Walking Tours of San Luis Potosí

30 Mar
Download to your phone, tablet, laptop on Amazon.com, Amazon.com.mx; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com (now includes sony Readers) and on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download to your phone, tablet, laptop on Amazon.com, Amazon.com.mx; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com (now includes sony Readers) and on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Walking Tours of San Luis Potosí
Copyright William J. Conaway, 1999, Derechos Reservados

Getting There
Getting to San Luis Potosí from anywhere is easy. It’s a major industrial city, capital of the State of the Same name, and a university town.

I recommend the first-class busses instead of taking a car because, as usual, there’s no place to park. The walking tours are just that, and where the distances are too great I suggest a cab. For just a few dollars you can get anywhere in the city in minutes.

Hotels are no problem because there’s a jillion of them. Use your Fodor’s. If you’re on a budget there’s plenty of low cost hotels right down in the heart of the Historic center.

Prepare yourself by reading the history of the place first….

La Gran Chichimeca
The Gran Chichimeca is the name given by the Spanish conquistadors to a vast stretch of land north of the settlement of Querétaro. The word Chichimeca comes from the Aztec language and means barbarian. The Aztecs had been unable to conquer these nomadic tribes of hunter-gatherers, and had only begun rudimentary trading with them from their fortified settlement in what is now San Juan del Río.

After the conquest of Tenochtitlán, the Conquistadores built their houses in what is now Mexico City. They rested for awhile, spending their time gambling and carousing, but with each new ship arriving from Spain came more and more men of the same caliber—men looking for adventure, and filled with the desire to make their fortune in the New World.

These soldiers of fortune fanned out northward from Mexico City, at first following the Gulf coast into the lands populated by the more sedentary Indians on the edge of the Gran Chichimeca. These early conquistadors and the accompanying clergy evangelized the Indians they encountered and enlisted them into their armies as allies. This was readily accomplished because these Indians had lived in fear of the Chichimecas their entire lives, with good reason, and by joining the Spanish they were provided with powerful weapons and even horses.

These expeditions gradually moved inland to confront the Chichimecas directly. The Spaniards went, seeking gold and silver, and their Indian allies went along in search of fertile land, under the protection of the King, that had been promised them for their help.

These armies of conquerors followed all the rumors, the legends, the stories, that were related to them by the newly converted Indians they evangelized on their travels. Eventually, in 1546, they discovered the great deposits of silver in Zacatecas. The mines there, hundreds of miles from “civilization,” were totally surrounded by hostile Indians who murdered most of the original settlers and continually attacked those that followed. It became nearly impossible to bring in the much needed supplies, and to take out the rich silver ore that the miners extracted.

The settlement of Querétaro was the last outpost before the vast unsettled lands that made up the Gran Chichimeca. Vast stretches of unpopulated land along the trail known as “El Camino Real de la Plata,” the Royal Silver Trail, aided the Indians in their attacks against the Spaniards.

Father Juan de San Miguel was sent out with converted Tarascan Indians from Acámbaro to build new settlements, and to convert as many Chichimecas as possible.

The first settlement was San Miguel de Los Chichimecas (now de Allende), in 1542. From there Father Juan moved north and east to Xichu where he built another. These settlements, from the very first, suffered sporadic attacks by bands of marauding Indians, who viewed these settlements as encroachments on their territory.

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