The state of Guanajuato borders the states of San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Michoacán, and Jalisco. It has an area of 30,589 km square (about 11,800 square miles). In 2003 the state had an estimated population of about 4,855,000 people.
After central Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico coast, Guanajuato was one of the first areas of Mexico colonized by the Spanish, in the 1520s, for its rich silver deposits. Today, Guanajuato's mines are still among the richest-producing silver mines in the world. The state also produces tin, gold, copper, lead, mercury, and opals.
In addition to the state capital city of Guanajuato, the state includes the cities of Celaya, Leon, Salamanca, Irapuato, San Miguel de Allende, and Dolores Hidalgo, the cradle of Mexican independence.