"He passed through the town of Tamichopa which was levelled and burned by the Apaches on the day before Palm Sunday in the year seventeen fifty-eight"
Apache warrior Yenin Guy (c. 1903)
Public DomainApache warrior Yenin Guy (c. 1903) - Credit: Edward S. Curtis

The first Apache raids on Sonora appear to have taken place during the late 17th century. In the 1750s, the fiercest of all Apache tribes, the Chiricahua, began hunting and raiding along the mountainous frontier regions of both Sonora and Chihuahua.

As the end of the 18th century approached, the Apaches represented a major threat to the continued Spanish occupation of Sonora and Chihuahua, forcing the abandonment of many Spanish ranches, farms and mining centres throughout Chihuahua. Apache raiders also took a toll on many indigenous tribes within the area, displacing or assimilating many of the peoples. As a result, the Opata Indians, who controlled the major river valleys of Central Sonora, found it necessary to join the Pimas in forming an uneasy alliance with the Spanish against the Apaches.

This alliance was not able to save the Opata village of Tamichopa, however. Located on a plateau on the north side of the upper Rio Yaqui, a few miles from Bacerac, the village was abandoned after its destruction by Apache raiders in 1758.