The city of León, formally León de los Aldama is the fifth most populous city in Mexico and the first in the state of Guanajuato. It is also the seat of the municipality of León. It has a strong leather industry, offering shoes, boots, belts, jackets, and other leather accessories both to national and international markets.
In the 2005 census the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Data Processing (INEGI) reported 1.137.465 people living in the city of León, 1.278.087 in the municipality of León, and 1.634.917 in the metropolitan area, which includes the neighbouring municipality of Silao, Purísima del Rincón and San Francisco del Rincón. The municipality of León, which has an area of 1,219.67 km² (490.92 sq mi), also includes numerous smaller outlying communities, the largest of which are Centro Familiar la Soledad, Medina, and La Ermita.
There is a large Argentinian immigrant community in the city, as well as one formed by descendants of Lebanese immigrants.
Public Transportation system
The city's public transportation system features a mix of buses and the Optibus bus rapid transit
colloquially known as "La Oruga" (The Caterpillar). The municipally-operated Oruga started its operation on September 27 2003
; León pioneered its use in Mexico.
León was inhabited in pre-Hispanic times by diverse native groups, such as the Toltecs, Chichimecas, Guamares, among others. The archaeological sites of Alfaro and Ibarrilla, close to the city of León, reveal that the oldest settlements of this zone date from Preclassical times.
The city of León was founded January 20, 1576 with the name Villa de Leon, by the order of the Virrey Don Martín Enríquez de Almaza, for the purpose of creating a defense against the attacks of the Chichimecas. In 1580 it was elevated to the category of Alcaldía Mayor, separating it from Guanajuato and had jurisdiction in the present municipality of León.
In June 1830 it was elevated to the rank of city with the official name: León de los Aldama. During the Mexican War of Independence, it suffered in the political, social, and economic areas. Because many people abandoned the mines of Guanajuato because of the war, many workers were re-established themselves in León. Agriculture was the main economic activity to the 18th century, until the craft and the production of footwear began to compete with it.
The post-revolution years were, for León, ones of prosperity and material progress, as well as of population growth. The economic development resulted in extraordinary agricultural and industrial growth and the wealth of 1923.
The cities main professional soccer
team is Club León
, which is one of the foremost teams in Mexico, five-time league champion, now playing in the Primera División A
. The team's stadium is called Estadio León
, also known as Nou Camp
, where FIFA World Cup
games have taken place (1970 and 1986). World-class stars, such as Diego Maradona
, Franz Beckenbauer
and Michel Platini
have played in both official and exhibition games.
The city had once another two Soccer teams, which also played in the Primera División de México: San Sebastián, which participated in the league in the early 1950s – and was the first team in Mexico to get relegated to the Segunda División – and Unión de Curtidores, that disappeared in the middle 1980s.
A new franchise with the name of Curtidores appeared in the Primera División A in the mid-1990s, but, after being champion in 1999 and earning the right to play in the Primera División, was sold and moved to Puebla to become Puebla, F.C., but in 2007 a new franchise named Union de Curtidores began playing at Segunda división.
Nowadays, there are several soccer teams in the city playing in the Tercera División: Atlético ECCA, Juventud Cuerera and Conmudaj, among some others along with the women's league, Super Liga Femenil de Futbol.
Since 2004, León has a basketball
, which plays in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional
(LNBP) . They play in the Domo de la Feria
(formerly known as Auditorio Municipal). Before this team, the city had other professional basketball teams: Lechugueros
(original franchise), Zapateros
. These teams participated in the CIMEBA (Circuito Mexicano de Básquetbol), which was the main basketball league of Mexico in the 1970s and 1980s.
León had two baseball
teams in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol
: Cachorros de León
, in the late 1970s, and Bravos de León
, in the late 80's. Bravos
, after becoming champions of the league in 1992, and due to financial problems, were sold and moved to Minatitlán, Veracruz
. Since then, attempts to bring a new baseball team to the city have failed.
- Vicente Fox, President of Mexico from 2000 to 2006 and Governor of Guanajuato, owned a ranch in San Francisco del Rincón.
- Carlos Medina Plascencia, politician affiliated to the conservative National Action Party and former mayor.
- Antonio Carbajal, former football goalkeeper that played in five World Cups
- Lucía Méndez, telenovela and film actress and singer.
Universities and institutions
- Most of the content comes from translating an independent compilation, work of Roberto Ruelas. The following are references listed by him.
- Andanzas. Biannual Magazine, published by the Human Sciences Department, Universidad Iberoamericana Plantel León. 1994-
- Enciclopedia de México. Secretaría de Educación Pública. 1987.
- "León. Trayectoria y Destino". González Leal, Mariano. Gonzalo Andrade Ed. H. Ayuntamiento de León, Guanajuato. 1990.
- "León... Pueblo Accidentado". Rivera Tafoya, Antonio. 1983.
- "Recordatorios Públicos y Privados, León". 1864-1908. Esquivel Obregón, Toribio. Consejo para la Cultura de León AC 1992.
- "Remembranzas Leonesas de mi niñez". Torres Madrazo, Manuel. Imprenta Lumen, León, Gto. 1993
- "Sitios Arqueológicos del Municipio de León". Ramos de la Vega, Jorge. Ramírez Garayzar, Amalia. #3 Colección Entornos. Universidad Iberoamericana. Plantel León. 1993.
- Link to tables of population data from Census of 2005 INEGI: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática
- Guanajuato Enciclopedia de los Municipios de México