According to this article on a person's experience in the country of Mexico, Querétaro was used as a temporary capital city of the Mexican Republic three times. What I am having trouble finding out is the reason they chose Queretaro as the capital city. The motivation I can understand.

  • They chose it in 1847 shortly before the Americans took over Mexico City
  • In 1867, they chose it because of the French Intervention
  • And in 1917, it was chosen as a place to sign the new constitution.

What I cannot understand is the value of Queretaro at the time. Was it because Queretaro is a land-locked city surrounded by mountains? Was it because it was founded in 1531 by the Spaniards and used as a fail-safe city? Did they choose it to hide in?

I have researched and researched on the exact reason for this election yet all I can find is that Mexico did in fact use Queretaro as their temporary capital and that is usually the end of the statement.

What is the value of Queretaro such that the federal government "hid" there three times?

  • 1
    I have some theories, but someone better than I at Mexican history really ought to answer. I will add to your list though. Both the treates of Guadelope Hidalgo and the one leading to the Gadsen Purchase were signed there.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 22:26
  • Also, I've removed the second question about Mexico City. That really ought to be a separate question. If you strenuously disagree, feel free to put it back.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 22:33
  • Good point about the Mexico City question. It really should have its own area. I am writing a research paper on the importance of Mexico City and I have a thesis concerning the geographic location of Mexico City, but as it turns out, nearly every treaty, war, and governmental issues happened in Queretaro, so I cannot write this thesis without including Queretaro.
    – dockeryZ
    Commented Nov 13, 2012 at 0:30
  • 6
    Queretaro is politically significant, as it's considered the cradle of the Mexican War of Independence (see: Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez & Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla). It's not unthinkable that the city was chosen mostly for symbolic reasons.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 5:24
  • 1
    @Yannis Rizos: This comment could well be an answer. Commented Dec 8, 2012 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


There are several antecedents you may want to take in consideration to approach an aswer for this question here:

  • Queretero as such was re-founded on 1537 by the local Otomi leader "Conin" who was baptised by the spanish church and named afterwards "Fernando de Tapia". Using his friendship with the spanish caciques, he managed to secure the location for the locals and at that time, Queretaro was known to be a "city for the indians".
  • Around 1550, it was probably the most transited city, it was called the gateway of the Bajio and was a forced stop for convoys coming and going from Zacatecas (lots of silver and copper mines), to México City, Puebla and Veracruz.
  • Around 1680 it became the third most economically important city in "Nueva España" right behind Puebla and México city thanks to the dedication of the temple of the consacration presided by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora. Seen from the cultural point of view Queretaro was for a long time aknowledged as the cradle of novo-hispanic culture.
  • By the 18th century, the city became more relevant industry-wise, during this time, the city was transformed by the large quantities of infrastructure works that took place such as the infamous aqueduct that was built around 1730.

Then, by the 1800's we had a well-developed city with proper infrastructure, very close to the capital, in an strategic location and with the cultural personality and history to house some of the greatest social movements in the history of the country (you know, like the independence and the sort). All resulting in a very appealing stage for an alternate capital.

Also important but probabaly not very relevant at the time of the capital-relocation decision, is the fact that Queretaro is located in a geostable region, a feat that some strategic industries (such as datacenters) value a lot these days, as a matter of fact Queretaro is today one of the largest industrial centers in the country.

So because of all this, in my opinion (as a mexican and as a fan of history) Queretaro was and still would be one of the first choices for an alternate mexican capital.

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