Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The municipality reported 89,515 inhabitants in the 2000 census, with 30,000 in the city.
The city was founded in 1564 by the Spanish conquistador Don Francisco de Ibarra , the first explorer of the lofty Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. In 1610 a fort was built to ward off the fierce Zuaque and Tehueco Native Americans, who constantly harassed the Spaniards. For years, El Fuerte served as the gateway to the vast frontiers of the northern native-held territories of Sonora, Arizona and California.
For three centuries it was the most important commercial and agricultural center of the vast northwestern region of Mexico. El Fuerte was a chief trading post for silver miners and gold seekers from the Urique and Batopilas mines in the nearby mountains.
In 1824, El Fuerte became the capital of Sonora y Sinaloa (reaching up into Arizona). It remained so for several years until the disolution of this state.
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