Capital of the state of Coahuila, Saltillo is a friendly city with intense industrial and business activity; with a rich historical and cultural past, a mixture of the Spanish colonizers, nomads and indigenous Tlaxcalans. Currently it stands out nationally, as one of the cities with the least perception of insecurity, a good place to visit and live.
The indigenous people who inhabited this area did not have fixed populations or sow the land. His life was organized around hunting and gathering wild fruits.
The Saltillo Valley was covered with vegetation; from the mountains, along the length and breadth of the land, there were swamps and numerous springs. This wide extension at certain times was populated by archery Indians who fed on seeds, hunted wild boars, deer and turkeys, as well as fish and turtles.
After the conquest, the Spanish saw in the Saltillo Valley a suitable place to found a population. This territory corresponded to the kingdom of Nueva Vizcaya, whose capital was Durango. Saltillo was founded before 1574, according to a report made by the royal cosmographer to Felipe II, the name of Saltillo appears at the end of a list of towns founded in those years. The name was Villa de Santiago del Saltillo. However, the official date of the foundation of the city is the year of 1577.
The European conquerors found that a small waterfall emerged from the rocks of a hill, located to the south of the city. As that waterfall was more like a "Saltillo", they named the town with this name. For several decades Saltillo was established as the door of the Spanish advance to the northeast.
However, the new settlers were attacked by the Indians who lived in the surroundings and the town was about to disappear; in 1581 several families took refuge in Mazapil and Durango.
To strengthen the population, Tlaxcala groups were invited to serve as an example of "civilized" life for the nomads of the region. The Tlaxcalans accepted the Viceroy's request and sent 400 families to found towns in what is now Jalisco, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas and Coahuila.
In 1591 they founded the town of San Esteban de la Nueva Tlaxcala. These indigenous people received land, cattle and farming instruments, in addition to the permission to bear arms. They also introduced sheep farming and made blankets and blankets with their wool. In 1592 they built the oldest church in the city, San Esteban.
For more than 200 years, the Tlaxcalans and the Europeans shared the same territory, each settled in his town: the Tlaxcalans in San Esteban de la Nueva Tlaxcala and the Europeans in Villa del Santiago del Saltillo.
In 1607 the conqueror Santos Rojo brought to Saltillo the image of the Holy Christ of the Chapel which is venerated every August 6.
The Villa de Santiago del Saltillo and the town of San Esteban were separated by a ditch that ran through where Calle Allende now exists and were independent in their civil and religious authorities, although they were united in defending against nomads, marketing its products and important festivals.
Growth was accelerated and there were frequent conflicts over land and pastures. Many Tlaxcalans and Spaniards left the city to found and consolidate other towns such as Monterrey, Parras and the current Viesca. In addition to Guadalupe, Bustamante and Villa Aldama in Nuevo León; Monclova, Nava, Nadadores, Candela and other villas in Coahuila and even San Antonio Texas.
The wealth of the region led to the Saltillo Fair, one of the most famous in New Spain during the colonial period. It was celebrated in October of each year.
The 18th century was for Saltillenses a time of tranquility, with occasional disturbances due to attacks by Indians and theft of mackerel, as well as lawsuits between Spaniards and Tlaxcalans due to land and water.
In the last quarter of this century, the current Cathedral, the El Calvario temple, the Chapel of Santo Cristo, the San Francisco temple, the Landín chapel and a hermitage where the Guadalupe Sanctuary is located were built. At that same time, the Bourbon kings reorganized the territories of New Spain into provinces. In this way, Saltillo and San Esteban were incorporated into the province of Coahuila.
In the early 19th century the French invaded Spain and took the King prisoner. The people of Saltillense contributed money and jewelry that allowed the payment of 50 soldiers who fought in the Iberian Peninsula.
In October 1810, the muleteers who arrived at the Saltillo fair informed the residents of the Cura Hidalgo arms uprising against the Spanish government.
Spain reacted to the independence movement and created the Cortes de Cádiz to allow the participation of its colonies in legal and administrative matters. Saltillo sent Father Miguel Ramos Arizpe as representative of his district.
In 1821, three months before the official act of Independence was held in Mexico City, the Cabildo de Saltillo declared independence.
After independence, the Villa de Santiago del Saltillo was named Leona Vicario, and the town of San Esteban changed its name to Villa Longín, in honor of a Michoacán insurgent. However, the names did not prevail and in 1827 they were integrated as a single population called Saltillo. In that same year, the capital of Coahuila moved from Monclova to Saltillo.
In 1846 the war of North American intervention against Mexico began and in February 1847, near Saltillo, one of the most important and bloody confrontations took place: The Battle of Angostura.
Years later, Mexico was invaded by the French. Saltillo was the seat of the powers of the Republic, since Benito Juárez, fleeing from the invading troops, remained in Saltillo the first months of 1864.
In 1867 the Ateneo Fuente, one of the first higher education institutions in the north of the country, was created. Years later, the Normal School for Teachers was created.
The life of the city changed abruptly from 1883 when the railroad arrived in Saltillo. At the same time, electricity, the telegraph and the automobile, as well as the increase in books and newspapers, led Saltillo to open up to modernity.
During the Mexican Revolution, Saltillo remained without major shocks. The city was taken by Huerta's forces, later by Villa's and then Carranza's. Hundreds of peasants were forced to join the various groups, for which many fled to Texas, as did some aristocratic families.
Around 1930 the current Antonio Narro Agrarian University was founded. In the XNUMXs, the Tecnológico de Saltillo and the University of Coahuila were created. And two decades later, the Autonomous University of the Northeast and the Saltillo Campus of the Tecnológico de Monterrey.
The agricultural life of Saltillo in the second half of the 20th century was rapidly transforming into industrial activity; the huge orchards disappeared and industries dominate today's landscape.
Thus, companies such as CIFUNSA, CINSA, Éxito, Molinos el Fénix, Moto Islo in 1961, Zincamex and Inyec Diesel emerged in the same decade. But the real industrial explosion occurred in the 70's and 80's with the arrival of the automobile manufacturing industry in the region, with companies like General Motors and Chrysler, together with their respective suppliers or satellite companies. Since then, Saltillo and its Metropolitan Area, made up of Ramos Arizpe and Arteaga, have been known as the "Detroit of Mexico".
In recent years, the diversification of the industry has been promoted, with the arrival of pharmaceutical companies, chemicals, ceramics, maquiladoras of household appliances and even parts for the aerospace industry.
The most representative in the gastronomy of Saltillo, is the pulque bread, a mestizo recipe that united the Tlaxcalteca pulque with the Spanish wheat.