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The History of Mineral de Pozos

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The History of Mineral de Pozos

Mineral de Pozos, Gto. Thursday, May 17, 2012.  In 1576, with the construction of a defensive fort against the Chichimeca Indians, called Palmar de Vega, this singular town rich in minerals, history, and admirable places was born.  Among silver and other precious metals, the later called Porfirio Diaz City forged its legend and importance.  The abandonment came with the Mexican Revolution and other factors.  But today, just like the Phoenix bird, it rises from its ashes, to attract artists, films and tourists as Mineral de Pozos, Magic Town.

In the pre-Hispanic era, just before the arrival of the Europeans, the region was populated by tough Chichimeca Indians.  In 1576, the Spanish conquerors constructed in the place a fortress to protect the Silver Route, which ran from Zacatecas to Mexico City, from the frequent assaults of the natives.  This fort was called Palmar de Vega, and the village was born with the same name.

Since the Chichimeca could not be submitted militarily, missionaries from the Company of Jesus were sent to appease them. The Jesuits realized the mineral wealth of the area and taught European skills to the natives for the extraction and processing of metals.

From such education survive until today three conical ovens constructed in 1595. During their tenure, the missionaries worked mercury, silver and gold mines.  Over a period of time, more deposits were found, and the economic and political importance of Palmar de Vega began to grow.

The Jesuits were expelled from New Spain in 1767, because of the fear and jealousy of the power that they had accumulated; nevertheless, they inherited to the local people the bases of metallurgy.

During the greater part of the XIX Century, it had long periods of abandonment due to the armed movements of Independence, Reform, Sierra Gorda, and French Intervention.  Misery reigned among its 8,000 inhabitants.

In 1888, under the mandate of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, it miraculously changed the sorry state of the place.  The factors that determined this transformation were: the consolidation of peace, the facilities that the government granted to miners, the huge investment of national and foreign capital, the introduction of the railway and the implementation of modern extraction systems and processing.

The impressive mining boom of this era contributed to economic, trade and population growth without precedent in the history of the town.   So in 1897, the village was raised to the rank of city and received the new name of Porfirio Diaz.

Attracted by the ease of amassing riches, immigrants from the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, and England arrived to Porfirio Diaz City.  Also, workers came from Guanajuato, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Hidalgo and other states of the country.  In this way, at the beginning of the XX Century, the population increased to the considerable amount of 80,000 inhabitants.

In the same period, some important commercial establishments were installed, such as Factories of France, Factories of Paris, the Vesuvius, the Fame and the Lebanese.  In addition, there were relevant service centers such as restaurants, guest houses, hotels, entertainment spots and theater.

Economic prosperity contributed to major advances in the education sector and of social welfare. For example, a sumptuous institute was built, The Model School, as part of an experiment that the Diaz government imported from France.

The outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 marked the beginning of the mining debacle of the city.  Instability, the frequent battles and looting caused shortages of food, outflow of capital and migration.

In 1926, began a second period of decline with the rise of the Cristero movement.  The new battles increased uncertainty and insecurity in the area.  In addition, most of the mines were flooded.

Two years later, in 1928, the state government reduced the political status of the city, to just municipal delegation.  Therefore, its economic and political privileges were taken away.  Moreover, the name was changed to Mineral de Pozos, its current one.

These blows demolished Pozos.  By the mid-1930s, the majority of the population left the place and most of the mining companies collapsed.  The danger of staying there, the continuous looting, the scarcity of investment, the lack of support and the flooding of the mines were the reasons for the total breakdown.

For many years the village was ignored, its buildings were looted and destroyed.  In the 1950s, it was a ghost town; it was in complete abandonment, and with a population of only 1,000 inhabitants.

In the 1960s and 1970s, there were some attempts to revive the economy: the road that communicates it to San Luis de la Paz and San Jose de Iturbide was paved, phone and water services were introduced, a matches factory was installed, schools were built, and a radio station was created.

After decades of neglect, in 1982 the federal government finally recognized the historical importance of Pozos and declared it a Historical Monuments Zone.  At the same time, the local people began their struggle to attract tourism and develop its community by means of cultural and artistic events, such as the Toltequidad Festivity and the Mariachi Festival.

Its unique beauty captured the attention of movie and television producers. Over time, many domestic and foreign films were made in the area.  Similarly, it attracted artists and foreign investors, who began to install galleries, hotels, and restaurants.

The hard work of the inhabitants paid up, when Mineral de Pozos was declared Magic Town, by the Secretariat of Tourism of Mexico, on February 16, 2012. With the appointment, new investment and tourism promotion will arrive.  With this, Mineral de Pozos aspires to recover its importance of yesterday.

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