The municipality of Villa Guerrero is located in the north of the state of Jalisco, México, between 103°22'30 and 103°50'00 longitude west and 21°54'00 and 22°10'00 latitude north, at an altitude of above sea level.
The municipality shares its border on the north with the state of Zacatecas and the municipality of Mezquitic, to the south with the municipalities of Bolaños and Chimaltitán. To the east, it shares its border with the municipality of Totatiche and to the west with the municipality of Mezquitic. The municipality covers an area of .
The municipality has suffered decreasing population in recent decades, largely due to emigration. In 2000, 31% of the working population was employed in agriculture and husbandry, 14% in construction, 13% in commerce and 13% in manufacturing.
The oldest Spanish land grant in the area was in 1579 to Luis de los Rios Proaño. The grant was for approximately 120 km² in the valley of Juanacatic (from the indigenous name for the valley: Xoncacatic, meaning place of the onions). Missions were founded by the Franciscans in the area in the latter years of the 16th century. In the early 17th century, the area was the scene of a number of indigenous uprisings, including one by the Wixarika and Tepecan in 1607, resulting in its abandonment by the few Spanish settlers. In 1622, the descendants of the original grantee took interest once again in the land, seeking out titles in Zacatecas. The land was eventually sold to Captain Juan de Escobedo and Captain Juan Diaz de Infante. Around 1673, European settlement in the region was still limited, with only one agricultural hacienda in the region known as Juanacatic.
In 1676, the Spanish military administrator for the region of Colotlán Toribio González de Escalante, began the extraction of saltpeter in the valley. From this activity, the place gained the name of El Salitre. Eventually the extraction of saltpeter ceased due to its cost inefficiency and the administrator's inability to retain sufficient labor.
In 1702, the Tepehuan and Wixarika from the nearby mountains and canyons joined forces in a rebellion. The result was an ajudication by the Spanish Crown that forced the major Spanish landowner, Ana de Santiago, widow of Juan Diaz de Infante, to trade some of her agricultural land in the plateau for land in the canyon. Thus the Tepehuan regained part of their historic lands in a location known as Patahua. The Tepehuan community received an official grant for the land in 1733.
In 1779, the Juanacatic hacienda was acquired by Pedro de Llanos y Valdés as the area began to experience large flows of European immigration. Agricultural activity and husbandry benefited from the mining activities in nearby Bolaños, which had begun large scale production in the 1730s. El Salitre became a regular stopover of the mule trains that transported the ore out of the canyon.
There were several battles in 1810 during the war for independence fought in the region. Many of the local indigenous groups, including the Wixarika fought on the side of the Spanish Crown.
Political reforms, such as the Iguala Plan undertaken in 1821 by the newly independent government extinguished separate treatment of indigenuos communities and communal lands of the Tepehuan were distributed to individuals. In 1838, the area was made part of the 8th Canton of the free and sovereign state of Jalisco, within the Mexican Republic and was assigned to the municipality of Totatiche within that canton.
Construction on a stone church to replace the adobe chapel of the town of El Salitre began in 1905. The work was completed nearly two decades later, following the Mexican Revolution. Soon thereafter, in 1921, the municipailty was separated from the municipality of Totatiche and declared an independent municipality by the state legislature and renamed Villa Guerrero in honor of Vicente Guerrero.