/gwah'nah hwah"taw/, n.
1. a state in central Mexico. 2,811,000; 11,805 sq. mi. (30,575 sq. km).
2. a city in and the capital of this state: center of the silver-mining region. 65,258.

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City (pop., 2000: 74,874), capital of Guanajuato state, Mexico.

It lies about 6,700 ft (2,000 m) above sea level. Founded in 1554, it is an outstanding example of a Spanish colonial city. One of the greatest silver-mining centres of the 16th century, the city's wealth was manifest in its richly endowed churches, several of which date to the 17th century. In 1810 it was the first major city to fall to the independence leader Miguel Hidalgo. It later declined until increased tourist trade and federal support of mining and agriculture in the 1930s brought recovery. It is the site of the University of Guanajuato (1945).
State (pop., 2000: 4,663,032), central Mexico.

It covers 11,773 sq mi (30,491 sq km), and its capital is Guanajuato city. It lies on the interior plateau. The north is mountainous, while the south, consisting of fertile plains, is largely devoted to agriculture. The state is drained by several rivers, including the Lerma. The first Spanish settlement was at San Miguel de Allende (1542). During colonial times it was an important silver-mining area. The region became a state in 1824. Mining (silver, gold, tin, lead, and opals) remains the principal economic activity.

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 city, capital of Guanajuato estado (state), central Mexico. It is spread over steep hillsides at the junction of three ravines, at an average elevation of about 6,725 feet (2,050 metres) above sea level.

      Guanajuato was founded in 1554 and given city status in 1741. Along with Zacatecas, to the north, and Potosí, Bolivia, the town became one of the three greatest silver (silver processing)-mining centres of the 16th century. Its celebrated Veta Madre (“Mother Lode”) was described as the richest in the world. The fabulous wealth was most manifest in the elaborate and richly endowed churches of San Francisco (1671) and San Diego (1663). Guanajuato's historic city centre and nearby colonial-era mines—including a shaft some 2,000 feet (600 metres) deep known as the Boca del Infierno ("Hellmouth")—were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.

      Guanajuato was the first major city to fall to the independence leader Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (Hidalgo y Costilla, Miguel) in 1810. The plundering and destruction that accompanied the overrunning of the Alhóndiga de Granaditas (a granary used as a fortress; now the state historical museum) were followed by struggles for control of the city. By 1822 mineral output had slowed because of violence, floods, and the exodus of many wealthy families. Guanajuato entered a period of decline that continued until the mid-20th century, when increased tourism and federal support for mining began to increase. Yet it has remained overshadowed by the state's larger cities, notably León with more than 10 times the capital's population. In addition to its government functions, Guanajuato is a market and service centre for nearby mines (gold, silver, lead, and other minerals) and farms and ranches. The city is accessible by highway and is served by an airport at León. The state University of Guanajuato (1732; present name 1945) forms the core of the city's annual Cervantes festival. An unusual attraction is a museum containing dozens of mummified corpses exhumed from a nearby cemetery. Pop. (2000) 74,874.

  estado (state), central Mexico. It is bounded by the states of San Luis Potosí to the north and northeast, Querétaro to the east, Michoacán to the south, and Jalisco to the west. It lies on the Mesa Central at an average elevation of about 6,000 feet (1,800 metres). The city of Guanajuato is the state capital.

      The first Spanish settlement in Guanajuato was that of San Miguel de Allende in 1542. During colonial times it was an important silver-mining area. In 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (Hidalgo y Costilla, Miguel) began the Mexican wars for independence in the village of Dolores (now Dolores Hidalgo) and took Guanajuato city that same year. The region became a state in 1824.

      The state's relief is more mountainous in the north than the south. The Lerma River and two tributaries, the Turbio and Laja (Laja River), water the fertile plains in the south. The state is densely populated, with about two-thirds of its people living in urban areas. The principal economic activity is mining (gold, silver, tin, lead, mercury, copper, and opals). Services, which account for about half of the workforce, and manufacturing are concentrated in León, the state's largest city, as well as in Salamanca, Irapuato, Celaya, and Guanajuato city. Manufactures include cotton and woolen textiles, footwear, alcoholic beverages, refined petroleum, metal products, candies, and processed foods. Guanajuato is one of the country's leading pork producers. Its chief crops are corn (maize), alfalfa, potatoes, chilies, and wheat. Railroads and highways crisscross the state.

      Guanajuato's government is headed by a governor, who is elected to a single term of six years. Members of the unicameral legislature, the State Congress, are elected to three-year terms. The state is divided into local governmental units called municipios (municipalities), each of which is headquartered in a prominent city, town, or village.

      Cultural institutions of note are the capital city's University of Guanajuato (founded 1732; state control 1928; present name 1945); De La Salle University Bajío (founded 1968, in León), with several satellite campuses located around the state; and a regional campus of the Iberoamerican University (1978, in León). The historic centre of Guanajuato city and adjacent colonial-era mines, including a 1,970-foot (600-metre) pit known as the Boca del Infierno (“Mouth of Hell”), were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. Area 11,773 square miles (30,491 square km). Pop. (2000) 4,663,032; (2005) 4,893,812.

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Universalium. 2010.

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