1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Puebla (city)

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PUEBLA (full title La Puebla de los Angeles, and more recently, Puebla de Zaragoza), a city of Mexico and capital of the state of the same name, on the banks of the Atoyac river, 60 m. S.E. of the city of Mexico, with which it is connected by two lines of railway. Pop. (1900), 93,152, including a large percentage of Indians. Its railway connexions put it in daily communication with the national capital, Vera Cruz, Pachuca, Oaxaca, and the terminal ports of the Tehuantepec railway—Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz. The city is built on a broad healthy plain, about 7200 ft. above sea-level. It is well provided with street railways, electric and gas illumination, water and drainage. The great Doric cathedral, about 165×320 ft., is perhaps the finest ecclesiastical building in Latin America. It was begun about 1552, but not completed until 1649. Among other churches, famous for their lavish decorations, are those of San José, San Cristobal, Santa Catarina and San Domingo. The “Teatro Principal,” built in 1790, is said to be the oldest existing theatre on the continent. There are two other theatres, and an immense bull-ring. Among the more conspicuous public buildings are the palace of justice, the building of the state legislature, a school of medicine to which is attached the Palafoxiana Library of over 100,000 volumes, an academy of fine arts, and the national college. At Fort Guadalupe, near the city, there are several hot sulphur springs, which are used for medicinal baths. Puebla is one of the busiest manufacturing cities in Mexico, and among its products are cotton and woollen textiles, soap, glass, straw hats, pottery and leather goods. There are also some large foundries.

Puebla was founded in 1532 by Sebastian Ramirez de Fuenleal, archbishop of Santo Domingo, and the celebrated Franciscan friar Toribio Motolinia. In 1550 it became the see of the bishopric originally created in 1526 at Tlaxcala. The appellation “de los Angeles,” which is now practically dropped, originated in a popular belief that during the building of the cathedral two angels every night added as much to the height of the walls as the workmen had completed on the preceding day. Its present title was given in honour of General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), who successfully defended the city against the first French attack in 1862. It was captured in the following year by the French, and then by the Mexicans under Porfirio Diaz in 1867. In the war between Mexico and the United States it was captured by General Winfield Scott and was his headquarters from June to August 1847.