San Luis Potosí

views updated May 14 2018

San Luis Potosí

San Luis Potosí, north-central Mexican state and its capital city, historically connected to the revolutionary Plan of San Luis Potosí (1910) of Francisco I. Madero. In the sixteenth century, the region was settled by Spaniards seeking to protect Zacatecas from Indian attacks. The town of San Luis Potosí, named after Upper Peru's Potosí, was founded in 1591 or 1592 in the wake of silver strikes. Mining remained an important part of the colonial economy, invigorated by the discovery of the rich Catorce veins in 1778. In the arid lands surrounding the mines there were stock-raising estates, and to the east were some agricultural properties, on which lived much of the working rural population.

During the independence struggle, leaders of San Luis city and rural village residents supported Miguel Hidalgo, while estate owners and their workers were loyalists; a militia drawn from this latter group was largely responsible for Hidalgo's shattering defeat at Aculco in 1811. Following independence, the new state of San Luis Potosí's mining economy was disrupted, not recovering until late in the century. Stock raising and agriculture improved, sparked by the advent of rail service, but deteriorating conditions for the rural majority led to a number of uprisings. Dissatisfaction with the Porfirio Díaz regime in San Luis city led to the formation of Ricardo Flores Magón's radical Mexican Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Mexicano) in 1900, and after Francisco Madero's call for revolution, the countryside erupted under the leadership of a Zapata-like figure, Saturnino Cedillo Martínez. San Luis weathered the storm of revolution, and its importance as a communications, industrial, and agricultural center was enhanced.

In 2005, the population of the city of San Luis Potosi had reached 730,950.

See alsoMining: Colonial Spanish America .


The rural history and revolutionary connections of San Luis Potosí are featured in Jan Bazant, Cinco haciendas mexicanas: Tres siglos de vida rural en San Luis Potosí (1600–1910) (1975); Bazant also has some information on sixteenth-century San Luis and the development of mining there. Dudley Ankerson, Agrarian Warlord: Saturnino Cedillo and the Mexican Revolution in San Luis Potosí (1984); and John Tutino, From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750–1940 (1986). Scattered information is provided in David A. Brading, Miners and Merchants in Bourbon Mexico, 1763–1810 (1971).

Additional Bibliography

Monroy, María Isabel, and Tomás Calvillo Unna. Breve historia de San Luis Potosí. México: El Colegio de México, Fideicomiso Historia de las Américas, 1997.

Gámez, Moisés. De negro brillante a blanco plateado: La empresa minera mexicana a finales del siglo XIX. San Luis Potosí: Colegio de San Luis, 2001.

                                          Robert Haskett

San Luis Potosí

views updated May 23 2018

San Luis Potosí State in central Mexico, primarily on Mexico's n plateau; the capital is San Luis Potosí (2000 pop. 669,353). It is the chief mining state of Mexico, with mines yielding gold, copper, zinc, bismuth and (especially) silver since the 18th century. Arid conditions result in little farming, but the Pánuco River Valley produces coffee, tobacco, and sugar. Area: 62,848sq km (24,268sq mi). Pop. (2000) 2,296,363.

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