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Michoacán de Ocampo
Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo'
Flag of Michoacan.svg
Coat of arms of Michoacan.svg
Heredamos Libertad, Legaremos Justicia Social

(We Inherited Freedom, We Will Bequeath Social Justice)


El alma de Mexico

(The soul of Mexico)
Michoacan in Mexico (location map scheme).svg
State of Michoacán within Mexico
Coordinates: 19°10′N101°54′W / 19.167°N 101.900°W / 19.167; -101.900 Coordinates: 19°10′N101°54′W / 19.167°N 101.900°W / 19.167; -101.900
Country Mexico
Capital and largest city Morelia
Municipalities 113
Admission December 22, 1823 [1]
Order 5th
   Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo [2] PRD logo without border (Mexico).svg
   Senators [3] Cristóbal Arias Solís Morena Party (Mexico).svg
Blanca Estela Piña Gudiño Morena Party (Mexico).svg
Antonio García Conejo PRD logo without border (Mexico).svg
   Deputies [4]
  Total58,599 km2 (22,625 sq mi)
  Ranked 16th
Highest elevation
3,840 m (12,600 ft)
(2015) [7]
  Rank 9th
  Density78/km2 (200/sq mi)
  Density rank 13th
Demonym(s) Michoacano (a)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Postal code
Area code
ISO 3166 code MX-MIC
HDI Increase2.svg 0.745 High Ranked 27th of 32
GDP US$ 45,052.91 mil [a]
Website Official Web Site
^ a. The state's GDP was 210,041,025 thousand pesos in 2008, [8] amount corresponding to 16,409,455.078 thousand dollars, being a dollar worth 12.80 pesos (value of June 3, 2010). [9]

Michoacán, formally Michoacán de Ocampo (Spanish pronunciation:  [mitʃoaˈkan de oˈkampo] ), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Michoacán de Ocampo (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo), is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. The State is divided into 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia (formerly called Valladolid). The city was named after José María Morelos, one of the main heroes of the Mexican War of Independence.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Mexico City Capital in Mexico

Mexico City, or the City of Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. Mexico City is one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas. It is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 meters (7,350 ft). The city has 16 boroughs.

Municipalities of Michoacán Wikimedia list article

Michoacán is a state in West Mexico that is divided into 113 municipalities.

Michoacán is located in Western Mexico, and has a stretch of coastline on the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. It is bordered by the states of Colima and Jalisco to the west and northwest, Guanajuato to the north, Querétaro to the northeast, the State of México to the east, and Guerrero to the southeast.

Colima State of Mexico

Colima, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Colima, is one of the 32 states that make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It shares its name with its capital and main city, Colima.

Jalisco State of Mexico

Jalisco, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Jalisco, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and is bordered by six states which are Nayarit, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacán and Colima. Jalisco is divided into 125 municipalities, and its capital city is Guadalajara. Jalisco is one of the most important states in Mexico because of its natural resources as well as its history. Many of the characteristic traits of Mexican culture, particularly outside Mexico City, are originally from Jalisco, such as mariachi, ranchera music, birria, tequila, jaripeo, etc., hence the state's motto: "Jalisco es México." Economically, it is ranked third in the country, with industries centered in the Guadalajara metropolitan area, the second largest metropolitan area in Mexico. The state is home to two significant indigenous populations, the Huichols and the Nahuas. There is also a significant foreign population, mostly retirees from the United States and Canada, living in the Lake Chapala and Puerto Vallarta areas.

Guanajuato State of Mexico

Guanajuato, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Guanajuato, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, are the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 46 municipalities and its capital city is Guanajuato. The largest city in the state is León.

The name Michoacán is from Nahuatl: Michhuahcān [mit͡ʃˈwaʔkaːn] from michhuah [ˈmit͡ʃwaʔ] ("possessor of fish") and -cān [kaːn] (place of) and means "place of the fishermen" referring to those who fish on Lake Pátzcuaro. [10] In pre-Hispanic times, the area was the home of the Purépecha Empire, which rivaled the Aztec Empire at the time of Spanish encounter. After the Spanish conquest, the empire became a separate province which became smaller over the colonial period. The state and several of its residents played a major role in the Mexican War of Independence. Today, the state is still home to a sizable population of Purépecha people as well as minor populations of Otomi and Nahua. The economy is based on agriculture, fishing, mining and some industry. The major tourism draw for the state is the Lake Pátzcuaro–Tzintzuntzan–Quiroga area, which was the center of the Purépecha Empire, also the national or state parks which include the winter grounds of the monarch butterflies ("Mariposas Monarca") and the park where the Cupatitzio River has its main source.

Nahuatl, known historically as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico.

Lake Pátzcuaro lake in Mexico

Lake Pátzcuaro is a lake in the municipality of Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico.

Aztec Empire Imperial alliance of city states located in central Mexico during the 15th and 16th centuries

The Aztec Empire, or the Triple Alliance, began as an alliance of three Nahua altepetl city-states: Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. These three city-states ruled the area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies under Hernán Cortés defeated them in 1521.


Yacata pyramids of Tzintzuntzan 4thYacatatztztz.JPG
Yacata pyramids of Tzintzuntzan

According to the archeological evidence, there has been human habitation within the territory of the Mexican state of Michoacán for at least 10,000 years. [11] In the pre-Hispanic period, there were waves of migration into the area, including the Pirinda, Nahua, Huetamo, Colima, Purépecha and other peoples. [12] There are sites of formal settlements from all Mesoamerican periods. Important sites include El Opeño and those in Curutarán, Tepalcatepec, Apatzingán, Zinapécuaro and Coalcomán. The territory has been inhabited by the Nahua, Otomi, Matlatzinca, Pirinda and Teco peoples as well as the Purépecha. [11]

El Opeño is a Mesoamerican archaeological site located in the municipality of Jacona in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. It is home to a prehispanic site, mainly known from the ceramic material found in the funerary complexes of the site, which have been dated to the Late Preclassic period. The importance of this site in mesoamerican archaeology is due to its antiquity and the ample diffusion of its style, contemporary to other native culture developments such as the Capacha culture and earlier than the Chupicuaro. El Opeño tombs, the oldest in Mesoamerica, have been dated to around 1600 BCE - a similar period as Olmec culture development.

Tepalcatepec, also known as "Tepeque", is a city and municipality in the state of Michoacán, located in the southwestern Tierra Caliente region of the state. The municipality borders the state of Jalisco to the north and west.

Apatzingán City in Michoacán, Mexico

Apatzingán is a city and its surrounding municipality, in the west-central region of the Mexican state of Michoacán.

Spanish-Tlaxcalan conquest of Michoacan under Nuno de Guzman. Lienzo de Tlaxala Aztec Indians Mexico Tlaxcalan Cortez.jpg
Spanish-Tlaxcalan conquest of Michoacan under Nuño de Guzmán. Lienzo de Tlaxala

The main pre-Hispanic civilization of the state is that of the Purépecha, which was centered in the Lake Pátzcuaro area. [11] Before the 13th century, both Nahua and Purépecha peoples were here, sustaining themselves by agriculture and fishing. The Purépecha are descendants of a late arrival of Chichimeca who came from the north. At Lake Patzcuaro, they came upon people with similar cultures to their own but who were more technically and socially advanced. The formation of the Purépechan state in the 13th century, when these people started their own dominion at Uayameo, today Santa Fé de la Laguna, and becoming dominant over the entire Lake Patzcuaro area by the 15th century. Conquest of neighboring tribes and territories occurred between 1401 and 1450, as they absorbed peoples with different cultures and languages into the empire. By the late 15th century, this state rivaled that of the Aztec, having expanded their territory over much of what is now Michoacán and into part of Colima, Nayarit, Querétaro, Guanajuato, Guerrero and Jalisco. The Aztec attempted to invade the Purépecha but were repelled. Because of this attack, the Purépecha later denied the Aztecs aid in their defense of Tenochtitlan against the Spanish. [11] [12]

Chichimeca ethnic group

Chichimeca was the name that the Nahua peoples of Mexico generically applied to nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples who were established in present-day Bajio region of Mexico. Chichimeca carried the same sense as the Roman term "barbarian" to describe Germanic tribes. The name, with its pejorative sense, was adopted by the Spanish Empire. For the Spanish, in the words of scholar Charlotte M. Gradie, "the Chichimecas were a wild, nomadic people who lived north of the Valley of Mexico. They had no fixed dwelling places, lived by hunting, wore little clothes and fiercely resisted foreign intrusion into their territory, which happened to contain silver mines the Spanish wished to exploit."

Nayarit State of Mexico

Nayarit, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Nayarit, is one of the 31 states which, together with the Mexico City, make up the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided in 20 municipalities and its capital city is Tepic.

Querétaro State of Mexico

Querétaro, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Querétaro, is one of the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities. Its capital city is Santiago de Querétaro.

Prior to the arrival of any Spaniard in the territory, then-ruler Zuanga died of smallpox, presumably carried by one of the Aztec delegations seeking military aid. He was succeeded by Tanganxoan II. The first Spaniard to the area was Cristóbal de Olid. The Spanish destruction of Tenochtitlan and their promise to allow him to remain ruler convinced Tanganxoan II to submit to Spanish rule. But, Nuño de Guzmán reneged on this agreement and killed Tanganxoan II in 1530. [11] [13]

Smallpox infectious disease that has been eradicated

Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977 and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980. The risk of death following contracting the disease was about 30%, with higher rates among babies. Often those who survived had extensive scarring of their skin and some were left blind.

Cristóbal de Olid Spanish conquistador

Cristóbal de Olid was a Spanish adventurer, conquistador and rebel who played a part in the conquest of Mexico and Honduras.

Nuño de Guzmán Spanish conqueror

Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán was a Spanish conquistador and colonial administrator in New Spain. He was the governor of the province of Pánuco from 1525 to 1533 and of Nueva Galicia from 1529 to 1534, President of the first Royal Audiencia of Mexico from 1528 to 1530. He founded several cities in Northwestern Mexico, including Guadalajara.

Basilica of Nuestra Senora de la Salud in Patzcuaro FacSaludPatzcuaro.JPG
Basilica of Nuestra Señora de la Salud in Patzcuaro

During the first years of the Conquest, Michoacán was part of the "kingdom of Mexico" which included the current states of Mexico, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Oaxaca, Morelos, Guerrero, Veracruz, Tabasco, Michoacán, Guanajuato and parts of San Luis Potosí, Jalisco and Colima. These lands were divided into encomiendas among the conquistadors. The provinces with the largest populations were called Alcaldias Mayores, with Michoacán being one of these, with its capital initially at Tzintzuntzan. Soon after, it was moved to Patzcuaro and eventually settled in what is now Morelia. The provincial and later state capital was founded by viceroy Antonio de Mendoza in 1541. It became the political and ecclesiastical center of the province after the death of Vasco de Quiroga in 1565. [11]

Soon after the Conquest, evangelists from the Franciscan, Augustinian, Carmelite and other orders established monasteries all over the territory. Some of the best-known are Juan de Moya, Martín de la Coruña and Jacob the Dacian. As first governor, Nuño de Guzmán disrupted and devastated the social and economic order of the area. Vasco de Quirga succeeded Guzman, bringing Franciscan and Augustinian friars to both evangelize and repair the area's broken economy and social institutions. Quiroga founded the Spanish city of Patzcuaro in 1538, calling it the Ciudad de Mechuacán. [11] For his efforts, Quiroga is still referred to in the Patzcuaro area as "Tata (grandfather) Vasco". [13] The diocese of Michoacán was established in 1536 by Pope Paul III, and its boundaries coincide with the old Purépecha kingdom. Its first bishop was Vasco de Quiroga. [14]

The Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo began as the Colegio de San Nicolas Obispo, founded by Vasco de Quiroga in Patzcuaro in 1540. It was originally a seminary for the training of evangelists. It was granted a royal seal in 1543 to become the Real Colegio de San Nicolás Obispo. The school was moved to Morelia in 1580 and was fused with the Colegio de San Miguel Guayangareo. In 1590, its name was changed to the Seminario Tridentino, when the Seminario Conciliar in 1601. By the end of the 17th century, the name returned to Colegio de San Nicolás but its structure was profoundly changed, adding studies such as philosophy, civil law, and others. At the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, a number of figures associated with the Mexican War of Independence, such as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, José María Morelos and others were associated with this school. By the mid-19th century, the school had been secularized and renamed the Primitivo y Nacional Colegio de San Nicolás de Hidalgo adding studies such as chemistry, physics and other sciences. The current name and organization was adopted after the Mexican Revolution in 1917. [15]

From the 16th to the 18th centuries, Augustinian, Franciscan and Carmelite missions were constructed in the territory as well as civil constructions, especially in the city now known as Morelia. Mining in areas such as Angangueo, Tlalpujahua and Inguaran had begun, as well as the establishment of agricultural and livestock haciendas. The first school of higher education, called the Primera Casa de Altos Estudios en América, was founded by Alonso de la Veracruz in Tiripetío. [13] Michoacán was made a separate province from "Mexico" in 1602. By the mid-17th century, the indigenous population had declined by half. In 1776, the territory of Michoacán was reduced to the area in which the modern states of Michoacán and Colima are now. Soon after, Colima split to join with the province of Guadalajara, leaving Michoacán roughly with the territory it has today. [11]

During the entire colonial period, the economy was concentrated in the hands of the Spanish-born, who held vast lands and haciendas. They also held the rights over minerals mined in places such as Tlalpujahua, Angangueo and Huetamo. Indigenous peoples were exploited for their work, and slavery was not uncommon. Education was restricted for only those born in Spain and their descendants and was controlled by the Church. The main educational institutions were the Colegio de San Nicolas, founded in the 16th century; and the Seminary of San Pedro and San Pablo, founded in the 18th century. These schools produced a number of distinguished men, but the best-known is Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. [11] At the end of the 18th century, ideas from Europe began to infiltrate the upper classes of the state, especially in Valladolid (Morelia) and Zamora. These would eventually lead to the Mexican War of Independence in the early 19th century. [16] This war was foreshadowed by the 1809 conspiracy in Valladolid. [11]

One of the early and main protagonists of the war, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, was educated as a priest in the state and began to disseminate Enlightenment ideas here. Soon after Hidalgo performed the Grito de Dolores in Dolores (now Dolores Hidalgo), Guanajuato, a number of people influenced by his thought took up arms against the colonial government. These included Manuel de la Torre Lloreda, Gertrudis Bocanegra, José María Garcia Obeso and Ignacio López Rayón. During his campaign, Hidalgo returned to Valladolid, issuing a decree eliminating slavery. [16]

After Hidalgo's death, much of the insurgent government was located in Michoacán, with documents such as "Primera Constitución o Decreto Constitucional para la Libertad de la América Mexicana" (First Constitution or Constitutional Decree for the Liberty of the Mexican America) and "Sentimentos de la Nacion", both of which would shape constitutions and governments in the years to come. The first Mexican Supreme Court was also founded here. The Mexican War of Independence was culminated by the army of Agustín de Iturbide, also a Michoacán native, who took Morelia in May 1821. [11]

After the war ended in 1821, the territory of Michoacán became the "Free and Sovereign State of Michoacán on 31 January 1824. [16] This state was initially divided into 4 departments and 22 portions (partidos) under the Ley Territorial of 1825, with the first constitution ratified in the same year. The name of the capital was changed from Valladolid to Morelia at the same time. [11]

In 1831, the state was reorganized into 61 municipalities and 207 locales (tenencias). Due to the struggle between centralists and federalists in Mexico in the 19th century, Michoacán's rights as an entity would change depending on who was in control. The state was declared a department in 1836 but became a more independent state again in 1846. Colima broke off from Michoacán to form its own state in this year. In 1849, the municipality of Coyuca was separated to form the state of Guerrero. In 1853, the state became a department again, regaining state status in 1856. In 1857, Contepec was separated from the state of Guanajuato and attached to Michoacán. [17] In 1863, the diocese of Michoacán was reduced in size, but its status was also elevated to archdiocese. [14]

During the French Intervention in Mexico, Morelia was taken by French forces in 1863. Since resistance to the French was particularly strong here, punitive acts were undertaken by the French in places like Zitácuaro, where much of the city was burned. One of the first victories against the French during the Intervention occurred in Zamora. [11]

In 1907, Michoacán's boundaries changed again with the addition of the communities of Pungarabato and Zirandaro added from Guerrero state to make the Balsas River a natural border. [11]

The Mexican Revolution came to Michoacán in 1911, when those loyal to Francisco I. Madero proclaimed Santa Clara del Cobre as their territory, then went on to take towns around Lake Patzcuaro under the leadership of Salvador Escalante. The governor of the state, Aristeo Mendoza, resigned. Fighting among various factions would continue in parts of the state for the rest of the war. The state's current constitution was ratified in 1918. [11]

In 1920, the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo was founded. [11]

Soon after the end of the Revolution, the Cristero War would affect the state, which affected agricultural production and distribution. In 1926, hostilities closed the seminaries in Morelia and Zamora. Near the end of the war, Lázaro Cárdenas was elected governor of the state and served until 1932; he became president of Mexico in 1934. [11]


View of Lake Patzcuaro from Tzintzuntzan LakePatztztztz.JPG
View of Lake Patzcuaro from Tzintzuntzan

The state is located in the center west of the Mexican Republic, on the extreme southwest of the central highlands. It borders the states of Mexico, Querétaro, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Jalisco and Colima, with a 217-kilometre (135 mi) coastline on the Pacific Ocean. The state has a territory of 58,836.95 square kilometres (22,717.07 sq mi), making it the sixteenth-largest in Mexico (exactly at the midpoint among Mexican states in area). It also has 1,490 square kilometres (580 sq mi) of marine territory off its Pacific coast. [10] [18]

Sierra Madre del Sur Sierras Michoacanas.jpg
Sierra Madre del Sur

The state is crossed by the Sierra Madre del Sur, the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt and the Inter-mountain Valleys region. The Sierra Madre del Sur crosses the state northwest to southeast for approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) in the southwest between the municipalities of Chinicuila and Arteaga along the Pacific Coast. It is considered to be a continuation of the Sierra Madre Occidental. Peaks in this range average about 2,900 metres (9,500 ft) above sea level, with the largest being the Cerro de las Canoas. The Mexican Trans Volcanic Belt crosses the state from west to east toward the Toluca Valley and Valley of Mexico. This mountain range is marked by appearance of many volcanoes, active, dormant, and extinct alike. This system is subdivided into regions such as the Sierra de Tancítaro, Sierra de Periban, Sierra de San Angel and others. The best-known volcano in this region is the Paricutín volcano. [18]

The state has a considerable natural system of waterways, including parts of two of the country's largest rivers, the Lerma and the Balsas. These waterways are divided into three regions, called the North, Central and South. The North region includes the Lerma Basin. On the Lerma River is the Tepuxtepec Dam which has a capacity of 371 million m3. Rivers that empty into the Lerma in Michoacán include the Tlalpuhahua, Cachivi and Duero. Another river basin here is that of Lake Cuitzeo, which extends over an area of 3,618 square metres (38,940 sq ft). The two main rivers that feed this lake are the Grande de Morelia and Queréndaro. [18]

Sierra Madre del Sur along the Michoacan coast Sierra-madre-del-sur.JPG
Sierra Madre del Sur along the Michoacán coast

The Central region is represented by lakes Pátzcuaro and Zirahuén. Lake Pátzcuaro has a surface area of 1,525 km2. This lake is fed by a number of surface and subterranean water flows with the principal rivers leading here including the San Gregorio and Chapultepec. This lake has five islands within it called Janitzio, Yunuén, La Pacanda, Tecuén, Jarácuaro, Urandén and Carián. Lake Zirahuén has an area of 615 square kilometres (237 sq mi) and is fed by streams such as Manzanilla and Zinamba. These two lakes are considered to be the main tourist attraction of the state. [18]

Most of the state's rivers and streams are located in the south region of the state, with the Balsas River being the most important. The most important tributaries of this river include the Cutzamala, Carácuaro and Tepalcatepec rivers. Within this region is the coastal watershed, which is the area between the Sierra Madre del Sur and the coastline. This area includes small rivers such as the Coahuayana, Aquila, Ostula, Motín del Oro, Coire, Cachán and Nexpa which flow directly into the Pacific. [18]

Much of the climate of the state is determined by altitude and other geographical features. Average temperatures vary from 13 °C (55 °F) to 29 °C (84 °F). Lower temperatures correspond with the highland areas in the north and east while the lower south and west, called La Costa (the coast) or Tierra Caliente (hot land) register higher temperatures. In the hotter lowlands, high temperatures regularly exceed 30 °C (86 °F) and have been known to reach over 40 °C (104 °F) in the summer. The lowest temperatures are registered in highland areas such as the Sierra de Coalcomán and the Sierra del Centro located near the border with the State of Mexico. Except for the Tierra Caliente, most of the state can experience freezing temperatures in the winter. Rainfall is also dependent on altitude with the lowlands receiving less rain than the mountain areas. There is a well-defined rainy season which extends from June to October over the entire state. [18]


Ecosystems vary by altitude. Between 2,600 and 3,500 metres (8,500 and 11,500 ft) above sea level, most of the vegetation is conifer forests. Between 1,000 and 2,600 metres (3,300 and 8,500 ft), there are mixed forests and below this is broadleaf or tropical forests. There are some areas which are grassland, mostly located in the north and northeast of the state.


Animal types vary from region to region but among mammals can be found skunks, raccoons, cacomistle, rabbits, armadillos, mountain lions, and foxes. Numerous bird species can be found including water fowl such as ducks, storks and seabirds along the coast. Reptiles, amphibians and fish can be found in the waterways and along the coast. [18] Michoacán includes critical over-wintering habitat for most of the monarch butterflies from eastern North America. [19] [20]


Cargo ship at the Lazaro Cardenas port Puerto Lazaro Cardenas.jpg
Cargo ship at the Lázaro Cárdenas port

The economy of the state is based on agriculture, livestock, forest products, fishing and crafts. [10] Most of the population is employed in three sectors: agriculture (34%), mining and manufacturing (23%), and commerce (37%).


Agriculture occupies over a million hectares of land in the state or 20% of the land area. Three-fifths of this agriculture occurs only during the rainy season. Irrigation farming is restricted to areas such as the Apatzingán Valley, the Bajío area of Michoacán, the Zamora Valley and some others. Principal crops include corn, sorghum, avocados, strawberries, peaches, wheat, limes, sugar cane and mangos. While corn accounts for 43% of the crops harvested, Michoacán is the largest producer of avocados in Mexico and in the world. Forty three percent of farmland in the territory is dedicated to the raising of livestock, including cattle, domestic fowl, sheep, goats and pigs. In 2007, the state's production of meat, dairy and eggs was valued at over four billion pesos. [21]


Agriculture in Michoacan Agricultura Michoacan.jpg
Agriculture in Michoacán

Sixty percent of the state is covered in forest, with the most economically important of these located in the higher elevations at the eastern side. These forests mostly produce lumber and resin. These areas are estimated at 2,160,000 hectares, over half of which is pine forest. The most productive forests are located in the central and eastern portions of the state. Rainforest areas are estimated at 460,500 hectares. One problem facing the forested areas of the state is unsustainable logging. In addition to exploitable forest, there are also ecological reserves with tourist importance, especially the various monarch butterfly sanctuaries in the extreme east of the state. [18]


Michoacán's lakes, rivers and coastline make it an important producer of fish and seafood, both caught in the wild and farmed. The most important commercial fishing is for tilapia and carp. [21]

Mining and minerals

Mining is an important economic activity in the state, which is mostly concentrated on the eastern side near the Mexico State border. However, iron is mined in the Lázaro Cárdenas area near the coast. Both metallic and non-metallic minerals are mined in the state. These include iron, copper, zinc, cadmium, lead, silver, gold, fill dirt, sand, gravel, lime, limestone, marble, and others. There are thirteen principal mining areas: Tlalpujahua, Angangueo, Los Azufres, Real de Otzumatlán, Tzitzio, Tiámaro, El Bastán, San Diego Curucupacéo, Inguarán, Las Truchas, and La Minita de Coalcomán. Michoacán is the second-largest producer of coke and third-largest producer of iron, which are essential to the steel industry, in Mexico. While there remains significant metallic deposits, their mining only contributes 1.64% to the economy. [18] [21]


Most industrial activity is concentrated in the central region of the state, near the capital, where a number of industrial parks are located, such as Ciudad Industrial Morelia. However. there are other areas with industry, such as Apatzingán, Zamora, Jiquilpan and Sahuayo, as well as in the Lázaro Cárdenas area. Major production areas are iron and steel (34.27%), bottling (10.43%) and paper products (8.36%). [21] Most people in the state are employed in service and commerce, and this sector contributes 19.07% to the overall economy. Most sales are in foodstuffs, drinks and tobacco.


Central Geotermoelectrica Azufres III. In Michoacan, 100% of the electricity produced comes from renewable sources. 90% comes from hydroelectric plants, and 10% from the Azufres Geothermal Field. Inauguracion de la Central Geotermoelectrica Azufres III, Fase 1. (21526244958).jpg
Central Geotermoeléctrica Azufres III. In Michoacán, 100% of the electricity produced comes from renewable sources. 90% comes from hydroelectric plants, and 10% from the Azufres Geothermal Field.

The state contains more than 12,804 km of federal, state and local roads. Major highways in the state include Federal Highway 15 and the Morelia-Patzcuaro highway. Intercity and interstate buses provide connections to places within the state and the rest of Mexico. About 91% of these bus lines are second class while just under nine percent are first class. Most rail lines are limited to the north and center of the state, providing freight service to Mexico City and Guadalajara. The state's main port is the city of Lázaro Cárdenas which contains 2,926 meters of dock space. The dock is used mostly for the shipping of minerals and grains. [23] [24] There are two major international airports, Morelia International Airport and Uruapan International Airport. Smaller facilities exist in Zamora and Lázaro Cárdenas. The state has abundant hydroelectrical production due to dams on the Balsas River, the Lerma River and the Tepalcatepec River. [10] As of 1995, the state had eight television stations, with seven out of operation. There is a system of educational television with 528 broadcast antennas. [23]


The state provides public education from preschool level to high school. "Formal preschool" is offered in communities which have twenty five or more qualified students. Less formal preschools are operated in smaller communities. As of 1996, there were 5,433 primary schools serving 705,694 students with 25,485 teachers. There is a failure rate from grade to grade of about 9.7% with just under five percent leaving school permanently before finishing primary studies. The most common reason for departure is poverty. At the secondary level there are 174,354 students, which represent 22% of these eligible to attend. High school level studies are mostly geared to vocational studies and many attend via distance education. There are 24 public and private institutions of higher learning offering 49 different majors. Eight are technical colleges, four for teachers, the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, the Instituto Michoacano de Ciencias de la Educación and ten private institutions. [23]

The Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo is located in Morelia. [15] Its historical predecessor was founded in 1540, making it one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the Americas. [25]


Casa de las Artesanias in the historic district of Morelia Casa de las Artesanias de Michoacan 001.jpg
Casa de las Artesanías in the historic district of Morelia
Gertrudis Bocanegra Plaza and the San Agustin Library in Zitacuaro SanAgustinPatz.JPG
Gertrudis Bocanegra Plaza and the San Agustin Library in Zitacuaro
Maruata Beach Playa maruata.JPG
Maruata Beach
Panoramic of Zitacuaro Mexico.Mich.Zitacuaro.01.jpg
Panoramic of Zitacuaro

The state ministry of tourism has divided the state into regions, mostly based on the major cities of Morelia, Uruapan, Lázaro Cárdenas, Patzcuaro, Zamora and Zitácuaro. [26] The state contains a large number of potential attractions, most of which are classified as suitable for ecotourism. However, only 6.2 of these sites are visited by international tourists. Most visitors to sites are from within the state. [21]

The Morelia region stresses its cultural and artistic heritage, especially its colonial architecture . The most important colonial structures are in Morelia and built in the 18th century. These include the cathedral, finished in 1744 and the main aqueduct finished at the end of the century. This architecture has made the city a World Heritage Site. In addition to the state capital, the region includes towns such as Charo, Capula, Tiripetio, Cuitzeo and Huandacareo, which contain archeological sites, water parks and traditional cuisine. The rural areas of this zone contain more than 400 thermal springs, many of which have been turned into recreational areas and parks. These include Reino de Atzimba, Cointzio, Huandacareo and El Ejido. [27]

The Uruapan region stresses its cultural and natural heritage. The city is one of the oldest settlements in the state, which was initially settled by the Meseta Purépecha. This city contains a number of attractions such as La Huatápera, colonial era hospital founded by Vasco de Quiroga, the Temple of San Francisco and the Eduardo Ruiz Municipal Museum. One other attraction is the narrowest house in the world as documented by the Guinness Book of World Records. Other important cities in the region are Apatzingán and Caracha. [28] Uruapan is surrounded by hundreds of hectares of forests and by fertile fields growing fruits and flowers, many of which only grow here. Some of the natural attractions of the zone include the Santa Catarina Dam and the La Tzaráacua and La Tzararacuita waterfalls. Smaller towns and villages in this region are known for their religious and popular festivals, many of which occur in the summer. Examples of these are the feasts of Señor del Calvario in Quinceo, of San Mateo Ahuiran in Paracho and the National Guitar Festival in Paracho. The best-known town in the region is San Juan Nuevo Parangaricutiro, which was founded due to the destruction of its original namesake by the eruption of the Paricutín volcano. [28]

The pre-Hispanic sites of Tingambato and Taretan are in this zone as well, which were important Purépecha cities. [28]

The Lázaro Cárdenas region is named after Michoacán's largest port and oceanside city. Here the state stresses the kilometres of beaches and other natural areas in which to practice ecotourism and extreme sports. Beaches include Maruata, Faro de Bucerías, the Pichi Estuary, La Laguna de Mezcala, La Ticla and Nexpa, with the last two considered suitable for surfing, with their regular two-three meter waves. A number of these beaches are protected areas, due to being a breeding ground for sea turtles. [29]

The Patzcuaro region is extremely important to the state due to its history of having been the center of the Purépecha Empire as well as the first capital of the colonial province of Michoacán. Its pre-Hispanic heritage is evident by the Tzintzuntzan and Ihuatizo sites as well as the large number of people who still speak the Purépecha language and maintain pre-Hispanic customs. Vasco de Quiroga established the first capital at Patzcuaro and was instrumental to building the colonial era economy of the Lake Patzcuaro area. The lake is surrounded by mountains and forests as well as the towns of Cuanajo, Tupátaro, Eronguícuaro and Quiroga. These towns are noted for their crafts and popular religious festivals such as the feast of the Señor del Rescate in Tzintzuntzan, Holy Week and especially Noche de Muertos or Night of the Dead. This area is the most important to the state with the most visited town, Patzcuaro with its basilica and museums. [30]

One of the largest tourist events in the state is Noche de Muertos or Night of the Dead. This is celebrated on the dates around 2 November. Essentially, these are Day of the Dead celebrations, which are celebrated all over Mexico, but with unique variations. The events of these days show a blending of both pre-Hispanic and Catholic beliefs and traditions. Noche de Muertos is celebrated most strongly in the towns and villages around Lake Patzcuaro such as Tzintzuntzan, Ihuatzio, as well as Patzuaro itself, which was the center of the Purépecha Empire. As in other parts of Mexico, altars to the dead, both in homes and on graves are erected and covered with offerings such as bread, fruit and other items. One aspect which is unique to the event here is the lighting and floating of hundreds of small candles and flowers on Lake Patzcuaro on the night between 1 and 2 November. It is also believed that on this night the souls of Mintzita, the daughter of Purépecha king Tzintzicha and Itzihuapa, son of Taré rise. Theirs is a Romeo and Juliet story as they were never able to marry due to the Spanish invasion of their lands. Today, it is said that the two rise up and head toward a specific cemetery to receive visitors. There are a number of other rituals performed on these days such as the Terescuan y Campaneri... a kind of treasure hunt for hidden harvest items. [31]

The Zamora region is center of the city of the same name in an area known as the Purépecha Mesa. Pre-Hispanic language and customs are preserved here as well as a large number of crafts such s the pottery of Ptamban and the embroidery of Tarecuato. The region is part of an area of Mexico known as the Bajío and has extensive agriculture, livestock and some industry. Regional dishes such as pigs' feet, breads baked in wood fired ovens, tamales, pozole and dishes made with avocados and corn are promoted here. Important towns outside of Zamora include Camécuaro, Orandiro, La Estancia and La Alberca. The city of Zamora is home to one of the oldest cultures in the west of Mexico which dates to about 1750 BCE, known as the Opeño. The Spanish city was founded as a military garrison. [32]

The Zitacuaro region contains approximately a half million hectares of conifer forests, but is best known as being part of the wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly. The area is filled with old mining towns as well as an important archeological site. The region is home to the Mazahua and Otomi peoples, many of whom produce crafts such as blankets, rebozos and ceramics. The city of Zitacuaro is the site of an important battle during the French Intervention in Mexico, which gives it the title of "Heroic City". Other important communities include Añgangueo, San Matias and Ciudad Hidalgo. The most important places to see monarch butterflies in the winter are in municipalities of Angangeo and Ocampo. The butterfly sanctuaries are called El Rosario, Cerro Campanario, Sierra Chincua and El Llanno de las Papas." [33] In 2008, UNESCO declared this region part of a Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. [19]


Historical population
1895 [34] 898,809    
1900 935,808+4.1%
1910 991,880+6.0%
1921 939,849−5.2%
1930 1,048,381+11.5%
1940 1,182,003+12.7%
1950 1,422,717+20.4%
1960 1,851,876+30.2%
1970 2,324,226+25.5%
1980 2,868,824+23.4%
1990 3,548,199+23.7%
1995 3,870,604+9.1%
2000 3,985,667+3.0%
2005 3,966,073−0.5%
2010 4,351,037+9.7%
2015 [35] 4,584,471+5.4%

Michoacán is the seventh most populated state in Mexico and the average resident has a life expectancy of 73.3 years. It is estimated that each year about 40,000 people immigrate to the state while 78,000 leave, leading to population loss. Of those who leave, about one third go to other places in Mexico and the rest to other countries, principally the United States. The cities with the densest populations are Morelia, Uruapan and Zamora. [36]

A large population of Afro-Mexicans can be found throughout the southern regions of Michoacán as well as other regions of the State, along with a large population of indigenous people. The indigenous population is estimated at just over seven percent of the total, with most living in 29 municipalities. Many are Purépecha, which are located in the Meseta-Cañada, Patzcuaro Lake, Zirahuén Lake, and Zacapu regions. In the east of the state, in the municipalities of Ocampo, Anguangueo, Tuxpan, Hidalgo, Maravatío and Zitácuaro, there is a mix of Mazahua, Otomi and Purépecha. On the coast can be found the Aquila, Chinicuila and Coahuayana peoples. [36]

Municipalities of Michoacan Map of Michoacan.svg
Municipalities of Michoacán


Michoacán, as all states of Mexico, is divided into municipalities (municipios), creating 113 municipalities of Michoacán.

Major communities

See also

Related Research Articles

Morelia City in Michoacán, Mexico

Morelia is a city and municipality in the north central part of the state of Michoacán in central Mexico. The city is in the Guayangareo Valley and is the capital and largest city of the state. The main pre-Hispanic cultures here were the Purépecha and the Matlatzinca, but no major cities were founded in the valley during this time. The Spanish took control of the area in the 1520s. The Spanish under Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza founded a settlement here in 1541 with the name of Valladolid, which became rival to the nearby city of Pátzcuaro for dominance in Michoacán. In 1580, this rivalry ended in Valladolid's favor and it became the capital of the colonial province. After the Mexican War of Independence, the city was renamed Morelia in honor of José María Morelos, who hailed from the city. In 1991, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved colonial buildings and layout of the historic center.

Ignacio López Rayón Mexican revolutionary

Ignacio López Rayón was a general who led the insurgent forces of his country after Miguel Hidalgo's death, during the first years of the Mexican War of Independence. He subsequently established the first government, Zitacuaro Council, and first constitution, Constitutional Elements, of the proposed independent nation.

Uruapan City in Michoacán, Mexico

Uruapan is the second largest city in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It is located at the western edge of the Purépecha highlands, just to the east of the Tierra Caliente Region. Since the colonial period, it has been an important city economically due its location. The city was conquered by the Spanish in 1522, when the last Purépecha ruler fled the Pátzcuaro area to here. The modern city was laid out in 1534 by Friar Juan de San Miguel. It played an important role in the War of Independence, and was the capital of Michoacán during the French Intervention. Today it is the center of Mexico's avocado growing region, with most of the crop distributed from here nationally and internationally.

Zamora, Michoacán Place in Michoacán, Mexico

Zamora de Hidalgo(Spanish pronunciation: [saˈmoɾa de i'dalɢo]) is a city in the Mexican state of Michoacán. The 2010 census population was 141,627. making it the third largest city in the state. The city is the municipal seat of Zamora Municipality, which has an area of 330.97 km² and includes many other smaller communities, the largest of which is Ario de Rayón. The municipality's population is around 186,102, which makes it the second most populous urban area in the state.

Pátzcuaro Town & Municipality in Michoacán, Mexico

Pátzcuaro is a large town and municipality located in the state of Michoacán. The town was founded sometime in the 1320s, at first becoming the capital of the Tarascan state and later its ceremonial center. After the Spanish took over, Vasco de Quiroga worked to make Pátzcuaro the capital of the New Spain province of Michoacán, but after his death, the capital would be moved to nearby Valladolid. Pátzcuaro has retained its colonial and indigenous character since then, and it has been named one of the 111 "Pueblo Mágico" by the government of Mexico. Pátzcuaro, and the lake region it belongs to, is well known as a site for Day of the Dead celebrations.

Ciudad Hidalgo, Michoacán City & Municipality in Michoacán, Mexico

Ciudad Hidalgo, or simply Hidalgo, is a city and municipality in the far northeast of the state of Michoacán, Mexico. It is a city located in a rural, mountainous area. While most of the city consists of modern buildings, its principal monument is the 16th-century church and former monastery of San José. Formerly, its name was Taximaroa, and it was the part of the Purépecha Empire closest to the Aztec Empire. This prompted two unsuccessful Aztec invasions as well as the first Spanish incursion into Purépecha lands in 1522. For both the city and rural communities around it, forestry and furniture making are important parts of the economy, but deforestation is forcing the area to look into alternatives such as tourism to take advantage of its natural resources and cultural sites.

Vasco de Quiroga Mexican bishop

Vasco de Quiroga was the first bishop of Michoacán, Mexico, and one of the judges (oidores) in the second Audiencia that governed New Spain from January 10, 1531, to April 16, 1535.

Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo university

Michoacan University of Saint Nicholas of Hidalgo (UMSNH) is a public university in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, and the oldest institution of higher education in the Americas. The University grants law, economics, computer science, medicine, architecture, and dentistry degrees, plus several other additional fields of study, mainly in Humanities, Science and Arts.

Operation Michoacán

Operation Michoacán was a joint operation by Federal Police and the Mexican military to eliminate drug plantations and to combat drug trafficking. Initiated on December 11, 2006, the operation was supervised by The Secretary of Public Safety, Attorney General of Mexico (PGR), Secretary of the Interior, Mexican Navy and Mexican Army.

Tzintzuntzan Municipality Municipality in Michoacán, Mexico

Tzintzuntzan Municipality is one of the municipalities of Michoacán. The seat is Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán.

Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán Town in Michoacán, Mexico

Tzintzuntzán is a town in Tzintzuntzan Municipality located in the north of Michoacán state, 53 km from the capital of Morelia and 17.5 km from Pátzcuaro, located on the northeast shore of Lake Pátzcuaro. It is best known as the former capital of the Tarascan state until it was conquered by the Spanish in the 1520s. Today, Tzintzuntzan is a small town with two major attractions, the archeological site of Tzintzuntzan and the former monastery complex of San Francisco. The municipality contains another important archeological site called Ihuatzio. It is also notable for its festivals, which include the Festival of Señor del Rescate, Day of the Dead celebrations and a cultural event related to New Year's.

Huandacareo archaeological site in Michoacán, Mexico

Huandacareo is an archaeological zone located about 60 kilometers north of the city of Morelia, in the state of Michoacán.

Ihuatzio (archaeological site)

Ihuatzio is an archeological site located at the southern slopes of "Cerro Tariaqueri", just north of the Ihuatzio town, in the Tzintzuntzan municipality, of Michoacán state.

El Fresno, Michoacán Place in Michoacán, Mexico

The small town of El Fresno is located in the North West of Jiquilpan, Mexican State of Michoacán de Ocampo and South West of Sahuayo, De Morelos, Michoacán.

Mario Agustín Gaspar Mexican artisan

Mario Agustín Gaspar is a Mexican artisan known for his work in “maque” a pre Hispanic lacquer and “pasta de caña” sculptures made from a corn-stalk paste. He works in the lakeside town of Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, along with his wife, Beatriz Ortega Ruiz, also an artisan in her own right. Gaspar’s work can be found in collections both in Mexico and abroad, including the Vatican and he has won various awards for his life’s work.

Handcrafts and folk art in Michoacán

Michoacán handcrafts and folk art is a Mexican regional tradition centered in the state of Michoacán, in central/western Mexico. Its origins traced back to the Purépecha Empire, and later to the efforts to organize and promote trades and crafts by Vasco de Quiroga in what is now the north and northeast of the state. The state has a wide variety of over thirty crafts, with the most important being the working of wood, ceramics, and textiles. A number are more particular to the state, such as the creation of religious images from corn stalk paste, and a type of mosaic made from dyed wheat straw on a waxed board. Though there is support for artisans in the way of contests, fairs, and collective trademarks for certain wares, Michoacán handcrafts lack access to markets, especially those catering to tourists.

Palm Sunday Handcraft Market

The Palm Sunday Handcraft Market, held in Uruapan, is the largest event in the Mexican state of Michoacán dedicated to the sale of the state’s traditional handcrafts and is reputed to be the largest of its kind in Latin America. The event draws over 1,300 artisans who offer over a million pieces for sale, which represent all of the state’s major handcraft traditions. It also includes other events such as a handcraft competition, exhibition of indigenous dress, food and other traditions, concerts, dance and more. The event is centered on the very large main plaza of the city of Uruapan, but extends over to adjoining streets and to other plazas in the city.

The Universidad Vasco de Quiroga (UVAQ) is a Catholic institution of higher education located in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico.

Federal Highway 14D is a toll highway in the state of Michoacán. It connects Highway 15D at Cuitzeo to 37D and Uruapan via the city of Pátzcuaro. The road is operated by Autopistas de Michoacán, which charges cars 171 pesos to travel Highway 14D from Cuitzeo to Uruapan and 478 pesos when combined with Highway 37D to Lázaro Cárdenas.


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