Chronological History Cabo San Lucas

This section includes San José del Cabo as well as Cabo San Lucas. Chronological history – Important dates

1533 – The first Spaniard to arrive in Baja California Sur is believed to have been Fortún Ximénez who landed there in 1533.  Fortún Ximénez  (died 1533) was a Spanish sailor who led a mutiny during an early expedition along the coast of Mexico and is the first European known to have landed in Baja California. Ximénez was the pilot of a ship, the “Concepción,” sent by Hernán Cortés and captained by Diego de Becerra. The ship set out November 30, 1533.  Source: Wikipedia

1535 – Hernán Cortés himself arrived here Cabo San Lucas, and named the Gulf of California the Sea of Cortés (Mar de Cortés) the name still used for it in Spanish

1537 – Francisco de Ulloa, the navigator for Hernán Cortés first came upon Cabo San Lucas. He was the first European to explore the entire Gulf of California and toured both coasts of the Gulf in 1539.

1542 – Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed and took on fresh water at the estuary of San Jose del Cabo.

1587 – Thomas Cavendish (also spelled Candish) sacked the “invincible” galleon Santa Ana off Cape San Lucas.

1650 – California is shown as an island on maps from circa 1650. One example is a mp by Joan Vinckeboons (1617-70),  a Dutch cartographer and engraver.

1730  – the Jesuit mission San Jose del Cabo Anuiti was established. Father José Echeverría and Father Nicolás Tamaral founded a mission in what is now San Jose del Cabo in 1730. At this point the European presence in the Los Cabos area became more or less permanent.

1734 – Father  Nicolas  Tamaral  was  murdered with great cruelty.

1768 –  The Jesuit Fathers left the Baja Peninsula.  A different source lists 1734 as the date the Jesuits left Baja.

1822 – 1824 –  A second ceremonial founding took place in 1822, when San Jose del Cabo was declared a town of the Baja California territory.  Although 1730 is the date that is considered the founding date of the town. (There is conflicting information about these 1822 and 1824 dates.)

1830ldefonso Cipriano Green Ceseñawas born in Cabo San Lucas on 23 January 1830. The son of a Swedish immigrant and native mother from San Jose del Cabo.

1826 – Thomas Henthelwood Ritchie (1809 – 1874 ) arrives in Cabo.  When a boy of only seventeen years, he fled an English whaling ship and settled in Cabo San Lucas for more than 50 years.

 1905 – Some development of the area began after the Mexican Revolution with a lighthouse at Cabo Falso as early as 1905.

1915 –  Ildefonso Green Ceseña, head of forces loyal to Venustiano Carranza, drove out those of Francisco (Pancho) Villa out of the southern part of the peninsula.

1917 – Cabo San Lacas was a municipal seat of a municipality of the same name in 1917 but lost this in a political reorganization in 1972.

1917 – A fishing village began growing in the area when in 1917 an American company built a floating platform to catch tuna.

1918 – Hurricane hits southern Baja California and San José del Cabo area September 16 – 17 and does severe damage.

Click to access mwr-046-12-0568b.pdf

1920 – Venustiano Carranza was assassinated on May 21, 1920. Born on December 29, 1859,  José Venustiano Carranza Garza was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He led the revolutionary faction that won militarily and he ultimately became President of Mexico in 1915.

Early 1920s – first cannery ships arrive in the area.

1927 – A tuna cannery named, Companía de Productos Marinos, S. de R. L., was  established Cabo San Lucas.

1930 – The population of Baja California Sur was 47,089.

1932 – The Cabo San Lucas cannery was built.

1939 –  September 1939: In the early part of this month, the first of three tropical cyclones to impact the peninsula this year hit the northern part of the area.
September 1939: In the middle of the month a tropical cyclone made landfall and promptly dissipated.
September 1939: The third tropical cyclone to impact the peninsula this month hit part of Baja California Sur and dissipated onshore. Its remnants moved north.

1940 – The population of Baja California Sur was 51,471

1941 – September 1941: A hurricane made landfall on the peninsula causing extensive devastation and 15 deaths
Hurricane references source.

1948 – Investors (the names of the shakers and movers were exclusive: Bing Crosby, Phil Harris, Desi Arnaz, and The Duke) pooled their coins and built hotel Las Cruces on the East Cape.

1949 – Cabo San Lucas is featured in the last 2 minutes of this video. Baja California : The Pacific Coast Of Mexico – 1949 Travelogue / Educational Documentary.

1950 – The Hotel California, founded in 1947  by a Chinese immigrant named Mr. Wong, opened on February 5, 1950.

1950 – The population of Baja California Sur was 60,684

1952 – The southern half of Baja California becomes a territory.

1955 – The population of Cabo San Lucas was approximately 300.

1955 – Luis Bulnes Molleda arrive in Cabo to be the manager of tuna cannery. The shell of that building remains today.

1960 – The population of Baja California Sur was 81,594

1961 – The Hotel Cabo San Lucas was built by William Matt “Bud” Parr.

1963 – Hacienda Cabo San Lucas  opened its doors in 1963. It was the very first of the great resorts opened in Cabo San Lucas. The original Hotel Hacienda was built by Rod Rodriguez, son of former Mexican president Abelardo Rodriguez.

1970 – The population of Baja California Sur was 128,019.

1970 – Hacienda Cabo San Lucas  was acquired by Western International Hotels of Mexico,  S. A. as Camino Real del Cabo San Lucas.

1970 – Hotel  Bajo Colorado opens in Los Cabos, along what is now called the Tourist Corridor. (Opens again in 1977 as Hotel Twin Dolphin)

1972 – Hotel Finisterra was built atop Baja’s final promontory dividing the Pacific Ocean from the Sea of Cortez, by Luis Coppola Bonillas and his wife Evangelina Joffroy.

1972 – The original building of the Hotel Mar de Cortez was opened in downtown Cabo San Lucas in 1972 by Simon Yee and Carlos Ungson.

1973 – The 1,000-mile Transpeninsuar Highway was completed, connecting Cabo San Lucas with the U.S. Border at Tijuana. It was dedicated at its midpoint at Guerrero Negro on December 1, 1973.

1973 – The dredging of the Cabo San Lucas harbor begins.

1974 – Baja California Sur became a state on October 8, 1974.

1974 – Hotel Solmar opened, situated on the Pacific Ocean beach near the arch at land’s end. Built by Luis Bulnes Molleda.

1974 – Ferry services, Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallarto, begin. These services ended in 1986

1975 – September 8th 1975 was the date architect Manuel Dia Rivera laid the first stone of the community  of Pedregal de Cabo San Lucas, that would soon become not only his home, but of hundreds of families.

1975 – The dredging of the Cabo San Lucas harbor is complete.

1977 – Bud Par purchased the  Camino Real del Cabo San Lucas. hotel and renames it Hotel Hacienda Beach Resort.

1977 – Hotel Twin Dolphin, formerly Bajo Colorado (1970) opens in Los Cabos, along what is now called the Tourist Corridor.

1980 – The population of Baja California Sur was 215,139 (National Institute of Statistics and Geography)

1980 – There were 3,581 hotel rooms in Baja California Sur.

1981 – The current municipality of Los Cabos was created, separated from the municipality of La Paz, with the county seat at San Jose del Cabo.

1986 – The Los Cabos International Airport was expanded. The lure of  Los Cabos  reached deep into the United States and Canada and triggered the imagination of every citizen

1990 – The population of Baja California Sur was 637,026 (National Institute of Statistics and Geography)

1997 – There were 7,829 hotel rooms in Baja California Sur.

2000 – The population of Baja California Sur was 424,041 (National Institute of Statistics and Geography)

2001 – A Canadian couple, John and Debbie Stewart, purchased the Hotel California and completed a masterful renovation. “A little jewel in the middle of the desert.”
 a quote by John Stewart, creator of the modern era Hotel California

2005 – October – Hotel Hacienda Beach Resort was demolished to to make way for the new project, Hacienda Beach Club & Residences.

2010 – Hacienda Beach Club and Residences is open.

2010 – The population of Baja California Sur was 637,026. (National Institute of Statistics and Geography)

2010 – The population of Cabo San Lucas was 68,463.

2010 – The population of San José  was 69,788.

2010 – El San Lucas que ya conocí by Maria Faustina Wilkes Ritchie
An excellent book about the families of Cabo San Lucas.
 As a student of the past now becomes the voice of those who had wanted to tell their memories.  2010 First Edition (Spanish)

2012 –  G-20 Los Cabos Summit was the seventh meeting of the G-20 heads of government. It was held in the Los Cabos Convention Center in San José del Cabo.

2013 –

2014 –  September 14, Hurricane Odile hit a largely unprepared Cabo San Lucas directly as a powerful Category 3 Hurricane, the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the Baja Peninsula of Mexico.


2015 – Hotels and business continue to recover from the effects of Hurricane Odille.

Read the first of a series by Chris Sands titled a Brief History of Los Cabos. The link to part one is below.

NOTE:  this is still a work in progress. Any suggestions or corrections are welcome.