1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Guanajuato (state)

GUANAJUATO, or Guanaxuato, an inland state of Mexico, bounded N. by Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi, E. by Querétaro, S. by Michoacan and W. by Jalisco. Area, 11,370 sq. m. It is one of the most densely populated states of the republic; pop. (1895) 1,047,817; (1900) 1,061,724. The state lies wholly within the limits of the great central plateau of Mexico, and has an average elevation of about 6000 ft. The surface of its northern half is broken by the Sierra Gorda and Sierra de Guanajuato, but its southern half is covered by fertile plains largely devoted to agriculture. It is drained by the Rio Grande de Lerma and its tributaries, which in places flow through deeply eroded valleys. The climate is semi-tropical and healthy, and the rainfall is sufficient to insure good results in agriculture and stock-raising. In the warm valleys sugar-cane is grown, and at higher elevations Indian corn, beans, barley and wheat. The southern plains are largely devoted to stock-raising. Guanajuato has suffered much from the destruction of its forests, but there remain some small areas on the higher elevations of the north. The principal industry of the state is mining, the mineral wealth of the mountain ranges of the north being enormous. Among its mineral products are silver, gold, tin, lead, mercury, copper and opals. Silver has been extracted since the early days of the Spanish conquest, over $800,000,000 having been taken from the mines during the subsequent three and a half centuries. Some of the more productive of these mines, or groups of mines, are the Veta Madre (mother lode), the San Bernabé lode, and the Rayas mines of Guanajuato, and the La Valenciana mine, the output of which is said to have been $226,000,000 between 1766 and 1826. The manufacturing establishments include flour mills, tanneries and manufactories of leather, cotton and woollen mills, distilleries, foundries and potteries. The Mexican Central and the Mexican National railway lines cross the state from N. to S., and the former operates a short branch from Silao to the state capital and another westward from Irapuato to Guadalajara. The capital is Guanajuato, and other important cities and towns are León, or León de las Aldamas; Celaya (pop. 25,565 in 1900), an important railway junction 22 m. by rail W. from Querétaro, and known for its manufactures of broadcloth, saddlery, soap and sweetmeats; Irapuato (18,593 in 1900), a railway junction and commercial centre, 21 m. S. by W. of Guanajuato; Silao (15,355), a railway junction and manufacturing town (woollens and cottons), 14 m. S.W. of Guanajuato; Salamanca (13,583). on the Mexican Central railway and Lerma river, 25 m. S. by E. of Guanajuato, with manufactures of cottons and porcelain; Allende (10,547), a commercial town 30 m. E. by S. of Guanajuato, with mineral springs; Valle de Santiago (12,660). 50 m. W. by S. of Querétaro; Salvatierra (10,393), 60 m. S.E. of Guanajuato; Cortazar (8633); La Luz (8318), in a rich mining district; Pénjamo (8262); Santa Cruz (7239); San Francisco del Rincón (10,904), 39 m. W. of Guanajuato in a rich mining district; and Acambaro (8345), a prosperous town of the plain, 76 m. S.S.E. of Guanajuato.