Guanajuato
Overview
Guanajuato officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guanajuato (Free and Sovereign State of Guanajuato) is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. It is divided in 46 municipalities
Municipalities of Guanajuato
The Mexican state of Guanajuato is divided into 46 municipalities :- References :*Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía : «Principales resultados por localidad 2005 » ....

 and its capital city is Guanajuato
Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is located in a narrow valley, which makes the streets of the city narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides....

.

It is located in the North-Central Mexico
North-Central Mexico
North-Central Mexico is a region of Mexico consisting of five of the United Mexican States: Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas. It is a region with many colonial-style buildings and a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains of Zacatecas and Guanajuato, la...

. It is bordered by the states of Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

 to the west, Zacatecas
Zacatecas
Zacatecas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas....

 to the northeast, San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí officially Estado Libre y Soberano de San Luis Potosí is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is San Luis Potosí....

 to the north, Querétaro
Querétaro
Querétaro officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro de Arteaga is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Santiago de Querétaro....

 to the east and Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

 to the south.
Encyclopedia
Guanajuato officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guanajuato (Free and Sovereign State of Guanajuato) is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. It is divided in 46 municipalities
Municipalities of Guanajuato
The Mexican state of Guanajuato is divided into 46 municipalities :- References :*Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía : «Principales resultados por localidad 2005 » ....

 and its capital city is Guanajuato
Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is located in a narrow valley, which makes the streets of the city narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides....

.

It is located in the North-Central Mexico
North-Central Mexico
North-Central Mexico is a region of Mexico consisting of five of the United Mexican States: Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas. It is a region with many colonial-style buildings and a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains of Zacatecas and Guanajuato, la...

. It is bordered by the states of Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

 to the west, Zacatecas
Zacatecas
Zacatecas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas....

 to the northeast, San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí officially Estado Libre y Soberano de San Luis Potosí is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is San Luis Potosí....

 to the north, Querétaro
Querétaro
Querétaro officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro de Arteaga is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Santiago de Querétaro....

 to the east and Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

 to the south. It covers an area of 30,608 km².

Guanajuato is located between the arid north of the country and the lusher south, and it is geographically part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt
Trans-Mexican volcanic belt
The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt also known as the Transvolcanic Belt and locally as the Sierra Nevada , is a volcanic belt that extends 900 km from west to east across central-southern Mexico...

, the Mexican Plateau
Mexican Plateau
The Central Mexican Plateau, also known as the Mexican Altiplano or Altiplanicie Mexicana, is a large arid-to-semiarid plateau that occupies much of northern and central Mexico...

 and the Sierra Madre Oriental
Sierra Madre Oriental
The Sierra Madre Oriental is a mountain range in northeastern Mexico.-Setting:Spanning the Sierra Madre Oriental runs from Coahuila south through Nuevo León, southwest Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, and Hidalgo to northern Puebla, where it joins with the east-west running Eje Volcánico...

. It was initially settled by the Spanish in the 1520s due to mineral deposits found around the now capital city of Guanajuato
Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Guanajuato is a city and municipality in central Mexico and the capital of the state of the same name. It is located in a narrow valley, which makes the streets of the city narrow and winding. Most are alleys that cars cannot pass through, and some are long sets of stairs up the mountainsides....

, but areas such as the Bajío
Bajío
The Bajío is a region of Central Mexico that includes the plains south of the Sierra de Guanajuato, in the state of Guanajuato, as well as parts of the states of Querétaro and Michoacán .In general parlance, it is usually associated with the States of Guanajuato and Querétaro, although it only...

 region also became important for agriculture and livestock. Mining and agriculture have been the traditional mainstays of the state's economy, but today, about 30% of the state's GDP is accounted for by industry, which includes metals, automobiles, leather goods, processed foods and more.

The state is home to several historically important cities, especially those along the "Bicentennial Route", which retraces the path of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's insurgent army at the very beginning of the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

. This route begins at Dolores Hidalgo
Dolores Hidalgo
Dolores Hidalgo Dolores Hidalgo Dolores Hidalgo (in full, Dolores Hidalgo Cuna de la Independencia Nacional is the name of a city and the surrounding municipality in the north-central part of the Mexican state of Guanajuato....

, and passes though the Sanctuary of Atotonilco
Sanctuary of Atotonilco
The Sanctuary of Atotonilco is a church complex and a World Heritage Site, designated along with nearby San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. The complex was built in the 18th century by Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro who, according to tradition, was called upon by a vision of Jesus with a...

, San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a city and municipality located in the far eastern part of the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. It is 274 km from Mexico City and 97 km from the state capital of Guanajuato...

, Celaya
Celaya
Celaya is a city and its surrounding municipality in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, located in the southeast quadrant of the state. It is the third most populous city in the state, with a 2005 census population of 310,413. The municipality for which the city serves as municipal seat, had a...

 and the capital of Guanajuato. Other important cities in the state include León
León, Guanajuato
The city of León, formally León de los Aldama is the sixth most populous city in Mexico and the first in the state of Guanajuato. It is also the seat of the municipality of León...

, the most populous and Irapuato.

Geography and climate

Guanajuato is located in the center of Mexico, north-west of Mexico City, bordering the states of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Querétaro and Jalisco. It covers an area of 30,589 km² and is ranked 20th out of 31 states. It has an average altitude of 2,015 meters above sea level, with its territory divided among three of Mexico physical regions, the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Mexican Plateau and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. The Sierra Madre Oriental in Guanajuato consists of the Sierra Gorda
Sierra Gorda
The Sierra Gorda is an ecological region centered on the northern third of the state of Querétaro and extending into the neighboring states of Guanajuato, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí...

 and the Sierra del Azafrán in the northeast. The Mexican Plateau extends through the center of the state. Within, it subdivides into various regions parted by low-lying mountain chains such as the Sierra de la Cuatralba and the Sierra de Cubo. The Trans Mexican Volcanic Belt crosses the state in the south and includes the Bajío area, the Altos de Jalisco and the valleys area in the far south. The state is crossed by several mountain ranges which have mountains between 2,300 and 3,000 meters high. Mountain ranges average 2,305 meters and flat areas lie at around 1,725 meters above mean sea level. The other important mountain ranges include the Sierra Gorda to the north, the Sierra de Guanjuato in the southeast, the Comanja in the northwest and the Codorniz in the east.

The state is divided into five regions taking into consideration geography and climate. These are called Altos de Guanajuato, La Sierra Central, Bajío, La Sierra Gorda and Los Valles del Sur. The Altos de Guanajuato are located in the north of the state. They are a chain of forested mountains interspersed with pastures, small fields and areas with cacti and other desert plants. It begins near the border with San Luis Potosí, and extends south to Dolores Hidalgo and then to San Miguel de Allende, then to the Querétaro border. The altitude of this area varies from 1,800 to peaks over 2,900 meters such as the La Giganta and La Sierra del Cubo mountains. The climate is mostly semiarid with a rainy season in the summer, with average temperatures between 15 and 20 °C. However, lows in the winter frequently reach 0 °C or lower with frosts. Wildlife is found mostly in the most rugged and inaccessible areas and includes deer, coyotes, eagles and rattlesnakes.

La Sierra Gorda is shared between Guanajuato and Querétaro and is considered to be an important biosphere. This area is the most rugged in the state where most of the natural areas and small villages are remain intact due to their inaccessibility. The Sierra Gorda is part of the Sierra Madre Occidental, with extreme variations in its geography and climate. The rugged terrain means that there are a wide number and variety of microclimates although average temperatures vary only between 16 and 19 °C. It lowest point is a canyon called Paso de Hormigas in Xichú
Xichú
Xichú is a Mexican city located in the Northeast region of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality is entirely within the Sierra Gorda range and has an area of 912.20 square kilometres...

 at 650 meters above sea level with a very warm climate suitable for tropical fruit. The highest point is Pinal de Zamorano at 3,300 meters, followed by El Picacho de Pueblo Nuevo, El Zorillo and El Cuervo all above 2,700 meters. The largest changes are seen in arid versus wetter zones, which can often be relatively nearby, with foliage changing from rainforest to pine forest to desert landscapes. In 1997, the Sierra Gorda region in Querétaro was declared a Biosphere Reserve by the federal government, with the Guanajuato portion added in 2007. On the Guanajuato side, it covers 236,882 hectares over the municipalities of Xichú, San Luis de la Paz
San Luis de la Paz
San Luis de la Paz is a city and its surrounding municipality of the same name located in the northeastern part of the state of Guanajuato in Mexico. A charming city with great historic and cultural wealth, was founded on August 25, 1552, as a defensive town in the Spanish Silver Road, which linked...

, Atarjea
Atarjea
Atarjea is a Mexican city located in the easternmost region of the state of Guanajuato, within the Sierra Gorda range. The municipality has an area of 318 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by the state of San Luis Potosí, to the east and south by the state of Querétaro, and to the...

, Victoria
Victoria, Guanajuato
Victoria is a Mexican city located in the Northeast region of the state of Guanajuato, within the Sierra Gorda range. The municipality has an area of 1009.437 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by the state of San Luis Potosí, to the east by Xichú, to the south by Santa Catarina and...

 and Santa Catarina
Santa Catarina, Guanajuato
Santa Catarina is a Mexican city located in the Northeast region of the state of Guanajuato, within the Sierra Gorda range. The municipality has an area of 193.67 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by Victoria and Xichú, to the east by the state of Querétaro, to the south by Tierra...

. Culturally, the Sierra Gorda region is the far western part of La Huasteca
La Huasteca
La Huasteca is the first climbing area in Monterrey, Mexico, only 15 minutes from the city. With nearly 200 bolted routes with grades from 5.8 to 5.13C, it is the favorite place for weekend climbers. It is also known for the slippery type of limestone from which it is comprised, and which makes...

, which extends over parts of the states of Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo and Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

.

The Sierra Central is a series of low, gentle mountains in the center of the state which are part of the Sierra Madre Occidental. They cover twelve municipalities: Ocampo
Ocampo, Guanajuato
Ocampo is a city located in the northwest region of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 1,019.49 square kilometres and is bordered and to the south and east by San Felipe, to the north by the state of San Luis Potosí, to the west by the state of Jalisco...

, San Felipe
San Felipe, Guanajuato
San Felipe is a Mexican city and municipality located in the northwest region of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 2,969.79 square kilometers , making it the biggest municipality in terms of size...

, León, Silao, Guanajuato, Dolores Hidalgo, San Miguel de Allende, Irapuato, Salamanca, Santa Cruz de Juventino Rosas
Santa Cruz de Juventino Rosas
Santa Cruz de Juventino Rosas is a Mexican city located in the central east region of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 428.64 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by San Miguel de Allende, to the northeast by Comonfort, to the southeast by Celaya, to the south...

, Comonfort and Apaseo el Grande
Apaseo el Grande
Apaseo el Grande is a Mexican city located in the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 415.26 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by Comonfort and San Miguel de Allende, to the east by the state of Querétaro, to the south by Apaseo el Alto, and to the west by Celaya...

. Wild vegetation runs from tropical rainforest to arid grasslands with cactus, with cypress trees along rivers and other surface water. Wildlife includes raccoons, quail, rabbits, skunks and migratory birds. The land is productive, especially for fruit orchards producing guava
Guava
Guavas are plants in the myrtle family genus Psidium , which contains about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America...

s, tejocote, apples, limes, quince
Quince
The quince , or Cydonia oblonga, is the sole member of the genus Cydonia and native to warm-temperate southwest Asia in the Caucasus region...

 and more. Desert fruits such as cactus pears (tuna), garambullos and xoconostle are also produced commercially.

The best-known geographical region of the state is called the Bajío, which is a relatively low, relatively flat area of between 1,700 and 1,800 meters, that surrounds the Lerma River
Lerma River
The Lerma Santiago River is Mexico's second longest river. It is a river in west-central Mexico that begins in Mexican Plateau at an altitude over above sea level, and ends where it empties into Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest lake, near Guadalajara, Jalisco...

 and its tributaries. Centered in Guanajuato, parts also extend into the neighboring states of Querétaro and Jalisco. This low area is the source of its name, coming from the Spanish word "bajo" or low. The Bajío is filled with rolling hills and interrupted by the occasional chain of low mountains such as the Gavia and the Culiacán. Before the arrival of the Spanish, this area was covered in dense forests of holm oak
Holm Oak
Quercus ilex, the Holm Oak or Holly Oak is a large evergreen oak native to the Mediterranean region. It takes its name from holm, an ancient name for holly...

 and mesquite
Mesquite
Mesquite is a leguminous plant of the Prosopis genus found in northern Mexico through the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Deserts, and up into the Southwestern United States as far north as southern Kansas, west to the Colorado Desert in California,and east to the eastern fifth of Texas, where...

 trees, however, mining's need for wood fuel eventually cleared these forests. Today, the area is the center of most of the state's agriculture and industry since the terrain allows for the building of highways and large farms, which produce grains, vegetables and fruit. This farmland is considered some of the most productive in Mexico.

Los Valles del Sur, also called the Valles Abajeños, are valleys located in the southwest part of the state, bordering the state of Michoacán. This area is distinguished by the large number of P’urhépecha place names and covers the municipalities of Valle de Santiago
Valle de Santiago
Valle de Santiago is a municipio in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, and also the name of its largest township and cabecera municipal . The municipality is located in the southern portion of the state in the Bajío region of central Mexico, and has an area of some...

, Yuriria
Yuriria
Yuririapundaro, Guanajuato, Mexico, also known as Yuriria, is one of 46 municipalities in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Its location and historical importance are key factors to the outstanding and significal importance of the municipality....

, Tarimoro
Tarimoro, Guanajuato
This article is about the city. For the municipality of the same name, see Tarimoro MunicipalityTarimoro is the municipal seat of the municipality of Tarimoro in the Mexican state of Guanajuato...

, Apaseo el Alto
Apaseo el Alto
Apaseo el Alto is a Mexican city located in the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 491.81 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by Apaseo el Grande, to the east by the state of Querataro, to the south by Jerécuaro and Tarimoro, and to the northwest by Celaya...

, Moroleón
Moroleón
Moroleón is a city located in the same name municipality of the state of Guanajuato, adjacent to the border with the state of Michoacán, in Mexico....

, Uriangato
Uriangato
Uriangato is one of 46 cities in Guanajuato, located in the borderline between the states of Guanajuato and Michoacán in the region West-Center of Mexico...

, Santiago Maravatío
Santiago Maravatío
Santiago Maravatío is a Mexican city located in the Bajío of the state of Guanajuato. With an area of 91.760 square kilometres, Santiago Maravatío accounts for less than 1% of the surface of the state...

, Acámbaro
Acámbaro
Acámbaro is a city and municipality in the southeastern corner of the Mexican state of Guanajuato, on the banks of the Lerma River, and the oldest of the 46 municipalities of Guanajuato. Acámbaro is noted as a major railway junction, a local transport hub, and the origin of the nationally famous...

, Jerécuaro
Jerécuaro
Jerécuaro is a Mexican city located in the lowlands of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 828.3 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by Apaseo el Alto, to the east by Coroneo and the state of Querétaro, to the south by Tarandacuao, to the southwest with Acámbaro,...

, Coroneo
Coroneo
Coroneo is a Mexican city and municipality located in the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 122.90 square kilometres and is bordered to the north and the east by the state of Querétaro, to the south by the state of Michoacán, and to the west by Jerécuaro...

 and Tarandacuao
Tarandacuao
Tarandacuao is a Mexican city located in the lowlands of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 117.39 square kilometres, and is bordered to the north and east by Jerécuaro, to the south by the state of Michoacán, and to the west by Acámbaro. The municipality had 11,583...

. The area is part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt with elevations ranging between 1,700 and 2,000 meters. The soil is fertile due to its volcanic base, producing crops such as sorghum
Sorghum
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents...

, wheat, corn and vegetables. The land also produces building materials such as tezontle
Tezontle
Tezontle is a porous, extrusive, igneous, volcanic rock used extensively in construction in Mexico. It is usually reddish in color.-Uses:Tezontle can be mixed with concrete to form lightweight concrete blocks, or mixed with cement to create stucco finishes. Tezontle is often used as the top...

 and black sandstone. In the higher elevations, there are forests of pine and holm oak but these have been much reduced because of deforestation. In the more arid areas, mesquite, nopal
Nopal
Nopales are a vegetable made from the young cladode segments of prickly pear, carefully peeled to remove the spines. These fleshy pads are flat and about hand-sized. They can be purple or green...

 and other desert plants can be found. There are several small lakes, the best known being the Yuriria Lake as well as canyons and cave systems, some of which were used for ceremonial purposes by pre-Hispanic peoples. It is also the home the Siete Luminarias de Valle de Santiago, a set of seven inactive volcanic craters located in the northwest and southwest of the Santiago Valley. The volcano cones rise abruptly out of the ground with craters that measure up to one kilometer across. Locals call the formations "holes" (hoyos) and they are named La Alberca, La Cíntora, Estrada, Blanca, Alvarez, Solís and Rincón de Parangueo. La Cíntora and Rincón de Parangueo contain cave paintings and evidence that people once lived in the craters. La Alberca (The Pool) is a crater lake with is open to the public for swimming, rowing or boating. The name of "Siete Luminarias" (Seven Lanterns) comes from an imagined time when the seven were active at once in prehistory.

The state has about 1,500 bodies of surface water, along with underground aquifers in most parts of the state. The principle lakes in the state are the Cuitzeo, which is on the border with Michoacán and the Yuriria. Several of the Siete Luminarias craters have also developed crater lakes, especially in the ones called "La Joya," "Parangueo" and "Olla de Zìntora." The most important river in Guanjuato and one of the most important in the country is the Lerma River, along with its tributaries Guanajuato River
Guanajuato River
The Guanajuato River is a tributary of the Lerma River in the central region of Mexico called the Bajio . The river begins in the silver-rich Guanajuato mountains near the state capital of Guanajuato...

, La Laja, and Turbio. The Lerma River basin covers 81% of the state (center and south) with the Pánuco River
Pánuco River
The Pánuco River is a river in Mexico that flows from the River Moctezuma in the Valley of Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico.At its source, it serves as a channel for water-drainage for Mexico City. From there, it becomes the state border between Hidalgo and Querétaro as it moves towards San Luis...

 basin (north of the state) and Cuitzeo Lake covering the remaining. The Lerma River is regulated through various dams in part to control the fact that it ran very high in the rainy season and very low in the dry season. These dams include the Ignacio Allende, la Purísima, Solís, La Gavia, Conejo II and Santa Ifigenia.

Climates in the state are grouped by precipitation and average temperatures into three major groups. The semi-arid climate is characterized by the fact that evaporation often exceeds precipitation. Most of the vegetation in these areas is arid grassland with desert plants such as nopal. These climates cover about forty percent of the state, mostly in the north. Semi-arid temperate regions are found in the municipalities of San Felipe, San Diego de la Unión
San Diego de la Unión
San Diego de la Unión is a Mexican city located in the Northwest region of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 990.17 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by San Luis Potosí, to the east by San Luis de la Paz, to the south by Dolores Hidalgo, and to the west by San...

, San Luis de la Paz, part of Dolores Hidalgo and San José de Iturbide, where precipitation varies between 400 and 500 mm and the average temperature is between 16 and 18 °C. Semi-arid semi hot climates can be found north of Dolores Hidalgo, around León and in areas near Celaya. In these municipalities, rainfall averages between 600 and 700 mm and the average annual temperature is between 18 and 20 °C. Temperate climates are judged by the presence of holm-oak and pine forest, pine forests and/or pine forests with meadows. Humidity varies in these forest regions. Temperate semi-moist areas are mostly found in the southeast municipalities of Apaseo, Coroneo and Jerécuaro and in the center of the state. Precipitation varies from 600 to 700 mm and the average temperature is between 16 and 18 °C. Temperate and somewhat humid climates have rainfall averages of between 700 and 800 mm, with temperatures between 16 and 18 °C. These can be found in Pénjamo
Pénjamo
Penjamo Hidalgo Cradle, is the City head-board of the homonymous Municipality, one of 46 municipalities of Guanajuato's Mexican state. It is one of the cities with major commercial movement of the State, and is considered to be the major City of the Southwest of the entity and the city number 17...

, Coroneo, Jerécuaro and parts of Guanajuato (municipality) and Dolores Hidalgo. Temperate climates with the most humidity are found in the Santa Rosa and municipality of Guanajuato. These have rainfall averages of over 800 mm and average temperatures of under 16 °C. Hot and moist climates in the state have temperatures ranging from 18 to 22 °C and are associated with tropical rainforest, with some grassland. These climates are subdivided into two types, one that receives less rainfall with a significant dry season and the other which is wetter. The drier type is found in Abasolo, Irapuato, Salamanca and Romita
Romita
Romita is a Mexican city located in the Southwest region of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 442.10 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by León, to the east by Silao, to the southeast by Abasolo and Cuerámaro, and to the east by Manuel Doblado and San Francisco...

. In total, these hot and relatively moist climates can be found in about 40% of the state.

From the beginning of the colonial period, much of the state's environment suffered greatly due to the mining techniques and intensive agriculture introduced by the Spanish. The process has been ongoing since then to modern times. Before the Conquest, the state was covered in forests, but mining requires large amounts of fuel to process minerals, so these forests were cut down for fuel as well as numerous construction projects. Agriculture leached nutrients from the soil and caused erosion, and introduced plants, animals and diseases have had large impact. Today, the state contains twenty one protected areas which extend over 63,611 hectares in twenty six municipalities. These natural reserves include Sierra de Lobos, Siete Luminarias, the Silva Dam, Megaparque de Dolores Hidalgo, Cuenca de la Esperanza, Las Fuentes, Peña Alta, Pinal de Zamorano, Parque Metropolitano, La Joya Crater, Yuriria Lake, Las Musas, Culiacán and La Gavia Mountains, Sierra de los Agustinos, Cerro de Cubilete, Cerro de Amoles, La Purisima Dam, Arandas Mountain, La Soledad Dam, and the upper basin of the Temascatío River. Another protected area is the federal Biosphere Reserve of La Sierra Gorda. In Guanajuato, it extends over 236,882 hectares and contains 182 bird species, 42 mammal species and 84 plant species, including two recently discovered ones called Beaucamea compacta and Calibanus glassianus. The park contains a number of species which are in danger of extinction including the black bear and the puma. The climate is semi-arid with variations in temperature due to altitude changes, but most of the area is covered in tropical forest in which many plants lose leaves during the dry season from November to May.

Economy

The state is located in the center of the country has important economic implications as a number of major national highways and railways pass through. The state is also a center of industry with most of the state's major cities and economy located in the La Sierra Central and El Bajío regions. It has equal access to both the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico as well as the major metropolitan areas of Monterrey
Monterrey
Monterrey , is the capital city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the...

, Mexico City and Guadalajara. In 2008, the total GDP for the state was 38,204,000,000 USD (427,503,000,000 MXN) or 3.88% of the total for the country. From 2003 to 2008, the economy grew 1.06% (adjusted for inflation). The state has the sixth largest economy in Mexico behind Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Nuevo León
Nuevo León
Nuevo León It is located in Northeastern Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Tamaulipas to the north and east, San Luis Potosí to the south, and Coahuila to the west. To the north, Nuevo León has a 15 kilometer stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border adjacent to the U.S...

, Jalisco, and Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

. As of 2008, Guanajuato ranks fourth in per capita income at 7,609USD, behind Mexico City, Nuevo León and Jalisco, with a rate of increase of 2.04%. Manufacturing accounts for 28% of total GDP, down slightly from a high of over 30%. Its importance is followed by commerce at 16.3% and real estate at 11.2%. Agriculture, which includes forestry, fishing and hunting accounts for 4.6. Other activities include financial and other professional services (17.6%) and transportation and storage at 11.8%. Employment figures break down differently with 13.2% employed in agriculture, 36.4% in mining and industry and 47.3 percent in commerce, services and tourism. There are two significant migration patterns in the state. Twenty seven of 46 municipalities have a high level of migration out to other areas, with 19 having a moderate to low level of the same. The annual rate of migration to the United States is 7.07 people per thousand.

Industry, crafts and mining

Industry is the most important segment in the modern state economy, accounting for about 30%. Most of this is the production of automobiles and automobile parts, pharmaceuticals and other modern items. It also includes more traditional items such as processed foods (cheese, canned items and more) as well as shoes and other leather goods in León and a variety of crafts. The economy in this area continues to grow although there has been some drop in its percentage of GDP due to drop in prices for a number of manufactured products. The state has two large thermoelectrical plants in Salamanca and Celaya. Oil refining in Salamanca, which received raw material through pipelines from Poza Rica, Veracruz and from Tabasco
Tabasco
Tabasco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tabasco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 17 municipalities and its capital city is Villahermosa....

.

One traditional industry is the making of shoes and other leather items, especially in León. This industry grew 50% from 2009 to 2010 in the number of enterprises dedicated to it. They now total 7,981 and employ 297,413 people directly and indirectly according to INEGI. In 2010, Volkswagen announced a new motor plant to be built in Silao
Silao
Silao is a city in the west-central part of the state of Guanajuato in Mexico. It is the seat of the municipio with the same name. As of the 2005 census, the city had a population of 147,123, making it the seventh-largest community in the state...

. The project is projected to cost 550 million USD and will employ 700 people making 330,000 motors per year starting in 2013. A spokesman for the company acknowledged that part of the reason to build the plant was due to the existence of a General Motors plant in the same area as well as the existence of the Parque Industrial Puerto Interior which offers access to different transportation modes. The Centro de Innovación (Innovation Center) of Microsoft was inaugurated in 2010 in León. This establishment is meant to support businesses and governments to form software and technology enterprises with the goal of starting fifty new businesses with ten to twenty employees each.

Almost all handcrafts (98%) are made in micro and small enterprises, most of which are family owned. Almost all which are exported are sent to the United States (91%), which mostly consist of glass, wrought iron, ceramic and wooden items. However, craft items are under pressure from imitations from Central America and Asia. The crafts sector of industry is not considered a particularly active segment of the state's population with no data as to the percentage of the state's GDP it represents. Most crafts over time have become specialties of more or more municipalities.

Majolica
Majolica
Majolica, an English version of the Italian word maiolica, is a term covering a wide variety of European tin-glazed pottery, typically brightly painted over an opaque white background glaze, with an earthenware body....

 pottery has been made in the state since colonial times after being introduced by the Spanish. Since then, areas have developed specialties in form and decoration, but techniques have not changed much for over 400 years. Most clay is extracted from the Dolores Hidalgo region and most is produced in Dolores Hidalgo, San Miguel de Allende and the city of Guanajuato. Another area noted for its work is Tarandacuaro, which makes high-fire ceramics. The two best-known workshops are Fabrica Javier Servin and Taller Checuan. The ceramics of this area have distinctive, very intricate, mostly geometric designs, which are painted on by hand. The municipality promotes the work through its Centro Turistico de Desarrollo de Tarandacuao.

Acámbaro is noted for its bread. The city has two well-known bakeries by the name of Panificadora Loaeza and La Antigua Panificadora El Triunfo. One local bread specialty is the tallado, which has a base of egg and butter and can have fillings such as fig
Common fig
The Common fig is a deciduous tree growing to heights of up to 6 m in the genus Ficus from the family Moraceae known as Common fig tree. It is a temperate species native to the Middle East.-Description:...

, coconut, raisins and chocolate. This bread is the result of recipes brought by the Franciscans, modified over time by the native indigenous potters’ community.

San Francisco del Rincón
San Francisco del Rincón
San Francisco del Rincón is a city and municipality in the western part of the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. The city serves as the municipal seat for the municipality of San Francisco del Rincón...

 has had a tradition of making hats since the 18th century. Traditionally, the hats were made from palm fronds brought from the Michoacán coast area, but today many workshops and factories use synthetic fibers. In traditional workshops, the work is divided by sex, with women weaving the fibers together and men pressing it into shape, putting in the supports and other details. The quality of the hats made here has made them exportable.

In San Luis de la Paz and Coroneo, wool is worked into clothing, especially into coats, gloves, vests, scarves and other items for winter wear. Some of the workshops still work with large old weaving looms. In addition, there are workshops which make rugs, zarape
Zarape
The serape or sarape is a long blanket-like shawl, often brightly colored and fringed at the ends, worn in Mexico, especially by men. "Serape" also can be used to refer to a very soft rectangular blanket with an opening in the middle for one's head, similar to a poncho called gabán in México. Some...

s, and other items for the home. In Coroneo, the craft 100 years ago was practiced only by women. The most common item is still the zarape, which is decorated with figures such as horse heads and deer as well as fretwork on the edges. However, sweaters, capes, rebozo
Rebozo
A rebozo is a woman's garment used in Mexico. Rectangular in shape, rebozos vary in size from 1.5 to upwards of three metres, and can be made of cotton, wool, silk, or articela. They can be worn as scarves or shawls, and women often use them to carry children and take products to the market. It is...

s, bags and even wool shoes can also be found for sale. One other specialty is rugs woven on large looms.

Apaseo el Alto is known for its work in fine woods, which began with the workshop of Domingo Garcia sixty years ago. Since then about 150 workshops have been established in the municipality employing about 500 craftsmen. Items include sculptures such as religious figures and animals and utilitarian items such as utensils and furniture. Craftsmen first began working with a wood called "patol" and juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

, but today they work with various woods such as walnut, cedar
Cedar wood
Cedar wood comes from several different trees that grow in different parts of the world, and may have different uses.* California incense-cedar, from Calocedrus decurrens, is the primary type of wood used for making pencils...

, mahogany
Mahogany
The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....

 and kapok
Kapok
Ceiba pentandra is a tropical tree of the order Malvales and the family Malvaceae , native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, northern South America, and to tropical west Africa...

 (palosanto).

Celaya is known in much of Mexico for its cajeta
Cajeta
Cajeta is a Mexican confection of thickened syrup usually made of sweetened caramelised milk.According to chef Rick Bayless, the name for cajeta came from the Spanish phrase al punto de cajeta, which means a liquid thickened to the point at which a spoon drawn through the liquid reveals the bottom...

, a kind of spreadable caramel, often made with goat's milk, sugar and cinnamon. The mixture can be eaten straight from a spoon or used in a variety of recipes. The best known outlet for cajeta in the city is Cajetas La Tradicional, which has been in business for over 70 years.

Metalworking can mostly be found in the communities of Guanajuato and Salamanca. Although the capital's mines no longer produce large quantities of gold and silver, silver items are still made and sold in the city. Wrought iron work for doors, windows and railings are also a specialty in certain areas of the city. Oxidized bronze items are a specialty of Salamanca, producing mostly decorative items. Most of the items made in Guanajuato city is still done Baroque style and sold in the city center. Pénjamo is one of very few places outside of the state of Jalisco to produce tequila
Tequila
Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands of the western Mexican state of Jalisco....

. It is the home of the Tequila Corralejo brand, which is still made on the now former hacienda of Corralejo. The installation gives tours and has a museum called the Museo del Vino y la Botellas (Museum of Spirits and Bottles). The museum contains a collection of about 3,000 bottles, almost all of which with their original contents. Nearby is the factory that makes the distinctive blue bottles of this brand.

Glass making was brought to Mexico during the early colonial period. Most items made in Guanajuato are single colored items in blue, green, yellow and red. San Miguel de Allende has the best-known tradition where curiously shaped bottles, vases, glass sets and small cups for tequila are produced. Wax candles and other items are a specialty in Salamanca, where they are especially in demand during Holy Week
Holy Week
Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

. Comonfort is known for the making of molcajete
Molcajete
A molcajete is a stone tool, the traditional Mexican version of the mortar and pestle tool, similar to the South American batan used for grinding various food products...

s from volcanic stone, and San Miguel is known for figures and other items made from brass. Dolores Hidalgo is known for ice cream and ices, much of which is simply sold next to the parish church. Flavors include sapote
Sapote
Sapote is a term for a soft, edible fruit. The word is incorporated into the common names of several unrelated fruit-bearing plants native to Mexico, Central America and northern parts of South America....

, mango, honey, aloe
Aloe
Aloe , also Aloë, is a genus containing about 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The most common and well known of these is Aloe vera, or "true aloe"....

, tequila and banana.

Mining, manufacturing and construction accounts for over 27% of the state's GDP. Mining is a traditional economic activity for the state, with deposits making it one of the world's richest areas in the past. However in comparison gold and silver ores are mostly depleted today. Gold and silver ore is still mined with silver still the major ore produced, followed by gold, lead, copper, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 and sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

. Most employed in mining are still related to metals rather than non-metals. Other products being mined or being studied are mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

, tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, sand, fluorite
Fluorite
Fluorite is a halide mineral composed of calcium fluoride, CaF2. It is an isometric mineral with a cubic habit, though octahedral and more complex isometric forms are not uncommon...

, feldspar
Feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

, lime, kaolin, and more.

Agriculture

While the agricultural sector, which includes crops, livestock, fishing and forestry activities, accounts for only 4.6% of Guanajuato's current GDP, the sector is an important part of the state's identity and is still a major producer of a number of items nationally. The state has 1.1 million hectares suitable for agriculture, over 36% of the state's territory. Over 659,000 hectares of land is under cultivation, with the main crops being corn, sorghum, beans, wheat, barley and broccoli. Today, the Bajio is still one of the major grain producing regions in Mexico. Certain areas of the state have large orchards producing peaches, strawberries, cactus pear, avocado, grapes, apples, quince, walnuts, apricots and guava.

Livestock raising is an important economic activity and can be found in all parts of the state, with animals such cattle, pigs, goats, sheep and domestic fowl, with 1,451,478 hectares is dedicated to this activity. The Los Altos and Bajío are the state's livestock producing regions, especially dairy cows. It is one the most important dairy producing states in Mexico. By volume, most of the meat produced is from domestic fowl, with pork coming in second, followed by beef, goat and sheep. Guanajuato produces 25.4% of the goat meat in the country.

Only a very small percentage of the economy is based on fishing and forestry. Fishing is not a major economic activity as it is limited to the small rivers and lakes of the region. Of the two major lakes, one is shared with neighboring Michoacán state. Of the fish is that is caught or raised, most is carp
Carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

, followed by mojarra
Mojarra
The mojarras are a family, Gerreidae, of fishes in the order Perciformes. It has seven genera.Mojarras are a common prey and bait fish in many parts of the Caribbean including the South American Coast and Caribbean islands. These species tend to be difficult to identify in the field and often...

. There are 150,000 hectares of forest in the state, which about half theoretically exploitable. However, forests in this state have been historically depleted with species such as holm oak, pine and oyamel in danger of extinction. The lack of forest cover has led to erosion and other environmental problems. Most forestry products come from pine and holm oak, with most being harvested in the area around the city of Guanajuato.

Commerce, services and tourism

About 95% of the state's visitors are from Mexico, with the rest from other countries. Within the state, there are about seventy hotels ranked as four or five stars. The three main cities for tourism are the capital city of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo. Guanajuato is visited for its colonial architecture and its role in Mexico's history, especially during the War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

. Similarly, San Miguel has cultural and historical value. Both have been designated World Heritage Sites. Although not a World Heritage Site, Dolores Hidalgo is particularly important as the site as it is where Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla gave the cry called "El Grito" which began the War of Independence.

The state has set up tourist routes such as the Ruta de Independencia, Ruta de Aventura (Aventure Route), Ruta Arqueológica (Archeological Route), Ruta de los Conventos (Monastery Route) and Ruta Artesanal (Handcrafts Route). The Ruta de la Independencia or Independence Route comprises ten municipalities through which the insurgent army under Miguel Hidalgo passed. These include San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, León, Irapuato, Pénjamo, Salamanca, Celaya, Salvatierra
Salvatierra, Guanajuato
Salvatierra is a Mexican city located in the valley of Huatzindeo in the lowlands of the state of Guanajuato. With an area of 507.70 square kilometres, Salvatierra accounts for 1.66% the total area of the state...

 and Acámbaro. In preparation for the Bicentennial of Mexico´s independence, the state rehabilitated and marked the sites in which the significant historic events occurred in each of these locations.

The Ruta de Aventura connects ghost towns and abandoned mines with natural areas for hiking, mountain biking and ATV as well as other extreme sports such as paragliding
Paragliding
Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure...

. One of the ghost towns is Mineral de Pozos in the northeast of the state. The town still has its cobblestone streets with names such as Relámpago (lightning), Estrellas (stars) and Flores (Flowers). The houses here are abandoned, many in ruins and none with roofs. The town reached it height during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when it was called Ciudad Porfirio Díaz, but the mines later gave out and the population left. In 1982, the town was declared a Historic Monument Zone. Although no one lives there, tourism keeps a few businesses alive around the main square such as the Pozos cantina, which exhibits photographs and other memorabilia on its walls. Outside the town is the Santa Brigida mine which sustained the town until it gave out. It is marked by three large ovens with tall pyramid roofs. These were constructed by the Jesuits to work ore from the mine. The Ruta Arqueológica (Archeological Route) links the two pre-Hispanic sites of Plazuelas and Peralta which are currently open to visitors with two others which are scheduled to be opened sometime in the future: La Virgen de la Cañada in San Miguel de Allende and El Cóporo in Ocampo.

The Ruta de los Conventos or Monastery Route is concentrated in the south of the state, where a number of large religious complexes were built in the early colonial period for evangelization purposes. The Agustino de San Pablo Church and Monastery is located in Yuriria founded by the Augustinians
Augustinians
The term Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo , applies to two separate and unrelated types of Catholic religious orders:...

 who arrived from Michoacán in the 16th century. It is a monumental fortress-like construction designed by Friar Diego de Chávez y Alvarado and Pedro del Toro and constructed in an area with relatively little population. The monastery became a center from which missionaries would be trained and then sent forth and its size and battlements helped to protect it from Chichimeca
Chichimeca
Chichimeca was the name that the Nahua peoples of Mexico generically applied to a wide range of semi-nomadic peoples who inhabited the north of modern-day Mexico and southwestern United States, and carried the same sense as the European term "barbarian"...

 attacks. The church retains its original function and Plateresque
Plateresque
Plateresque, meaning "in the manner of a silversmith" , was an artistic movement, especially architectural, traditionally held to be exclusive to Spain and its territories, which appeared between the late Gothic and early Renaissance in the late 15th century, and spread over the next two centuries...

 facade, but the monastery area has been converted into a museum. The Las Capucinas Church and Convent is in Salvatierra and is one of only three complexes built for nuns in the entire state during the colonial period. It has a fortress like appearance and its construction is attributed to Joaquin de Heredia, of the San Carlos Academy. During the Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

 presidency, the convent was used as a Civil Hospital and later as a school, which still remains with the name of Colegio José María Morelos. The San Francisco Church and Monastery is in Acámbaro and built between 1734 and 1743. Its facade is Baroque
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

 of light pink stone. Inside, the church contains one of the most notable main altars in the Bajio region. It is Neoclassical built of gray and pink stone with gilded details, with an image of the Virgen María Refugio de Pecadores (Virgin Mary Refuge of Sinners), which is replica of an image in Zacatecas
Zacatecas, Zacatecas
Zacatecas is a city and municipality in Mexico and the capital of the state of Zacatecas. It is located in the north central part of the country. The city had its start as a Spanish mining camp in the mid 16th century. Prior to this, the area's rich deposits in silver and other minerals were known...

.

The Ruta Artesanal (Handcrafts Route) connects a number of municipalities which specialize in one or more handcrafted items, including food. These include Acámbaro, noted for its bread, Coroneo for its wool items and Tarancuaro for ceramics.

The state also has a large number of water parks and thermal springs converted into water parks. Some of these include El Trébol, Villa Gasco and Comanjilla near León, Caldera Abasolo near Irapuato and Abasolo and Los Arcos and Agua Caliente near Celaya.

Festivals

Culturally, the state is best known for the annual Festival Internacional Cervantino
Festival Internacional Cervantino
The Festival Internacional Cervantino takes place each fall in the city of Guanajuato, located in central Mexico. This is a small colonial-era city with history of having a large cultural scene. The origins of the festival are from the mid 20th century, when short plays by Miguel de Cervantes...

, which takes place in the city of Guanajuato and some other affiliated venues in the state. The event sponsors a large number of artistic and cultural events with artists invited from Mexico and other parts of the world. The festival hosts events such as opera, theater productions, film showings, art exhibitions, academic conferences and talks, concerts and dance recitals. The performances occur in 70 different venues over most of the month of October. In addition to the major events in venues, artists such as dancers, clowns and more, give small and sometimes impromptu shows on the streets, sidewalks and small plazas of the city. Because of this, the event brings many visitors to the city who wander the streets, visiting the many sights of the city. During the event, hotel occupancy rates are as high as 98%. In 2010, invited artists included the Da Motus! Swiss dance company. The event is named in honor of Miguel de Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered the first modern novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written...

, author of Don Quixote. The festival began in 1972, as short plays performed by University of Guanajuato students based on the works of Cervantes. In 2010, special guests included the state of Querétaro and the country of Colombia. The 2010 edition of the festival included performers such as Tangokineses from Argentina, Cumbia Cienaguera from Colombia. In total, there were 424 events over 26 days.

A parallel event is the Festival International Cervantino Callejero which is sponsored by an organization called the Centro Libre de Experimentacion Teatral y Artistica (CLETA). In 2010, this event had 300 performances with social themes. This annual event was begun in 1975, in part inspired by the Beatles' Abbey Road album cover. The Festival Internacional de Cine Expresion en Corto began in 1997 and today is one of the most important cinematographic events in the country. It was established in Guanajuato in an effort to decentralize cultural events away from Mexico City. Most events associated with the festival take place in the city of Guanajuato and San Miguel Allende and awards prizes in various categories including commercials. The showing of films is sometimes in unusual locations such as one of Guanajuato's tunnels under the city or in the municipal cemetery at midnight.

Cuisine

Many of the dishes that are traditionally eaten in Guanajuato are regional variations of dishes known in other parts such as carnitas
Carnitas
Carnitas, literally "little meats", is a type of braised or roasted pork in Mexican cuisine.Pork carnitas is traditionally made using the heavily marbled, rich 'boston butt' or 'picnic ham' cuts of pork...

, tamale
Tamale
A tamale — or more correctly tamal — is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa , which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating...

s, birria
Birria
Birria is a spicy Mexican meat stew usually made with pork, goat, lamb, or mutton, often served during festive periods, such as Christmas, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day, and weddings. Originally from Jalisco, it is a common dish in some Mexican food establishments...

 and pozole
Pozole
Pozole is a ritually significant, traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. Pozole was mentioned in Fray Bernardino de Sahagún's "General History of the Things of New Spain" circa 1500 CE. It is made from nixtamalized cacahuazintle corn, with meat, usually pork, chicken, turkey, pork...

. A version of the enchilada
Enchilada
An enchilada is a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili pepper sauce. Enchiladas can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including meat, cheese, beans, potatoes, vegetables, seafood or combinations.-Etymology:...

 is called the enchilada minero (miners’ enchilada), which are tortillas fried in lard then filled with chicken and covered with a sauce made with guajillo chili peppers, a cheese called ranchero
Cheeses of Mexico
Cheeses in Mexico have a history that begins with the Spanish conquest, as dairy products were unknown in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The Spanish brought dairy animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats as well as cheese making techniques. Over the colonial period, cheese making was modified to suit...

 and chopped potatoes and carrots. Recently, there has been a movement to update many of these dishes, keeping to traditional ingredients, called "Guanajuato fusion." This is most popular in upscale restaurants in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato and can include dishes such as tuna with chili peppers and duck with mesquite honey.

The state is better known as the producer of a number of food products such as cajeta, bread, candy, and ice cream. The best-known food product is cajeta, soft, spreadable sweet product made with goat's milk, sugar, and flavorings. The best known place for this is Celaya. The cajeta can be flavored with vanilla, coconut, strawberry, and others; it eaten with a spoon from the container, spread on bread, or made into candies. Another typical sweet in the state is called charamuscas. It is made with piloncillo, which is melted to form shapes. In the city of Guanajuato, one can find charamuscas in the shape of mummies. Alfeñique refers to glass sugar based candies used to form figures and is most popular for Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in many cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality...

. Chilacayote is a candy made from a type of melon of the same name, which is prepared by soaking pieces of the fruit in sugar solution. Handmade ice cream is a specialty of Dolores Hidalgo, made with all natural ingredients, often using recipes passed down for generations. While ice cream and ices are made in other parts of the state, these stand out because of the many unusual flavors offered such as beer, pulque
Pulque
Pulque, or octli, is a milk-colored, somewhat viscous alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, and is a traditional native beverage of Mexico. The drink’s history extends far back into the Mesoamerican period, when it was considered sacred, and its use was limited to...

, chile relleno
Chile relleno
The chile relleno, literally "stuffed chile," is a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the city of Puebla. It consists of a roasted fresh poblano pepper , sometimes substituted with non-traditional Hatch green chile, Anaheim, pasilla or even jalapeño chili pepper...

, even shrimp and mole
Mole (sauce)
Mole is the generic name for a number of sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces...

. The Franciscans taught the indigenous how to work with wheat and bake bread. Because there had already been a tradition of kneading clay for pottery, the kneading and baking of wheat bread became established quickly, adapting the original recipes to local tastes. The best known breads are those from Acámbaro, especially the type called "pan grande." Other well known types are pan ranchero, tallado, pan huevo and pan leche. The first indigenous master baker in Guanajuato was Abraham de Silva Cuín, who in 1526, began to make breads in unique forms and flavors.

Architecture

Most of the state's architecturally significant buildings are in Mexican Baroque style, especially in the capital city. This was because the mines of the state were at maximum production during the 18th century, when this style was fashionable. It can be found in mansions and civil buildings of that time but the most ornate examples are churches, with intricate facades and altarpieces both which often use the "estipite" column (inverted, truncated pyramid). A number of Baroque altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

s from this time are also gilded with gold from local mines. Within the city of Guanajuato, the most notable examples are the San Cayetano or La Valenciana Church, the Basilica of Guanajuato, the Temple of the Company of Jesus and the San Roque Church. Outside the capital, notable examples include the Parish of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, the La Tercera Orden Temple and the Casa de Visitas in Dolores Hidalgo, the San Francisco Church and Monastery and the San Agustin Church in Celaya, and the Basilica Cathedral and the Nuestra Señora de los Angeles Church in León. There are some examples were the Baroque also contains indigenous elements such as the San José Church in Irapuato and the San Agustin Monastery and Church in Yuriria. At the beginning of the 19th century, Baroque was giving way to Neoclassical. The Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 ended most major constructions, but in many churches in the state, Baroque altarpieces were replaced with Neoclassical ones. A few Neoclassical constructions
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 did manage to be built, mostly by Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras
Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras
Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras was a prominent Mexican architect and a painter. He was active during the colonial period and early independence....

 and include the obelisk
Obelisk
An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon...

 monument to Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.-Early life:...

, the Del Carmen Church, The San Agustin Tower and the Dolores Chapel. Neoclassical works by others include the Entrance Arch of León, the Teatro Principal in Guanajuato and the Santiago Apostól Parish in Silao. From the 19th century on, trends became more modern with one notable exception. The Parish of San Miguel in San Miguel Allende had its facade redone by self taught architect Zeferino Gutierrez. Working from only images from postcards of Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 cathedrals in Europe, Gutierrez created the imposing Gothic-like front, which is unique in the state.

Arts and literature

Guanajuato is home or place of origin of three important painters: Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

, José Chávez Morado
José Chávez Morado
José Chávez Morado was a Mexican painter and sculptor.- Biography :Morado was born in Silao, near the city of Guanajuato, where Diego Rivera was born, and like Rivera he is a well known and highly regarded painter and sculptor who became most famous for the murals he painted in Mexico in the first...

 and Olga Costa
Olga Costa
Olga Costa,was a woman that worked in a mens club originally named the amazing fox , was a Mexican painter of Russian descent....

. Rivera was born in the city of Guanajuato and spent his early childhood there. When he was older, he moved to Mexico City to study painting and eventually became one of Mexico's most famous muralists. José Chávez Morado was a prolific painter who lived and worked in the city of Guanajuato. He initially worked with José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco was a Mexican social realist painter, who specialized in bold murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and others...

, who impressed him both with art as well as politics. Chávez Morado's most prolific period was between 1955 and 1967, when he realized works in the Ciudad Universitaria
Ciudad Universitaria
Ciudad Universitaria , Mexico, is UNAM's main campus, located in Coyoacán borough in the southern part of Mexico City. Designed by architects Mario Pani and Enrique del Moral, it encloses the Olympic Stadium, about 40 faculties and institutes, the Cultural Center, an ecological reserve, the Central...

 in Mexico City, the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation
Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico)
The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico is a federal entity that regulates commercial road traffic and broadcasting...

 building in Mexico City and the Alhóndiga de Granaditas
Alhóndiga de Granaditas
The Alhóndiga de Granaditas is an old grain storage building in Guanajuato City, Mexico. This historic building was created to replace an old granary near the city's river. Its construction lasted from 1798 to 1809, by orders of Juan Antonio de Riaño y Bárcena, a Spaniard who was the quartermaster...

 in his hometown. Olga Costa's real last name was Kostakowsky, but it was Hispanicized
Hispanicization
Hispanicisation or Hispanisation refers to the process by which a place or person becomes influenced by Hispanic culture or a process of cultural and/or linguistic change in which something non-Hispanic becomes Hispanic...

 to Costa. She was born in Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, Germany but she and her family moved to Mexico when she was very young. She was friends with and contemporaries of Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits....

, Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo was a Mexican painter of Zapotec heritage, born in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Tamayo was active in the mid-20th century in Mexico and New York, painting figurative abstraction with surrealist influences....

 and Carlos Mérida
Carlos Merida
Carlos Mérida was a Guatemalan artist.-Early life:Mérida was born in Guatemala City to a family from Quetzaltenango, boasting a Maya and Zapotec heritage which was often an inspiration in his art. He began studying music but became hearing-impaired due to illness. He then changed to the visual arts...

, as well as wife to José Chávez Morado. She is best known for founding the Galería Espiral and co-founder of the Sociedad de Arte Moderno and the Salon de Plastica Mexicana. Her best known work is titled "Vendedora de Frutas."
Other artists include Manuel Leal, whose works are mostly scenes from the state, Romualdo Garcia, better known as a photographer than painter, Hermenegildo Bustos, Hilario Gómez Sánchez and Luis Ferro Márquez. The state also produced one well-known sculptor by the name of Tomás Chávez Morado, brother of José. His works can be seen at the Museo Regional de la Alhóndiga de Granaditas and the Museo de Caracol in Mexico City.

Guanajuato's three main literary figures are Jorge Ibargüengoitia
Jorge Ibargüengoitia
Jorge Ibargüengoitia Antillón , was a Mexican novelist and playwright who achieved great popular success with his satires, three of which have appeared in English: Las Muertas , Dos Crimenes , and Los Relámpagos de Agosto Jorge Ibargüengoitia Antillón (Guanajuato, Mexico, January 22, 1928 -...

, Juan Ibáñez and Efraín Huerta
Efraín Huerta
Efraín Huerta was a Mexican poet.Huerta began studying law at the UNAM in Mexico City but abandoned his studies in favour of journalism and literature...

. Ibargüengoitia was one of Mexico's most important writers of the 20th century, noted for his satirical works with social themes. Examples of his work include Los relámpagos de agosto, Los pasos de Lopez and Estas ruinas que ves. Ibáñez was a dramatist who was active in the second half of the 20th century. His best known work is Los caifanes, produced as a movie in 1966. Huerta began as a journalist and movie critic but his fame came as a poet. Some of his works include Absoluto amor, Línea del alba, Poemas de guerra y esperanza, and La rosa primitiva.

Statistics and conservative reputation

As of 2005, the state had a population of 4,893,812, which is the sixth largest population in Mexico.(inplaneg) About 67% live in urban areas, with the rest in rural areas, with women slightly outnumbering men. The largest population centers are León with 1,134,842 people, Irapuato with 440,134, Celaya with 382,958 and Salamanca with 226,654.
Over 96% of the population professes the Catholic religion, and the state is considered to be very conservative to Catholic principles both socially and legally. This is especially true in matters of sex such as contraception, abortion, sexual education and women's role in society. According to a 2010 report by El Universal
El Universal (Mexico City)
El Universal is a major Mexican newspaper.El Universal was founded by Félix Palavicini and Emilio Rabasa in October 1916, in the city of Santiago de Queretaro to cover the end of the Mexican Revolution and the creation of the new Mexican Constitution...

 newspaper, political and religious researchers warn that there is an environment of intolerance, repression and indoctrination towards youth, especially young women in order to enforce traditional values to a generation which is accepting more open sexual practices. Critics have also charged the PAN party
National Action Party (Mexico)
The National Action Party , is one of the three main political parties in Mexico. The party's political platform is generally considered Centre-Right in the Mexican political spectrum. Since 2000, the President of Mexico has been a member of this party; both houses have PAN pluralities, but the...

 in Guanajuato with promoting Catholicism and marginalizing those who are not of the Catholic faith. In November 2009, the state social security agency ISSEG, ordered the suspension of emergency contraception
Emergency contraception
Emergency contraception , or emergency postcoital contraception, refers to birth control measures that, if taken after sexual intercourse, may prevent pregnancy.Forms of EC include:...

 in government pharmacies. Recently the governor of the state closed centers dedicated to intra-family violence and restricted reference to sexuality among adolescents in textbooks, referring to Catholic principles as justification although this appears to be a violation of church and state. Despite this, from 2007 to 2009 teen pregnancies have risen from 81,103 to 97,700. From 2000 to 2009, 190 women were imprisoned for having an abortion, with nine convicted for homicide.

Guanajuato is the only state in Mexico with no law designed to give rights specifically to women in abusive homes, although according to the Observatorio de Violencia Social y de Gènero of Guanajuato, about 59% of women over 15 have experienced violence at the hands of their partners, community or in school. The state has the highest suicide rate for women. Studies by the National Institute for Youth (Instituto Nacional de la Juventud) states that 75% of relationships among young people in the state experiences violence and that for every 100 male victims of violence there are 545.

Indigenous peoples

Guanajuato has the fourth lowest number of people who can speak an indigenous language. However, the ethnically indigenous population is about 10,347 (2005) or 2.6% of the population over the age of five. The languages spoken are Chichimeca Jonaz
Chichimeca Jonaz language
Chichimeca or Chichimeca Jonaz is an indigenous language of Mexico spoken by around 200 Chichimeca Jonaz people in Misión de Chichimecas near San Luis de la Paz in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. The Chichimeca Jonaz language belongs to the Oto-Pamean branch of the Oto-Manguean linguistic family...

, Otomi
Otomi language
Otomi is an Oto-Manguean language and one of the indigenous languages of Mexico, spoken by approximately 240,000 indigenous Otomi people in the central altiplano region of Mexico. The language is spoken in many different dialects, some of which are not mutually intelligible, therefore it is in...

 and Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

. The two most important indigenous groups are the Chichimeca Jonaz
Chichimeca Jonaz
The Chichimeca Jonaz are a group of indigenous people living in Guanajuato and San Luis Potosí. In Guanajuato State the Chichimeca Jonaz people live in a community of San Luis de la Paz municipality. The settlement is 2,070 m above sea level...

 and the Otomi
Otomi people
The Otomi people . Smaller Otomi populations exist in the states of Puebla, Mexico, Tlaxcala, Michoacán and Guanajuato. The Otomi language belonging to the Oto-Pamean branch of the Oto-Manguean language family is spoken in many different varieties some of which are not mutually intelligible.One of...

, both of which are concentrated in the Valles de Sur area. Culturally, both groups show significant P’urhépecha influence. Both live in arid regions, where rainfall is precious and the diet includes foods such as pitaya
Pitaya
A pitaya or pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species, most importantly of the genus Hylocereus . These fruits are commonly known as dragon fruit – cf...

s, Myrtillocactus geometrizans
Myrtillocactus geometrizans
Myrtillocactus geometrizans is a species of cactus in the genus Myrtillocactus, native to central and northern Mexico.-Description:...

 (garambullo), cactus pear, nopal and agave
Agave
Agave is a genus of monocots. The plants are perennial, but each rosette flowers once and then dies ; they are commonly known as the century plant....

. Hunting was an important source of protein but the scarcity of game has all but extinguished this practice. Subsistence agriculture forms the basis of the economy and provides much of the current diet. However, these peoples are extremely poor, and many migrate to other places to find work.
In what is now the state of Guanajuato, there were a number Nahua) groups who built cities in the first millennium CE. but then abandoned them long before the arrival of the Spanish. It is believed that the Chichimeca came to dominate the area after the fall of these cities, and the Chichimeca Jonaz believe that the eagle, which is sacred to them, led them here. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the only Chichimeca group left were the Chichimeca Jonaz, who were semi-nomadic and warlike. These qualities allowed these Chichimecas to resist Spanish domination for many years. However, the deterioration of the environment by the Spanish depleted resources for these people and finally made them submit.

The Chichimeca Jonaz refer to themselves and other indigenous as "uza" (singular) or "ézar" (plural), which roughly translates to "Indian." Their language is Oto-Pamean
Oto-Pamean languages
The Oto-Pamean languages are a branch of the Oto-Manguean languages of central Mexico that includes are half a dozen languages, or more accurately dialect clusters:*Otomian: Otomi, Mazahua*Matlatzinca*Pamean*Chichimeca...

 and related to their neighbors, the Otomi. Most Chichimecas are found in the municipality of San Luis de la Paz, in the community of Rancho Uza or Mision Chichimeca. This community subdivides into the Mision de Abajo in the east and Mision de Arriba in the west. This area borders lands of the Huasteca and Pame
Pame
The Pame are an indigenous people of central Mexico living in the state of San Luis Potosí. They call themselves Xi'úi. They speak the Pame language, which belongs to the Oto-Pamean group of the Oto-Manguean language family....

 groups, and there have been conflicts among the three. The Chichimeca Jonaz have a mixed Catholic-indigenous belief system. While outwardly Catholic, many rituals still follow the cycles found in nature, such as planting and harvesting and lunar cycles. The most important "spirit guides" are the eagle and water, with the Virgin of Guadalupe playing an important role as Universal Mother. One important saint is Isidore the Laborer
Isidore the Laborer
Isidore the Laborer, also known as Isidore the Farmer, , was a Spanish day laborer known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid and of La Ceiba, Honduras....

, who is connected to the bringing of rain.

The Otomis of the state are concentrated in the community of Cieneguilla in the municipality of Tierra Blanca
Tierra Blanca, Guanajuato
Tierra Blanca is a Mexican city located in the Northeast region of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 391.65 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by Santa Catarina, to the south and the east to the state of Querétaro, to the west by San José Iturbide and to the...

. In pre-Hispanic times, these people were semi-nomadic, desert dwellers. During the Conquest, these and other Otomi groups allied themselves with the Spanish, in part because the Aztecs and others considered the Otomi to be backwards and barbaric. The Otomi also speak an Oto-Pamean language and are related to other Otomi groups scattered around the central and southern areas of Mexico. Today, however, most children are not learning the language from their parents, putting it in danger of extinction in spite of efforts to introduce bilingual education.

Foreign presence in San Miguel de Allende

Another group, concentrated in San Miguel de Allende, is foreign residents mostly from the United States and Canada who have come to live because of the area's mild climate, cultural opportunities and low crime. While only about ten percent of San Miguel's total population, they have had a large impact on the area economically, accounting for most home buyers. Estimates of foreign residents range from 8,000 to 12,000 with about 7,000 of these from the United States alone. This makes San Miguel one of the largest American communities in Mexico, large enough to warrant its own U.S. consulate to provide services such as notary and passport.

Pre-Hispanic era

In the pre-Hispanic era, the Bajio saw the most human development due to the fertility of the soil and the presence of surface water for agriculture. The oldest group to inhabit the area are called the Chupícuarios, who dominated the center of the Bajío area and were active in between 800 BCE and 300 CE. Their largest city is now the site called Chupícuaro
Chupícuaro (archaeological site)
Chupícuaro is an important prehispanic archeological site from the late preclassical or formative period; located in the northern mesoamerican border, west of the Mexican Plateau, it is on hills nearby the Lerma River and its tributary Coroneo or Tiger River; currently most part is under water by...

, and their influence was widespread being found in the modern states of Zacatecas, Querétaro, Colima
Colima
Colima is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It shares its name with its capital and main city, Colima....

, Nayarit
Nayarit
Nayarit officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Nayarit is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 20 municipalities and its capital city is Tepic.It is located in Western Mexico...

, Hidalgo, State of Mexico, Michoacán and Guerrero
Guerrero
Guerrero officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guerrero is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 81 municipalities and its capital city is Chilpancingo....

. Chupícuaro cities were associated with the Toltec
Toltec
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology...

 city of Tula
Tula, Hidalgo
Tula, formally, Tula de Allende, is a town and one of the 84 municipalities of Hidalgo, in central-eastern Mexico. The municipality covers an area of 305.8 km² , and as of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 93,296, with 28,432 in the town...

 and when this city fell, these agricultural cities of Guanajuato also went in to decline. This and a prolonged drought cause these cities to be abandonedbetween the 10th and 11th centuries with only the Guamare
Guamare
The Guamares were an indigenous group that were concentrated in the region of the present state of Guanajuato. They were part of the Chichimecas.The Guamares were centered in the Guanajuato Sierras, but some bands ranged as far east as Querétaro...

s left ethnically. Then Chichimeca and other nomadic groups entered the area. These nomadic indigenous groups are generically referred to as Chichimeca, but in reality they were a variety of ethnicities such as the Guachichiles, Pames and Zacateco
Zacateco
The Zacatecos were an indigenous people inhabiting part of northern Mexico, one of the peoples called Chichimecas by the Aztecs. They lived in most of what is now the state of Zacatecas and the northeastern part of Durango. They have many direct descendants, but most of their culture and...

s. These groups were warlike, semi nomadic and did not practice significant agriculture, nor did they construct cities. Part of the state was also inhabited by the Otomi but they were mostly displaced or dominated by the P’urhépecha in the southwest and the Chichimeca in other parts. By the 16th century, most of Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

 was dominated by either the Aztec or P'urhépecha
Tarascan state
The Tarascan state was a state in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, roughly covering the geographic area of the present-day Mexican state of Michoacán. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico it was the second-largest state in Mexico. The state was founded in the early 14th century and lost its...

 empires, but Guanajuato was under the control of neither. It was on the northern border of the P’urhépecha empire with southern Guanajuato showing significant cultural influence in the southern valleys, and Aztecs had ventured into the area looking for minerals. However, most of the state was dominated by various Chichimeca tribes as part of what the Spanish would call the "Gran Chichimeca." These Chichimeca were mostly nomadic with some scattered agricultural communities, mostly in the north.

Colonial period

As Guanajuato marks the beginning of the arid north of Mexico, at first relatively few Spanish came to settle as opposed to points south, where rainfall and indigenous labor was in much greater supply. The first Spanish expedition to arrive to the Guanajuato area was led by Cristóbal de Olid
Cristóbal de Olid
Cristóbal de Olid was a Spanish adventurer, conquistador and rebel who played a part in the conquest of Mexico and Honduras.Born in Zaragoza, Olid grew up in the household of the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. In 1518 Velázquez sent Olid to relieve Juan de Grijalva, but en route a...

 in 1522 which arrived to the Yuririhapúndaro and Pénjamo areas. The discovery of silver and gold in the area of the city of Guanajuato spurred Spanish settlement of the area in the 1520s and 1530s. When the Spanish did arrive, native tribes retreated to the most inaccessible areas of the Bajío and mountains ranges in the state, resisting the invaders, attacking settlements and travelers along the routes that connected Spanish settlements and mining camps. Unlike the more settled indigenous peoples, the Spanish were unable to force the natives of this area to work and brought African slaves and indigenous peoples from other areas to work the haciendas and mines. The colonization efforts in the eastern part of the state began in 1542 when Spanish land grants were issued for the Apaseo and Chamácuaro areas.In 1555, San Miguel el Grande
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a city and municipality located in the far eastern part of the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. It is 274 km from Mexico City and 97 km from the state capital of Guanajuato...

 was founded to protect roads linking mining camps and cities with Mexico City. The Villa de León
León, Guanajuato
The city of León, formally León de los Aldama is the sixth most populous city in Mexico and the first in the state of Guanajuato. It is also the seat of the municipality of León...

 was founded in 1576 to counter attacks by the indigenous peoples. But through the first centuries of the colonial period, the city of Guanajuato dominated because of its mines. The official name of the state is Guanajuato, Estado Libre y Soberano (Guanajuato, Free and Sovereign State). "Guanajuato" comes from Púrhépecha Quanaxhuato, which has been translated as both "place of frogs" and "places of many hills." The coat of arms of the state is that of the city of Guanajuato which was granted by Carlos I of Spain
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

.

In 1590, the Villa de San Luis de la Paz was founded named after the peace (paz) treaty between the Spanish and the Chichimeca. With the Spanish occupying most of the most productive land and its resources, the indigenous of the area became extremely impoverished. This eventually allowed the Spanish to negotiate peace with chiefs in exchange for basic goods such as blankets, clothes and food. This would bring temporary truces. For the long term, evangelization efforts would bring longer term submission. Franciscans and Augustinians worked to gradually modify the worldview of the Chichimecas and others until many moved out of the mountains and into settlements and profess, at least nominally, the Catholic faith. However, the indigenous remained extremely marginalized and poor, losing both language and culture until most eventually intermarried with outsiders to produce mestizos.
Through the colonial period, most of the area's wealth came from mining, with much of the agriculture springing up to support the mining communities.The height of mining came in the 18th century, mostly from the mines in the hills around the city of Guanajuato, leading to the construction of a large number of notable civil and religious buildings in the same area. The Bajío area was extremely fertile and became a major agricultural area for New Spain. Both of these activities brought in more Spanish and Criollo
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

s to take advantage, as well as mestizos and some African slaves to work the mines and fields, making the area's population grow rapidly and eventually concentrate in urban centers. The area was made an "indentencia" or province in 1786, when New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 was divided into twelve parts.

Independence and 19th century

Despite the riches the area produced, most lived in oppression and poverty at the end of the 18th century, working on haciendas and in mines while a few, mostly European-born Spaniards, lived in opulence. Not only the indigenous, mestizo and Negro slaves were having problems with the social order. Many Criollos or New World-born Spanish were marginalized by the Spain-born. One of the first rebellions against colonial rule came in 1766, when a group attacked the Caja Real in Guanajauto city to protest high taxes. In 1767, there were protests against the expulsion of the Jesuits by the Spanish Crown. These were put down with extreme force, but they spurred conspiracies, and groups organizing against colonial rule, especially in San Miguel el Grande and León.

Numerous plans were made, but few were carried out or had impact until 1809. In that year, a group consisting of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende
Ignacio Allende
Ignacio José de Allende y Unzaga , born Ignacio Allende y Unzaga, was a captain of the Spanish Army in Mexico who came to sympathize with the Mexican independence movement. He attended the secret meetings organized by Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, where the possibility of an independent New Spain was...

, Juan Aldama
Juan Aldama
Juan Aldama was a Mexican revolutionary rebel soldier during the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. He was also the brother of Ignacio Aldama....

, Miguel Domínguez
Miguel Domínguez
José Miguel Domínguez Alemán was a Spanish colonial official in New Spain who played a part in the Mexican independence movement...

 and more, began to plan an armed revolt against the colonial government. In 1810, the plot was discovered and Hidalgo decided to put their plans into action in September instead of the planned date in December. On 15 September, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla declared the Grito de Dolores
Grito de Dolores
The Grito de Dolores also known as El Grito de la Independencia , uttered from the small town of Dolores, near Guanajuato on April 19, 1810 is the event that marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence and is the most important national holiday observed in Mexico...

 in the town of Dolores (Hidalgo). Hidalgo, accompanies by Ignacio Allende, left Dolores with about 800 men, half of whom were on horseback. Just through sheer numbers, Hidalgo's army had some early victories, going through the economically important and densely populated province of Guanajuato. One of Hidalgo's first stops was at the Sanctuary of Atotonilco
Sanctuary of Atotonilco
The Sanctuary of Atotonilco is a church complex and a World Heritage Site, designated along with nearby San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. The complex was built in the 18th century by Father Luis Felipe Neri de Alfaro who, according to tradition, was called upon by a vision of Jesus with a...

. There, Hidalgo affixed an image of the Virgin to a lance to adopt it as his banner. He then inscribed the following slogans to his troops’ flags: "Long live religion! Long live our most Holy Mother of Guadalupe! Long live Ferdinand VII! Long live America and death to bad government!" The extent and the intensity of the movement took viceregal authorities by surprise. San Miguel and Celaya were captured with little resistance. On 21 September 1810, Hidalgo was proclaimed general and supreme commander after arriving to Celaya. At this point, Hidalgo's army numbered about 50,000. However, because of the lack of military discipline, the insurgents soon fell into robbing, looting and ransacking the towns they were capturing. On 28 September 1810, Hidalgo arrived to the city of Guanajuato. The town's Spanish and Criollo populations took refuge in the heavily fortified Alhóndiga de Granaditas
Alhóndiga de Granaditas
The Alhóndiga de Granaditas is an old grain storage building in Guanajuato City, Mexico. This historic building was created to replace an old granary near the city's river. Its construction lasted from 1798 to 1809, by orders of Juan Antonio de Riaño y Bárcena, a Spaniard who was the quartermaster...

 granary defended by Quartermaster Riaños. The insurgents overwhelmed the defenses in two days and killed an estimated 400 - 600 men, women and children. Fighting associated with the War of Independence would return near the end of the conflict. Military commanders Luis de Cortázar
Luis de Cortázar
Luis de Cortazar was a Governor of the Mexican state of Guanajuato .Cortazar had a nearly four decades political and military career marked by switching of sides. Luis' brother Manuel, a lawyer, had an important and equally checkered career that lasted almost five decades....

 and Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante
Anastasio Bustamante y Oseguera was president of Mexico three times, from 1830 to 1832, from 1837 to 1839 and from 1839 to 1841. He was a Conservative. He first came to power by leading a coup against president Vicente Guerrero...

 joined forces with Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

 and took the city of Guanajuato on 8 July 1821, declaring the entire state independent of Spanish rule. In 1824, Guanajuato was officially proclaimed a state of Mexico by the Constitutional Congress of Mexico.

The years after the end of the War of Independence were extremely unstable, and would continue to be unstable through most of the rest of the 19th century. Dolores and San Miguel adopted the names of Dolores Hidalgo and San Miguel de Allende in honor of those who began the independence movement and in 1826, the first constitution of the state of Guanajuato was adopted. Like much of the rest of the country, Guanajuato was affected by the prolonged fighting between Liberal and Conservative factions as well as the foreign incursions that dominated the 19th century. Guanajuato's status vacillated between state (when Liberals were in charge) and department (when Conservatives held the upper hand). Under Liberal ideals, educational institutions such as the Colegio de la Santisima Trinidad and the Colegio de la Purisima Concepción were secularized and under control of the State. In 1847, General Gabriel Valencia
Gabriel Valencia
Gabriel Valencia was a Mexican soldier in the early years of the Republic. From December 30, 1845 to January 2, 1846 he served as interim president of Mexico....

 raised an army of 6,000 men to fight the U.S. invasion of Mexico. In 1848, in opposition to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

, General Marian Paredes, General Manuel Doblado
Manuel Doblado
Manuel Doblado Partida was a prominent Mexican liberal politician and lawyer who served as congressman, Governor of Guanajuato, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of President Juárez and fought in the War of Reform....

 and priest Celedonio Domeco Jarauto revolted, taking the state capital, but they were defeated and Domeco was executed by firing squad. In 1855, Conservative Manuel Doblado, then the governor of Guanajuato, forced Juan Álvarez
Juan Álvarez
Juan Nepomuceno Álvarez Hurtado was a general and interim president of Mexico for a few months in 1855. He fought in all the major wars of Mexico, from the War of Independence through the Pastry War, the Mexican-American War, and the War of the Reform to the war against the French Intervention...

 out of the presidency after he took power from Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

. In 1858, the government under President Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

 moved from Mexico City to the city of Guanajuato before moving again to Manzanillo
Manzanillo, Colima
The name Manzanillo refers to the city as well as its surrounding municipality in the Mexican state of Colima. The city, located on the Pacific Ocean, contains Mexico's busiest port. Manzanillo was the third port created by the Spanish in the Pacific during the New Spain period...

 and then Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

 during the Reform War
Reform War
The Reform War in Mexico is one of the episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted a federalist government, limiting traditional Catholic Church and military influence in the country...

. During this three year period, the state would vacillate various times between the Liberals and Conservatives. In 1863, it was taken over by the French as they installed Maximilian I
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

 as emperor of Mexico. Maximillian did not reign long but the governor he appointed for Guanajuato, Florencio Antillón remained in Guanajuato until 1877.

Mexican Revolution to the present

The situation stabilized over much of the government of Porfirio Díaz at the end of the 19th century and the economy improved, but the Diaz government was oppressive. Diaz installed Francisco Mena as governor of the state, who made a fortune through the concession of railway lines which were being built to modernize the country. Even though slavery was officially abolished during the War of Independence, most laborers in farms and mines were extremely underpaid and in a number of cases not paid at all. Agricultural production reached a peak at the end of the 19th century, earning the state the nickname of the "granary of the Republic." Industrialization took hold in cities such as León, Salvatierra, Celaya and San Francisco del Rincón, making shoes, textiles and hats. One battle of the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 occurred in Celaya in 1915 between the troops of Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón
General Álvaro Obregón Salido was the President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He was assassinated in 1928, shortly after winning election to another presidential term....

 and Francisco Villa. Many from the state fought and died in other parts of Mexico, leaving behind widows and children. After the war, the large landholdings were broken up and land redistributed into ejido
Ejido
The ejido system is a process whereby the government promotes the use of communal land shared by the people of the community. This use of community land was a common practice during the time of Aztec rule in Mexico...

s, or commonly held land, which benefitted many rural families.

After the end of the Mexican Revolution, fighting in Mexico continues with the Cristero War
Cristero War
The Cristero War of 1926 to 1929 was an uprising and counter-revolution against the Mexican government in power at that time. The rebellion was set off by the strict enforcement of the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 and the expansion of further anti-clerical laws...

. Fighting related to this was most prominent in Pénjamo and León, but occurred in other areas as well. In 1946, an uprising against the government by a group called the Sinarquistas occurred in Leon. However, most of the state was peaceful most of the time, allowing the economy to recover. This was especially true of the agricultural sector, producing wheat, corn, sorghum, alfalfa, strawberries in Irapuato and goats in various parts. Goat milk cajeta candy from Celaya is known in most of Mexico. The first Festival Internacional Cervantino occurred in 1972. In the 1980s, two of the state's cities, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende were declared World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s.

Today, the Bajio is one of the major grain producing regions in Mexico. The Guanajuato congress has asked for help against the theft of religious art in the state, which has the third highest incidence of such. One of the major occurrences was the theft of the gold crown of the Black Christ of Salamanca in 2010. The celebration of Mexico's Bicentennial was particularly important to the state as initial events of the War in Independence occurred here. The state set up a Bicentennial Route to encourage visitors to the cities associated with Miguel Hidalgo's first campaigns. The state held a marathon from San Miguel Allende to Dolores Hidalgo for the Bicentennial with Omar Luna winning with a time of 2h23m14s. The state sponsored the Expo Bicentenario 2010 from 17 July to 20 November just outside the capital city. The site was marked by a giant Mexican flag flying alongside older historic flags, including a replica of the standard with an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe that Miguel Hidalgo carried as the insurgent banner. The Expo was housed in a series of pavilions which demonstrated the Mexican culture, history, traditions and customs. There were also pavilions hosted by various Latin American countries who also celebrated their Bicentennials around the same time.

Government and politics

Politically the state is divided into six regions: Region I Northeast, Region II North, Region II Center-West, Region IV South-West, Region V South and Region VI Center-East. It is also divided into forty six municipalities for local government purposes. The municipalities are grouped into 15 political regions for elections.

The state government is headed by an elected governor who controls the executive branch of government. The governor has one six-year term with no re-election. He or she is required to report on the state of the government each year on August 1. This branch contains a large number of secretariats and other offices related to social issues, economic issues, education, law and administration. The legislative branch is unicameral with 36 elected representatives. Elections for congress occur every three years. This branch has various commissions related to legal, municipal and economic issues. The judicial branch consists of various levels of courts as well as the attorneys general offices. They are all presided over by a "presidencia."

Education

Guanajuato ranks seventh in the country in the number of schools to population and sixth in teacher-student ratio. The state has over 4,000 preschools, 4,600 primary schools, about 1400 middle schools, about 650 high schools, 73 teachers’ colleges, 125 institutions offering bachelor's degrees and 60 offering advanced degrees. 12.1% of the population over 15 is illiterate according to the 2005 census. As the state is very conservative, much of its public education curriculum has been censored. Biology textbooks in middle school have had images of male and female reproductive organs erased, and has defined masturbation as "el goce egoísta que prescinde de la otra persona" – a selfish pleasure that leaves out other people with only abstinence promoted as a way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Use of contraceptives, especially emergency contraceptives is strongly discouraged. Because of government restriction of information in the public schools the poor are more affected by this.

About half of the state's municipalities have one or more institutions of higher education, with the most important being the University of Guanajuato. This university is in the city of Guanajuato, and began as a Jesuit school for children in the first half of the 18th century. The establishment of this school was sponsored by Josefa Teresa de Busto y Moya, sister of the Marquis of San Clemente, who obtained permission for the school from the Spanish Crown in 1732 and established the institution in her home. She donated a fifth of her fortune towards it and worked to obtain donations from other wealthy families in the city. Over time, the school grew and began to offer high school and professional level studies. It held several names over its history, from Real Colegio de la Purísima Concepción (1767), Colegio del Estado (1828), Colegio Nacional de Guanajuato (1867), with its current name adopted in 1945. The Collegeio del Estado name was prompted the fact that the institution became property of the state in 1828. In 1945, it gained university status.

Today the institution serves approximately 30,000 students at the high school, bachelor's and graduate levels. In addition to the main campus in the city, there are nine others in other parts of Guanajuato state. The university hosts a number of the events of the Festival Cervantino, with its famous stairway acting as seating. The best known facility of the institution was the main building in Guanajuato city, which was built in Neoclassical style in green stone. It houses the Dean's office, administrative offices and a number of the institution's departments. The main building is recognized by its long staircase with 113 steps, which empties onto the Callejon del Estudiante. Under the main roof is a 16th century chapel which was sponsored by Vasco de Quiroga
Vasco de Quiroga
Vasco de Quiroga was the first bishop of Michoacán, Mexico and one of the judges in the second Audiencia that governed New Spain from January 10, 1531 to April 16, 1535....

, for indigenous mine workers called the Templo de los Hospitales (Temple of the Hospitals). It was also the place that received the image of the Virgin of the Rosary, now called the Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato.

Other institutions include Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) campus León and Irapuato, Universidad de León (UDL), Politécnico de Guanajuato, Universidad De La Salle Bajío, Universidad Iberoamericana, Universidad Santa Fe, Universidad de Celaya, Universidad Quetzalcóatl, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN), Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) Unidad Profesional Interdisciplinaria de Ingeniería (UPIIUG). Instituto Tecnológico de Celaya (ITC), Instituto Tecnológico Roque (ITR), Instituto Tecnológico de León (ITL), Universidad Tecnológica del Norte de Guanajuato (UTNG), Universidad Tecnológica de León (UTL), Universidad Tecnológica del Suroeste del Estado (UTSOE), Universidad Tecnológica de San Miguel de Allende, Universidad Tecnológica de Salamanca, Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato (UPG), Universidad Politécnica de Penjamo (UPPE), Universidad Politécnica de Juventino Rosas (UPJR) and Universidad Politécnica del Bicentenario (UPB), Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Irapuato
Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Irapuato
The Higher Technological Institute of Irapuato , popularly known as ITESI, is a public, coeducational university located in the city of Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico....

 (ITESI), Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Guanajuato (ITESG), Instituto Tecnológico Superior del Sur de Guanajuato (ITSUR), Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Salvatierra. So Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) has begun to build a campus in the city of León to serve 15,000 students in the west of Mexico. The project will be built on a 60 hectare site in the south of the city to serve students in Guanajuato, Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

, Aguascalientes
Aguascalientes
Aguascalientes is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 11 municipalities and its capital city is Aguascalientes....

, Querétaro
Querétaro
Querétaro officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro de Arteaga is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Santiago de Querétaro....

, San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí
San Luis Potosí officially Estado Libre y Soberano de San Luis Potosí is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is San Luis Potosí....

, Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

 and Zacatecas
Zacatecas
Zacatecas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas....

, starting in 2011. The first major to be offered is orthodontics, which is not offered by any other school in the region and will be followed by eleven others. Finally in Guanajuato there are research centers as: CIMAT, CINVESTAV
CINVESTAV
The Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute is a Mexican non-governmental scientific research affiliated to the National Polytechnic Institute and founded by president Adolfo López Mateos on 17 April 1961, initially planned...

, CRODE, CIATEC, CIO, CICSUG, CIQI, IIBE, IIEDUG, IIC, IIM, INIFAP, and laboratories as: CFE LAPEM and LANGEBIO .

Transportation

Guanajuato's highways directly connect to three of Mexico's ten major highways (Mexico City-Nuevo Laredo, Querétaro-Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez , officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez, but abbreviated Juárez and formerly known as El Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez's estimated population is 1.5 million people. The city lies on the Rio Grande...

 and Manzanillo-Tampico). The state has 11,061 km of highway, 5,281 km of which are rural. It also has 1,249 km of federal highways and 2,462 of state highways. In July 2010, the state government of Guanajuato in Mexico awarded the 30-year concession of
the US$122mn Libramiento de Celaya toll road to consortium Concesionaria Bicentenario. The
consortium will be responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining two highway sections.
Work on the 12.9 km Libramiento Nororiente stretch is scheduled to start in September 2010 and
on the 16.5 km Libramiento Sur stretch on August 9, 2010.

Like in the rest of Mexico, rail lines are almost exclusively used for the transportation of freight in the industrial areas of the state and are usually curved into loopy loops. Like the highway system, connects to most of the major national lines, with a total of 1,085 km in the state. The most important line is the Empalme Escobedo in the municipalities of Comonfort, Acámbaro and Irapuato. In Celaya, there is a "ferropuerto" (rail-port), an installation on 57 hectares used to transfer 1 million tons of freight each year. The facility has customs and other offices to facilitates international shipments.

The Guanajuato International Airport, formerly the Bajío International Airport is located in the municipality of Silao between the cities of Silao and León. The airport currently serves the following airlines: Magnitur, Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines, Inc. is a major airline based in the United States and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The airline operates an extensive domestic and international network serving all continents except Antarctica. Delta and its subsidiaries operate over 4,000 flights every day...

, Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines
Continental Airlines was a major American airline now merged with United Airlines. On May 3, 2010, Continental Airlines, Inc. and UAL, Inc. announced a merger via a stock swap, and on October 1, 2010, the merger closed and UAL changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc...

, Aviacsa
Aviacsa
Consorcio Aviaxsa, S.A. de C.V., doing business as Aviacsa, is a low-cost airline of Mexico with its headquarters in Hangar 1 of Zone C on the property of Mexico City International Airport in Venustiano Carranza, Mexico City, Mexico...

, American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

, Aeromar
Aeromar
For the Dominican Republic airline, see Aeromar Líneas Aéreas DominicanasTransportes Aeromar, S.A. de C.V, doing business as Aeromar, is an airline based in Hangar 7 of Zone D of the General Aviation Terminal at Mexico City International Airport in Venustiano Carranza, Mexico City, Mexico. Aeromar...

 and serves the following destinations: Mexicali
Mexicali
Mexicali is the capital of the State of Baja California, seat of the Municipality of Mexicali, and 2nd largest city in Baja California. The City of Mexicali has a population of 689,775, according to the 2010 census, while the population of the entire metropolitan area reaches 936,826.The city...

, Mexico City, Tijuana
Tijuana
Tijuana is the largest city on the Baja California Peninsula and center of the Tijuana metropolitan area, part of the international San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. An industrial and financial center of Mexico, Tijuana exerts a strong influence on economics, education, culture, art, and politics...

, Monterrey, Cd. Juárez, Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

, Zacatecas, Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a Mexican balneario resort city situated on the Pacific Ocean's Bahía de Banderas.The 2010 census reported Puerto Vallarta's population as 255,725 making it the sixth-largest city in the state of Jalisco...

, Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo or Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, is the fourth-largest city in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Politically the city belongs to the municipality of Zihuatanejo de Azueta in the western part of Guerrero, but both are commonly referred to as Zihuatanejo...

, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, San José, California
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

, Chicago, Oakland and Denver. There is one other airport in Celaya which serves domestic destinations as well as airfields in San Miguel Allende, Doctor Mora
Doctor Mora
Doctor Mora is a Mexican city located in Northeast region of the state of Guanajuato. The municipality has an area of 233.91 square kilometres and is bordered to the north by Victoria, to the east by Tierra Blanca, to the south by San José Iturbide, and to the west by San Luis de la Paz...

, Irapuato, Manuel Doblado and San Francisco del Rincón.

Archeological sites

Chupícuaro is a site located in the south of the state on one side of the Lerma River. It is one of the older sites of Mesoamerica, having been active from 800 BCE to 300 CE and shows some of the earliest evidence of agriculture. The site has low flat rectangular platforms, with evidence of earlier structures below, which were probably the foundation of multigenerational houses; however most of the site is now under the waters of the Solís Dam. This site along with some nearby contemporary sites, is known for its pottery called "Blanco Levantado" characterized with red and other colored lines on a light or cream background. This pottery has been shown to have elements in common with pottery in Zacatecas, other areas in northwest Mexico and even that of the Hohokam
Hohokam
Hohokam is one of the four major prehistoric archaeological Oasisamerica traditions of what is now the American Southwest. Many local residents put the accent on the first syllable . Variant spellings in current, official usage include Hobokam, Huhugam and Huhukam...

 in Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 and researchers believe that these people had trade relations that far north even finding turquoise
Turquoise
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula CuAl648·4. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gem and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue...

. While the site has been extensively studied, it has also suffered looting, including some at the hands of Guanajuato authorities.

Tierra Blanca is a large site which was a true city, not a ceremonial site, but most of the site had been sacked and practically destroyed when it fell and later as an archeological site although early photographs of it remain. There is evidence in Tula that this city, or one like it, had had significant influence on the Tula civilization. For this reason, the time span for Tierra Blanca is placed at before 950 CE although there is little evidence at the site itself to date it.

Carabino is located in the northeast of the state. At this site items from and influenced by the city of Tula are found dating the city to about 900 to 1150 CE. There is some evidence to suggest that the city was a colony of one of the cities of the center of Mexico. In Villa de Reyes in the far north in the Valley of San Luis, there also evidence of Toltec presence or influence. However, this later site was occupied first between 550 and 710 CE, then again in the Toltec era 200 to 300 years later. Evidence suggests that groups in these parts of Guanajuato had effect on the organization of the Toltec empire as settlements were abandoned sometime between 600 and 900 CE. Through the Toltec's influence in the Valley of Mexico
Valley of Mexico
The Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly coterminous with the present-day Distrito Federal and the eastern half of the State of Mexico. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, the Valley of Mexico was a centre for several pre-Columbian civilizations, including...

, Guanajuato cultures eventually had some influence on the much later Aztec.

Plazuelas
Plazuelas
Plazuelas is a prehispanic archaeological site located just north of San Juan el Alto, some 2.7 kilometers north of federal highway 90 , and about 11 kilometers west of the city of Penjamo in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico...

 is located just west of Pénjamo in the foothills of the Sierra de Pénjamo. The site is noted for the complexity of its architecture and was occupied during the first millennium of the Christian Era with its height at around 600 to 900 CE. The site was constructed over three hillsides separated by two large arroyos called Los Cuijes and Agua Nacida. The ethnicity of its occupants is not known nor is its original name. It appears to have been a theocracy with the elite inhabiting the hillsides and the rest of the population on flatter lands below. The most important construction at the site is the complex called Casas Tapadas which contains several large structures and one Mesoamerican ball court.

Peralta
Peralta (Mesoamerican site)
Peralta is a prehispanic mesoamerican archaeological site located in the municipality of Abasolo, Guanajuato, just outside the village of San Jose de Peralta in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The site is reached via Mexico highway 90 of from Irapuato. Approximately 15.5 km south of the...

 is located on Abasolo, 21 km from Pénjamo. It developed between 300 and 700 CE. at the time that Teotihuacan was declining and Tula was rising. According to archeologists the city declined and collapsed due to the overexploitation of the surrounding deciduous rainforest and it was abandoned around 900 CE. The site occupies 150 hectares divided into a center with five surrounding settlements. The most important structure is called the "Patio Hundido" (Sunken Patio), whose name comes from the four pyramids that are at the corners. Another important building is the La Mesita (The Small Table) or Recinto de los Gobernantes (Governors’ Precinct). It has a large plaza which is considered to have been the main square for the city. Among the walls and other structures a semicircle dedicated to the Danza de Voladores has been discovered.

Cañada de la Virgen
Cañada de la Virgen
Cañada de la Virgen is a pre-Columbian archaeological site in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The site lies about 16 km west-southwest of the city of San Miguel de Allende within a private property, already registered by INAH in 1985....

 contains a number of closely related architectonic complexes. Complex A, also called the Casa de los Trece Cielos (House of the Thirteen Heavens or Skies) consists of a large "sunken" patio like that in Peralta surrounded a pyramidal base over 25 meters high and platforms that enclose the west, north and south sides. El Cóporo is situated on a small mountain and probably used by a group related to the Toltecs. It was at its height between 500 and 600 CE. but abandoned by 900 CE. It is a ceremonial center constructed of adobe and earth. One unique aspect of its construction is a series of columns which sink into the earth to a depth of about two and a half meters.
Other archeological sites in the state include Morales in San Miguel and El Cóporo
El Cóporo
El Cóporo is a prehispanic archaeological site at the northern frontiers of the Mesoamerican cultural area, located at an elevation of 150 meters on the western slopes of the Santa Bárbara range , near the San José del Torreón community, and lies some due south of its municipal seat and largest...

in the northwest. The latter has figurines that show influence from groups in Zacatecas.

See also

External links

Guanajuato: Governmental portal
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