Appleton's Guide to Mexico

Appleton's Guide to Mexico  (1884) 
by Alfred Ronald Conkling

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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1, 3, and 5 BOND STREET.





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Since the year 1880, a large amount of capital has been invested in Mexico by citizens of the United States. Within that period an unprecedented number of the English-speaking races have visited that country either as tourists, or as explorers with a view to an actual settlement and a permanent residence.

During a professional visit to the Mexican Republic, in the winter and spring of this year, the author experienced from day to day, and frequently from hour to hour, the want of a compendious guide-book. While many volumes of history and of general observation and travel relating to Mexico have, from time to time, been published, no book of this description is known to exist.

Believing that our sister Republic will in future, to a far greater extent than ever before, be the resort of the capitalist, the speculator, the artist, the archæologist, the valetudinarian, and the pleasure-seeker, as well as of the intelligent and enterprising man of business, the author has endeavored to render each and all an acceptable service by the preparation of this manual. It has been his constant aim to use the shortest words, and to adopt the most compact and abbreviated forms of expression consistent with perspicuity. In the spelling of both proper names and places he has, for the most part, followed the orthography of the best maps and of the standard works on Mexico, except where changes have been introduced by common usage. For instance, the name of President Santa Anna, although correctly spelled with a single letter "n," has so long been spelled with a double "n," that the change may be said to be sanctioned by universal usage.

The vocabulary of Spanish words, together with the collection of colloquial phrases, has been made as complete as the limited space devoted to it would permit. At present every new-comer, unless a Spaniard or a Spanish scholar, is obliged to purchase a dictionary immediately on his arrival in the country. It is believed that this want will be in a great measure supplied by this volume.

One half of this work is in the form of a compendium of general information for the use of tourists as well as of settlers. In the itinerary, all names of places are italicized for the convenience of the reader.

It is to be borne in mind that Mexico is at present in a transition state. The beard may be said to have grown during the shaving. It has accordingly been found necessary to revise the proof-sheets of Sections IV and V up to the moment of going to press.

The author desires to express his great obligation to General U. S. Grant; General Manuel Gonzalez, the President of Mexico; Señores Matias and Cayetano Romero, of the Mexican Legation at Washington; Don Ignacio Mariscal, ex-Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Mexican Republic; Hon. P. H. Morgan, United States Minister at Mexico; Hon. D. H. Strother, Consul-General of the United States; Hon. W. P. Sutton and Hon. A. Willard, Consuls at Matamoros and Guaymas respectively; Mr. Simon Stevens; Thomas Nickerson, Esq., Rudolph Fink, Esq., and D. B. Robinson, Esq., of the Mexican Central Railway Company; and to Messrs. Spackman, Gardner, and Nevin, of the Mexican National Railway Company, for much valuable information and assistance in the preparation of these pages.

New York, November 1, 1883.


I.— Traveling in Mexico 1
Hints 1-2
When to Travel 3-4
How to Travel 4-5
An Agricultural Trip 6
A Mining Trip 6
The Cost of Travel 6
Railroads 7-12
Steamships 12-13
Diligences 13-14
Horse-cars 14-15
Horses and Mules 15
Express 15-16
II.— History 16-24
III.— Geography 25-33
Situation 25
Boundaries 25
Area 25
Topography 25-30
Mountains 25-28
Rivers 29
Lakes 29-30
Islands 30
Climate 30-31
Political Divisions 32-33
IV.— Literature 33
V.— Ruins 34-49
Mayapan 36
Uxmal 36-38
Palenque 38-40
Mitla 41-43
The Pyramids 43-47
Cholula 43-44
San Juan Teotihuacan 44-46
Papantla 46-47
Northern Mexico 47-49
VI.— Hotels and Restaurants 49-52
VII.— Passport 52
VIII.— Custom-Houses 53
IX.— Commerce 53-55
X.— Army and Navy 56-57
XI.— Duties 57
XII.— Taxes 58
XIII.— Finance 58-59
XIV.— Public Debt 59-60
XV.— Money—Coins 60-62
XVI.— Mints 63
XVII.— Post-Office and Letters 63-66
XVIII.— Telegraphs 66-67
XIX.— Census 67-68
XX.— Population 68-69
XXI.— Architecture 69-73
XXII.— Painting 73-74
XXIII.— Immigration 74-75
XXIV.— Mines 76-82
XXV.— Mineral Springs 82
XXVI.— Geology 83-85
XXVII.— Zoölogy 86-89
XXVIII.— Botany 89-91
XXIX.— Agriculture 91-100
XXX.— Maps and Surveys 101-102
XXXI.— Stock-Raising 102-103
XXXII.— Weights and Measures 103-107
XXXIII.— Labor and Wages 108-112
XXXIV.— Wines and Liquors 112-115
XXXV.— Cigars and Tobacco 115-116
XXXVI.— Manufactures 116-119
XXXVII.— Native Productions 119-121
XXXVIII.— Jewelry 121-122
XXXIX.— Theatres 122
XL.— Music 122-124
XLI.— Dances 124
XLII.— Festivals 124-125
XLIIL.— Bull-fights 125-126
XLIV.— Cock-fights 126-127
XLV.— Costumes 127-129
XLVL.— Lotteries 129
XLVII.— Stores 129-130
XLVIII.— Pawnbroker-Shops 130-131
XLIX.— The Church 131-134
L.— Jurisprudence 134-137
LI.— Education 137-139
LII.— Newspapers 139-140
LIII.— Miscellaneous 140-143
LIV.— What Mexico needs 143-146
I.— How to reach Mexico 147-159
How to reach the Country 147
Route I.— New York to Vera Cruz by Steamer 147-152
Vera Cruz 152-154
Jalapa 154-155
Route II.— New York to New Orleans by Rail, thence by Steamer to Vera Cruz 156-158
Matamoros, Tampico, Tuxpan 157
Route III.— New York to Laredo or El Paso, Texas, by Rail 158-159
II.— The Mexican Railway Company from Vera Cruz to Mexico 160-174
From Vera Cruz to Orizaba 160-163
Orizaba 163-165
From Orizaba to Esperanza 165-169
From Esperanza to Puebla via Apizaco 169-170
Puebla 171-173
From Puebla to the City of Mexico 173-174
III.— The City of Mexico and Environs 175-201
Hotels, Restaurants, Theatres, Carriages, Banks, Societies, etc., etc. 175-176
History of Tenochtitlan 176-179
Places of Interest 182-194
Excursions around the Capital 196-201
San Juan Teotihuacan 196
Pachuca 196-197
Cuernavaca 199-200
IV.— The Mexican National Railway 202-253
Route I.— From the City of Mexico to Manzanillo 202-236
Mexico to Toluca 202-205
Toluca 205-206
Toluca to Maravatio 206-209
Maravatio to Morelia 210-211
Acambaro 210
Morelia 211-215
Morelia to Pátzcuaro and thence to Manzanillo 215-220
Pátzcuaro via Ario to Jorullo 220-236
Acapulco 236
Route II.— From the City of Mexico to Laredo and Corpus Christi 237-253
Mexico to Celaya 237
Celaya to San Luis Potosí 237
San Luis Potosí 237-240
San Luis Potosí to Saltillo 240-245
Saltillo 245
Saltillo to Monterey 246-247
Monterey 248-249
Monterey to Laredo 249-252
New Laredo 252
Laredo 252-253
Laredo to Corpus Christi 253
V.— The Mexican Central Railway 254-289
Route I.— From the City of Mexico to Zacatecas 254-280
Mexico to Querétaro 254-260
The Canal of Huehuetoca 255-258
Querétaro 260-263
Querétaro to Guanajuato 263-269
Silao 264
Guanajuato 265-269
Guanajuato to Lagos 269-290
Lagos to Guadalajara and San Blas 270-273
Lagos to Zacatecas 273-276
Aguascalientes 273
La Quemada 274
Zacatecas 276-278
Durango 279
Zacatecas to San Luis Potosĺ 280
Route II.— El Paso to Chihuahua 280-284
Chihuahua 284-285
Chihuahua to Jimenez 285-288
List of Ranches 288
VI.— The International and Interoceanic Railway 290
VII.— The Mexican Southern Railroad 291-297
Northern Division 291-293
Southern Division 293-297
Oaxaca and Mitla 295
VIII.— The Morelos Railway 298-304
Mexico to Cuautla 298-303
Amecameca and Popocatepetl 299-303
Cuautla to Acapulco 303-304
IX.— The Tehuantepcc Railroad 302-310
X.— The Sonora Railway 309-315
XI.— The American and Mexican Pacific Railway 316-318
XII.— The New York, Texas, and Mexican Railroad 319-322
XIII.— The Mexican International Railroad 323
XIV.— The Sinaloa and Durango Railroad 324-325
XV.— Table of Distances 326
XVI.— Guatemala 327-343
Geography 327-335
Miscellaneous 335-338
Route I.— Tonalá, Mexico, to San José de Guatemala 338
Route II.— San José to New Guatemala 339
Guatemala 339-341
Old Guatemala 342-343
Appendix 345-378
Language 345-378
Vocabulary 358-378


Scene in Mexico 26
Mexican Table-land 28
Aztec Temple 44
Toltec Palace at Tula 48
The Cathedral of Mexico 70
Longitudinal View of Timbered Level 82
The Peak of Orizaba 84
The Axolotl 87
Cochineal Insects on Branch of Cactus 88
Indigo Plant (Añil) 90
Brazil-Wood, Leaves, Flower, and Fruit 91
The Vanilla Plant 92
India-Rubber Plant (Hule) 93
The Coffee Plant 96
Cocoanut Palm 98
Mexican Porters 109
Pulque Tlachiquero 113
A Tropical Jungle 150
Jalapa 154
A Mexican Cañon 159
The Pineapple Plant 162
Cut showing Zones of Vegetation 167
The Nopal 70
Popocatepetl 72
The Volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl 177
Plaza Mayor, Mexico 183
Quetzalcoatl 185
Feathered Serpent 185
Teoyaomiqui 186
The Noche-triste Tree 90
The Aqueduct and Fountain, Mexico 92
Pyramids of San Juan Teotihuacan 195
Silver-Mill, Pachuca 198
Indian Hut in the Tierra Caliente 201
City of Colima 219
Manzanillo Bay 221
A Pack-Train 223
Jorullo 232
Interior of a Modern Mexican House 239
Yucca-Tree 244
Scene on the Northern Plateau 247
Varieties of Cactus 251
The Cut of Nochistongo 257
Plaza de Armas, Guadalajara 271
Making Tequila 273
Ruins of Quemada 275
Church and Plaza, El Paso 281
Janos, Chihuahua 283
Casas Grandes, Chihuahua 284
Aqueduct and Church of Santa Rita, Chihuahua 286
La Punta de Sauz Cienega 287
Chiricahui Mountains 289
Scene in Northern Mexico 290
Victoria and Tula Pass 292
Scene in Mexico 294
Gathering Cochineal, Mexico 297
Acapulco 302
Tree-Fern 304
A Scene on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec 308
Fronteras, Sonora 310
Magdalena 311
Arispe 312
Defile in the Guadalupe Pass, Sierra Madre 314
The Pitahaya 317
A Mexican Hacienda 321
Scene on the Sonora River 325
Map of Guatemala 328
Native of Mixco 329
Volcan de Agua, Old Guatemala 331
The Plaza, Quezaltenango 332
General View of the City of Quezaltenango 334
The National Institute, Guatemala 336
The Government Building, Quezaltenango 337
The National Theatre, Guatemala 340
The Cathedral, Guatemala 341
The Plaza, Old Guatemala 342
The Penitentiary, Quezaltenango 343