galleons first visited Estero San Jose at the mouth of the
Rio San Jose to obtain fresh water near the end of their
lengthy voyages from the Philippines to Acapulco in the
late 17th and early 18th centuries. As pirate raids along
the coast between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz became a problem,
the need for a permanent Spanish settlement at the tip of
the cape became increasingly urgent. The growing unrest
among the Guaycura and Pericu Indians south of Loreto also
threatened to engulf mission communities to the north. As
a result, the Spanish were forced to send armed troops to
the Cape region to quell the Indian uprisings in 1723, 1725
1730, Jesuit Padre Nicholas Tamaral traveled south from
Mission La Purisima and founded Mission San Jose del Cabo
on a mesa overlooking the Rio San Jose some 5 km. north
of the current town site. Due to the overwhelming presence
of mosquitoes at this site, Tamaral soon moved the mission
to the mouth of the estuary on a rise flanked by Cerro del
Vigia and Cerro de la Cruz.Tamaral and the Pericus got along
fine until he pronounced an injunction against Polygamy,
a long tradition in Pericu society. After Tamaral punished
a Pericu Shaman for violating the anti-polygamy decree,
the Indians rebelled and burned both the San Jose and Santiago
missions in October of 1734. Tamaral was killed in the attack.
Shortly thereafter the Spanish established a presidio, which
served the dual purpose of protecting the community from
insurgent Indians and the estuary from English pirates.
1767, virtually all the Indians in the area had died either
of European diseases or in skirmishes with the Spanish.
mission Indians were moved to missions farther north, but
San Jose del Cabo remained an important Spanish military
outpost until the mid-19th century when the presidio was
turned over to Mexican nationals.
the Mexican American War (1846-48), marines from the U.S.
frigate Portsmouth briefly occupied the city. A bloody siege
ensued and the Mexicans prevailed under the leadership of
Mexican Naval officer Jose Antonio Mijares. Plaza Mijares,
San Jose's town Plaza is named to commemorate his victory.
As mining in the Cape Region gave out during the late 19th
and early 20th centuries, San Jose del Cabo lost population
along with the rest of the region. A few farmers and began
trickling into the San Jose area in the 30s and in 1940
the church was rebuilt.
Jose del Cabo remained largely a backwater until the Cape
began attracting sportfishers and later the sun-and-sand-set
in the '60s and '70s. Since the late 1970s, FONATUR (Foundation
Nacional de Fomento del Turismo or National Foundation for
Tourism Development) has sponsored several tourist development
projects along San Jose's shoreline. Fortunately, the developments
have done little to change San Jose's Spanish colonial character.
Local residents take pride in restoring the towns 18th century
architecture and preserving its quiet, laid back ambiance.
November of 1993, a severe storm wreaked havoc on beachside
condos near San Jose del Cabo but the town itself suffered
little damage. Today, San Jose del Cabo provides a welcome
respite from the busy, fiesta atmosphere found twenty miles
south in Cabo San Lucas.