APRIL 13, 1887


Known as Cajemé, Yaqui for “One who does not stop to drink [water],”‘ Perez was born in 1835 at Pesiou, Sonora, Mexico.  He served in the Mexican military resisting the French occupation.  After participating in the capture of Emperor Maximilian, he was appointed “Alcalde Mayor” of the Yaqui.  Though he was expected to pacify the Yaqui, Cajemé united the pueblos into an independent republic, refused to recognize the Mexican government unless his people were allowed to govern themselves, and led the Yaqui in a war against Mexico.  In 1885, former supporter Loreto Molina attempted to assassinate him.  After this failed, Mexico sent a force of 3600 men to occupy Yaqui territory.  In May 1886, the Mexican army besieged and destroyed his fortifications at El Añil.  Betrayed by a Yaqui woman whose sympathies lay with Molina, Cajemé was captured, paraded through several pueblos and, on April 23, 1887, killed by guards on a pretense that he was trying to escape.   Through murder or slavery, Mexico largely removed the Yaqui from the Yaqui River Valley.

Source:  “Jose Maria (Bonafacio) Leiva Perez, Geni.  Retrieved 6/27/2019, https://www.geni.com/people/Jose-Maria-Leiva-Perez/478788684260122939
Photo:  Fernando Llaguno, 1887.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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