Residents of Monterrey are often called Regiomontanos (or Regiomontanas).
In the mid-1500s, the valley which Monterrey now occupies was known as the Extremadura Valley, an area largely unexplored by the Spanish. Several expeditions led by Alberto del Canto tried to colonize the area, the most important in 1577, but were always unsuccessful because the population left for more prosperous towns. The Spanish expeditionary Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva negotiated with King Philip II of Spain to establish a territory in northern New Spain, which would be called Nuevo León, the "New Kingdom of León". In 1580 he arrived in the newly granted lands but it was not until 1582 that he established a settlement called San Luis Rey de Francia within present-day Monterrey. New Kingdom of León was an enormous area extending westwards from the port of Tampico to the limits of Nueva Vizcaya ("New Vizcaya", now State of Chihuahua), and around 1,000 kilometers northwards. Carvajal's plans of colonization were frustrated by the Spanish Inquisition that accused and jailed him. For eight years Nuevo León was abandoned and uninhabited but finally, a third expedition of twelve families led by Diego de Montemayor founded Ciudad Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey ("Metropolitan City of Our Lady of Monterrey") on September 20, 1596, next to a spring called Ojos de Agua de Santa Lucia, where the Museum of Mexican History is now located.
During the years of Spanish rule, Monterrey remained a small city, and its population varied from a few hundred to only dozens. The city was a place that facilitated trade between San Antonio (now in Texas), Tampico and from Saltillo to the center of the country. Tampico's port brought many products from Europe, while Saltillo concentrated the Northern Territories' trade with the capital, Mexico City. San Antonio was the key trade point with the northern foreign colonies (British and French).
In the 19th century, after the Mexican Independence War, Monterrey rose as a key economic center for the newly formed nation, especially due to its balanced ties between Europe (with its connections to Tampico), the United States (with its connections to San Antonio), and the capital (through Saltillo). In 1824, the "New Kingdom of León" became the State of Nuevo León, and Monterrey was selected as its capital. However, the political instability that followed the first 50 years of the new country allowed two American invasions and an internal secession war, during which the Governor of the State annexed the Coahuila and Tamaulipas states, designating Monterrey as the capital of the enlarged state.
In 1846, the earliest large-scale engagement of the Mexican-American War took place in the city, known as the Battle of Monterrey. Mexican forces were forced to surrender but only after successfully repelling US forces during the first few advances on the city. The battle inflicted high casualties on both sides, much of them resulting from hand-to-hand combat within the walls of the city center.
During the last decade of the 19th century, the city of Monterrey was linked by railroad, which benefitted industry. It was during this period that José Eleuterio González founded the Colegio Civil, an early effort to create a non-religious university in Monterrey; he also founded the Hospital Civil which is now one of the best public hospitals in the northeast of Mexico, and serves as medical school support to the School of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL). Vicente Ferrara founded the Fundidora de Fierro y Acero de Monterrey, a steel-producing company that accelerated the already fast industrialization of the city and became one of the world's biggest at its time.
The city has hosted international events such as the 2002 United Nation Conference on Financing for Development with the participation of more than 50 Heads of State and Government, as well as other ministers and senior delegates from over 150 countries. The conference resulted in the adoption of the Monterrey Consensus, which has become one relevant reference point for international development and cooperation. In 2004, the OAS Special Summit of the Americas was attended by almost all the presidents of the Americas. In 1986, several official games of the 1986 FIFA World Cup were hosted.
In 2007, Monterrey held the Universal Forum of Cultures with four million visitors.
Monterrey lies at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, which start abruptly south of the city. A small hill, the Cerro del Topo and the smaller Topo Chico are located in the suburbs of San Nicolás de los Garza and Escobedo. West of the city rises the Cerro de las Mitras (Mountain of the Mitres), which resemble the profile of several bishops with their mitres.
Cerro de la Silla (Saddle Mountain) dominates the view east of the city. Cerro de la Loma Larga—South of the Santa Catarina river—separates Monterrey from the suburb of San Pedro Garza García. At the summit of the Cerro del Obispado, north of the river, is the historic Bishopric Palace, site of one of the most important battles of the Mexican-American War.
Cumbres de Monterrey includes:
Monterrey and its metropolitan area are municipalities each of them governed by a democratically elected Presidente Municipal (Municipal President) or Mayor for a period of three years with no right to reelection. The political environment is one of civility and in the last decade political parties have been alternating office.
The City Council of Monterrey (Cabildo de Monterrey) is an organ integrated by the Mayor, the Regidores and the Síndicos. The Mayor is the executor of the determinations of the City Council and the person directly in charge of the public municipal administration. The Regidores represent the community and their mission is to collectively define the city policies in all the subjects affecting it. The Síndicos are in charge of watching and legally defend the city interests, as well as in charge of watching the City Treasury status and the municipal patrimony.
The current Mayor of Monterrey is Adalberto Madero (PAN), and he will remain in office until October 31, 2009. He was elected mayor in the past municipal election on July 2, 2006 (Official results: PAN 45.51%, PRI 43.63%, PRD 4.9%, Others 2.85%).
The political parties with representation in the city are the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI, the National Action Party or PAN, the Party of the Democratic Revolution or PRD, the Labor Party or PT, the Green Party, Convergence, Socialdemocratic Party and Nueva Alianza.
From 2003 to 2007, the city saw its share of drug violence related to turf battles between warring cartels.
There are two police departments guarding the city, the Police of the City of Monterrey (locally known as the Policía Regia), dependent of the municipal government, and the State Public Safety. The Policía Regia protects the city's downtown and main areas, while the State Public Safety is in charge of the farthest areas.
There are two major emergency telephone numbers: Monterrey Emergencies telephone is 060 and the Metropolitan Area Emergency Number is 066.
Monterrey is well connected with the USA border, the sea and inland Mexico through several modern roads, including the Carretera Nacional (also known as the Panamerican Highway) that runs from Nuevo Laredo to Mexico City and south, and the Carretera Interoceánica connecting Matamoros with the port of Mazatlán on the Pacific; it is also crossed by highways 40, 45, 57. The divided highway Monterrey-Saltillo-Matehuala-Mexico City is the main land corridor to interior Mexico.
There are several between-cities bus lines at the bus station downtown. Buses are modern and efficient, with many arrivals and departures everyday into deeper Mexico, to the U.S. border and into the United States.
Public transportation in the city includes a modern but limited in length, rapid transit system or metro with only two lines , the Metro Línea 2 was expanded to the north of the city, and construction works finished in October 2008. There are many city bus lines that vary in quality and route, although by decree, all bus lines (privately funded) had to change their vehicles by January 2007. Thousands of economical and efficient taxi cabs can also be found. Traffic jams, although less impressive than those seen in other Latin American big cities, are becoming more frequent, primarily at rush hours.
There are two international airports: General Mariano Escobedo International Airport (served by major international carriers and moving more than 6.5 million passengers in 2007) and Del Norte International Airport, a primarily private airport.
Monterrey is linked through frequent non-stop flights to many Mexican cities and to key United States hubs (Atlanta, Austin, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston-Intercontinental, and JFK/New York). There is also a twice a week non-stop service to Madrid, Spain, operated by Aeroméxico and to Rome, Italy. Monterrey is the second most important city for the operating routes of Aeroméxico.
Five airlines have their operational bases and headquarters in Monterrey, Aviacsa, Aeroméxico Connect, a new LCC Viva Aerobus; and two charter airlines, Magnicharters and Aladia. There is no public transportation from Monterrey International Airport to the city. However, a cartel of taxi services link the airport with the city and charge around $20 US for a one-way ride to the city. From this airport, there is a bus shuttle to nearby Saltillo. Inter-city bus services run daily into the interior, as well as north to the US border and points beyond.
The University of Nuevo León runs the public University Hospital, with a high-level shock-trauma unit and a specialized clinic for child cancer treatment. It is recognized as the best public hospital in the city and the UANL School of Medicine as one of the best in the country. On the other hand the Tecnológico de Monterrey runs the San José-Tec de Monterrey private hospital.
Monterrey is considered an international healthcare hub because of the world class private hospitals and facilities that can be found in the city. Some of them are the only two JCI accredited hospitals in the country, CHRISTUS Muguerza and San José-Tec de Monterrey, the Hospital OCA, the Santa Engracia Hospital, San Vicente Hospital and the San Lucas Hospital (Plastic Surgery). Its convenient location and quality of medical care have made of Monterrey a very popular medical tourism destination for United States patients.
Monterrey is a major industrial center in northern Mexico , producing a GDP of 78.5 billion US dollars (2006). The city's GDP per capita in 2006 was 21,788 US dollars. The city was ranked second-best to do business in Mexico in 2005 and is currently ranked as the third best by the América Economía magazine.
Because of its strong steel industry, it is often called "the Pittsburgh of Mexico". The city has prominent positions in sectors such as steel, cement, glass, auto parts, and brewing. In 1999 Fortune magazine recognized Monterrey as the best city in Latin America in which to do business. The magazine attributes its economic wealth in part to its proximity with the United States-Mexican border and mentions Monterrey as a significant city with economic links to the United States.
Industrialization was accelerated in the mid 19th century by the Compañia Fundidora de Fierro y Acero Monterrey a steel-processing company. Today Monterrey is home to transnational conglomerates such as Cemex (the world's largest cement company), FEMSA (Coca-Cola Latin America), Alfa (petrochemicals, food, telecommunications and auto parts), Axtel (telecommunications), Vitro (glass), Selther (leading mattress and rest systems firm in Latin America), Gruma (food), and Banorte (financial services). The FEMSA corporation owns a large brewery, the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma that produces the brands Sol, Tecate, Indio, Dos Equis and Carta Blanca among others. By the end of the same year, there were more than 13,000 manufacturing companies, 55,000 retail stores, and more than 52,000 service firms in Monterrey. Monterrey accounts for about 95% of the State of Nuevo Leon's GDP, and 30% of Mexico's manufactured exports.
The metals sector, dominated by iron and steel, accounted for 6 percent of manufacturing GNP in 1994. Mexico's steel industry is centered in Monterrey, where the country's first steel mills opened in 1903. Steel processing plants in Monterrey, privatized in 1986, accounted for about half of Mexico's total steel output in the early 1990s.
Monterrey was ranked 94th worldwide and fifth in Latin America in terms of Quality of Life according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting (2006), and was ranked second in 2005 and fourth in 2006, according to America Economia.
Monterrey is also a great city to do shopping. Some of the shopping malls in the city include Paseo San Pedro, Plaza Fiesta San Agustín, Galerías Monterrey, and Galerías Valle Oriente, which distribute goods and services to the Mexican population.
The city is considered one of the main educational centers in Mexico.
The Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (Autonomous University of Nuevo León, UANL), is the third largest Mexican university and is ranked by the Reader's Digest-AC Nielsen Survey 2005 as the top public university in northeast Mexico. Its main campus, Ciudad Universitaria (University City), covers approximately . The UANL system comprises 26 colleges (faculties), 22 graduate divisions, 24 high schools, 1 center of bilingual education and 3 technical high schools.
Monterrey is the headquarters of the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Studies, ITESM or "Tec de Monterrey"), a private university ranked by the Reader's Digest-AC Nielsen Survey 2005 as the top university (public or private) in all Mexico. As the center of its own educational network, it has 33 campuses and exchange agreements with more than 400 universities world-wide.
Founded in 1969 with the support of local leading multinational corporations such as CEMEX, ALFA, FEMSA, GAMESA, PROTEXA & CYDSA, the Universidad Regiomontana is a private university offering preparatory, undergraduate and graduate programs. With agreements with more than 200 universities across the globe, it is member of GATE (Global Alliance for Transnational Education), FIMPES (Federación de Instituciones Mexicanas Particulares de Educación Superior) and holds an ISO 9001 Certification. Its urban campus attracts many working professionals who complement and enrich the academic experience.
Other universities include University of Monterrey (UDEM) and the Universidad del Norte (UN).
The Biblioteca Central located at the Macroplaza, the Biblioteca Magna Universitaria and the Biblioteca Alfonsina within the UANL University campus, are the main public libraries in the city.
ASFM is a K-12 international day school with English as the language of instruction.
The most traditional dish from Monterrey is cabrito al pastor, kid goat cooked on embers based on the Jewish cuisine of the founders of the city. Other local dishes and customs that perhaps date back to the Crypto-Judaism of these founders are the "semita" (bread without leavening), the capirotada dessert (a mix of cooked bread, cheese, raisins, peanuts, and crystallized sugarcane juice), and the relative absence of pork dishes. Another famous local dish is machacado con huevo, prepared eggs, dry beef and salsa.
Carne asada (grilled beef) on weekends remains one of the most cherished traditions in Monterrey's families. When people gather to celebrate birthdays, family reunions, soccer games or just to share time with their friends, carne asada is a must. It is usually served with grilled onions, baked potatoes and sausages or chopped as tacos. Carne asada gatherings generally take place in the afternoons opposed to central Mexico tradition of having carne asada between 2 and 4pm. Locally brewed beer and cola soft drinks are an almost mandatory part of the weekly ritual. The traditional desserts, "glorias" and "obleas," are both traditional candies from Nuevo León.
Although not still comparable with the kaleidoscopic gastronomy of Mexico City and some major Mexican beach resorts, several good restaurants offering Italian, Chinese, Mediterranean, German, Japanese, and Argentinian food can be found throughout downtown Monterrey, Southern Monterrey (Valle Alto) and San Pedro Garza Garcia suburb.
In addition, two professional indoor soccer teams were hosted in the past, the Monterrey La Raza, members of the Continental Indoor Soccer League and World Indoor Soccer League and the Monterrey Fury, members of the current Major Indoor Soccer League. The city was awarded another franchise to begin play in the fall of 2007 in the MISL.
The city hosted many official games during the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
Baseball has a long history in the city, where it became the most popular sport during the early 20th century. Monterrey has been champion of the Little League World Series three times (1957, 1958 and 1997), and has been host of US Major League Baseball games. In the Mexican Baseball League, the Sultanes de Monterrey are one important team every season and have won the national title several times. In the year 2003, the city unsuccessfully attempted to buy (and relocate to Monterrey) the Montreal Expos franchise of the US Major League Baseball.The Sultanes de Monterrey, are a Mexican League baseball team based in Monterrey, Mexico. They are in the Northern Division. The team was formed May 20th, 1939 as Carta Blanca (A local beer brand, owned by Cerveceria Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma which owned the team). The team was also known as the gray ghosts. Soon, they became one of the most important teams in the league, winning its first championship in 1943. In total, the Sultanes have collected nine championships (1943, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1962, 1991, 1995, 1996 and 2007), including three straight (1947-1949) under the legendary Cuban manager Lázaro Salazar.
The Sultanes play in the Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey, the largest baseball stadium in Mexico.
There are two professional basketball teams: Fuerza Regia that plays in the national league, Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional and the Monterrey Venom that plays in the minor league American Basketball Association. Fuerza Regia plays at the Monterrey Arena while the Monterrey Poison plays at the gymnasium of the ITESM.
In 2004 Monterrey hosted the World Karate Federation Senior World Championships. In April 2004, Monterrey's Arena Monterrey became the first city to host WWE in Mexico. In 2007 Monterrey hosted the Women's WTBA World Tenpin Bowling Championships
American football is well represented nationwide, with two college local teams: the Auténticos Tigres (UANL) and the Borregos (ITESM) that play in the National College League (ONEFA); their games attract thousands (mainly student crowds). A vast number of kids with ages ranging from 5 to 15 practice this sport during summer and fall, and play on Sunday mostly; teams with a great history in the city are Halcones, Aguilas, Pumas, Avispones,Potros and Vaqueros.they have a big league called AFAIM
People can also find golf, fishing, camping, and extreme-sports outdoors near the city (bungee jumping at Cola de Caballo, rock-climbing, hiking, mountain bike). In particular there is international-level rock-climbing places like la Huasteca, Potrero Chico and many other canyons. El Potrero chico offers easy and intermediate terrain for learning to rock climb. There is also an internationally accredited guide service called El Potrero Chico Climbing School located at La Posada. http://www.elpotrerochico.com.mx
Grupo Reforma, one of the most widely read newsources in Mexico originated in the city with the newspaper El Norte. Milenio is another newspaper of high distribution, daily printing local editions in the most important Mexican cities. Other local newspapers include El Porvenir and ABC. Northern Mexico's weekly business newspaper Biznews is also headquartered in Monterrey.
Monterrey also has several radio stations broadcasting news, music, entertainment, and culture for the city. The main radio broadcasting groups are Multimedios Radio, Grupo Radio Alegría and Nucleo Radio Monterrey.
There are 11 Air TV channel broadcasting in the city:
|Azteca 13||TV Azteca||4||Entertainment||National|
|Canal 5||Televisa||6||Cartoons, Series||National|
|Azteca 7||TV Azteca||7||Series, Movies||National, Local|
|Canal de las Estrellas||Televisa||10||Entertainment, News||National|
|Multimedios Televisión||Multimedios||12||Entertainment, News||Regional (Mexico and US)|
|TV Nuevo León||State Government||28||Cultural, News||Local|
|Monterrey Televisión||Televisa||34||Entertainment, News||Local|
|Canal 53 UANL||UANL||53||Cultural||Local|
|Canal 64||Multimedios||64||Music videos||Local|
Also the city wanted to bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Due to last-day registration, the city council decided to wait up for the 2020 Olympic games.