views updated


Jalisco, state in west central Mexico that is sixth largest in the area (30,941 square miles), and fourth largest in population (5,278,987 in 1990). The indigenous population that settled the area beginning about 15,000 years ago was less dense and more linguistically and culturally diverse than that of central Mexico. By the early sixteenth century, the area included well-developed sedentary chiefdoms and numerous nomadic peoples. Nuño Belt́ran de Guzmán's campaign of conquest (1529–1536) was bloody even by standards of the time. Further conflicts reduced the area's indigenous population by some 90 percent by 1560. Today Indian elements are notably scarce in Jalisco's culture, and with the exception of some 65,000 Indians, mostly huicholes, the state is predominantly criollo and mestizo. Guadalajara, the chief city, has been the seat of a bishopric since 1548. It was the capital of Nueva Galicia and seat of New Spain's only independent audiencia since 1560.

Under Spanish rule in the seventeenth century, the area developed haciendas (great landed estates) as well as an occasionally spurious local nobility. Peninsular Spanish immigrants, who often succeeded as merchants because Guadalajara was such an important entrepôt in New Spain's trade network with the northern provinces, then intermarried with landed families to integrate an oligopoly based on agriculture, commerce, and mining. Discovery of silver at Bolaños initiated a period of growth in 1747 that was boosted by a relaxation of trading restrictions in 1773. This development broadened the economic base, created a more mobile and wage-oriented labor force, and thus laid the groundwork for future industrial development.

The Wars of Independence from Spain, beginning in 1810, devastated the local economy. The insurgents' temporary seizure of Guadalajara in late 1810 foreshadowed a period of several decades when the capital was to be the political and military football first of royalists and insurgents, later of centralists and federalists, then of monarchists and constitutionalists. Real recovery did not begin until the peace imposed by dictator Porfirio Díaz between 1876 and 1910.

By the time the revolution against Díaz broke out in 1910, Jalisco was losing influence relative to Sonora, Nuevo León, and other rival states. As a bastion of conservative Spanish Catholicism, Jalisco in this period is perhaps best remembered as the focal point of the proclerical Cristero Rebellion (1916–1929), a bitter reaction to the anticlerical policies of the revolutionary leaders Alvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elías Calles. Even today, the ruling party (Institutional Revolutionary Party—PRI) is often sharply challenged by opposition parties and prochurch elements with power bases in Jalisco.

Guadalajara was a somewhat distant second to Mexico City in size and influence until the nineteenth century. As early as 1840, the city had begun to develop an industrial base dominated by paper and printing, clothing, and food products. Today, Guadalajara is a major industrial and commercial center, with photographic and electrical goods, textiles, tequila, and steel leading the list of local products. Other important municipalities in the state include Puerto Vallarta (home of the state's second international airport), Lagos de Moreno, Tepatitlán, Ciudad Guzmán, and Ocotlán.

Jalisco is still the country's top maize producer and the second-largest cattle producer, and trade accounts for approximately 20 percent of the state's domestic product. The state is popularly identified with such criollo cultural monuments as tequila, charros (elaborately costumed cowboys), and mariachi music, and with the international beach resort of Puerto Vallarta. Outsiders encounter the state's culture through the works of such prominent twentieth-century natives as writers Agustín Yáñez and Juan Rulfo and the muralist José Clemente Orozco, as well as through huichol yarn paintings, pottery from Tonalá, and hand-blown glass from Tlaquepaque.

See alsoCalles, Plutarco Elías; Cristero Rebellion; Díaz, Porfirio; Guadalajara; Guzmán, Nuño Beltrán de; Huichols; Mestizo; Obregón Salido, Álvaro; Orozco, José Clemente; Rulfo, Juan; Yáñez Santos Delgadillo, Agustín.


References in English consist mainly of topical monographs and dissertations that can be located through the Library of Congress, Handbook of Latin American Studies, and University Microfilms, Dissertation Abstracts. The standard source in Spanish is José María Muriá, Historia de Jalisco, 4 vols. (1980–1982); a much shorter version, sans bibliography, is his Breve historia de Jalisco (1988). Relatively recent Spanish-language sources can be found in Jaime Olveda and Marina Mantilla Trolle, Jalisco en libros (1985). A more general bibliography is Ramiro Villaseñor y Villaseñor, Bibliografía general de Jalisco, 2 vols. (1958, 1983).

Additional Bibliography

Fábregas, Andrés. El norte de Jalisco: Sociedad, cultura e historia en una región Mexicana. Zapopán: El Colegio de Jalisco, 2002.

González Navarro, Moisés. Masones y cristeros en Jalisco. México, D.F.: El Colegio de México, Centro de estudios históricos, 2000.

Shadow, Robert Dennis. Tierra, trabajo, y ganado en la región norte de Jalisco: Una historia agraria de Villa Guerrero, Jalisco, 1600–1980. Zamora, Michoacán: Colegio de Michoacán; Colotlán: Universidad de Guadalajara, Centro Universitario del Norte, 2002.

                                        Richard Lindley