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 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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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.

A 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.

group of "callejoneadas"There 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.

Left picture : group of "callejoneadas"

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.


A 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 the Conquest.
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 of Valenciana.

Cathedral of GuanajuatoLeft picture : Cathedral of Guanajuato

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 constructed.
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 region.
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.
View in the foreground of the Temple San Diego and in the background of the Cathedral in yellow, university I white and the Templo de la Compañía de Jesús, on the right.

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.

Right picture : View in the foreground of the Temple San Diego and in the background of the Cathedral in yellow, university I white and the Templo de la Compañía de Jesús, on the right.

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 followers.
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.

panoramic view from the Monument Pípila
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.

Left picture : panoramic view from the Monument Pípila

Map of the city :

Map of the state of Guanajuato :

History of the state and its capital :


Detail of the chapters :

Guanajuato : capital

Tourism (including San Miguel de Allende)

Practical and useful information

Discovery of the celebrations and traditions



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