California, the Dominicans, created the final new mission among the Cochimí at El Rosario (1774). The Order of Preachers ( Latin: Ordo Praedicatorum) after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is Decimated by epidemics of Old World diseases, the Cochimí population declined, until sometime in the nineteenth or possibly the early twentieth century their language and traditional culture became extinct.
The Cochimí were hunter-gatherers, without agriculture or metallurgy. Pottery-making may have reached the northern Cochimí before Spanish contact (Rogers 1945). Their material culture was generally simple, but it suited their arid environment and mobile lifestyle. The highest level of social organization was the autonomous local community, and inter-community conflicts appear to have been frequent. Among the unusual cultural traits noted for the Cochimí and some of their neighbors were the second harvest of the pitahaya, the maroma, wooden tablas, and human-hair capes:
Information on Cochimí customs and beliefs has been preserved in the brief observations by explorers but, above all, in the writings of the Jesuits (Aschmann 1959; Laylander 2000; Mathes 2006). Particularly important and detailed are the works of Miguel Venegas (1757, 1979) and Miguel del Barco (1973).