Thursday, August 20, 2009


A lovely place before it became a war zone for the drug cartels.

At one time, in the 19th century, the town of Tijuana straddled the US-Mexico border. It was a tiny hamlet of less than 300 along the Tijuana River. It attracted tourists due to its hot springs (Agua Caliente).

Prohibition saw Tijuana boom. A casino joined the horse race track and hot springs spa as Americanos streamed across the border to get drunk, a tradition we continue to this day. Mobsters got rich smuggling liquor into the US, just as now mobsters get rich smuggling cocaine. Less than 70,000 people lived in Tijuana in 1950, today the population exceeds 3 million and Tijuana is more than twice the size of neighboring San Diego.

Tijuana - Most likely not, as many believe, from Tia Juana (Aunt Jane), although the Spanish land grant rancho was named Rancho Tia Juana. More likely the origin is a Kumeyaay Indian word, Tiwan, meaning close to the sea. There are many other possible origins including Teguana, meaning inhospitable place. Whatever, the place name Tijuana was recorded on maps as early as 1719.

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