The State of Guanajuato is surrounded to the north
by the states of Aguascalientes
and San Luis Potosí, to the East by the state of Querétaro,
to southeast by the state of
Mexico, to the south by the state of Michoacán
and to the west by Jalisco.
little bit of geography
It is a relatively small state with an area of
only 30 589 km2 (11810 square miles) for more than 4 900 000 inhabitants
(2007). Compared to its territory, it is ranked 22nd in the nation.
The people are divided into four large groups : León, Irapuato,
Salamanca and Celaya ; And there are some other smaller but important
cities like the Capital, Guanajuato,
Dolorès Hidalgo, San
Miguel de Allende, San Luis de la Paz and Silao. The median
altitude is 2 000 m, with an average temperature going from 18 to
20°C. The city of Guanajuato
had 157 000 inhabitants in 2007.
Five geographical areas characterize the state: La Sierra Gorda,
La Sierra Central, El Bajío, Los Altos and Los Valles Abajeños.
are three types of climate : temperate, semi-dry and semi-hot.
Climate : Temperate semi-humid, rainy in the summer. It
results from the variation in altitude; the temperature fluctuates
between 18º C in high altitudes to 22º in the plains.
The northern part is arid with only 50 mm of rain a year; the main
winds are into the west in winter, southeast or southwest in spring
and east during summer and fall.
Flora : There are pastures in highlands, pines and live
oaks in the mountains, scrubland, cactus and agaves in the central
hills. In the Bajío and the valleys, farming replaced the
flora even if there are some mesquites remaining; there are oaks,
ahuehuetes (cypress of Tule) and fodder plants in the lake areas.
Fauna : In the Sierra Gorda, you find: tlacuacuache, fox,
deer, amardillo, and wildcats. On the hills, you find rattlesnakes,
corallilo, rabbits and coyotes. In the valleys, you find ducks,
pigeons, doves and raccoons.
Cultures: There is Purépecha
in the Abajeños Valleys and South Bajío, Guachicil
in Los Altos, Pame in northern Sierra Centrale, the Sierra Gorda
and North Bajío, Chichiméca in South Bajío,
Zacateco in North Los Altos and Guamare in the Sierra de Comanja
and el Bajío.
Indigenous groups :
There are Chichimécao in the Sierra Gorda and Otomi in the
Sierra Gorda and Los Altos.
How to get there ?
The northeast part of the state of Guanajuato is the richest in
mountain landscapes. If you arrive from the Northeast, you drive
on Highway 57, from San Luis
Potosí via Dolorès
Hidalgo. If you arrive from the south (Mexico City) you come
via Querétaro. Guanajuato
is 402 km from Mexico City (4h driving
and Mex$300 on tolls) and 302 km from Guadalajara.
little bit of history
"Guanajuato", or "Quanaxhuato in
purépecha language, means the Hill of the Frogs because the
hills overlooking the city have the shape of frogs. The city is
at the bottom of gorges.
The origins of the people of Guanajuato come from
the fifteenth century, when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in
the region around 1520. However, the invasion really started between
1540 and 1560 when the region, where Guanajuato is now established,
was granted by Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza to Rodrigo Vázquez
for cattle breeding as well as in rewards for the favors done during
Between 1548 and 1555, the abundant silver fields were discovered
by chance, especially in the mines of San Bernabé and Rayas.
It is possible that these fields contributed to the creation of
the city of Guanajuato. From this time, the settling as well as
the coming and going of ore diggers became very frequent.
In 1557 the picture of the Virgin Mary arrived in Guanajuato as
a donation made by the king to the people. From this time, she has
been venerated as Our Lady of Guanajuato.
Little by little, the cattle breeding places have been moved to
the north in order to allow the development of the center to switch
from a village in1570 to a city. The city expands along the river
that runs through it because of the need of water to clean the equipment
as well as supplying the population.
On October 26, 1679 the viceroy Fray Payo Enríquez Afán
de Ribera, designed the village as a city. In 1741 King Felipe V
granted it the title of Most noble and loyal city of Santa Fe y
Real de Minas de Guanajuato. The city prospered a lot during the
eighteenth century due to the great abundance of mining. Some residents
involved in the mining exploitation became nobles. Among them, there
are the Marquis of San Clemente, the Marquis of Rayas and the Count
In 1767 the Jesuits were driven out, but they left their stamp on
the city, especially in terms of education. During this time of
splendor, most of the buildings that you can now see the city were
In 1786, the Royal Crown divided the territory of New Spain into
twelve administrative provinces. One of them was Guanajuato and,
thereby, didn’t depend anymore on Michoacán.
The first governor was Don Andrés Amat de Tortosa, who later
was replaced by par Pedro José Soriano, himself replaced
by Don Juan Antonio de Riaño y Bárcena, who became
the most important and popular of the governors.
He was a huge benefactor to the city, as told by the Guanajuato
native historian, Lucas Alamán. During his time there were
erected wonderful buildings in the city as well as in the whole
Riaño’s wife, Victoria de Saint Maxent, supported the
young Guanajuatenses by giving them a fine education.
Governor Riaño promoted the construction of the building
la Alhóndiga de Granaditas to guarantee the supply of grains
and seeds for the population. Father Hidalgo and his men attacked
this city. Fifty men, armed with hoes and picks, made the Spanish
Garnison take refuge into the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, the
granary. The King’s soldiers thought they were safe there
as in an inviolable fortress. Juan José Martinez, a ten year
old boy entered into History under the nickname of "El Pipila".
A torch in one hand, the young hero succeeded in reaching the building
and put the wooden door on fire before falling, riddled with bullets.
The fighters for freedom rushed into the passage and killed all
the defenders. They won a battle but not the war. A few months later,
the Royalists took back Guanajuato. In Chihuahua,
they executed Hidalgo and Allende and planted their heads at the
two corners of the Alhóndiga. The building, which long served
as a jail, is today home to a museum of the War of Independence,
as well as a collection of the most beautiful craft productions
in the state.
In 1826 the first Constitution was voted and ratified.
It converted Guanajuato to be a free and sovereign state of the
Mexican Republic. The first governor, Carlos Montes de Oca, was
the most important supporter of education in this state. He worked
for the reopening of the Colegio de la Santísima Trinidad,
founded by the Jesuits and the Ancient Colegio de la Purísima
Concepción and was administrated by the felipenses priests.
This one became later the Colegio del Estado.
Notable figures of Mexican History of the fourteenth century governed
this state as the liberal Manuel Plié and Florencio Antillón.
On January 17, 1858, President Juárez temporarily established
the powers of the Republic in this city, due to the opposition of
the conservators. During the time of the French intervention, Emperor
Maximiliano de Habsurgo visited the city in September 1864 and
ordered the transformation of the granary Alhóndiga de Granaditas
into a prison.
In 1867, after Maximilian’s empire lost power,
the restoration of the republic began. Florencio Antillón
was named Governor and remained in power until January 1877 when
he lost the battle against General Porfirio Díaz’s
In 1872, Antillón began the construction of the majestic
Teatro Juárez. During the historic time known as the porfiriato,
from 1877 to 1911, the construction of very important buildings
started : these buildings are the Legislative Palace, the Hidalgo
Market, the Monument to Peace, the Monument to Hidalgo at the Presa
de la Olla. The Teatro Juárez was also inaugurated and the
train was introduced among other things.
The last Porfirista governor in Guanajuato, Joaquín Obregón
González, ordered the constructions of the Cuajín
tunnel and the presa de la Esperanza. Both works were conducted
by the famous engineer, Ponciano Aguilar.
In the twentieth century, during the Revolution, the city suffered
from the effects of the very severe economic and social crisis,
which also affected the troops of General Alberto Carrera Torres
in July 1914. In February 1916, President Venustiano Carranza visited
the city and negotiated the purchase of grains to deal with the
terrible famine of this time.
In 1946 the Colegio del Estado was transformed to become the University
of Guanajuato. During the fifties, almost the city was rebuilt,
especially Belauzarán Street that was next to the river.
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