This article traces the creation and transformation of the largest electrical grid in northern Mexico, from its concession during the Porfirio Díaz regime through the Mexican Revolution and into the early 1930s. Built by Canadian promoters in the last years of the Porfiriato on the Conchos River in Chihuahua, La Boquilla hydroelectric dam came into service in the middle of a battlefield in 1915. Through the 1920s, in which there was virtually no Mexican state, La Boquilla primarily powered US-owned mining interests in the region. By the end of the decade, however, authorities had incorporated this emerging energy system (now called the Boquilla-Francke grid) into two federal irrigation districts, via flows of both electricity and water. Conceptually, this article traces the relationship between material infrastructures of power and state formation in Mexico.

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