Guadalajara means “Rio de Piedras,” “River of stones,” and its origin is Arabic. It Is the second-largest city in Mexico and capital of the State of Jalisco; it is over 5000 ft. ( 1500 mt) above sea level.
The foundation of Guadalajara was long and devious. In 1522 the first Spanish conquerors started conquering the territories that now comprise the State of Jalisco.
In 1530 Nuño Beltran de Guzman decided to conqueror all the region; he came through la Barca with 500 soldiers and 15,000 natives. Once he had accomplished his goal, he decided to call the conquered lands Guadalajara in honor of the Spanish city where he was born.
The first foundation was in 1532 in Nochistlan; forty-two families first settled in this area. However, they only lived there for a year due to the lack of water.
The second foundation was in Tonala, where they remained for only two years, because neither Nuño Beltran de Guzman nor the settlers liked the place.
The third foundation occurred in 1535 in Tlacotan, however, the natives in the area were very hostile towards the Spaniards and continuously attacked them.
Despite the difficulties, the town progressed and attained relative importance, they remained there more than six years, and after an insurrection of the natives, they decided to move for the fourth time, to the Valley of Atemajac on the San Juan de Dios river bank.
There was a lot of discord about this site, then Cristobel de Oñate stuck a knife in a tree in front of him, (which was in the back of the Degollado Theatre) and said “we stay here,” but the people were still screaming in discontent then Doña Beatriz Hernandez, shouted “People we stay here, The king is my rooster and we stay here for good or bad”
The fourteen of February 1542 is the official date of the city’s foundation when Charles V, King of Spain, handed over the official emblem, which remains today one of the most valued historical emblems.
We are now in the Plaza Tapatia, where we can see the FOUNTAIN OF THE FOUNDERS OF GUADALAJARA.
Made of bronze, we can see in the middle of the sculpture, a tree with the knife, to the right Juan Cristóbal de Oñate and Nuño Beltran de Guzmán, both conquerors of this land and a woman on the left Doña Beatriz Hernandez with a rooster in her arms.
By 1570, there were about 500 Spaniards, 2200 indigenous families and black slaves spread in an area of 5 km. The Cathedral is in the middle of a Latin cross, and the city grew around the church.
The mainstay of those days was agriculture, cattle raising, and commerce. The “tianguis” or street markets is where the commercial dealings would take place where merchants weighed the bread, the meat sold by chunks, the fish in baskets, the fruit and vegetables in piles by dozens, that were worth a “tapatío” the equivalent of 3 cocoa beans or a tenth of a peso.
The intellectual side of colonial Guadalajara was formed by those who had higher education obtained through professional development, self-education, or other educational instruction.
Guadalajara lived the most significant transformation with the arrival of the railroad. Foreign investors came by droves with the understanding that it was an important city with a promising future.
The years between 1883 and 1887 were significant because water from the springs known as “Agua Azul.” gave electricity to the city.
We will now visit all the most prominent sites of Guadalajara.
The first stone was laid in 1561 and was finished in 1618, dedicated to Saint Michael Archangel. Two earthquakes in 1750 and 1818 destroyed the original facade and towers. They were replaced in the mid-19th century by the actual yellow-tiles twin spires, recognized as symbols of the city.
It has a neo-classical style with many altars inside and paintings of famous artists.
To the south of the Cathedral is Plaza Guadalajara, and to the East is the City Hall.
During the War of Independence, Guadalajara had a paramount role because it was here where the priest Hidalgo proclaimed the abolition of slavery, declaring it “A free and Sovereign State.” That is why this Plaza has this name; we can see the statue of the priest, Miguel Hidalgo, with a broken chain.
Four centuries ago, this was the site where the “tianguis” of all the region would set.
This plaza is North of the Cathedral and South of the Degollado Theatre.
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