History of Durango
In the pre-Hispanic era, in the northwestern region of the country where Durango is now located, there were sedentary ethnic groups who lived off of their hunting and their crops of corn and beans. In 1530, a group of Spanish explorers who came from the western region, which was then known as Nueva Galicia, received the task of exploring the vast northwestern territories with the hopes of finding abundant silver deposits. They had heard of these deposits from the natives of that region. The expedition, led by Ginés Vasquez del Mercado, was disappointed when they did not find a mountain of silver, but of iron, and decided to turn back. Since then, the mountain has been known as Cerro de Mercado in remembrance of its discoverer. A new expedition returned in 1563 in a second attempt to find silver. It was now led by Francisco de Ibarra who founded the city of Durango on July 8, 1563.
Some of the most important people in the history of Mexico were born in Durango. The first president of Independent Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria, was born in 1786 in Tamazula, Durango. One of the most fervent defenders of the liberal project during the Reformation period was the reporter and intellectual Francisco Zarco. The most notorious fighter of Northern Mexico during the Mexican Revolution, Francisco “Pancho” Villa, was born in the town of “La Coyotada”, San Juan del Rio, Durango. The famous Revueltas family, Silvestre (musician), Fermín (painter), José (writer), and Rosaura (actress) made important contributions to Mexico's culture. The film industry was nurtured by the talents of Ramón Navarro and the diva Dolores del Río.
Durango is in a stage of true expansion and dynamism. The state government has begun strategies to promote investment and place the state competitively within the rest of the country. In tourism, important resources have been channeled to the industrial sector and to the development of projects, and investments have been made in exportation-oriented manufacturing businesses. Short-term results can already be seen, placing Durango as an important potential area of Northern Mexico.
Durango's state dish par excellence is the famous caldillo, prepared with dried or fresh meat and red hot chili peppers. Nevertheless, the cuisine in Durango covers a wide range of possibilities, with meat in the starring role due to the state's important livestock tradition. Among the popular dishes are ham and pork roast, often prepared with exquisite stuffing and marinated and baked in white wine. They are usually accompanied by a shot of the regional mezcal, a strong, slightly dry, flavorful drink made by experts in the town of Nombre de Dios. Cheeses also form part of Durango's gastronomy. Since their arrival, the Mennonites have gained a special place in the regional fare. Finally, candies and different styles of a caramel syrup called cajeta, which are like those from many other places, taste a little bit better here. Don't miss the excellent apples and peaches produced in the region, nor the almonds and sweet treats from the state's forest areas.