Sonora Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora, is one of 32 states which comprise the Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities. Sonora is bordered by the states of Chihuahua to the east, Baja California to the northwest and Sinaloa to the south. To the north, it shares the U. S.–Mexico border with the state of Arizona with a small length with New Mexico, on the west has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of California. Sonora's natural geography is divided into three parts: the Sierra Madre Occidental in the east of the state, it is arid or semiarid deserts and grasslands, with only the highest elevations having sufficient rainfall to support other types of vegetation. Sonora is home to eight indigenous peoples, including the Mayo, the O’odham, the Yaqui, Seri, it has been economically important for its agriculture and mining since the colonial period, for its status as a border state since the Mexican–American War. With the Gadsden Purchase, Sonora lost more than a quarter of its territory.

From the 20th century to the present, industry and agribusiness have dominated the economy, attracting migration from other parts of Mexico. Several theories exist as to the origin of the name "Sonora". One theory states that the name was derived from Nuestra Señora, the name given to the territory when Diego de Guzmán crossed the Yaqui River on the day of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which falls on October 7 with the pronunciation changing because none of the indigenous languages of the area have the ñ sound. Another theory states that Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his companions, who had wrecked off the Florida coast and made their way across the continent, were forced to cross the arid state from north to south, carrying an image of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias on a cloth, they encountered the Opata, who could not pronounce Señora, instead saying Sonora. A third theory, written by Father Cristóbal de Cañas in 1730, states that the name comes from the word for a natural water well, which the Spaniards modified to "Sonora".

The first record of the name Sonora comes from explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who passed through the state in 1540 and called part of the area the Valle de la Sonora. Francisco de Ibarra traveled through the area in 1567 and referred to the Valles de Señora; the literal meaning of "sonora" in Spanish is "sonorous" or "loud." Evidence of human existence in the state dates back over 10,000 years, with some of the best-known remains at the San Dieguito Complex in the El Pinacate Desert. The first humans were nomadic hunter gatherers who used tools made from stones and wood. During much of the prehistoric period, the environmental conditions were less severe than they are today, with similar but more dense vegetation spread over a wider area; the oldest Clovis culture site in North America is believed to be El Fin del Mundo in northwestern Sonora. It was discovered during a 2007 survey, it features occupation dating around 13,390 calibrated years BP. In 2011, remains of Gomphothere were found.

Agriculture first appeared around 400 200 CE in the river valleys. Remains of ceramics have been found dating from 750 CE with diversification from 800 and 1300 CE Between 1100 and 1350, the region had complex small villages with well-developed trade networks; the lowland central coast, seems never to have adopted agriculture. Because Sonora and much of the northwest does not share many of the cultural traits of that area, it is not considered part of Mesoamerica. Though evidence exists of trade between the peoples of Sonora and Mesoamerica, Guasave in Sinaloa is the most north-westerly point considered Mesoamerican. Three archaeological cultures developed in the low, flat areas of the state near the coast: the Trincheras tradition, the Huatabampo tradition, the Central Coast tradition; the Trincheras tradition is dated to between 750 and 1450 CE and known from sites in the Altar and Concepción valleys, but its range extended from the Gulf of California into northern Sonora. The tradition is named after trenches found in a number of sites, the best known of, the Cerro de Trincheras.

The Huatabampo tradition is centered south of the Trincheras along the coast, with sites along extinct lagoons and river valleys. This tradition has a distinctive ceramic complex. Huatabampo culture shows similarities with the Chametla to the Hohokam to the north; this ended around 1000 CE. Unlike the other two traditions, the Central Coast remained a hunter-gatherer culture, as the area lacks the resources for agriculture; the higher elevations of the state were dominated by the Casas Grandes and Río Sonora tradition. The Río Sonora culture is located in central Sonora from the border area to modern Sinaloa. A beginning date for this culture has not been determined but it disappeared by the early 14th century; the Casas Grandes tradition in Sonora was an extension of the Río Sonora tradition based in the modern state of Chihuahua, which exterted its influence down to parts of the Sonoran coast. Climatic changes in the middle of the 15th century resulted in the increased desertification of northwest Mexico in general.

This is the probable cause for the drastic decrease in the number and size of settlements starting around this time. The peoples that remained in the area reverted to a less complex social organization a

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