It’s 1821, and the Pacific Ocean is a very busy place with the trade market and the gold rush. Spanish rule is over, and the port has not seen pirates since before 1800. The City of Mazatlán received a decree by Cortes de Cadiz making it the first port in Mexico on the Pacific Coast. It was immediately one of the most important on the Pacific, along with San Francisco, California, and Valparaiso, Chile.
Mazatlán was the main supplier of imported merchandise for the states of Sonora, Durango, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Jalisco and Baja California. It is said that an average of 60 ships a year from the United States, Europe and the Far East entered the harbor, oddly enough with no help from any navigation system for 7 years. That changed in 1828, when Isla de Creston (Yes! It used to be an island, more on that later …) began to be utilized for marine signaling. For the first 60 years, it was a very crude operation, merely a rubblework pavilion, with torches and bonfires that were lit using wood and coal, to create a tenuous light at best, that only could be seen from a very short distance. Eventually this was replaced by oil and kerosene lamps, which made for a much stronger, constant light. Then, in mid-1879, a small tower was constructed and a lamp installed that had been handcrafted in Paris. It ran on oil and used mirrors and a Fresnel lens to enhance the light, which was a vast improvement.
El Faro is arguable the most recognizable symbol of Mazatlan. His constant beam of light has shone upon the city and all its transformations throughout the years, and will undoubtedly see much more. Viva Mazatlan and Viva El Faro!