City of Saltillo
Coat of arms
The Athens of Mexico, The Detroit of Mexico
Location of Saltillo within the municipality
Coordinates: 25°26′N 101°00′W / 25.433°N 101.000°W / 25.433; -101.000Coordinates: 25°26′N 101°00′W / 25.433°N 101.000°W / 25.433; -101.000
CountryMexico Mexico
StateCoahuila Coahuila
FoundedJuly 25, 1577
Founded asVilla de Santiago del Saltillo
Founded byAlberto del Canto
 • MayorManolo Jiménez Salinas
1,600 m (5,250 ft)
 • City807,537[1]
 • Metro
 • Demonym
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)

Saltillo (American Spanish: [salˈtiʝo] (About this soundlisten)), is the capital and largest city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila and is also the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. Mexico City, Monterrey, and Saltillo are all connected by a major railroad and highway. As of a 2015 census, Saltillo had a population of 807,537 people, while the population of its metropolitan area was 923,636, making Saltillo the largest city and the second-largest metropolitan area in the state of Coahuila, and the 19th most populated metropolitan area in the country.[1]

Saltillo is one of the most industrialized areas of Mexico and has one of the largest automotive industries in the country, with plants such as Grupo Industrial Saltillo, General Motors, Fiat Automobiles, Chrysler, Daimler AG, Freightliner Trucks, Delphi, Plastic Omnium, Magna, and Nemak operating in the region. Saltillo is a manufacturing centre noted for commercial, communications, and manufacturing of products both traditional and modern.


Historical aqueduct
Historical aqueduct

Founded in 1577 by Conquistador Alberto del Canto, Saltillo is the oldest post-conquest settlement in Northern Mexico. In 1591, the Spanish resettled a community of their Tlaxcaltec allies in a separate nearby village, San Esteban de Nueva Tlaxcala. The Spanish did this in order to cultivate the land and to aid stalled colonization efforts. Saltillo grew slowly due to hostility from the indigenous Chichimeca people[2][3] and water shortages, and a 100 years after its founding its population was only about 300. In comparison, the population of the adjoining Tlaxcalan town at the time, San Esteban, was about 1,750.[4][5]

In the eighteenth century, Saltillo was a commercial center on the northern frontier which served as a bridge from central Mexico to regions further northeast such as Nuevo León, Nuevo Santander, Coahuila, and Texas.[6] It also supplied the silver mines of Zacatecas with wheat.[7] It never rose to great prominence, but did develop a commercial core and an agricultural and ranching sector that supplied its needs, with surpluses that could be sold. Saltillo became administratively important at the end of the eighteenth century, when a branch of the Royal Treasury was established in the city.[8] Merchants, most of whom were Iberian Peninsula-born Spaniards, constituted the most important economic group, handling a wide variety of goods and selling in shops.[9] They were the provincial branch of the transatlantic merchant sector, with ties to Mexico City merchants. Peninsular merchants in Saltillo married into the local elite society, acquired rural properties, and sought local office.[10] In the late seventeenth century, an annual trade fair was established, which carried Mexican livestock and manufactured goods to places as far as China and Europe. Saltillo could produce wheat commercially as long as there was access to water, but as with many other parts of the North, drought was a consistent threat. In the eighteenth century, there was a demand for draft animals, which Saltillo supplied.[11]

In 1824, Saltillo was made the capital of the State of Coahuila y Tejas which included the area of the current U.S. state of Texas until the Texas War of Independence and the founding of the independent Texas Republic. On 23 October 1840, the Battle of Saltillo took place after 110 Texans and Tejanos crossed the Rio Grande and attacked the city as part of a campaign to establish the Republic of the Rio Grande, a separatist rebellion in northeastern Mexico which had Texan support.[12]

Porfiriato and Mexican Revolution

Modernity reached Coahuila with the arrival of the railroad in 1880, during the Porfiriato. In 1890, telegraph, telephone, and street lighting networks were created in addition to the construction of cultural buildings, including theaters and plazas, and buildings of a social nature such as hospices, civil hospitals, and sanitary structures consisting of drinking water and drainage systems.

During the Mexican Revolution, Saltillo was taken in separate events by the forces of Victoriano Huerta, Francisco Villa, and then by those of Venustiano Carranza. Hundreds of peasants were forced to join these various groups. As a result, many fled to Texas, including aristocratic families.

20th century

In 1923 the Antonio Narro Agrarian University was founded.[13] Two decades later in 1943, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education was established in the city, then in 1951, the Technological Institute of Saltillo and in 1957, the Autonomous University of Coahuila was established.

Saltillo's agricultural climate in the second half of the 20th century was rapidly transforming into industrial activity; huge orchards disappeared and factories began to dominate the landscape.

In the second quarter of the twentieth century, Saltillo changed from agricultural and textile activities towards industrial activities, with the creation of companies such as CIFUNSA, CINSA, Éxito, and Molinos el Fénix, among others.

The true industrial explosion occurred in the '70s and '80s with the arrival of the car industry to the region. Companies such as General Motors and Chrysler, along with their respective satellite companies or suppliers, came to Saltillo. Since then, Saltillo and its Metropolitan Zone (Ramos Arizpe and Arteaga) are known as the "Detroit of Mexico". However, a movement is currently underway to diversify the industry, with the arrival of pharmaceutical companies, household appliances, chemicals, ceramics, and even parts for the aerospace industry.


The city of Saltillo is the municipal seat of the municipality of Saltillo. The current mayor is Manolo Jiménez Salinas, from the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI).


El Cerro del Pueblo (The People's Hill) and its 4-metre (13 ft) cross overlook the city. The city's elevation makes it colder and windier than the neighboring city of Monterrey. Saltillo lies in the Chihuahuan Desert near the city of Arteaga. The city is flanked by the Zapalinamé mountains, which are part of the Sierra Madre Oriental. According to local legend, by looking at the relief of the mountains one can see the relief of Zapalinamé, chieftain of the Guachichil tribe.

Orography and hydrography

San Lorenzo Canyon

Composed of geological formations of the Jurassic period, the San Lorenzo Canyon, located southeast of Saltillo in the Sierra de Zapalinamé, is a tourist attraction for outdoor activities and extreme sports such as rock climbing, rappelling, mountain biking, hiking, mountaineering and camping.

Arroyo de los Ojitos

It begins south of Francisco Coss Boulevard, crosses the Venustiano Carranza Boulevard, passes between the Liverpool and Home Depot buildings, and is channeled through Nazario Boulevard Ortiz towards Benito Juárez Street.

Arroyo de la Tortola

It begins its course in the Magisterio neighborhood, towards the temple of Santo Cristo del Ojo de Agua, crosses the center of the city between the streets Arteaga and Matamoros near the Coahuila school, then converges with the channel that descends near Antonio Cárdenas Street (or South Abasolo), is channeled underground through the Topo Chico neighbourhood, down through Nava Street and then by Luis Echeverría and down again by Abasolo Norte and connects in Nazario Ortiz with the Charquillo.

Arroyo del Charquillo

It starts from the eastern end of the Ateneo street, goes down behind the sports San Isidro passing to the side of Campo Redondo, crosses the lake of the Sports City towards the Tecnológico de Monterrey and continues until converging with the Cevallos stream at the Boulevard Moctezuma or Pedro Figueroa.

Cevallos Creek

It starts in the Zapaliname mountain range, from the Lomas de Lourdes neighborhood, it passes along the Luis Echeverría Oriente Boulevard, passes behind the Mercado de Abastos, crosses on one side of Plaza Sendero, then descends along Tezcatlipoca street, passes near the Club Campestre and converges with the Navarreña stream on the road to Monterrey and on the way to the Valdés.

Arroyo de la Navarreña

Starts in the mountains near the Vista Hermosa neighborhood, crosswise through neighborhoods such as Founders and Morelos, goes down the side of the Corona Motel on Fundadores Boulevard, pass by the Dolores Pantheon on Jesus Valdés Sánchez Boulevard and continues towards the South, surrounding the Country Club on its east side and the Country Club subdivision and continues to the city of Ramos.

Land El Aguaje

Located in the San Lorenzo Canyon southeast of the city of Saltillo. Composed of geological formations originated between the Upper Jurassic and Quaternary that facilitate the intense infiltration of water to the subsoil, thus allowing the constanet recharge of the aquifers that supply drinking water to the city of Saltillo.On July 3, 2008, the Government of the State of Coahuila decided to buy the property, which was granted to Mexican Wildlife Protection in bailment on July 23, 2012, for its management and conservation.[14]

Sierra La Concordia

It is the highest mountain in the municipality, reaches 3,462 meters above sea level.

Sierra Catana

The Sierra Catana mountain reaches 3,104 meters above sea level.


Saltillo has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). Saltillo is located in the Chihuahuan Desert but temperatures are cooler than other desert cities in Mexico because it is located at an altitude of 1,600 meters (5,250 ft). Summers are slightly hot with cool nights, and winters are sunny but cool. Rainfall is scarce but more prominent in summer. Snowfall and sub-freezing temperatures are not unknown, but do not occur every year.

Climate data for Saltillo (1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.5
Average high °C (°F) 19.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.1
Average low °C (°F) 4.5
Record low °C (°F) −14.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 15.8
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 3.4 2.7 2.0 3.4 5.1 6.3 8.8 9.2 7.9 5.1 3.0 3.3 60.2
Average snowy days 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.3
Average relative humidity (%) 55 52 48 50 55 59 62 64 69 66 60 59 58
Mean monthly sunshine hours 169.5 174.8 195.4 182.3 209.1 215.8 205.7 199.3 169.4 186.0 176.7 152.4 2,236.4
Source 1: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional[15][16]
Source 2: Colegio de Postgraduados[17][18]


Sarapes being made
Sarapes being made
Saltillo tile in the historic city center
Saltillo tile in the historic city center

Saltillo's most famous exports are Saltillo tile and the locally woven multi-colored sarapes. Mercedes-Benz and General Motors both have assembly plants there and Chrysler operates a truck assembly plant, a sedan assembly plant, two engine facilities, and a car transmissions plant. Of all the vehicles made in Mexico, 37.4% of cars and 62.6% of trucks are assembled in Saltillo.[19] Saltillo is home to the Grupo Industrial Saltillo, an important manufacturing conglomerate that makes home appliances, silverware, and auto parts.

The General Motors plant manufactures vehicles for export to Japan, Canada, and Central America as well as for domestic purchase. It builds the Chevrolet C2, Chevrolet Monza, Chevrolet Captiva, Chevrolet HHR, Saturn Vue hybrid, Saab 9-4X and Cadillac SRX.[20] As of 2016 the plant produces about one third of the firm's full-sized pick-up trucks.[21]


Local government palace
Local government palace
Inside the government palace
Inside the government palace

Saltillo's main universities are the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila, the Instituto Tecnológico de Saltillo, the Tec de Monterrey Saltillo Campus, El Instituto de Filologia Hispanica, and the Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro.

Sites of interest

Saltillo Cathedral
Saltillo Cathedral
Estadio de Béisbol Francisco I. Madero


Plaza de Armas fountain
Plaza de Armas fountain


Church of Santo Cristo del Ojo de Agua.
Church of Santo Cristo del Ojo de Agua.


In Saltillo there are about 22 museums, including: Museum of the Presidents' Coahuilenses, Campus of the University Cultural Heritage, 'Pinacoteca Ateneo Fuente' of the Autonomous University of Coahuila, Museum-Parish Archive, Hall of Natural History.


Matlachinada 2014. Event held every year, with Matachines from all over the state of Coahuila.
Matlachinada 2014. Event held every year, with Matachines from all over the state of Coahuila.

During the twentieth century the city received the nickname of "the Athens of Mexico" for its large number of prominent intellectuals.

Sarape de Saltillo

The sarape (serape, or jorongo) is a rectangular garment, for male use, with or without opening for the head and multicolored stripes. It is one of the most representative objects of Mexico. The serape is a garment of traditional Mexican men's clothing, usually brightly colored and with traditional patterns. It is usually made of wool fiber that maintains heat more efficiently, but is also woven from cotton. The thickness of the yarn chosen for the fabric, as well as its material, the elaboration of each necessary knot and the final size of the serape, are variables that influence the final weight and feel of the serape. It is traditional from various parts of Mexico, as in Saltillo. In fact, it was colonizers of Tlaxcalan origin who took the serape to Coahuila from Zaragoza, Zacatecas and probably to New Mexico.

It serves as a coat, blanket, bedspread, tablecloth or cape. It also decorates walls and floors, as a tapestry or carpet. Another use is to put it on the horse before climbing to the saddle.

The Saltillo Rondalla of the UAAAN

The city of Saltillo is known for its rondalla, being the highest representative of the Rondallesque movement in Mexico for more than four decades. The 'Rondalla de Saltillo' went beyond transposing the established limits and creating its own style. It has multiple recordings and has toured several countries, it is characterized by using guitars, requintos, double bass, and vocals. The poet Marco Antonio Aguirre arrived at La Rondalla de Saltillo in 1966 and wrote his story with tours, and 30 recorded albums.


The following professional clubs are based in Saltillo:

Club Sport Founded League Venue
Dinos Saltillo American football 2016 LFA Estadio Olímpico Francisco I. Madero
Saraperos de Saltillo Baseball 1970 Mexican League Estadio de Béisbol Francisco I. Madero


Saltillo Metropolitan Area air traffic is served by Plan de Guadalupe International Airport. It takes 15 minutes to get from downtown Saltillo to the airport. It has several flights per day to Mexico City and but no international flights. There is a comprehensive bus system in Saltillo along with many taxis.

Sister cities

The following are sister cities of Saltillo:



  1. ^ a b c "Número de habitantes. Coahuila de Zaragoza".
  2. ^ Offutt (2001), p. 55
  3. ^ INAFED (Instituto Nacional para el Federalismo y el Desarrollo Municipal) (2005). "Saltillo, Coahuila". Enciclopedia de Los Municipios de México (in Spanish) (online version at E-Local ed.). Secretaría de Gobernación. Archived from the original on May 20, 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2008.. The Tlaxcalteca community remained legally separate until the 19th century.
  4. ^ Jones, Jr., Oakah L. (1979), Los Paisanos: Spanish Settlers on the Northern Frontier of New Spain, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, p. 26.
  5. ^ Offutt, Leslie Scott (Jan 2018), "Puro tlaxcalteca? Ethnic Integrity and Consciousness in Late Seventeenth-Century Northern New Spain," The Americas, Vol 64, No. 3, pp. 33. Downloaded from Project Muse.
  6. ^ Offutt (2001)
  7. ^ Offutt (2001), p. 187
  8. ^ Offutt (2001), p. 9
  9. ^ Offutt (2001), p. 10
  10. ^ Offutt (2001), p. 50
  11. ^ Offutt (2001), p. 100
  12. ^ Brown (1893), pp. 173–174
  13. ^ "UAAN - This is UAAN". Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro.
  14. ^ "San Lorenzo Canyon".
  15. ^ NORMALES CLIMATOLÓGICAS 1951-2010 Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, National Meteorological Service of Mexico. Retrieved August 30, 2012
  16. ^ "Extreme Temperatures and Precipitation for Saltillo 1949-2008" (in Spanish). National Meteorological Service of Mexico. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  17. ^ "Normales climatológicas para el Estado de Coahulia". Colegio de Postgraduados. Retrieved September 18, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Normales climatológicas para Saltillo, Coahulia" (in Spanish). Colegio de Postgraduados. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  19. ^ "COAHUILA, PRIMER LUGAR NACIONAL EN PRODUCCIÓN AUTOMOTRIZ". Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
  20. ^ Priddle, Alisa (June 2008). "2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo X is Nearly Sold Out". Car and Driver.
  21. ^ Bill Vlasic (February 13, 2017). "Profitable Pickups May Be in Cross Hairs of Trump Border Tax". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2017. And while Fiat Chrysler is expanding its American output of trucks, it still relies on its factory in Saltillo, Mexico, for 30 to 40 percent of its pickups
  22. ^ "Fernando Soler City Theater". Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  23. ^ "Architectural Heritage". Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  24. ^ "Museums and Galleries | Saltillo". Retrieved August 22, 2017.[dead link]
  25. ^ Torres, Robert (December 25, 2009). "Canton creating Sister Cities in Israel, Mexico to encourage investment". Director of Development. Retrieved January 23, 2015.


  • Brown, John Henry (1893). History of Texas: From 1685 to 1892. 2. Princeton University: L. E. Daniell.
  • Offutt, Leslie S. (2001). Saltillo 1770–1810: Town and Region in the Mexican North. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. ISBN 978-0-8165-2164-7.