Guadalajara Culture & HistoryAt the intersection of tradition and technology, Guadalajara displays both 16th century roots and 21st century leadership in innovation. Admire significant colonial influences at the landmark Metropolitan Cathedral; Teatro Degollado, Mexico’s oldest opera house; and Hospicio Cabañas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city of Guadalajara would move four times before coming to its modern site in February 14, 1542, when a group of young Spanish families settled in the area that is now the city’s current location. Guadalajara prospered in 1560 when it was declared the capital of Nueva Galicia province. At the heart of a rich agricultural region, the city quickly grew into one of colonial Mexico’s most important population centers and became the launch pad for Spanish expeditions. Miguel Hidalgo, a leader in the fight for Mexican independence, set up a revolutionary government in Guadalajara in 1810, but was defeated near the city in 1811, not long before his capture and execution in Chihuahua. The city was also the object of heavy fighting during the War of the Reform (1858−1861) and between Constitutionalist and Villista armies in 1915.
By the late 19th century, Guadalajara had overtaken Puebla as Mexico’s second-largest city. With a population of more than 4 million inhabitants, the city is a huge commercial, industrial and cultural center and has developed into the hi-tech and communications hub for the northern half of Mexico. Guadalajara has the largest LGBT community per capita in Mexico with more than 340,000 people (6 percent of the city´s population) from the current 5.8 million LGBT Mexicans and 230,000 LGBT households according to the National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI).