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Cheap flights to Paris from Toluca
Toluca is the state capital of the State of Mexico as well as the seat of the Municipality of Toluca. It is the center of a rapidly growing urban area, now the fifth largest in Mexico. It is located 63 kilometres (39 mi) west-southwest of Mexico City, about 40 minutes by car to the western edge of the city. According to the 2010 census, the city of Toluca has a population of 819,561. The city is the fifth largest in Mexico by population. The municipality of Toluca, along with thirteen other municipalities, make up the metropolitan population of 2,116,506 in Greater Toluca as of 2015, making it the fifth most populous metropolitan area in Mexico.
When Toluca was founded by the Matlatzincas, its original name was Nepintahihui (land of corn, tierra del maíz). The current name is based on the Náhuatl name for the area when it was renamed by the Aztecs in 1473. The name has its origin in the word tollocan that comes from the name of the god, Tolo, plus the locative suffix, can, to denote “place of Tolo”. It is also referred to in a number of Aztec codices as Tolutépetl, meaning hill of the god, Tolo, an allusion to the nearby volcano. The name Toluca de Lerdo was adopted in 1861 in honor of President Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada.
The Valley of Toluca was known as Matlatzinco Valley in ancient times and home to at least four linguistic groups: the Matlatzinca, Otomi, Mazahua, and Nahua peoples. In the Postclassic period, the valley was ruled by a large powerful capital city whose ruins are located today in the village of Calixtlahuaca, just north of the city of Toluca. In 1478 the Mexica emperor Axayacatl conquered the Toluca Valley. The capital was stripped of its dynasty and power and some lands were distributed to kings and nobles from the Valley of Mexico.
One of the rivals of Calixtlahuaca was Tollocan, a minor city-state before 1478. When Axayacatl destroyed Calixtlahuaca, he placed the imperial provincial capital in Tollocan. Calixtlahuaca and other towns in the Toluca Valley paid tribute to the Aztec Empire through Tollocan. After the Spanish conquest, the name Tollocan was changed to Toluca. Archaeologists have not yet located a major Postclassic settlement within the modern city. Either the pre-Hispanic city of Tollocan was destroyed and covered over by the expansion of Toluca, or else the remains of Tollocan could lie outside of the modern city. A small Postclassic site was discovered on the hill called Tolochi, which is in the north of the modern city, but the remains seem too insubstantial to have been a major provincial capital. The tree of “Las Manitas Rojas”, which literally means “little red hands”, was planted before the Spanish Conquest in what is now the monastery of Nuestra Señora del Carmen. This tree is significant because it shows that Toluca was important enough for the Aztecs to create a botanical garden.
In 1521, the Spanish conquered the Valley of Toluca. Leading the troops was Gonzalo de Sandoval, one of Cortes’ many sergeants. Toluca’s first governor was Pedro Cortés Coyotzin. The valley of Toluca and what is now the city of Toluca were included in the concession made by King Carlos V of Spain to Hernán Cortés.
In 1524, the evangelization process started in Toluca. The most notable figure of this effort is Fray Andrés Castro, from Burgos, the old capital of Castile, by making a great number of improvements to the city and being the first one to learn the native Matlatzincan language. The friar was well loved by the Matlzinca people, as he worked to protect them from the injustices of the early colonial period. He is remembered to this day with a plaza that bears his name which includes a sculpture depicting him. A Spanish community was established in 1530, but it was not until 1677 that Toluca was categorized as a town. In 1793, the construction of a road to Mexico City was started. Although Toluca was recognized as a city as early as 1662, only in 1799, was Toluca officially named a city by the King Carlos IV of Spain on September 12.
In 1810, at the beginning of the independence movement, Miguel Hidalgo stayed in Toluca for a few days on his way to the Battle of Monte de las Cruces. In 1811, a group of indigenous natives of Mexico was shot and killed by Spanish royalists. In memorial to those who were killed in this incident, the place where this occurred was named “Plaza of the Martires”. In 1812, the first city council of Toluca was installed. In 1821, independence was proclaimed by the local authorities.
After the creation of the State of Mexico in 1825, the state capital moved to different cities several times. until in 1830, Toluca was finally designated as the constitutional capital of the State of Mexico. In 1832, the building of “Los Portales” was started in downtown Toluca. In 1836, because of the centralization of the Mexican federal government, all branches of government were relocated to Mexico City after some were in Toluca for several years.
In 1847, thanks to Ignacio Ramírez, “El Nigromante” or the Institute of Literature opened. In 1851, the “Teatro Principal” was built by González Arratia. Mariano Riva Palacio was named governor of the state and he started the most important modernization process of the city in the 19th century. In 1881, The Industrial Union was founded, the railroad was opened and the Bank of State of Mexico created the first bills in the country. In 1882, the Teachers College was founded. In 1910, people celebrated a century of Independence, and the Plaza España was inaugurated.
In colonial times, Toluca first gained economic importance as a producer of smoked and cured meats, especially chorizo sausage. The nearby town of Lerma still carries on this tradition. However, since that time, Toluca’s economy has expanded far beyond sausage to become one of the most industrialized areas in Mexico. Its geographic position in the center of the country and proximity to Mexico City as well as its well-developed infrastructure, have allowed Toluca to grow into a major industrial zone for the state. Toluca began consolidating in the 1940s, but the most intense industrialization began in the 1950s and continued through most of the 1980s. The growth and industrialization of Toluca is closely tied to the growth and changes in economic activities that have occurred in the Mexico City metropolitan area. Most industrial enterprises are on the small and micro-level but the city has attracted a large number of international corporations. Major products produced include food processing, metals and machinery, paper products, printed matter as well as auto production. The industrial base of the Toluca metropolitan area employs over 33% of the municipality’s population and 6% of the entire state’s population.
Outside of the metropolitan area, the economy is still based on agriculture and livestock, with some income from tourism. Only a little over four percent of the total municipal population engages in agriculture raising corn, wheat, beans, potatoes, peas, fava beans and oats on a little over half of the municipality’s territory. Livestock raising is a greater source of income with 10,286 sites producing cattle, pigs, sheep and domestic fowl. Tourism is based on the Nevado de Toluca volcano and the archeological zone of Calixtlahuaca. Despite being little known internationally, they manage to represent about 50% of the state’s tourism income.
Toluca lies in the southern part of the valley and its economic influence is most strongly felt in the southern and central parts of the valley. The northern parts of the valley have closer ties to Atlacomulco. The core metropolitan area of Toluca consists of the municipalities of Toluca, Lerma, Metepec, San Mateo Atenco, Ocoyoacac and Zinacantepec. The economic interdependence of these municipalities are most similar to that of the communities in the Mexico City metropolitan area. There are two “outer spheres” of the metropolitan area. The first consists of the municipalities of Almoloya del Río, Capulhuac, Mexicaltzingo, San Antonio la Isla, Tenango del Valle and Xonacatlán. The furthest sphere consists of Santiango Tianguistenco, Santa María Rayón, Santa Cruz Atizapán and Chapultepec, México. These spheres are defined not only by geographical distance but also by population growth and rate of urbanization.
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