Location: Central Mexico
Altitude: 2440 Meters / 8010 Feet
Founded: 1548 by Cristóbal de Oñate
Economy: Mining, Agriculture, Cattle-raising, Tourism
Population: 132,035 (2005)
Name: Zacatecas is a Zacateco Nahuatl word that means "People of the Grasslands"
Zacatecas is a Nahua word that loosely translates as "where there is abundant grass (zacate)." It was here, on September 8, 1546 near Cerro de la Bufa, Chichimeca men presented Spaniard Juan de Tolosa with several pieces of silver-rich ore. The Chichimeca peoples consisted of 8 different semi-nomadic tribes in an area that stretched between Guadalajara, Durango, Guanajuato and Zacatecas - an area known as the Bajio. Due to their reliance on hunting and gathering, the Chichimeca were strong in their resistance against the Spanish conquest for silver that followed the events of September 1546. In 1550, the Spanish launched an assault on the Chichimeca peoples - triggering a 40 year war that ended when the Spanish ultimately opted to pay the Chichimeca peoples for peace with food, clothing, lands and red-haired women from sea-side villages. These women were offered for the specific return of gold and silver that had been seized during the 40 year conflict.
Founded in 1548, Zacatecas played a prominent role in the economic riches of Mexico due to her abundance of minerals and development of the Silver Road, which was mainly supported by the mines of Guanajuato, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi. Mining is still an important industry in Zacatecas, with the state boasting two of the worlds largest silver mines. The state continues mining about 17% of the worlds supply of silver today.