1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Guanajuato (city)

GUANAJUATO, or Santa Fé de Guanajuato, a city of Mexico and capital of the above state, 155 m. (direct) N.W. of the Federal capital, on a small tributary of the Rio Grande de Lerma or Santiago. Pop. (1895) 39,404; (1900) 41,486. The city is built in the Cañada de Marfil at the junction of three ravines about 6500 ft. above the sea, and its narrow, tortuous streets rise steeply as they follow the ravines upward to the mining villages clustered about the opening of the mines in the hillsides. Guanajuato is sometimes described as a collection of mining villages; but in addition there is the central city with its crowded winding streets, its substantial old Spanish buildings, its fifty ore-crushing mills and busy factories and its bustling commercial life. Enclosing the city are the steep, barren mountain sides honeycombed with mines. The climate is semi-tropical and is considered healthy. The noteworthy public buildings and institutions are an interesting old Jesuit church with arches of pink stone and delicate carving, eight monasteries, the government palace, a mint dating from 1812, a national college, the fine Teatro Juárez, and the Pantheon, or public cemetery, with catacombs below. The Alhóndiga de Granaditas, originally a public granary, was used as a fort during the War of Independence, and is celebrated as the scene of the first battle (1810) in that long struggle. Among the manufactures are cottons, prints, soaps, chemicals, pottery and silverware, but mining is the principal interest and occupation of the population. The silver mines of the vicinity were long considered the richest in Mexico, the celebrated Veta Madre (mother lode) even being described as the richest in the world; and Guanajuato has the largest reduction works in Mexico. The railway outlet for the city consists of a short branch of the Mexican Central, which joins the trunk line at Silao. Guanajuato was founded in 1554. It attained the dignity of a city in 1741. It was celebrated for its vigorous resistance to the invaders at the time of the Spanish conquest, and was repeatedly sacked during that war.