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William Walker leader of the expedition into Sonora.

In 1853 a filibuster (a person seeking to create English speaking colonies under one person's control) by the name of William Walker set off with an "army" of 45 men to attempt to take control of the regions of Baja California and Sonora. He managed to take control of Baja California quickly and even set up a "nation", the Republic of Lower California. Later in 1854 he declared Sonora part of the territory, despite controlling it, and set up the Republic of Sonora. This was meant to later be controlled militarily by the USA before being annexed by them as a slave state. His plans never took off due to the fact that he didn't take charge even if he accumulated massive support, he never got enough men for the project and the fighting among the men in the party. His plans may have come into fruition if he had managed to take charge and the US might have gotten its state.


On February 17th 1854, the Filibuster and Adventurer William Walker sent three men to California to gather 270 men for a major expedition into the Sonoran desert and take it for the Republic of Sonora officially. The men arrived three weeks later and were found to have not had water in five days. They visited the governor John Bigler to send more resources and men. The governor agreed to the idea and sent out 400 more men than expected, mostly volunteers. By the time they arrived on the Sonoran border, William Walker had amassed approx. 700 men for the expedition. He entered the territory and faced little residence from the Mexican authorities there and took the capital, Arizpe, within five weeks of setting off. The Americans were slowly streaming more and more of their budget into the expedition, and due to it being the time of Manifest Destiny, thousands of men wanted to join Walker to capture the territory. Due to the pressure on the Mexicans from the US, they began debating on selling the states of Baja California and Sonora.

Sonoran Purchase-1854

Areas sold to Walker to create the Republic of Sonora.

Not wanting to risk another war and lose more than two small states, the Mexican government sold the territory not to the US but to Walker (being sponsored by the US) for $56,000. To make the transition easier, the US wanted Walker to head his own nation, Sonora, while the US brought more of their culture into the area, before being annexed as a fully fledged slave state.

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