Monday, September 26, 2011

Independence (part 2)

San Miguel's economic decline, along with decline in agriculture and population continued throughout the Mexican War of Independence and the 1800s. Unstable government hurt the country as a whole. Some recovery economic occurred near the end of the 1800s during which time aqueducts, dams and railroads were built. Due to the introduction of fruit orchards agriculture also made a comeback. However, the decline returned. What with the end of mining in almost all of Guanajuato, especially during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917,) San Miguel nearly became a ghost town. Still San Miguel was known as both a quiet, beautiful place to live and an attraction for the wealthy with its natural hot springs.

In 1926 the government, designated the town a "Historic and Protected Town". It was declared a national monument establishing guidelines and restrictions aimed at keeping its colonial appearance (no neon signs or modern construction in the Center.) San Miguel Allende Tourist Guide

Thursday, September 22, 2011


From its zenith, during the early 1800s the economic fortunes of San Miguel declined due largely to the upset of the Mexican War of Independence. Its political destiny rose, however, due to the importance or its role early in the conflict, given is the birthplace of two significant heroes of the Independence, Juan Aldama and Ignacio Allende. Both men were conspirators against the colonial government in Mexico City. Assembled at the nearby town of Dolores (Hidalgo) in September 1810, an insurgent army first came to San Miguel, where it entered the city to name officers and to free jailed captives. Therefore, San Miguel is considered to be the first municipality to be freed from Spanish rule. San Miguel calls itself the "Forge of National Independence." Just to the north, Dolores Hidalgo is known as the "Cradle of National Independence." Here General Ignacio Allende joined the army as Miguel Hidalgo's chief lieutenant and led the army to several victories. Captured during battle and summarily executed, Allende was not able to enjoy a Mexico independent from Spanish oppression. His head, along with those of Padre Hidalgo, Aldama and Jimenez, hung in cages on each the four corners of a building in Guanajuato from about 1811 until 1824 when Mexico finally gained its independence. After the war, the town was renamed San Miguel de Allende in honor of Ignacio Allende. San Miguel Allende Tourist Guide

Monday, September 19, 2011

Colonial Times 2

The bulk of its large mansions, religious buildings and palaces were constructed when the city had its wealthiest period in the middle of the 18th century . Wealthy hacienda owners of the region kept homes here. A large cosmopolitan city with a population reaching 30,000 (at that time New York's population was 25,000 and Boston's was 16,000) it was one of the wealthiest and most important settlements in New Spain. Those mansions were much larger than normal for a settlement of its size, partaking, as do churches, of both baroque and neoclassical architecture. Luckily most still remain for us to admire today.
San Miguel Allende Guide

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Colonial Times

The discovery of silver in Zacatecas in the middle of the 16th centruy brought a major road between that area and Mexico City. San Miguel which sits along the way. Indian caravan attacks made San Miguel an important military as well as commercial site. The region around the Laja River turned out to be excellent cattle country. The viceroy in Mexico City granted cattle and lands to a number of Spanish families to settle the area, to help quell these attacks as well as rebellions against Spain. To this end he also gave the local tribes an exclusion from taxes as well as limited self rule. The town was a melting pot as Spanish, indigenous peoples and later Criollos (locally born people of pure or mostly Spanish ancestry,) rich with various cultural influences. Major roads would come to connect the town with various mining communities and the rest of the state and supplying travelers' needs and along with those of the mining camps made the town prosperous.

San Miguel Allende Guide

Monday, September 12, 2011

Establishing the Colonial City 2

Led to the site of today's Chorro spring by dogs, on higher ground, the settlement was refounded in 1555 by the successor of Juan de San Miguel, Bernardo Cossin, and by Fernando de Tapiaan, indigenous leader, In keeping with the Spanish colonial design, it was re-established as both a military outpost and a mission. The topography of its new location was better suited for defense. Also, it was a place with ample water supply, with two springs of water springs. The output of these abundant springs supplied all the water for the town until the 1970s. The site of the original mission is today occupied by the Santa Escuela Church, "old parish" as it is known.

The name "San Miguel" derives from the founder of the city, Fray Juan de San Miguel. Originally called San Miguel el Grande or sometimes San Miguel de los Chichimecas (after an original indian tribe,) in 1826 the name of the town was changed to San Miguel de Allende in order to honor Ignacio Allende, a hero of the Mexican War of Independence, who was born here.
San Miguel de Allende Guide

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Establishing the Colonial City, San Miguel Allende

Before the conquest by Spain, in the early 1500s, before an indigenous settlement called Izcuinapan, literally "place of dogs," existed just southeast of the present site of San Miguel de Allende. With the arrival of the Spanish a Franciscan missionary priest Juan de San Miguel built a small chapel and started a village near the indigenous settlement, dedicating the Spanish town to the Archangel Michael. Spanish colonization was met with hostility by the local indigenous population. Taking issue with this invasion of their territory, the Chichimecas Indians raided mule caravans streaming south heavily loaded with silver from newly discovered mines and the tribe attacked the village itself in 1551, 15 people were killed and the village burned to the ground. This, along with ongoing problems with water supply resulted in the abandonment of the original site of the Spanish settlement and its relocation.
For a blog on Puerto Vallarta please visit Puerto Vallarta and for information on San Miguel Allende and other Mexican destinations please visit San Miguel Allende Guide

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

History, Prehispanic


Prehispanic Period

The Toltecs. had a ceremonial center, Panoayan, where the town of Comonfort is today, a 30 minute drive from San Miguel de Allende. Archaeological remains there include a ball court. The Toltecs, who left behind many stone tools, grew crops and lived along the Rio Laja, taking advantage of the rich soil. By 1200, moving south they had abandoned their ceremonial centers. For the next 300 years, nomadic tribes passing through the area Then Chichimeca indians began to settle, again along the river.
San Miguel de Allende Guide