Zacatecas, State Of
ZACATECAS, STATE OF, a 'state of Mexico, bounded N. by Durango and Coahuila, E. by San Luis Potosi, S. by Aguascalientes and Jalisco, and W. by Jalisco and Durango. Area, 24,757 sq. m. Pop. (1900) 462,190. It belongs wholly to the great central plateau of Mexico, with an average elevation of about 7700 ft. The state is somewhat mountainous, being traversed in the W. by lateral ranges of the Sierra Madre Occidental, and by numerous isolated ranges in other parts Mazapil, Norillos, Guadalupe and others. There are no large rivers, only the small head-streams of the Aguanaval in the N., and of the Guazamota, Bolanos and Juchipila in the W., the last three being tributaries of the Rio Grande de Santiago. As the rainfall is light this lack of streams suitable for irrigation is a drawback to agriculture. The climate is dry and generally healthy, being warm in the valleys and temperate in the mountains. The agricultural products are cereals, sugar and maguey, the first being dependent on the rainfall, often failing altogether, the second on irrigation in the lower valleys, and the latter doing best in a dry climate on a calcareous soil with water not far beneath the surface. There is also a considerable production of peaches, apricots and grapes, the last being made into wine. A few cattle are raised, and considerable attention is given to the rearing of sheep, goats and swine. A natural product is guayule, a shrub from which rubber is extracted. The chief industry of Zacatecas, however, is mining for silver, gold, mercury, copper, iron, zinc, lead, bismuth, antimony and salt. Its mineral wealth was discovered soon after the conquest, and some of its mines are among the most famous of Mexico, dating from 1546. One of the most productive of its silver mines, the Alvarado, has records which show a production of nearly $800,000,000 in silver between 1548 and 1867. The state is traversed by the Mexican Central and the Mexican National railways. Its manufactures are limited chiefly to the reduction of mineral ores, the extraction of rubber from guayule, the making of sugar, rum, mescal, pulque, woollen and cotton fabrics, and some minor industries of the capital. The capital is Zacatecas, and the other principal towns are Sombrerete (pop. 10,000), an important silver-mining town 70 m. N.W. of the capital (elevation 8430 ft.); Ciudad Garcia (about 9500); Guadalupe (9000); Pinos (8000), a mining town; San Juan de Mezquital (7000); and Fresnillo (6300), an important silverand copper-mining centre.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)