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Querétaro (former formal name: Querétaro de Arteaga) is a state in central México.Its capital is the city of Santiago de Querétaromarker, although in general parlance the name "Querétaro" is used for both the city and the state.The name is thought to come from a phrase in the Otomi language meaning "place of the ball game", or from a phrase in the P'urhépecha language translated as "place of the great city".Querétaro is bordered to the north by the state of San Luis Potosímarker, to the west by Guanajuatomarker, to the east by Hidalgomarker, to the southeast by Mexico Statemarker, and to the southwest by Michoacánmarker.

The capital city of Santiago de Querétaromarker is located some to the northwest of Mexico Citymarker. Other important cities include San Juan del Riomarker and El Pueblitomarker.


Origins and Viceroyal Era

Querétaro was inhabited by the Otomí and P'urhépecha (Tarascos), the latter being the ruling people. There was also a small presence of nomadic tribes, called Chichimecas. There are some archeological sites dating from this era, such as the pyramid in Corregidoramarker, and the sites of Ranas and Toluquilla in the Sierra Gordamarker.

The Spaniards reached the area in 1531, and they allied themselves with an Otomí chieftain called Conín. Legend has it that an agreement was reached, under which local Indians would accept Spanish rule and embrace the Catholic faith if they were defeated in a weapon free battle. The Spanish conquerors were about to lose, when suddenly, the sky went dark and out of it came Saint James the Great and a fiery Holy Cross. The local Indians immediately accepted defeat, and so the city of Santiago (Saint James) de Querétaro was founded on July 25.
Following the Spanish conquest, the area was recognized as being of strategic importance since it connected rich mining regions of Guanajuato, San Luis Potosímarker and Zacatecasmarker with Mexico City. Expeditions that aimed to conquer the north of the country and to convert local people to the Catholic faith left from the city of Querétaro. This is the main reason why the downtown area boasts so many religious buildings dating from this era. Catholic missionary Junípero Serra departed from Querétaro towards Alta Californiamarker, where he was responsible for the founding of what became major Californiamarker cities (such as San Franciscomarker).

In 1707 the Hacienda "Juriquilla" was built north of Queretaro City. By the end of the 18th Century the owner of the property was "Pedro Antonio de Septién Montero y Austri", son to "Agustín de Septién y Montero", from León, Guanajuato.

Between 1726 and 1738 the greatest work of civil engineering in the state was built. The aqueduct that provided water to the city of Querétaro from nearby springs was possible thanks to the donations of Juan Antonio de Urrutia y Arana, a Spanish nobleman. Legend has it that he was in love with a nun from the Convent of the Holy Cross, thus the aqueduct ended in a fountain in the Convent's orchard.

The city of Querétaro became so important during Spanish rule that it was dubbed "the third city of the kingdom" (after Mexico City and Pueblamarker).

19th century

Querétaro is considered to be the cradle of Mexican Independence, since the rebellion was planned here by Josepha Ortiz de Dominguez, also known as La Corregidora. However, on September 13, 1810, the plot was discovered by the Viceroyal government. Therefore, one of the leaders of the movement, the Corregidora (who was the wife of the highest local authority) was locked in her room, while the rest of the plotters could be captured. Legend has it that she had to make noise with her heels in order to draw attention from Ignacio Pérez, who rode his horse all the way to San Miguel el Grande (now San Miguel de Allendemarker) to warn other conspirators. This ignited the war.

During the Colonial period Querétaro was not a province or intendencia as the rest of the states but a corregimiento de letras, which was a sort of Special Administrative Region. This led to a discussion about including Querétaro as a state in the 1824 Constitution of Mexico, however the robust economy of Querétaro, and hence its capacity to generate enough revenues, was what finally convinced the deputies. [31477]

Church of San Francisco
The city of Santiago de Querétaro was proclaimed capital of Mexico in 1847, when the American troops invaded Mexico City. On May 30, 1848 the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed here, by which Mexico ceded half of its territory to the United Statesmarker.

Maximilian I of Mexico chose Querétaro in 1867 to confront and defeat the Republican troops of Benito Juárez, who where coming from the north. The Imperial troops arrived on February 19, 1867, commanded by Emperor Maximilian. They were surrounded by Republican troops, however, and the siege of Querétaro began on March 5, 1867. On May 14, the Imperial army attempted to escape to Mexico City, but they were betrayed by a colonel, marking the end of the Second Mexican Empire. It was here that Maximillian was executed by firing squad on June 19 1867 at Cerro de las Campanas.

20th century

Following the Mexican Revolution, the victorious forces assembled themselves in Santiago de Querétaro, where they drafted on February 5, 1917 the Constitution that remains in force to the present. The state then suffered stagnation, until the 1970s, when industry was attracted. Santiago de Querétaro was a host city for the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

The state is a quite calm place, with no civil unrest, low crime and a high standard of living. This has attracted many immigrants from other parts of Mexico (particularly the Federal District, the state of Mexicomarker and Guanajuatomarker), as well as investments from abroad (notably the U.S.marker, South Koreamarker and European countries).


The state is located between northern parallels 20° 01' 02" and 21° 40' and western meridians 99° 03' 23" y 100° 36'. The surface area is , 0.6% of Mexico and it is ranked as the 27th (out of 32) largest state.

Time Zone

The state is located in the Central Time Zone which is Greenwich Mean Time - 6h during Standard Time and GMT - 5h during Daylight Saving Time.


The state is heavily mountainous, notably in the Sierra Gordamarker and the Sierra Queretana, part of the Sierra Madre Oriental. The area between the two (the Valleys and the Semidesierto) is composed of numerous valleys and usually low peaks. However, the highest peak is the Cerro del Zamorano at above sea level in the Valley of Querétaro. Other notable peaks include Cerro El Espolón at , Cerro La Pingüica at , and Cerro de la Vega at .

The highest municipality seat is Amealco de Bonfilmarker at asl while the lowest is Jalpan de Serramarker at asl (ironically, in the Sierra Gorda region). Santiago de Querétaromarker and San Juan del Ríomarker are located at and asl, respectively.


There is a wide array of climates, mainly due to elevation. Following the Köppen climate classification, there are nine climate types, the most widespread being semiarid and temperate (BS1k), covering 39.53% of the state's surface most notably the cities of San Juan del Río, Cadereyta de Montesmarker, Tequisquiapanmarker and Ezequiel Montesmarker.

The other types of climates, in order or surface importance, are:
  • Temperate subhumid with a rainy summer (C(w)): 22.6% (Amealco and Huimilpan),
  • Semitropical subhumid with a rainy summer (ACw): 20.2% (Jalpan),
  • Semiarid and semihot (BS1h): 9.40% (Santiago de Querétaro),
  • Arid and semihot (BSh): 4.1%,
  • Tropical wet with a rainy summer (A(w)): 2.45%,
  • Semitropical wet with intense rains in summer (ACm): 0.68%,
  • Temperate humid with intense rains in summer (C(m)): 0.59%,
  • Semiarid and very hot (BS1(h')): 0.45%.

Average yearly temperatures and precipitation for some cities are as follow:
  • Querétaro: /
  • San Juan del Río: /
  • Amealco: /
  • Jalpan: /


Querétaro can be divided into five or four regions, depending on criteria used. These are two central valleys (Valle de Querétaro and Valle de San Juan), the arid Semidesierto, and two mountainous regions: the Sierra Gordamarker and the Sierra Queretana.

The four regions of Querétaro


Querétaro belongs to two main hydrological basins, the eastern-bound Panuco basinmarker that drains into the Gulf of Mexicomarker and the western-bound Lerma-Santiago basin that drains into the Pacific Oceanmarker. Main rivers in the first basin include the San Juan, which joins the Tula river to form the Moctezuma river that forms the eastern limits of the state; the Sierra Gorda has numerous ones, such as the Extoraz and Santa María. The Pueblito and Querétaro rivers belong to the Lerma watershed. Main bodies of water are usually reservoirs, notably (in order of importance): Zimapán, Constitución de 1917 (Galindo), San Ildefonso, Centenario, Santa Catarina, La Llave, Jalpan, and Soledad.

The city of Santiago de Querétaro, and therefore most of the state's population, are in the Lerma-Santiago basin. This watershed supplies water to most of Central Mexico (including Mexico City, Guanajuato, and Jaliscomarker), a reason why it is over exploited. The effect of this can be best appreciated in Lake Chapalamarker, where the water levels keep dropping.

The city of Querétaro has always had an insufficient water supply. Historically, it has been obtained from nearby springs, reason why the Aqueduct was built. Currently, it covers its needs from underground sources. There are 9 aquifers in the state: Querétaro, San Juan del Río, Chichimequillas, Tequisquiapan, Buenavista, Huimilpan, Tolimán, Cadereyta and Amealco. In the Valley of Querétaro, 103 million cubic metres (135 cu yd) are extracted each year while only 70 million m³ (91 million cu yd) are recharged, therefore there is an annual deficit of 33 million m³ (43 million cu yd).

There have been many projects that intend to supply the city from the Panuco watershed, including a controversial dam on the Extoraz river in the Sierra Gorda region. The Aqueduct II will be built in the following years, supplying the Valley of Queretaro and the Semidesierto with water from the Moctezuma river. It is expected that the Aqueduct II will supply the water needs for the next 30 years.

Water is regulated and supplied to consumers by the Comisión Estatal del Agua (CEA), a government agency.

Querétaro is the most cleanest state in Mexico (in case of water).


The state of Querétaro is subdivided into 18 municipalities since 1993, when the actual limits were drawn. (municipios) See municipalities of Querétaro.

Major communities


As of the 2005 census, the state had 1,598,139 inhabitants. The population density was about . The State is ranked 23rd with 1.5% of the total national population. 66.4% of queretanos live in cities while 33.6% live in rural areas.

The state has been considered a "city-state" since most of its population is concentrated in the municipality of Querétaromarker (almost 46% in 2000).

According to the 1995 national census, there are only two cities with a population of more than 50,000, namely San Juan del Ríomarker and Santiago de Querétaro.

The most heavily populated municipalities are (2005):

The largest cities and towns, regardless of Metropolitan areas are:
Settlement Population Municipality
Santiago de Querétaromarker 596 450 Querétaro
San Juan del Ríomarker 120 984 San Juan del Río
El Pueblitomarker 44 305 Corregidora
Tequisquiapanmarker 26 858 Tequisquiapan
Santa Rosa Jáureguimarker 16 966 Querétaro
San José de los Olveramarker 16 091 Corregidora
Ezequiel Montesmarker 13 883 Ezequiel Montes
Candilesmarker 13 217 Corregidora
Cadereyta de Montesmarker 12 199 Cadereyta
Pedro Escobedomarker 9 183 Pedro Escobedo
Jalpan de Serramarker 8 947 Jalpan
San José el Alto 8 641 Querétaro
La Cañada 8 391 El Marqués
Juriquillamarker 8 362 Querétaro
Santa María Magdalena 8 339 Querétaro
San Pedro Martir 7 516 Querétaro
Venceremosmarker 7 234 Corregidora
Amealco de Bonfilmarker 7 167 Amealco
Colónmarker 6 473 Colón
El Sauz 6 473 Pedro Escobedo
La Lira 5 941 Pedro Escobedo
La Estancia 5 553 San Juan del Río
Tlacote el Bajomarker 5 453 Querétaro
Villa Progreso 5 337 Ezequiel Montes
La Llave 5 163 San Juan del Río

In the latter years, Querétaro has established itself as one of the federal entities with the highest growth rates, behind Quintana Roo (4.7%), Baja California Sur (3.4%), and Baja California (2.4). The State's population has grown 2.3%, a rate 1.3% higher than the national average. It is noteworthy that Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo have low population levels, and Baja California is a magnet for people intending to cross the United States border in the near future. Growth is unequal within the State, with Corregidora reaching a 3.5% rate, San Juan del Río 2% and Querétaro 1.9%.

According to the National Population Council (CONAPO), Querétaro has a Human Development Index of 0.802, considered to be high, and is ranked 13th place. However, disparities in HDI exist between the different municipalities. Querétaro and Corregidora have the highest levels, with 0.853 and 0.848, respectively, while Amealco and Pinal de Amoles have the lowest levels, with 0.652 and 0.632, respectively.

Race and ethnicity are not measured by official government statistics. However, estimates consider the population of Queretaro to be primarily Mestizo (mixed Native American and European stock) with 70%, Whites form 25% (mainly descendants of Spanish as well as other Europeans, including Caucasian foreigners), and 4% are pure Native American.

There is a small community of East Asians (primarily Japanese and Korean expatriates) as well as descendants of Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. There are many immigrants from: The United States (Most of them live in the Tejeda neighborhood in Corregidora, Juriquilla, and Jurica), Canada, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Chile, Spain, The UK, Italy, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Russia, Lebanon, Israel, Japan, South Korea, China and the Philippines. Americans form about 60% of the foreign population in Queretaro and Poles about 30%.

There are 25,269 speakers of indigenous languages in the State (2000) aged 5 or older. 6.7% of them do not speak Spanish. Otomi has the largest number of speakers with 22,077 (or 87.4%), followed by Nahuatl (1,069/4.2%), Mazahua (336/1.3%), Zapoteco (215/0.9%), and Huasteco (121/0.5%). The municipalities with the highest proportion of indigenous people are Tolimán (35.6%), Amealco (32.3%), and Cadereyta (3.5%); in these places the Otomi (nhä-nho) ethnic group is preponderant.


Average schooling for those over 15 years of age reach 8,3 years, in fact higher than the nation's average, and 10% have obtained a professional degree. However, illiteracy rates are rather high as the state reports that 5% of children over 15 years of age do not attend school.

Institutions of higher education include:


Querétaro has one of the most dynamic economies amongst Mexican States. The growth of its GDP has exceeded the national average for years, accounting for an increase of 5.5% in 2005, 6.1% in 2004 and 4.1% in 2003, according to the Agenda Económica published by the State Government. The average growth during the 1993 - 2004 period was 5.1%, ranking second best in Mexico.

Manufacturing accounts for one third of the GDP, followed by commerce and hospitality (20%), non financial services (15%), transportation and communications (13%), and financial services (10%). Agriculture accounts for 4% of the State's GDP. The main industrial sectors are automobile related, processed foods, home appliances, electronics, paper, and poultry. Education (30-40% of higher education students come from other states and countries) and tourism (the state is considered the first largest non-beach-resort destination in the country) also play an important role.

The economy is expected to transform itself and become a high-value-added knowledge economy. Currently, 38.3% of foreign companies in the state can be so defined, being the state with the highest proportion. A study by the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Educationmarker (ITESM) ranked Querétaro as the 5th most suitable state for such a transformation (2005). Canadianmarker aircraft manufacturer Bombardier began operations in the State. This will enable the creation of the leading aeronautical cluster in Mexico.

In its 2007 Latin American Cities ranking, that values innovation and technology, América Economía placed Santiago de Querétaro in position number 6 (2nd in Mexico). In fDi magazine’s North American Cities of the Future 2007/08 rankings, the city earned a Top Ten Overall ranking (6th place) and Top Five for Most Cost Effective for the Large Cities category (500,000 to 2 million population).


Tourism is increasing its importance in the economy. Querétaro has become the first non-beach destination and 7th overall (1.764 million visitors and 65% hotel room occupation in 2006). 92% of visitors come from other parts of Mexico (62% Valley of Mexico, 5% each Guanajuato, Jalisco, and Nuevo León) while 8% come from abroad (mainly Canada and the United States). There are 226 hotels and inns with 8,239 rooms. Tourism represents a benefit of 2.611 billion pesos.

The main destinations within the state are the capital city (receiving 70% of tourists), San Juan del Río (14%), Tequisquiapan (9.2%), Bernal and the Sierra Gorda Region. The solid growth of the sector is due to the mixture of business and leisure tourism, that helps maintain high occupation levels in the hotels.

Despite its small size, the State of Querétaro offers many interesting cultural and natural attractions, thanks to its diverse geography and to its crucial role in Mexican history. Three World Heritage Sites, a Pueblo Mágico (Bernal), the first vineyards in America (Tequisquiapanmarker and surroundings), beautiful haciendas as well as lush natural scenery are only part of what visitors enjoy. All the sites can be grouped into three tourist regions: the Valleys, the Semidesierto and the Sierra Gorda.

The Valleys

Central and Southern Querétaro is the most densely populated part of the State. The main attraction is the state capital, the city of Santiago de Querétaro. Downtown Querétaro is home to a World Heritage Site, the Historic Monuments Zone of Santiago de Querétaro.

San Juan del Río is an industrial city usually attracting business tourism. However, the downtown area is well preserved and there are interesting sites such as the Museum of Death. Amealco, in the southern tip of the state, used to be and important lumbering centre, and is the cradle of contemporary Otomí culture. The southern rim of Querétaro is home to temperate forests, particularly beautiful in places like Laguna de Servín and the Cimatario National Park.


The most arid region in the State, the Semidesierto used to be called Hospadá by the Otomí people, which means “place of vultures”. The landmark of the Semidesierto is the Peña de Bernal, the third largest monolith in the world. The neighboring town of San Sebastián de Bernal is a Pueblo Mágico, and is known for its wool products. In 2009, the places of memory and living traditions of the Otomí-Chichimecas people of Tolimán were declared intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This distinction recognizes the cultural value of and importance to the community of rituals held at family chapels scattered around the area whose epicenter of the Peña de Bernal.

Also in the region is the wine route, close to the beautiful town of Tequisquiapan. Visitors can get a closer look at wine production visiting beautiful vineyards, most notably Freixenet, as well as visiting some dairy farms. Warm springs are present, and many spas, hotels and water parks benefit from this.

The small town of Colón is home to the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Soriano, the miracle maker patroness of the State of Querétaro who receives ever growing pilgrimages.

Sierra Gorda

Most of this region consists of a spectacular Biosphere Reserve where wildlife and nature are the leading attractions. However, the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gordamarker, another World Heritage Site, are five missions built back in the 18th century and nestled among this mountainous area. Ecosystems are varied in this corner of the State. Pristine rivers crisscross subtropical scenery, giving birth to some waterfalls, most notably around Escanela and Jalpan. Semiarid climates are also present, particularly around Concá, while the southern part of the region is home to alpine weather and vegetation, in the municipalities of Pinal de Amoles and San Joaquín. The latter is famous for its mercury and opal mines, pre-Columbine vestiges and the Campo Alegre National Park.

Queretaro is also home of the Cerillas since 2008.


Querétaro is the crossroads of Mexico, since the highways that connect Northeastern, Western and Central Mexico join here. Federal Highway 57 leaves Mexico City and reaches Laredomarker, Texasmarker in the border with the United States, and is also called the Pan-American Highway. The municipalities located along its route are referred to as the "industrial corridor", and are the most developed ones in the state. Federal Highway 45 connects Querétaro with the state of Guanajuato. Due to its strategic importance, Federal roads in the state receive a high level of investment.

The Comisión Estatal de Caminos (CEC) is in charge of the roads that fall under state jurisdiction. These roads connect the different municipalities with each other, with Federal roads and with the capital city. The small size of the state has enabled it to keep one of the best road systems in the country.

Railroads connect municipalities along the industrial corridor with Mexico City, Laredo and the state of Guanajuato. However, these are used only for freight. There have been various attempts to connect Santiago de Querétaro to Mexico City with a high speed train.

Currently, there are two airports in the state, Querétaro International Airportmarker from the state capital opened on December 10, 2004 . The second is a small airfield in Jalpan de Serramarker that is used to connect the Sierra Gorda region to Santiago de Querétaro, mostly by State government aircraft. At the moment it receives no commercial flights.

The Querétaro International Airport is served by three airlines (Aeromar/Aeroméxico, Continental, Mexicana) that link the state with four destinations (Houston, Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara), enabling connections to virtually any city in the world. Within ten years, it is expected that the airport will receive 800,000 passengers annually.

Private buses provide intrastate connections, serving all of the municipalities. They also serve various cities nationwide. Within towns and cities, public transportation is offered only by private buses.

Sister city: Holland MI, USA

Government and Politics

In 2005, the government of Querétaro was recognized as having the lowest levels of corruption among all Mexican states by the non-governmental organization Transparencia Mexicana, part of Transparency International.

Local government has three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The governor, elected for a six-year term, heads the executive branch.


Querétaro has had a paradoxical political attitude. It has always been a pretty conservative state, though major liberal events have taken place in the city. For instance, the independence struggle against Spain was planned here, but Maximilian of Habsburg chose the city as his last stronghold since he was popular here.

Following the Revolution, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which was founded in the city of Querétaro, dominated the local political scene. In 1997, the state governorship was won by the centre-right National Action Party (PAN), which has governed ever since. Querétaro is now considered a stronghold for this party.

In the 2006 State elections, PAN scored one of its best results ever (50.34% percent of total votes), taking 10 municipalities. These elections marked the first time PAN obtained victories in the Sierra Gorda region, which used to be a stronghold for PRI, and as well it recovered San Juan del Río. The PRI-Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) alliance remained the second force in the state (28.42%), with 5 municipalities and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) (13.27% up from 6.74% in 2003) retained Tequisquiapan and won Arroyo Seco for the first time. Surprisingly, Convergencia won Tolimán.

As for the Chamber of Deputies, PAN won 12 out of 15 districts, while PRI only obtained 3.

For the Federal elections, for the first time PAN won all of the four districts, being the first time its candidate for the Sierra Gorda region succeeded. Currently there are 8 deputies from the State, even though there are only 4 districts, since 4 additional candidates were nominated by party lists.

  • PAN: Colón, Corregidora, El Marqués, Huimilpan, Jalpan, Landa, Pedro Escobedo, Pinal de Amoles, Querétaro, San Juan del Río.
  • PRI: Amealco, Cadereyta, Ezequiel Montes, Peñamiller, San Joaquín.
  • PRD: Arroyo Seco, Tequisquiapan.
  • Convergencia: Tolimán.

2003 State Elections Results

In the 2003 State elections, Francisco Garrido Patrón was elected governor in 2003 with 238,348 votes (or 45.7%), beating his PRI rival Fernando Ortíz Arana who obtained 41.98% of the vote, and becoming the second PAN governor. PRI, however, won 12 municipalities including San Juan del Río, which was considered a PAN stronghold. PAN won 5 municipalities, including the three forming the Metropolitan Area of Querétaro. This election marked the first time leftist PRD won a municipality, Tequisquiapan.

  • PRI: Amealco, Arroyo Seco, Colón, Huimilpan, Jalpan, Landa, Pedro Escobedo, Peñamiller, Pinal de Amoles, San Joaquín, San Juan del Río, Tolimán.
  • PAN: Cadereyta, Corregidora, Ezequiel Montes, El Marqués, Querétaro.
  • PRD: Tequisquiapan.

The state's senators are Guillermo Tamborrel Suárez and Eduardo Nava Bolaños from the PAN.


The State Legislature has 25 seats, 15 elected from constituencies and 10 allocated according to party votes.

The State has four federal and 15 local districts. Federal Districts I and II correspond to the city of Santiago de Querétaro while District III is formed by San Juan del Río and southern municipalities, and District IV includes Cadereyta, the Semidesierto and the Sierra Gorda regions.

15 local electoral districts

Local districts:
  • I - VI represent the city of Querétaro,
  • VII Corregidora,
  • VIII Amealco and Huimilpan,
  • IX - X San Juan del Río,
  • XI Pedro Escobedo and Tequisquiapan,
  • XII El Marqués,
  • XIII Colón, Tolimán and Peñamiller,
  • XIV Cadereyta and Ezequiel Montes, and
  • XV comprises Arroyo Seco, Jalpan, Landa, Pinal de Amoles and San Joaquín.

See also

External links


  1. Indicadores de Competitividad del Estado de Querétaro
  2. State Legislature

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