Queretaro - Encyclopedia

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QUERETARO, a city of Mexico, capital of the state of Queretaro-Arteaga, 152 m. by rail N.W. of the national capital. Pop. (1900) 33,152, including a large Indian element. Queretaro is served by the Mexican Central railway. The city stands on a plain at the foot of the Cerro de las Campanas, 6168 ft. above sea-level. Among the important buildings are the Cathedral (said to have been built originally about 1535, and subsequently restored at various times), the Iturbide theatre (in which occurred the trial of Maximilian), the government offices, the federal palace and the churches of Santa Rosa, Santa Clara and San Augustin. The federal palace and the church of Santa Rosa are examples of the work of the celebrated Mexican architect, Francisco Eduardo de Tresguerras (1765-1833), who restored the church of Santa Clara also. The gilded wood carvings of Santa Clara are noteworthy; and in the courtyard of the federal palace there are other specimens of the same work. The water-supply is brought over a fine aqueduct 5 m. long, dating from 18th century. Among manufactures are cottons, woollens, pottery and ironwares. Queretaro has one of the oldest and largest cotton factories in Mexico, employing about 2000 operatives, and maintaining a small private military force for protection. It was built in the days when brigandage held the whole country in terror, and was strongly fortified and provided with artillery and garrison. The latter was also used to escort pack trains of goods and supplies before the building of the railway. This old factory has also played its part in the civil wars of the country since 1840, becoming a fortress whenever Queretaro became involved in military operations.

Queretaro occupies the site of an Otomie Indian town dating from about 1400. It was captured by the Spaniards in 1531 and was raised to the rank of a city in 1655. It was the scene of a revolutionary outbreak against Spain in 1810. In 1848 a Mexican congress met here to ratify the treaty of peace with the United States, and in 1867 Queretaro was the scene of Maximilian's last stand against the republicans (under Escobedo), which resulted in his capture and subsequent execution on the Cerro de las Campanas just N. of the city.

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