Guide to Mineral de Pozos, Mexico

MINERAL DE POZOS

"Since the mid-1990’s, Pozos has experienced another resurgence, but this one is fueled by the arts, modern and pre-hispanic, traditional music and culture set against a backdrop of the ruins of 300+ mines including the significant complexes of Santa Brigida, Cinco Señores, Baldomero, Angustias and Triangulo."
- Bill Conklin (Pozos resident)

History of Pozos

The original structure of the town named today Mineral de Pozos, was constructed in the early 16th century in an effort by the Jesuit order of Spain to colonize the native Chichimecan people, protect the mining trade and profit for Spain, and convert non-Christians to a united faith. When the town was designated Real de las Minas, a royal mine, in 1590, the population and economy of Pozos soared. Large smelting ovens were built and natives and Spaniards alike worked collecting minerals until King Charles III ordered the expulsion of the Jesuit order from San Luis de la Paz in 1767.

Though the Jesuits were replaced by Franciscans, the popularity and population of Pozos dwindled and the town nearly disappeared. It remained a haunting structural reminder of the boom in mining, whose beginning was as harsh and sudden as it's demise, until the middle of the 19th century. Following the war for independence, Porifirio Diaz came to power and, emphasizing 'peace and order' and opportunities for foreign investment, gave way to the second ascent of the mining industry. The plot of desolate colonial presidios was designated Cuidad Porifirio Diaz and grew to house the highest population density of any local municipality in the early 1900's with the population reaching almost 70,000. As a result, Pozos became the first city in Guanajuato to have electricity, phone, and railroad access, which only perpetuated the success of the gold, silver, and mercury mining industries.

This period of success lasted roughly two decades until the previously declining state of the government reached a breaking point in 1910 and the people began to revolt against the Porfiriate. The mines were relinquished and this place with a rich history of commerce and corruption, was stripped of its title and became no more than an extension of San Luis de la Paz. Again, the population plummeted, holding only 200 inhabitants in 1950.

Thirty-two years later, the federal government included Pozos in the National Register of Landmarks, and today it remains one of only forty cities that hold this designation. Now, on the cusp of a Pueblo Magico designation, under endless blue sky, Pozos stands amid the ruins of a long-diminished industry with an air of new possibility and old Mexican flavor.

Getting There

The closest international airports are located in Queretaro (QRO) or San Luis Potosi (SLP). Airport access is also available from Leon and from Mexico City. You can rent a car at the airport or arrange for transportation with your hotel. If you are traveling by car, Pozos is 45 minutes from San Miguel de Allende and from Queretaro, an hour and a half from San Luis Potosi, and three hours from Mexico City.

What to Bring

Bring cash -- the closest ATM machine is located in San Luis de la Paz. Pack a light wrap or jacket for those cool summer nights and sunscreen for the days -- the elevation of Mineral de Pozos is 7,000 feet.

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