Guanajuato ,.I. A central state of Mexico, lying between lat. 20° and 22° N., and Ion. 100° and 102° W., and bounded N. by San Luis Po-tosi, E. by Queretaro, S. by Michoacan, and W. by Jalisco; area, 11,130 sq. m.; pop. in 1869, 874,073, about 200,000 of whom are whites of Spanish descent, 300,000 pure - blooded Indians, many of whom speak only their own languages, and the remainder mestizos. The state is divided into five departments : Guanajuato, Leon, Celaya, Allende, and SierraGorda. The principal towns are Guanajuato, Celaya, San Miguel de Allende, Salva-tierra, Salamanca, and Silao. The surface of the country, almost the whole of which is comprised within the plateau of Anahuac, at a mean height of 6,000 ft. above the sea, is extremely irregular. It is traversed by two mountain chains from S. E. to N. W.; that to the north is the Sierra Gorda, the other the Sierra de Guanajuato. In the latter are the three peaks of Los Llanitos, upward of 9,000 ft. high, El Gigante, and El Cubilete. There are other cordilleras to the south, between which and the Sierra de Guanajuato lie picturesque and fertile valleys, watered by numerous torrents, and comprehended under the general designation of El Bajio. The three principal rivers are the Rio de Lerma and its tributaries, the Laja and the Turbio. The only lake of note is the Yuriria, not far from the capital, 12 m. long and 4 1/2 broad; its waters, which are perfectly fresh, abound in bar/res, a small fish much esteemed.
Most of the mountains are por-phyritic, but the Cerro del Cubilete is mostly basaltic. The mines of Guanajuato are by far the richest in the republic. The most extensive silver mine was that of Valenciana, which for 40 years yielded an annual profit of $3,000,000; in 1803 its depth was 1,800 ft.; it was worked by 3,100 Indians and mestizos. Lead, tin, copper, iron, cobalt, sulphur, salts, crystals, marble, etc, are found in many parts of the state. There are numerous hot and sulphur springs, well known and much frequented by invalids. The climate in the department of Guanajuato is generally mild and salubrious, while in the district of La Luz and in the elevated regions of the Sierra de Guanajuato it is quite cold. Some years little or no rain falls, and the crops fail. The soil of Guanajuato is one of the most fertile in Mexico, and large crops of wheat, barley, maize, potatoes, and several varieties of beans are obtained. Chilli, the fruit of the capsicum annuum, is one of the staple products; the maguey (agave Americana) is plentiful; the sugar cane grows well in some parts; the olive flourishes, as do most of the European fruits and leguminous plants; and the forests produce an abundance of building timber.
The chief industry is mining; but agriculture is the favorite occupation of the Indians. There are cotton-spinning factories in Salamanca, which is also celebrated for its excellent earthenware; cotton fabrics are made in Salvatierra; woollen stuffs in Celaya; and tanneries exist in all the large towns. The staple articles of export are the precious metals, spices, medicinal plants, and hides. II. A city, capital of the state, situated in a deep valley 6,836 ft. above the sea, 160 m. N. W. of Mexico; lat. 21° 1' N., Ion. 101° W.: pop. about 63,000. Such is the unevenness of the site that in many streets the houses appear to be built in amphitheatre, and often the door of one dwelling is almost on a level with the roof of the next. Most of the street- are too narrow for wheeled vehicles, and all are extremely irregular. On the east rises a mountain torrent which passes through some of the streets, and causes much damage during floods. Guanajuato has many handsome buildings, private and public; among the latter are the alhondiga de granaditas (now used as a public granary, but memorable as the scene of important events during the Avar of independence), the parish and several other churches, monasteries and convents, and the mint.
Cathedral of Guanajuato.