Guadalajara, Mexico, the capital of Jalisco state, about 290 miles (467 km) northwest of Mexico City. Guadalajara is the commercial and distribution center for a large agricultural region and produces textiles, leather goods, processed foods, electronic equipment, and chemicals. Local artisans are known for fine glass, pottery, and silver goods. The city's mild, sunny climate makes it a popular resort.
Guadalajara is one of Mexico's most colorful cities, with numerous parks, plazas, gardens, and fountains. Several of the city's major landmarks are clustered around four plazas arranged in the form of a cross. At the center of the cross is Guadalajara's ornate cathedral, completed in 1618. Nearby are the Government Palace, seat of the state government; the Degollado Theater, a lavishly decorated concert hall dating from the mid-1800's; and a regional museum, featuring folk art, handicrafts, and archeological finds. The city is served by a railway and an airport. The University of Guadalajara, founded in 1792, is here.
The city was founded about 1542 and soon became the administrative center for western Mexico. In 1810 during the war for independence from Spain, it was captured by the revolutionary leader Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and served as his headquarters. The city was largely a trading and handicraft center until the 1940's, when it began to develop as one of the country's leading industrial centers. In 1992 a series of explosions in the city's sewer system caused more than 200 deaths and widespread damage.