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    Prehispanic . Spanish Rule . After Independence . Contemporary . VIPs


    Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, the region was inhabited by the otomi (who named the place: Mo-o-ti, "Metals Place"), the nahua people (naming it Paxtitlan), and later by nomadic Guamares, a Chichimeca band. The name Guanajuato comes from its purepecha name Quarap-huata, "Hilly Place of Frogs". 

    Spanish Rule

    In 1541, Spaniards explored the zone, and in 1546 the Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza granted land to Don Rodrigo de Vazquez in the vicinity of Guanajuato. 
    In 1548, a muleteer named Rayas, in his way north, found inside his bonfire at soil level the first silver in these hills, then frontier land.

    The legal foundation of the township of Santa Fe y Real de Minas de Guanajuato dated of 1570, with this Coat of Arms.
    During the spanish era, Guanajuato belonged to the New Spain Viceroyalty. In 1741, Phillip V of Spain granted to Guanajuato the city status. In 1786, the New Spain was divided into 12 intendencias, one of which was the Intendencia of Guanajuato, with an area about the actual State of Guanajuato.

    Riches from mining gave to Guanajuato the first earth dam in the New World, Presa de los Santos and the world's deepest mine shaft for many centuries, in the Valenciana, the richest mine.

    The extreme poverty of the mine workers and field laborers under spanish rule with the new liberal ideas of the rich and educated, gave the Intendencia of Guanajuato the lead on the social movement of the early 1800s.

    The mob under the Father Hidalgo leadership assaulted Guanajuato in the first battle of Independence war (28-Sept-1810). The Spaniards sook refuge in the massive alhondiga = granary, then recently finished and resisted until a obscure miner ("Pipila") set main door on fire.   His feat is remembered with the massive monument next to Jardin de la Union on the mountain. 

    After Independence

    The first Constitution of Mexico, in 1824, created the free and sovereign State of Guanajuato and the city was named its capital. 

    Guanajuato was seat of the republican powers from 17th January to 13th February 1858, with President Juarez fleeing the Coup of Ignacio Comonfort.

    During the Intervention era, the French army stayed in Guanajuato for four years. Emperor Maximilian and his Empress visited the city for a week in 1864.

    The regime of President Diaz (1876-1910) brought progress for Guanajuato: foreign investors and managers for mines, railways, tramways, telephones, electricity, public lighting, "La Esperanza" water works, movie theaters, public parks "El Cantador" and "Florencio Antillon", La Paz square and statue, Juarez Theater and the Hidalgo Market.

    The city suffered economic depression on the civil war of 1910-1920 when changed hands between parties, and many mining works were left idle since, leaving some ghost towns around (i.e. Mineral de la Luz).


    The old State College (former jesuit Colegio de la Purisima Concepcion until 1828) in 1947 changed legal status and name to Universidad de Guanajuato.

     Since 1952, year after year, enthusiastic students of the Universidad under Professor Enrique Ruelas performed Cervantes' works called "Entremeses" at Plaza San Roque. Twenty years after, those plays originated the famous International Cervantes Festival with the plays still on scene. 

    Guanajuato's VIP

  • Alaman, Lucas. Conservative Politician and Historian.

  • Arreola, Juan Jose. Poet and Writer.

  • Chavez, Bernardo.(1868-1951) Priest native of Santa Rosa. Founder of Templo Expiatorio in Leon. 

  • Degollado, Santos. (1811-1861). Politician and military officer.

  • Godoy, Emma. (1918-1989). Writer. In 1961, got the prize Foundation William Faulkner with "Erase un hombre pentafásico".

  • Jarauta, Celedonio Domeco de. (Zaragoza Spain 1814 - Guanajuato 18 July 1848). Military chaplain. Oppositor to the Guadalupe Treaty that ceded half of mexican territory to the U.S.

  • Fought against government in Guanajuato. He's buried in Guanajuato's parish church.
  • Leal, Manuel. Painter of Guanajuato historical events.

  • Lejarzal, Pedro Ignacio. (1797-1862) Professor of Mineralogy and Mathematics. 

  • Liceaga, Jose Maria.

  • Mendoza, María Luisa. (1930- ) Writer and deputy 1985-1988.

  • Negrete, Jorge. Actor and popular singer. On films, the prototype of the "charro".

  • Rivera, Diego (1886-l957). Muralist and left wing activist. 1, 2, 3
  • "Dia de las Flores" by Diego Rivera 

  • Ruelas, Enrique. Arts Professor born in Pachuca. Recreated the Cervantes' plays in Guanajuato's plazas with students and local characters, which originated the Cervantes Festival. 

  • Valle, Juan. ( -1865) Blind Poet and Liberal Politician. Author of "Flores y Abrojos", "Himno a la Cárcel", among others. Guanajuato's street where he was born is named after him.




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