City of Leather

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Originally central to the Chupicuaro culture, Leon was also under the influence of Teotihuacan and Toltec culture by the Classic period. The Chichimecas of Guamare and Guachichil arrived in the 13th century, from what is now San Luis Potosi.


In 1530, Spaniard and notorious war criminal Nuno Beltran de Guzman arrived in Leon, naming it Nuestra Senora. By 1546, the Spanish were farming and raising cattle, much to the discontent of the Chichimecas, who acknowledged the Spanish as invaders. In response to rising violence between the Spanish and Chichimecas, Viceroy Martin Enriquez de Almanza announced the founding of a city there – which took place on January 20, 1576 when Leon became official.


During the Mexican War of Independence, Leon was attacked many times, yet remained a strong Royalist force. It remained a Royalist stronghold until the end of the war, when Augustin de Iturbide arrived. Despite having lost the War of Independence, Leon did not celebrate the Cry of Dolores until 1825. It wasn’t until 1830 that Leon gained City status.


Today, Leon is a bustling business city with a lovely historic center. The largest output for Leon is it’s leather industry, which visitors greatly enjoy. Shoes, boots, belts, jackets, purses and horse saddles are just a few items Leon is famed for.