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Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexicomarker with a mainland area of , slightly bigger than the United Kingdom. It is surrounded by the states of Sonoramarker to the west, Sinaloamarker to the south-west, Durangomarker to the south, and Coahuilamarker to the east, and by the U.S. states of Texasmarker to the north-east and New Mexicomarker to the north. Chihuahua is the largest state in Mexico by area, and therefore has the nickname El Estado Grande ("The Big State").

Although Chihuahua is primarily identified with its namesake, the Chihuahuan Desert, it has more forests than any other state. On the slope of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains (around the regions of Casas Grandesmarker, Cuauhtémocmarker and Parralmarker), there are vast prairies of short yellow grass, the source of the bulk of the state's agricultural production.

As of 2005, there were 3.2 million inhabitants of the state. The largest city is the U.S.-border city of Ciudad Juárezmarker, which has 1,301,452 residents (2005 census). The capital, Chihuahuamarker, has 748,518 inhabitants.

The state also has a large service sector: tourism, banking and high-tech enterprises.

One of the most notable features of Chihuahua is the Barranca del Cobre, or Copper Canyonmarker, a spectacular canyon system larger and deeper than the Grand Canyonmarker.

Chihuahua played a pivotal role in the Mexican Revolution and was a battleground between revolutionary forces led by Pancho Villa and federal forces.

History

Colonial era

Nueva Vizcaya was the first province of northern New Spain to be explored and settled by the Spanish. Around 1528 a group of Spaniard explorers led by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca first stepped the actual territory of Chihuahua. The conquest of the territory lasted nearly one century and encountered a fiercy resistance of the barbarian Conchos Indians, but, the hopes of the Spanish Crown to transform the region into a bustling mining center brought the reinforcing of a strong strategy to control the place.

In the second half of the 16th century, the Spaniards organized several expeditions into the North of Mexico to find the mythical Seven Golden Cities of Cibola, and in 1564, the conquistador lieutenant Rodrigo del Rio y Loza, found gold in the area when the Sierra ends and founded Santa Barbaramarker the first Spanish city of the State that brought 400 European families. Later, in 1631, Noah Carrasco de Biesma, discovered a rich vein of silver and created the villa of San Jose del Parral, that attracted the most prominent families of Spain and was the head of the Nueva Vizcaya province, converting itself into an important economic and cultural center for around 300 years.

Many mining towns, missions and presidios were founded along the actual territory of Chihuahua. Santa Eulalia, Camargo and Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juárezmarker. The Spanish society that developed in the region, disappeared the scarce group of Indians that once inhabited the state. The absence of servants and workers forged the spirit of Northern People as self-dependent, creative people that defended their European heritage and made it survive until our days.

Constituent legislatures

In the constituent legislature or convention, the conservative and liberal elements formed using the nicknames of Chirrines and Cuchas. The military entered as a third party. The elections for the first regular legislature were disputed, and it was not until May 1, 1826, that the body was installed. The liberals gained control and the opposition responded by fomenting a conspiracy. This was promptly stopped with the aid of informers, and more strenuous measures were taken against the conservatives. Extra powers were conferred on the Durango governor, Santiago Baca Ortiz, deputy to the first national congress, and leader of the liberal party.

Gonzalez’ rebellion

Opponents continued to plot against the new government. In March 1827, Lieutenant J.M. González proclaimed himself comandante general, arrested the governor, and dissolved the legislature. General Parras was sent to suppress the movement. Comandante general J. J. Ayestaran was replaced by José Figueroa. When elections failed, the government intervened in favor of the Yorkino party, which had elected Vicente Guerrero to the presidency.

Because of the general instability of the federal government during 1828, the installation of the new legislature did not take place until the middle of the following year. It was quickly dissolved by Governor Baca, who replaced it with a more pronounced Yorkino type. When Guerrero's liberal administration was overthrown in December, Gaspar de Ochoa aligned with Anastasio Bustamante, and in February 1830, organized an opposition group that arrested the new governor, F. Elorriaga, along with other prominent Yorkinos. He then summoned the legislature, which had been dissolved by Baca. The civil and military authorities were now headed by J. A. Pescador and Ochoa.

Vicente Guerrero

The general features of the preceding occurrence applied also to Chihuahua, although in a modified form. The first person elected under the new constitution of 1825 was Simón Elías Gonzalez, who being in Sonoramarker, was induced to remain there. J. A. Arce took his place as ruler in Chihuahua. In 1829, González became comandante general of Chihuahua, when his term of office on the west coast expired. Arce was less of a yorkino than his confrere of Durango. Although unable to resist the popular demand for the expulsion of the Spaniards, he soon quarreled with the legislature, which declared itself firmly for Guerrero, and announcing his support of Bustamante's revolution, he suspended, in March 1830, eight members of that body, the vice-governor, and several other officials, and expelled them from the state. The course thus outlined was followed by Governor J. I. Madero, who succeeded in 1831, associated with J. J. Calvo as comandante general, stringent laws being issued against secret societies, which were supposed to be the main spring to the anti-clerical feeling among liberals.

Durango and Bustamante

The anti-clerical feeling was widespread, and Durangomarker supported the initial reaction against the government at Mexico. In May 1832, José Urrea, a rising officer, supported the restoration of President Pedrazamarker. On July 20, Governor Elorriaga was reinstated, and Baca along with the legislative minority were brought back to form a new legislature, which met on September 1. Chihuahua showied no desire to imitate the revolutionary movement and Urrea prepared to invade the state. Comandante-general J.J.Calvo threatened to retaliate, and a conflict seemed imminent. The entry of General Santa Anna into Mexico brought calm, as the leaders waited for clarity.

Santa Anna

Bishop Zubiria was banished for resisting the law relating to priests and other encroachments on the church; another joined the western states in a short lived coalition for sustaining the federal system. Chihuahua adopted the Cuernavaca Plan in July 1834 while President Valentín Gómez Farías was in power. Because the plan was not enforced, commanding officer, Colonel J.I. Gutiérrez, declared the term of the legislature and governor expired on September 3. At a convention of citizens called to select a new provisional ruler, Gutierrez obtained the vote, with P. J. Escalante for his deputy, and a council to guide the administration. Santa Anna ordered the reinstatement of Mendarozqueta as comandante general. Gutiérrez yielded, but Escalante refused to surrender office, demonstrations of support ensued, but Escalante yielded when troops were summoned from Zacatecasmarker. A new election brought a new legislature, and conforming governors. In September 1835 José Urrea a federalist army officer came into power.

Comandante general Simón Elías González, was nominated governor and military command was given to Colonel J.J. Calvo, whose firmness had earned well-merited praise. The state was in the midst of a war with the Apaches, which became the focus of all their energy and resources. After a review of the situation, Simón Elías González declared that the interests of the territory would be best served by uniting the civil and military power, at least while the campaign lasted. He resigned under opposition, but was renominated in 1837.

Demography

The latest population census, which took place nationwide during the year 2005, reported 3,241,444 inhabitants in the state of Chihuahua, each gender taking 50% of the total. The northern state is placed seventh in the nation regarding quality of life and sixth in terms of life expectancy at 75.2 years of age. The median age is located at 25 years, mainly because more than half of its population is younger than 30 years.

Chihuahua holds one of the largest proportion of white population of Mexico, as is the case in much of northern Mexico. Caucasians make up 55% of the population , most of them of Spaniard origin, but also of French, Basque, Italian, German, Dutch and Middle Eastern descent, while the rest of the population are Mestizo groups of predominant Spaniard descent . Indians form 5% of the state habitants and remain isolated in the woods of southwestern Chihuahua. The admixture with Indians never existed in Nueva Vizcaya due to the scarcity of natives (most of them warrior and anti-European Conchos and Tarahumaras), and the size of the territory .

85% of people in Chihuahua claim to follow the Catholic faith; only 3% of those over 5 years of age speak a native dialect, mostly Tarahumara, the largest indigenous group, followed by the Pimas, Tepehuanes and Warojios, all of them descendants of natives that inhabited these territories more than a thousand years ago.

Education

Average schooling is 8.5 years, . which means that in general the average citizen over 15 years of age has gone as far as a second year in secondary education. On the other hand, 9 out of 100 inhabitants has a professional degree.

Institutions of higher education include:



Administrative divisions

Chihuahua is subdivided into 67 municipios (municipalities). Seemunicipalities of Chihuahua.

The state's major communities include:

Economy

As of 2005, Chihuahua's economy represents 4.5% of Mexico's total gross domestic product or 29,826 million USD. Chihuahua's economy has a strong focus on export oriented manufacturing (i.e. maquiladora). As of 2005, 329,939 people are employed in the manufacturing sector. There are a more than 406 companies operating under the federal IMMEX or Prosec program in Chihuahua. The average wage for an employee in Chihuahua is approximately 193 pesos per day.

In fiction



Gallery

Image:S2020029.JPG|Metropolitan cathedral of Chihuahua, Chih.Image:ChihuahuaZocalo.jpg|Plaza de Armas of Chihuahua, Chih.Image:Miviajeachihuahua.JPG|Chihuahua during a snowfall


See also



References



External links




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