1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chihuahua (city)

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21171381911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 6 — Chihuahua (city)

CHIHUAHUA, a city of Mexico, capital of the above state, on the Chihuahua river, about 1000 m. N.W. of Mexico City and 225 m. S. by E. of El Paso. Pop. (1895) 18,279; (1900) 30,405. The city stands in a beautiful valley opening northward and hemmed in on all other sides by spurs of the Sierra Madre. It is 4635 ft. above sea-level, and its climate is mild and healthy. The city is laid out regularly, with broad streets, and a handsome plaza with a monument to Hidalgo and his companions of the revolution of 1810, who were executed here. The most noteworthy of its public buildings is the fine old parish church of San Francisco, begun in 1717 and completed in 1789, one of the best specimens of 18th-century architecture in Mexico. It was built, it is said, with the proceeds of a small tax on the output of the Santa Eulalia mine. Other prominent buildings are the government palace, the Porfirio Diaz hospital, the old Jesuit College (now occupied by a modern institution of the same character), the mint, and an aqueduct built in the 18th century. Chihuahua is a station on the Mexican Central railway, and has tramways and telephones. Mining is the principal occupation of the surrounding district, the famous Santa Eulalia or Chihuahua el Viejo mines being about 12 m. from the city. Next in importance is agriculture, especially fruit-growing. Manufacturing is making good progress, especially the weaving of cotton fabrics by modern methods. The manufacture of cotton and woollen goods are old industries in Chihuahua, but the introduction of American skill and capital toward the end of the 19th century placed them on an entirely new footing. The manufacture of gunpowder for mining operations is another old industry.

Chihuahua was founded between 1703 and 1705 as a mining town, and was made a villa in 1715 with the title San Felipe el Real de Chihuahua. Because of the rich mines in its vicinity it soon became one of the most prosperous towns in northern Mexico, although the state was constantly raided by hostile Indians. In 1763 it had a population of nearly 5000. The war of independence was followed by a period of decline, owing to political disorder and revolution, which lasted until the presidency of General Porfirio Diaz. In the war between Mexico and the United States, Chihuahua was captured on the 1st of March 1847, by Colonel A. W. Doniphan, and again on the 7th of March by General Price. In 1864 President Juárez made the city his provisional capital for a short time.