1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/San Luis Potosí (city)

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SAN LUIS POTOSÍ, a city of Mexico and capital of a state of the same name, near the head of the valley of the Rio Verde (a tributary of the Panuco), 215 m. by rail N.W. of the city of Mexico. Pop. (1900) 61,019. The city is served by the Mexican Central and the Mexican National railways. It is built on a broad level space, laid out regularly with straight well-paved streets and shady plazas. The altitude of the city, 6168 ft. above sea-level, gives it a cool temperate climate, though the sun temperatures are high. The water-supply was formerly very deficient, but two artesian wells have been drilled to a depth of 450 ft. and furnish 30,000 gallons a day each, in addition to which a large dam 3 m. above the city has been built, having a storage capacity of 7,500,000 cubic meters (1,650,000,000 gallons), or 18 months’ supply, which is used for irrigation and domestic purposes. The better class of residences are usually two storeys high, and include many fine specimens of Spanish colonial architecture; but the suburbs consist chiefly of wretched hovels and stretch out over a large area. Among the more notable public buildings are the cathedral and government palace fronting on the Plaza Mayor, the latter conspicuous for its façade of rose-coloured stone; the churches of El Carmen, San Francisco and Guadalupe; the La Paz theatre, mint, penitentiary and the Instituto Cientifico, in which law, medicine and science are taught. San Luis Potosí is an important railway and distributing centre, with a considerable trade in cattle, tallow, wool, hides and minerals. Its proximity to the port of Tampico, with which it was connected by a branch of the Mexican Central railway in 1885, has greatly increased its commercial importance, though in earlier days it was also one of the principal centres of the diligence and pack-train traffic of this part of Mexico. The city has cotton and woollen factories using modern machinery, and the smelting works of the Metallurgica Mexicana company, an American enterprise.

San Luis Potosí was founded in 1586. It was an important centre of colonial administration and played an important part in the civil wars and political disorders following Mexican independence. It was the seat of the Mexican government of Benito Juárez in 1863, but was soon afterwards captured by the French under Bazaine. It was recovered by Juárez in 1867, after the French had retired.