''Zacatecas is the name of a city and a state in Mexico. This article is about the state. For the city, see: Zacatecas.
Zacatecas is one of the 31 constituent states of Mexico. It is bounded to the north by Durango and Coahuila, to the east by San Luis Potosí, to the south by Aguascalientes and Jalisco, and to the west by Jalisco and Durango.
The state shares its name with its capital and chief center of population, the city of Zacatecas.
Zacatecas is located in the great central plateau of Mexico, with an average elevation of about 7700 feet. The state is somewhat mountainous, being traversed in the west by lateral ranges of the Sierra Madre Occidental, and by numerous isolated ranges in other parts – Mazapil, Norillos, Guadalupe and others. There are no large rivers, only the small head-streams of the Aguanaval in the north, and of the Guazamota, Bolanos and Juchipila in the west, the last three being tributaries of the Rio Grande de Santiago.
As the rainfall is light this lack of streams suitable for irrigation is a drawback to agriculture. The climate is dry and generally healthy, being warm in the valleys and temperate in the mountains.
The agricultural products are cereals, sugar and maguey, the first being dependent on the rainfall, often failing altogether, the second on irrigation in the lower valleys, and the latter doing best in a dry climate on a calcareous soil with water not far beneath the surface. There is also a considerable production of peaches, apricots and grapes, the last being made into wine. A few cattle are raised, and considerable attention is given to the rearing of sheep, goats and swine. A natural product is guayule, a shrub from which rubber is extracted.
The chief industry of Zacatecas, however, is mining for silver, gold, mercury, copper, iron, zinc, lead, bismuth, antimony and salt. Its mineral wealth was discovered soon after the conquest, and some of its mines are among the most famous of Mexico, dating from 1546. One of the most productive of its silver mines, the Alvarado, has records which show a production of nearly $800,000,000 in silver between 1548 and 1867.
The state is traversed by the Mexican Central and the Mexican National railways. Its manufactures are limited chiefly to the reduction of mineral ores, the extraction of rubber from guayule, the making of sugar, rum, mescal, pulque, woollen and cotton fabrics, and some minor industries of the capital.
In addition to the capital at Zacatecas, other principal cities include Sombrerete pop. 10,000 (1900), an important silver-mining town 121 Km (70m.) N.W. of the capital (elev. 8430 ft); Ciudad Garcia, pop. 9500 (1900); Guadalupe, pop. 9000 (1900); Pinos pop. 8000 (1900), a mining town; San Juan de Mezquital pop. 7000 (1900); Tacoaleche, a town with La Ex Hacienda La Casa Grande and Fresnillo pop. 6300 (1900), an important center for the mining of silver and copper.
(initial text modified after a 1911 public domain encyclopedia)