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This article is about Chihuahua, the state in Mexico. For the breed of dog, see Chihuahua (dog). For other uses, see Chihuahua (disambiguation). State of Chihuahua
Coat of arms
Nickname: "Lady of the Desert" Location within Mexico Country  Mexico Capital Chihuahua Municipalities 67 Largest City Ciudad Juárez Government  - Governor José Reyes Baeza TerrazasPRI)  - Federal Deputies PRI: 5
PAN:4  - Federal Senators PAN: 2
PRI: 1 Area
Ranked 1st  - Total 244,938 km² (94,571.1 sq mi) Population (2005)  - Total 3,241,444 (Ranked 11th)  - Demonym Chihuahuense Time zone MST (UTC-7)  - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6) HDI (2004) 0.8224 - high
Ranked 8th ISO 3166-2 MX-CHH Postal abbr. Chih. Website: Chihuahua State Government

Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexico with a mainland area of 244,938 square kilometers (94,571.1 sq mi), slightly bigger than the United Kingdom. It is surrounded by the Mexican states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango and Coahuila and the U.S. states of Texas and New Mexico. Chihuahua is the largest state in Mexico by area, and therefore has the nickname, "El Estado Grande."

Although Chihuahua is primarily identified with its namesake, the Chihuahuan Desert, it has more forests than any other Mexican state. On the slope of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains (around the regions of Casas Grandes, Cuauhtémoc and Parral), 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 Juárez, which has 1,301,452 residents (2005 census). The capital, Chihuahua, 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 Canyon, a spectacular canyon system larger and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

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

Chihuahua is one of the Mexican states that holds a slight population plurality of people that are primarily of European ancestry (as is the case in much of northern Mexico), with around 49% of the state population being of European descent, commonly Spanish, Italian, German, French, Irish, Russian and Dutch. Around 45% of its population has mixed European and Amerindian ancestry (Mestizo). The population of Amerindians in northern Mexico tends to be low compared to the southern part, and Chihuahua is no exception. While there are Amerindians in Chihuahua, they comprise only around 6% of the state's population, and they mostly live in isolated areas in the mountains.



Main article: Nueva Vizcaya, New Spain

Spanish exploration of the area began in 1531 with Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán's expedition. He called the area Nueva Galicia after his birthplace, although that name later came to be applied to a different area, namely what became the colonial intendencia of Guadalajara. Nueva Vizcaya originally included the area of Spanish settlement north of Zacatecas. Eventually that included most of the area of the modern Mexican states of Chihuahua and Durango, and at times parts of the states of Sinaloa, Sonora and Coahuila.

The objections that led to the division of the internal provinces in 1785, increased with growing population and resources. In 1804, a royal decree ordered the redivision of the provinces into two districts. The new comandante general of each district exercised the same authority as the existing commander. [1]

War of independence

The war of independence started in 1812 . Viceroy Venegas appointed brigadier Alejo Garcia Conde, governor of Sonora and Sinaloa to the command of the Occidente region.[1] Command of the Oriente region was offered to the Mariscal de campo, Felix Calleja, who declined the position. It was offered to Simon Herrera, governor of Nuevo León, but he was killed by insurgents before he could accept the position. Finally, José Joaquín de Arredondo received the position.[1]

Gutiérrez de Lara

After the suppression of the insurrection of 1811 in Nuevo Santander, José Bernardo Maximiliano Gutiérrez de Lara, a citizen of Revilla, and a strong supporter of the revolutionary movement, took refuge in the United States, seeking assistance on behalf of his cause. The welcome accorded to him by the people, and the well-known intentions of the United States government with regard to the Texan frontier, had given rise to no little uneasiness in Mexico, which was further increased by a report that he was marching at the head of a large army, returning to aid the insurgents.[1]

The troops under Gutiérrez de Lara's command consisted of only 450 men, many of whom were military adventurers from the United States. He invaded Texas with this slender force in 1812, taking possession of several cities and driving back the forces of Manuel María de Salcedo and José Joaquín de Herrera. Warned of this danger, José Joaquín de Arredondo, whose forces were quartered in the valley del Maiz, marched to engage Gutiérrez de Lara, collecting men and material on the way through Nuevo Santander. Colonel Ignacio Elizondo, sent in advance, allowed himself to be drawn into an engagement, and was totally routed.[1]

A few weeks later Arredondo himself defeated the insurgents, now under the command of José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois, who had replaced Gutiérrez de Lara. Many prisoners were executed, including all the captured U. S. citizens, ending all hope of aid from the United States.

Issues of increased of population and development of natural resources took second place to military matters and the suppression of revolutionary movements. In the northwest hostilities with Indians continued, while in the east revolution fomenting.[1]

Insurgent’s trial

Salcedo managed to accumulate a large fortune while avoiding the conflict to the south. From May to July, 1811, he was responsible for overseeing the trial and execution of Miguel Hidalgo, and his chief officers.[1]

Nueva Vizcaya was not spared from the war. A month before Hidalgo’s capture, a number of insurgents were detained, and a conflict at San Francisco between several hundred men occurred early in 1812.[1]


Toward the close of 1814, José Félix Trespalacios and Juan Pablo Caballero planned an outbreak at Chihuahua, but the plot was revealed to Garcia Conde, who now controlled the Occidente section from this point, and promptly arrested the principals. The men were pardoned through the efforts of authorities and clergy. Chihuahua continued to suffer from Apache raids, and Durango a brief rebellion by the Opatas in 1820, which was quelled without any serious bloodshed. In 1819 explorer Zebulon Pike visited and the Jesuits were reestablished.[1]

Spanish Constitution of 1812 was well received by the provinces, but was suspended soon after by the viceroy. Nueva Vizcaya managed to elect a representative to the Cortes Generales. Royalist Agustin de Iturbide went to Durango to make a final effort in behalf of Spain. He entered that city July 4, 1821, attended by officials from Zacatecas and other points, with a few hundred soldiers. Pedro Celestino Negrete, Iturbide’s lieutenant, followed in pursuit, and laid siege to the city early in August, with about 3,000 men.[1]

The defense was maintained for over three weeks, with brisk firing and occasional sorties, varied by assaults, which involved severe losses. Negrete finally planted a battery against a vulnerable point, and on the August 30 gained a decided advantage. By this time defection undermined the zeal of the royalist. A truce was accepted, and on September 3 the garrison surrendered, with the honors of war, and permission to retire with Cruz to Spain.[1]

First empire

M. Urrea was installed as governor, while Antonio Cordero, who had governed at Durango as civil and military governor for the past three years, replaced of Garcia Conde.[1]

Province of the Federal Republic of Mexico

The federalists rose against Agustin de Iturbide, joined by Chihuahua after a momentary objection from Janos. Durango was initially against the movement, but on March 5, 1823 it gained the favor of the troops followed by the people. Comandante general Cordero resigned, as did Brigadier I. del Corral, civil and military governor at Durango, whereupon a provincial delegation declared Juan Navarro successor to the latter, and Gaspar de Ochoa, as commander in place of Cordero.[1]

Division of Nueva Vizcaya

On July 19, 1823, the supreme congress decreed the division of Nueva Vizcaya into two provinces, to be known as Chihuahua and Durango. The capital of the former receiving the title of city and became the seat of a provincial council. Chihuahua, with a population of over 100,000, benefited from a separate administration from that of the distant and sometimes uncooperative Durango. Nevertheless, a party persuaded the chamber to create a new state — Estado Interno del Norte — by reuniting the two provinces and including New Mexico, with a capital at Chihuahua. Durango, however, raised objections, demanding retention of the capital, or exclusion from the new state, because of its large population and superior resources.[1]

On May 22 and July 6, 1824 the separation was affirmed, New Mexico being declared a territory of the federation. In the following year the two states, issued their constitution. Chihuahua established a legislative chamber of not less than eleven deputies, while Durango created a senate of seven members in addition to a legislature.[1]

Constituent legislature

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.[1]

Gonzalez’ rebelion

Opponents continued to plot against the new government. In March 1827, Lieutenant J.M. Gonzalez 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 Jose Figueroa. When elections failed, the government intervened in favor of the Yorkino party, which had elected Vicente Guerrero to the presidency.[1]

Because of the general instability of the Mexican 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.[1]

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 Simon Elias Gonzalez, who being in Sonora, was induced to remain there. J. A. Arce took his place as ruler in Chihuahua. In 1829, Gonzalez 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.[1]

Durango and Bustamante

The anti-clerical feeling was wide-spread, and Durango supported the initial reaction against the government at Mexico. In May 1832, Jose Urrea, a rising officer, supported the restoration of President Pedraza. 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 evolutionary 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.[1]

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 in July 1834 while President Valentín Gómez Farías was in power. Because the plan was not enforced, commanding officer, Colonel J.I. Gutierrez, 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.[1] Santa Ana ordered the reinstatement of Mendarozqueta as comandante general. Gutierrez yielded, but Escalante refused to surrender office, demonstrations of support ensued, but Escalante yielded when troops were summoned from Zacatecas. A new election brought a new legislature, and conforming governors. In September 1835 Jose Urrea a federalist army officer came into power.[1]

Comandante general Simon Elias Gonzalez, 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, Simon Elias Gonzalez 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.[1]

Administrative divisions

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

  1. Ahumada
  2. Aldama
  3. Allende
  4. Aquiles Serdán
  5. Ascensión
  6. Bachiniva
  7. Balleza
  8. Batopilas
  9. Bocoyna
  10. Buenaventura
  11. Camargo
  12. Carichi
  13. Casas Grandes
  14. Chihuahua
  15. Chinipas
  16. Coronado
  17. Coyame del Sotol
  18. Cuauhtémoc
  19. Cusihuiriachi
  20. Delicias
  1. Dr. Belisario Domínguez
  2. El Tule
  3. Galeana
  4. Gómez Farías
  5. Gran Morelos
  6. Guachochi
  7. Guadalupe
  8. Guadalupe y Calvo
  9. Guazapares
  10. Guerrero
  11. Hidalgo del Parral
  12. Huejotitán
  13. Ignacio Zaragoza
  14. Janos
  1. Jiménez
  2. Juárez
  3. Julimes
  4. La Cruz
  5. López
  6. Madera
  7. Maguarichi
  8. Manuel Benavides
  9. Matachi
  10. Matamoros
  11. Meoqui
  12. Morelos
  13. Moris
  14. Namiquipa
  15. Nonoava
  16. Nuevo Casas Grandes
  17. Ocampo
  1. Ojinaga
  2. Praxedis G. Guerrero
  3. Riva Palacio
  4. Rosales
  5. Rosario
  6. San Francisco de Borja
  7. San Francisco de Conchos
  8. San Francisco del Oro
  9. Santa Bárbara
  10. Santa Isabel
  11. Satevo
  12. Saucillo
  13. Temósachi
  14. Urique
  15. Uruachi
  16. Valle de Zaragoza

Major communities


As of 2005, Chihuahua’s economy represents 4.5% of of Mexico’s total gross domestic product or 29,826 million USD.[2] Chihuahua's economy has a strong focus on export oriented manufacturing (i.e. maquiladora / INMEX). As of 2005, 329,939 people are employed in the manufacturing sector.[3] There are a more than 406 companies operating under the federal INMEX or Prosec program in Chihuahua. The average wage for an employee in Chihuahua is approximately 193 pesos per day.[4]


Metropolitan cathedral of Chihuahua city

Plaza de Armas of Chihuahua city

Chihuahua during a snowfall

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w History Of The North Mexican States And Texas, Vol. II 1801-1889, San Francisco,The History Company, Publishers,1889, Chapter 24
  2. ^ (2007) Industrial Costs in Mexico - A Guide for Foreign Investors 2007. Mexico City: Bancomext, 92. 
  3. ^ (2007) Industrial Costs in Mexico - A Guide for Foreign Investors 2007. Mexico City: Bancomext, 92. 
  4. ^ Banco de Información Económica. Sistemas Nacionales Estadístico y de Información Geográfica. Retrieved on 2008-03-18.

External links

v • d • ePolitical divisions of MexicoStates of Mexico: Aguascalientes · Baja California · Baja California Sur · Campeche · Chiapas · Chihuahua · Coahuila · Colima · Durango · Guanajuato · Guerrero · Hidalgo · Jalisco · Mexico State · Michoacán · Morelos · Nayarit · Nuevo León · Oaxaca · Puebla · Querétaro · Quintana Roo · San Luis Potosí · Sinaloa · Sonora · Tabasco · Tamaulipas · Tlaxcala · Veracruz · Yucatán · ZacatecasFederal District Categories: States of Mexico | Chihuahua | Chihuahuan Desert

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