Pronunciation: hah-LEES-koh.

Origin of state name: The name Jalisco comes from the Náhuatl words xali ixco (sandy surface).

Capital: Guadalajara.

Entered country: 1824.

Coat of Arms: At the center is a dark blue shield with gold borders, accented with red x-shapes. Two golden lions face a tree in the center. Above the shield, there is a helmet with a red pennant flying from its top.

Holidays: Año Nuevo (New Year's Day—January 1); Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day—February 5); Benito Juárez's birthday (March 21); Primero de Mayo (Labor Day—May 1); Revolution Day, 1910 (November 20); and Navidad (Christmas—December 25).

Flag: There is no official flag.

Time: 6 AM = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

1 Location and Size

Jalisco is located in the center of Mexico. It has an area of 80,137 square kilometers (30,941 square miles), which is a little smaller than the U.S. state of South Carolina. Jalisco is bordered to the northwest by the Mexican state of Nayarit; to the north by the Mexican states of Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, and San Luis Potosí; to the east by the Mexican states of Guanajuato and Colima; and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Jalisco has 124 municipalities. Its capital is Guadalajara.

Jalisco has large mountain ranges ( sierras ) including the Sierra Madre Occidental, with plateaus. The Los Huicholes , Los Guajalotes, and San Isidro Mountains, El Gordo Hill, and the Tequila volcano all form part of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Other mountains include the Cacoma, Manantlán, Tapalpa, and Lalo. In the southern part of the state lie the Nevado de Colima and Colima volcanoes.

© Peter Langer/EPD Photos Nuevo Vallarta is only about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the Puerto Vallarta Airport in the neighboring state of Jalisco.
© Peter Langer/EPD Photos

Nuevo Vallarta is only about 7 miles (11 kilometers) from the Puerto Vallarta Airport in the neighboring state of Jalisco.

There are large valleys in the state. The most important rivers in Jalisco include the Lerma-Santiago, which crosses the central part of the state. The Lerma River begins in México state and runs into Lake Chapala. The San Juan de los Lagos and San Miguel Rivers cross the Los Altos zone of Jalisco.

Lake Chapala is the largest lake in Mexico. The San Marcos, Cajititlán, Atotonilco, Zacoalco, and Sayula lagoons are also found in Jalisco.

2 Climate

In the capital, Guadalajara, the January temperature averages 16° c (60° f ). In June, the average is 23° c (74° f ). Rainfall is heaviest between June and September. Average annual rainfall is 134 centimeters (53 inches). Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Ocean is warmer, with average January temperatures of 22° c (71° f ) and June average temperatures 28° c (82° f ).

3 Plants and Animals

There are tropical forests with mahogany, rosewood, and cedar trees, mosses, and orchids. There are also lemon, coconut, and banana trees. In the cooler regions, there are white pine (and other species of pine), oak, fir, birch, and hazelnut trees. Native

animals include pumas, jaguars, wolves, coyotes, wildcats, badgers, foxes, deer, eagles, doves, grouse, sparrow hawks, and many types of snakes. Small animals such as squirrels and raccoons also find habitat in Jalisco.

4 Environmental Protection

Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve is located between the states of Jalisco and Colima in west-central Mexico. The reserve, which protects the Jalisco dry forests, is one of the most important protected areas in North America for biodiversity. It shelters over 2,700 species of plants (40% of all plants native to Mexico). About 560 species of vertebrates are protected there, including 26% of all mammal and 33% of all bird species in Mexico.

5 Population, Ethnic Groups, Languages

Jalisco had a total population of 6,322,002 in 2000; of the total, 3,070,241 were men and 3,251,761 were women. The population density was 80 people per square kilometer (207 people per square mile). In 2000, the capital of Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, had a population of 1,647,720. Almost all residents of Jalisco speak Spanish.

6 Religions

According to the 2000 census, 84% of the population, or 5.3 million people, were Roman Catholic; about 2%, or 110,413 people, were Protestant. That year there were also 40,646 Jehovah's Witnesses and 983 Jews. About 90,000 people reported no religion.

7 Transportation

Guadalajara-Don Miguel Hidalgo Airport and Puerto Vallarta International-Gustavo Diaz Ordaz Airport provide international flights to and from Jalisco. The Guadalajara airport is the second-busiest airport (after Mexico City) in Mexico.

8 History

The first human settlements date back to more than ten thousand years ago. In 300 A . D ., the Mexican states of Nayarit, Colima, and Jalisco witnessed the emergence of a sedentary civilization near the Pacific Ocean. Towards the interior, more than a dozen different groups lived by the time the Spaniards first arrived in Mexico in 1519.

First invaded by Spaniard Alonso de Avalos in 1522, the area that now constitutes Jalisco, together with Aguascalientes and Zacatecas, was later named Nueva Galicia. Spanish conqueror Nuño de Guzmán (d. 1544) gained control of the region in 1536, but an indigenous rebellion in 1541 evolved into the Mixton War. Eventually, the Spaniards defeated the indigenous rebels and successfully incorporated the region into the colonial economy. Its capital city, Guadalajara, was founded in 1531. Many of the more than fifty Catholic churches in Guadalajara date from the colonial period, and its cathedral was finished in 1618. Indigenous revolts in 1593 and 1601 brought instability and generated a violent reprisal by the Spanish colonizers. A university was created in 1792, twenty-five years after the expulsion of the Jesuits (an order of the Roman Catholic Church). The first printing press was brought to Guadalajara in 1793.

In November of 1810, Guadalajara fell under the siege of the independence insurgents, who fought against Spanish control of Mexico. Father Miguel Hidalgo (1753–1811), one of the leaders of the independence movement, decreed the end of slavery there. Bishop Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas y Creso, a priest who was a part of the independence movement, excommunicated (banned from the church) Hidalgo. After Hidalgo's assassination royalist forces moved to defeat the pro-independence insurgents and retake Guadalajara. Eventually, Jalisco joined other Mexican states in the formal declaration of independence under the Plan of Iguala agreement in 1821 and a new state constitution was passed into law in 1825. However, military uprisings and epidemic outbreaks hurt the economy and the consolidation of Jalisco as a powerful state during the mid-19th century.

Benito Juárez (1806–1872), the leader of the liberal faction that was seeking to establish a strong central government, was captured in Guadalajara in 1858 and almost killed. Eventually, Juárez and his allies emerged as the victor of the war between the liberals and the conservatives (who supported French colonial rule), but Jalisco initially supported the conservative forces and French emperor Maximilian (1832–1867). (France had conquered and ruled parts of Mexico from 1864 to 1866.) Eventually, the liberal forces gained control of Jalisco and Porfirio Díaz (1830–1915) governed with the acquiescence of the Jalisco elite until the Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910. Split among the different factions, Jalisco militias loyal to Díaz overpowered the revolutionaries early on in the Mexican Revolution. Later, revolutionary leader Francisco "Pancho" Villa (1878–1923) entered Guadalajara with

© Peter Langer/EPD Photos Iglesia del Carmen (del Carmen Church) in Guadalajara, one of the more than 50 Roman Catholic churches in Guadalajara.
© Peter Langer/EPD Photos

Iglesia del Carmen (del Carmen Church) in Guadalajara, one of the more than 50 Roman Catholic churches in Guadalajara.
his legendary Northern Division. Villa demanded land distribution and recognition of the peasants as legitimate actors in Mexican politics. After peace was mostly achieved in 1917, the revolutionary victors did not easily control Jalisco. Conflict raged between the Roman Catholic Church and the new government throughout the 1920s and 1930s. This conflict, known as the Cristero War, was launched by conservative Roman Catholics who opposed the anti-clerical positions of the new government. The conflict originated in Jalisco, where most of the fierce battles were fought.

Eventually, the revolutionary government made peace with the Roman Catholic Church. Conservative Jalisco leaders coexisted with revolutionary governors. Jalisco soon evolved to become a major industrial center.

Beginning in the 1930s, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) exercised control in Jalisco. Many believed the PRI maintained control of the country by discouraging debate. The late 1960s and early 1970s were characterized by unrest and demands for government reforms throughout Mexico. Several guerrilla groups (radical political groups) were operating in Jalisco during this period. In 1973, they kidnapped the father-in-law of then Mexican president Luis Echeverría (1970–1976) and former Jalisco governor José Guadalupe Zuno. As in the rest of the country, guerilla activity decreased in the late 1970s. In the 1980s, the conservative National Action Party (PAN) emerged as the main threat to the control that the PRI had successfully achieved over Jalisco. PAN continued to grow in influence through the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

9 State and Local Government

A state governor is democratically elected for a nonrenewable six-year term. The state congress is comprised of forty deputies. Twenty are elected in single member districts, and twenty are elected by proportional representation, all for nonrenewable three-year terms. Separation of power and check-and-balance provisions were first fully exercised after PAN candidate Alberto Cárdenas became state governor in 1995.

There are 124 municipal governments in Jalisco. They have varying degrees of informal independence. The larger municipalities have more control over their own budgets. Municipal presidents and council members are elected for nonrenewable three-year terms.

10 Political Parties

The three main political parties in all of Mexico are the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). As in most other Mexican states, the PRI exercised absolute control of state level politics since the end of the Mexican Revolution until the late 1980s. PAN victories in local elections prepared the way for an impressive PAN triumph at the gubernatorial race in 1995. The PAN again won the 2001 gubernatorial election with former Guadalajara mayor Francisco Ramírez Acuña. The PRD has limited presence in the state.

11 Judicial System

The Supreme Tribunal of Justice is the highest court in Jalisco. Its members are appointed by a two-thirds majority in congress from a list presented by the judiciary. Members are appointed for seven-year terms. If ratified, the second and last term is ten years of service. Appointees must meet strict qualification requirements. Strict separation of power between the executive, legislative, and judicial is provided for in detail in the state constitution. In addition, Jalisco has an electoral tribunal and local courts.

© Peter Langer/EPD Photos Fountain in Guadalajara.
© Peter Langer/EPD Photos

Fountain in Guadalajara.

12 Economy

Jalisco's economy ranks third among the Mexican states. Tourism along the Pacific Ocean coastline, especially around the resort of Puerto Vallarta, is an important segment of the economy. Jalisco produces tequila, an alcoholic beverage sold in Mexico and also exported. Petróleos Mexicanos, the state petroleum company, is exploring for oil in the southeast part of the state. Along the southern coast, fishing and mining are important. The state is a major producer of sugar.

13 Industry

Over thirty of Mexico's largest companies are based in Jalisco. The state manufactures 60% of all computers produced in Mexico. Many industries produce agricultural products. Crops that are processed include peanuts and agave (for the production of tequila). Embroidery, formerly done by hand, is now mechanized. Embroidered garments are produced for export, especially to Asia through the port of Manzanillo in the neighboring state of Colima. Jalisco beekeepers produce commercial quantities of honey.

14 Labor

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Mexican workers saw their wages increase 17%, from $2.09 per hour in 1999 to $2.46 per hour in 2000. (The average US worker earned $19.86 per hour in 2000.) After one year, workers are entitled by law to six days paid vacation.

15 Agriculture

Jalisco is the country's leading producer of corn and sugar. Jalisco also has large, modern dairy and poultry farms. Crops grown in the state include beans, oats, alfalfa, chilies, sorghum, onions, and chickpeas. Farmers also raise cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats.

16 Natural Resources

Along the coast there is a thriving fishing industry. There are silver and gold mines in northern Jalisco. The dry forests thrive in regions where there is rain during four or five months of the year. During the dry periods, the trees of the dry forests lose their leaves. Jalisco's dry forests grow in the region around the Colima volcano.

17 Energy and Power

Almost all of the energy in Mexico is provided by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). In February 2002, the CFE introduced new electric rates. For households that use less than 140 kilowatt hours per month, there was no rate increase. (This is about 75% of all Mexican households, according to CFE). After the rate increased in 2002, about 44% of Jalisco residents were charged higher rates because they used more than the minimum electricity.

18 Health

The state of Jalisco has 45 general hospitals, 999 outpatient centers, and 219 surgical centers. The Hospital San Javier in Guadalajara is the only center for gamma knife surgery in Mexico. There is also an AmeriMed hospital in Puerto Vallarta.

Most of the Mexican population is covered under a government health plan. The IMSS (Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social) covers the general population. The ISSSTE (Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de Trabajadores del Estado) covers state workers.

19 Housing

Over three-fourths of the housing available in Jalisco is in good repair. Only 5% is in need of significant upgrading. These homes may not have running water or access to electricity.

20 Education

The system of public education was first started by President Benito Juárez in 1867. Public education in Mexico is funded by the state and is free for all students ages six to sixteen. According to the 2000 census, there were approximately 1.4 million school-age students in the state. However, many students elect to go to private schools. The thirty-one states of Mexico all have at least one state university. The Universidad de Guadalajara (University of Guadalajara) is located in the capital.

21 Arts

Jalisco has almost seventy local cultural institutions. There are also twenty-seven theaters, including the Lakeside Little Theater, which sponsors works in English.

© Peter Langer/EPD Photos Cathedral in Guadalajara. Many Roman Catholic churches in Guadalajara date from the colonial period, and its cathedral was finished in 1618.
© Peter Langer/EPD Photos

Cathedral in Guadalajara. Many Roman Catholic churches in Guadalajara date from the colonial period, and its cathedral was finished in 1618.
Jalisco also has a philharmonic orchestra. The Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara, which presents musical and theater productions, opened in 1866 with an opera production.

22 Libraries and Museums

There are 226 branches of the national library system in Jalisco. There are also sixty-six museums. Cocula has a museum dedicated to the art of the mariachi (traditional Mexican music). The Museo Tonallán (Tonalá Museum) features paintings and traditional pottery and masks. The Instituto de las Artesanías Jaliscienses (Arts and Crafts Institute of Jalisco) is in the capital, Guadalajara. The capital also has a wax museum, a museum of paleontology (the study of fossils), a popular art museum, an archeological museum, a museum of science and technology that includes a planetarium, and a museum of the army and air force.

23 Media

The capital, Guadalajara, has five daily newspapers: Guadalajara Reporter, El Informador, El Occidental, the English-language Guadalajara Colony Reporter, and Mural.

24 Tourism, Travel, and Recreation

The capital, Guadalajara, is known as the Pearl of the West because of its beautiful architecture and geographic location. It is also the home of many festive mariachi bands that play at weddings and other festivals. Along with golf and tennis, Guadalajara also hosts charro (rodeos), where cowboys compete in roping and riding events. Zoológico Guadalajara is a major zoo in the capital. Puerto Vallarta is the state's best-known resort. Tourists enjoy sport fishing, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Zapopan has the Museo de Casa Albarrón, featuring taxidermy (stuffed and mounted animals) exhibits of the great hunters. The famous "Mexican hat dance" originated in the city of Guadalajara.

25 Sports

Soccer is extremely popular, and there are three soccer teams in the state—Guadalajara, Atlas, and Tapatio. Soccer matches are played in the 63,163-seat Estadio Jalisco (Jalisco Stadium). The university's soccer team in Guadalajara plays in the 30,000-seat 3 de Marzo stadium. There is also a 20,000-seat bullfighting ring in Guadalajara. Zapopan has a basketball team, the Tecos de la Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, which plays in the 40,000-seat Gimnasio Universitario.

26 Famous People

Notable Jalisco citizens include Bishop Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas y Crespo (b. Spain, 1752–1824), who directed the construction of the Cabañas hospice for homeless people and orphans. The Cabañas became the headquarters for the state secretary of culture in 1992. Artist Gerardo Murillo (1875–1964) was born in Guadalajara and used the pseudonym Dr. Atl. Muralist José Clemente Orozco (1883–1949) was born in Ciudad Guzmán. His Man of Fire may be seen in the Cabañas Institute in Guadalajara. Novelist Agustín Yáñez (1904–1980) wrote about myths of the indigenous people and the Spanish colonial era. His works include the novels The Edge of the Storm and The Lean Lands. Popular writer Juan Rulfo (1918–1986) is best-known for his works The Burning Plain and Pedro Páramo. Carlos Santana (b. 1947), whose band is Santana, is a famous Mexican rock-and-roll guitarist born in Autlan De Navarro.

27 Bibliography


Carew-Miller, Anna. Famous People of Mexico. Philadelphia: Mason Crest Publishers, 2003.

DeAngelis, Gina. Mexico. Mankato, MN: Blue Earth Books, 2003.

Supples, Kevin. Mexico. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2002.

Web Sites

Guadalajara Reporter. http://www.guadalajarareporter.com (accessed on June 15, 2004).

Mexico for Kids. http://www.elbalero.gob.mx/index_kids.html (accessed on June 15, 2004).

Also read article about Jalisco from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

this really helped me alot to learn more about Jalisco
This helped me soo much on my project and it also made me learn things I didn't know about Jalisco
This helped me soo much on my project and it also made me learn things I didn't know about Jalisco
Erin James
This website really helped me with my agriculture and learning about Jalisco, it would help also to have some information about the poverty
Taylor Kinney
Wow! This helped me a ton! Thank you so much! My project is due Monday and this gave me all my information!You did amazing!

Thank You!
Taylor Kinney
Wow! This helped me a ton! Thank you so much! My project is due Monday and this gave me all my information!You did amazing!

Thank You!
I have learnt a lot about Jalisco from this article. I am particularly interested in the type of governance tht is in effect here.
This helped a lot for my Mexico Report. I had to write about every state. This is an awesome sight that i also told my friends who also have to do this report.
Thanks so much for all the info on Jalisco! It really helped me on my report. This sounds exactly like what everyone else wrote...
wow it gave me alot of facts now i can finish my project
this helped me but it didnt have all that i was looking for
This helped me so much on my project for spanish and i learned a lot
Jack Adams
Nice article. I plan to visit this area as soon as the weather turns cold in Oklahoma.
thank you i have a lot of stuff and i was from jalisco

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: