MORELOS, an inland state of Mexico on the southern slope of the great Mexican plateau, lying S. of the Federal District, with the states of Puebla on the E. and S.E., Guerrero on the S., and Mexico on the W., N. and N.E. Pop. (1900), 161,697, including a large percentage of Indians and mixed bloods. Area, 2773 sq. m. Its surface is roughly broken by mountain ranges extending southward from the Sierra de Ajusco, forming numerous valleys opening southward. It is drained by the Amacusac river, a northern tributary of the Mescala, or Balsas. There is a wide variation of climate for so small a territory, the higher elevations of the Sierra de Ajusco being cold and humid (the Mexican Central crosses the range at an elevation of 9974 ft.); the lower spurs mild, temperate and healthy, the lower valleys subtropical, hot and unhealthy. The rainfall is light in the lower regions and irrigation is generally employed. Notwithstanding its mountainous character, Morelos is one of the most flourishing agricultural states of Mexico, producing sugar, rice, Indian corn, coffee, wheat, fruit and vegetables. Although the state is supposed to have several of the minerals found in this part of Mexico (silver, cinnabar, iron, lead, gold, petroleum and coal), its mining industries continue undeveloped and neglected. San Antonio, a suburb of Cuernavaca, is noted for its pottery, which is highly attractive in form and colour, and finds a ready market among the visitors to that city. Morelos is traversed by two railway lines the Interoceanic from N.E. to S.W., and the Mexican Central almost N. and S., the latter affording direct communication between the national and state capitals.
The capital, CUERNAVACA (pop. 9584 in 1900), 47 m. S. of the city of Mexico on the Mexican Central railway, is one of the most picturesque towns in Mexico. It dates from the time of Cortes, who built for himself a residence there, and had the town included in the royal grant to himself in 1529. Maximilian had a villa there, and many of the public men of Mexico, natives of the lowlands, have made their homes there rather than in the national capital. The palace of Cortes is now occupied by the state legislature and by various public offices, and Maximilian's villa by a school.
After the capital the largest city in the state is Cuautla Morelos, or Ciudad Morelos (pop. 6269 in 1900), 27 m. east by south of Cuernavaca, on the Interoceanic railway, and in a rich sugarproducing district. Some of the largest and most modern sugar-mills of Mexico are in the Cuautla district. There are hot sulphur springs here. The town is celebrated in Mexican history for the intrepid defence of the place by Jose Maria Morelos (1765-1815), the patriot leader, against a greatly superior royalist force, from the 19th of February to the 2nd of May 1812, when he cut his way through the attacking army and escaped. Other important towns are Yautepec (6139 in 1900), 1 6 m. east of Cuernavaca, on the Interoceanic line; Tetecala, 13 m. south-west of the capital, a characteristic Indian town near the pyramid of Xochicalco, and Jojutla, 21 m. south of the capital, on the Interoceanic railway near the southern boundary of the state. An interesting local phenomenon is that of lake Tequesquiten, which was formed by the subsidence of a large area of ground about the middle of the 19th century, carrying with it an old town of the same name. The hollow filled with water, and the spire of the old church is still to be seen in the middle of the lake.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)