The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 2
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2 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
was Ram6n Araiza Gaxiola, a purported smuggler known as "El Mosqui-
to" whose actual citizenship was in doubt. Local reports were that in
1874 he had destroyed certain international boundary monuments and
erected new ones somewhat to the south so as to throw part of Sisabe
Ranch into the United States and aid his smuggling operation. Reports
were correct. Most of the original monuments were simply piles of loose
rock, easily moved. Araiza Gaxiola had the further temerity to have his
ranch surveyed to lend credence to his new international boundary.
To stop Araiza Gaxiola's smuggling business, the Mexican government
established a customs house on Sisabe Ranch, but the question of the
boundary soon became more serious." Scarcely had "El Mosquito" fin-
ished tampering with the boundary, when his scheme backfired on him.
That part of Sisabe Ranch north of Araiza Gaxiola's spurious boundary
was almost immediately seized by a United States citizen who claimed the
land in question had been in his possession for a long time in accordance
with the laws of the United States.4 The issue had now become one of in-
ternational stature affecting the territorial integrity of Mexico.
This was not an isolated incident. A similar dispute had risen over the
ownership of the Oro Blanco Mine. Oro Blanco had been discovered in
1873 apparently by citizens of Arizona, but by early 1874 some four
hundred Mexicans were actively working the mine which ultimately
proved very rich. This happy circumstance ended abruptly when the
sheriff of Tucson arrived to inform the Mexican miners that Oro Blanco
was three miles north of the border. He warned them that he would re-
turn in three days with an armed force to cart them all off to the Tucson
jail unless they abandoned Oro Blanco. The miners protested that the
mine was well within Mexican territory.5
At the behest of the Mexican miners and certain citizens of Tucson
who claimed to be the legal owners of Oro Blanco, Arizona and Sonora
authorities agreed to appoint qualified engineers to determine on which
side of the border the mine lay.6 Accordingly, in May 1874, Carlos Fed-
2 Francisco L. Prieto to Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Nov. i , 1879, Legajo 11-3-134
(Archivo de la Secretarfa de Relaciones Exteriores, Mexico City; cited hereafter as ASRE); Felix
Galindo to Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Dec. 3, 1880, ibid.
' Miguel Ruelas to Gobernador de Sonora, Dec. 8, 1879, ibid.; Dzaro Oficial (Hermosillo),
Aug. 3, 188o.
4 M. Escalante to Secretario de Estado y del Despacho de Relaciones, Aug. 2o, 1878, Legajo L-
E-2292, ASRE; Galindo to Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Dec. 3, 188o, Legajo 11-3-134,
5 Anson P. K. Safford to Federico A. Ronstandt, Mar. 30, 1874, Legajo L-E-2292, ibid.;
Plrgamito Espinoza to Prefecto del Distrito de Altar, Jan. 19, 1874, ibid.; Arizona Star (Tucson),
Nov. 7, 1878.
"Jos6 Maria Lafragua to Gobernador de Sonora, June 18, 1874, Legajo L-E-2292, ASRE; Ron-
standt to Secretario del Estado de Sonora, Jan. 29, Apr. 8, 1874, ibid.; Secretario del Estado de
Sonora to Prefecto, Altar, Feb. 6, 1874, ibid.; Safford to Ronstandt, Mar. 30o, 1874, ibid.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/30/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.