Zacatecas, Zacatecas

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Zacatecas (Spanish pronunciation: [θakaˈtekas] or [sakaˈtekas]) is a city and municipality in Mexico and the capital of the state of Zacatecas. It is located in the north central part of the country.[1] The city had its start as a Spanish mining camp in the mid 16th century. Prior to this, the area’s rich deposits in silver and other minerals were known. Due to the wealth that the mines provided, Zacatecas quickly became one of the most important cities in New Spain, with much of it silver enriching the Spanish crown. The area saw battles during the turbulent 19th century, but the next major event was the Battle of Zacatecas during the Mexican Revolution when Francisco Villa took the town. This event is still celebrated annually. Today, the city center is a World Heritage Site, due to the Baroque and other structures built during its mining heyday and mining still remains an important industry.[2] The name Zacatecas is derived from the Zacateco people and has its roots in Nahuatl. The name literally means “people of the grasslands.”[3]

Contents

History

The first people to populate the area arrived approximately 10,000 years ago, when the climate was wetter and warmer than it is now, with different vegetation and wildlife. Eventually, the area became dominated by Chichimeca tribes such as the Caxcans, Guachichils, Guamares, Huichols, Zacatecos and others, with the Zacatecos being the most numerous in the area the city is today.[2][4] These people were mining silver and other metals in these hills long before the Europeans arrived,[5] making the area important in pre-Hispanic times.[1]

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