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Guanajuato, city (1990 pop. 73,108), capital of Guanajuato state, W central Mexico. The city, with an altitude of c.6,600 ft (2,000 m), is situated in the Cañada de Marfil [ivory ravine], a precipitous ravine encircled by barren hills. Guanajuato has narrow, winding, steep cobblestone streets, sometimes pieced out by stone steps, and the ground underneath is honeycombed with silver-mine shafts. Its geographic position and economic importance as one of Spanish America's chief silver-producing centers gave the city a key role in the wars and revolutions that racked Mexico in the 19th and early 20th cent. Guanajuato has become a resort city. There are several noteworthy colonial churches and buildings, including the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, originally a granary that was besieged and captured (1810) by Hidalgo y Costilla at the outset of the war against Spain.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Mexican Political Geography

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