Alternate History

Sonoran Tribes (Yellowstone:1936)

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Map of the region in the 1950's. Black lines are roads/trade routes, and gray is raider bands/tribes.

The Sonoran Tribes, commonly known as simply Sonora, is a group of nomadic to sedentary peoples in the Sonoran Desert of the former United States and Mexico. Despite not having a central authority, these people are often grouped together by outsiders due to their similar culture throughout the region. Despite the name, not everyone in the region belongs to a "tribe." Nomadic bands and even some small city-states do exist within the region. The overall lawlessness and isolation of the region have given it the nickname "The Cactus Kingdom," despite its actual political reality and "New Wild West"



See Pre Eruption History of the United States

Eruption Day:

On July 18, 1936, Yellowstone erupted in Wyoming, US, sending tons of ash into the sky, coating much of the American West, and destroying most of it. The Sonoran Desert, however, was on the far southwestern area of effect, was thus spared from the majority of the ash, however it was heavily affected.

Towns such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Mexicali, and many others were lost to the ashfall. People in the far southwestern towns were hanging on to life by a thread. Many took to raiding during this time, establishing "raider gangs" of people to terrorize and kill people to steal their food and supplies. These bands were the forerunners of later tribes and bands.

Immediate Response (1936)

Many escaped the cities, and fled south to Mexico, particularly the Sierra Madre Occidental in Sonora, reversing trends set in previous years. Cities such as Ciudad Obregon became major hubs for refugees, with many cities partially or totally collapsing due to massive influx of refugees. Mass starvation ensued, due to Mexican soils being ill-equipped to feed massive amounts of refugees. Baja California became, in particular, a very lawless refugee hub. Few ventured south of the northern reaches of the peninsula, leaving the fate of the cities in the south, such as La Paz unknown. Eventually, the area became so unstable that Mexico abandoned it, leaving it to fend for itself.

Struggles to Hold On (1936-46)

Some small success was eventually had with farming, due to small amounts of ash in the far south enriching the soil. Almost all in the north, however, resorted to raiding and following a nomadic life in hopes of finding food. The cities by now, were almost largely abandoned, save a few, who resorted to drastic measures in keeping nomads out of their borders. Eventually, due to the ash, an Ice Age fell upon the area and unbeknownst to them, the whole world, lowered temperatures. This, alongside the ash eventually helped the region in the long term, but for the first decade, life was hell. The only permanent communities were fortified towns, or semi-permanent villages, akin to some Native American tribes in the region.

One point of light in the area was the city of Alamos, a city that successfully locked off its borders to refugees, but eventually allowed trade caravans through. This gave a massive boost to the almost non-existent local economy, and agricultural goods and silver flowed out of the region. Silver in particular became the de facto currency of the region.

To the north of Alamos, the Yaqui people, were all to eager to shake off old Mexican rule, and they banded together to form a small state between the Yaqui and Mayo rivers. Slowly but surely, agriculture returned to the region, with many of the raider bands fleeing north to more lawless regions. Eventually, by the end of the decade, the southern reaches of the area had finally begun to boom, and ash began to fertilize the region.

Rebirth (1946-63)

Slowly, but surely, life returned to the region. People headed north to look for what remained. Ash had blanketed much of the area north of Tucson, but people could still live in some of the more southerly border towns. Tucson in particular became a hub for immigration, especially by old Americans. Eventually, the region became somewhat akin to the old Silk Road, with Alamoan silver and agricultural goods passed through many trade-based city-states before ending its journey near Tucson. Out of the trade routes, raider bands still stalked the land, and nomads still practiced their way of life.

Baja California has come under particular attention by some of the more powerful states, with many wanting to have a piece of the pie, due to much of the region becoming agriculturally fertile, and the ruins of cities such as La Paz, waiting to be claimed.

Mexican Reclamation (1963+)

In the early 1960's, the area had fallen under a pseudo-normal time, with various city-states controlling trade and other aspects, with lawless lands in between. Tucson and Alamos had become rivals, each jockeying for control of the region. However, in the late 1950's, a shadow began to fall over the region.

Mexico, had become an important regional power after the fall of the US, and had been long looking to reclaim the region, and perhaps push north to the old US, to perhaps reclaim the lands that it had lost in the Mexican-American war. It happened that Mexico annexed Alamos in 1963, over threat of war. Alamos, which controlled most of the mines of the region had ended trade with the northern states. The northern states saw this as an act of hostility, and many banded together into a military and trade alliance known as the Pact of Five, between the city-states of Tucson, Nogales, Hermosillo, Sauhuaripa, and Delicas. The state of Juarez, Tucson's historic enemy, allied itself with Mexico, along with Chihuahua. The stakes seemed against the Pact, until many raider bands pledged their service to the Pact, as they wanted to continue their way of life uninterrupted.

Everything was set for war, when Mexico forcefully annexed Mayoyaquia, a state to the north of Alamos. Despite Mayoyaquia's neutrality, the Pact saw it as an act of aggression, and declared war. The Conquest of Sonora had begun.

Mexico first pushed north along the Ruta, an old railroad-turned primary trade route in the region, going from Alamos to Tucson. They were easily defeated by guerrillas south of Hermosillo in the Cinequita Ambush. Battle after battle were won, until Mexico realized that they could not defeat them via el Ruta, they'd have to find another place to strike. Delicas was easily crushed by the Mexican and Chihuahuan armies, and Chihuahua was peacefully annexed. They then pacified the region until by 1965, almost all of Chihuahua was held by Mexico, save Juarez's holdings. They then pushed west and north, and simply overwhelmed the Pact. A small victory was held outside Hermosillo, but eventually, the city was overrun. In 1966, a peace treaty was signed, granting Mexico all of Sonora and Chihuahua not held by Nogales or Juarez. Juarez also became a puppet of Mexico.

Wounded, Tucson continued, fearing the eventual attack by Mexico. Many nomads moved north, north of Tucson, and some settled down, pushing the frontier north. One settler stated. "The frontier is not dead, it shall continue north until either I die or we the black pits of Yellowstone."


Many factions exist here, from the mighty city-state of Tucson, to small caravans held by families.



Directly following Eruption Day, Tucson was more-or-less abandoned, as ash had fallen in that region. Most Tucsonans moved south to Mexico. After a decade and a few more years, people had begun to move to Tucson, as the ash deposited there made for good farmland, something the previous city lacked. Soon, a small but self-sustaining city-state begun to emerge, and by 1955, Tucson claimed much of southern Arizona. A trade route had begun to spring up between the city of Tucson and the other major city-state in the region, Alamos. Thus, Tucson became a major trade center. A rivalry with the neighboring city-state of Juarez has been long-standing. With the Mexican reconquest of the region, Tucson became an anti-Mexican hub, and following the war, was one of the few states not annexed. The future of Tucson is uncertain, as Mexico ended trade with Tucson, and it's almost certain that Mexico will try to annex it someday. However, many people driven out of the south, moved north of Tucson, leaving it a major player in the claiming of the ash-filled lands to the north. The city itself resembles the "frontier towns" of old, with many likening it to St. Louis, the "Gateway to the West," as Tucson is now the "Gateway to the North."


Alamos was originally a small, silver mining town past its prime. Following Eruption Day, many towns in the region were overrun with refugees, Alamos escaped this fate by being out of the way and walling off the city and the general area. After many years of struggling to hold on in the "Decade of No Summers," a starving and desperate Alamos opened its borders to trade caravans, using much of the remaining silver in the region as currency. The economy of the region, almost non-existent until Alamos' opening, had begun to return. Eventually, Alamos became a small yet thriving trade center, and the rebirth of the region had begun there, and it gradually spread north. Alamos used its clout in the region to take control of much of the northwest coast of Mexico from the Sierra Madre Oriental to the coast, including the abandoned city of Ciudad Obregon. It also had a shaky relationship with Mexico, which still claimed the lands. Eventually, it turned to war, when in 1963, after a border dispute, Mexico marched troops into Alamos' territory to forcefully annex it, under threat of war. Thus ended the story of independent Alamos, and the region was reclaimed by Mexico.


The city of Hermosillo was the capital of the state of Sonora in Mexico, and was very hard-hit by the eruption despite being outside the blast zone. This was a prime target for refugees, and was one of the first cities to be overrun. It also could not sustain itself, due to being in the middle of the desert. Thus it fell. Come the 1950's, when the Ruta was established between Alamos and Tucson, Hermosillo was right in the middle. The town itself was only home to nomads, but being in the center, many people from all around the region settled down, hoping to provide a trade outpost along the Ruta. Manufacturing the goods traded along the routes helped the state's economy. The volcanic ash, like the rest of the region allowed for farming in desert regions, but Hermosillo had few fresh water sources, save a few small rivers, limiting farming. Overall, trade sustained the state primarily, and when the trade ended due to Mexico's annexation of Alamos, Hermosillo suffered. Later, it fell easily to Mexico.



Raider Bands






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