Bajio Mexico – Maps, History and Culture

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If you drew a bullseye on Mexico, you would likely circle the Mexican region of Bajio. Bajio a landlocked region that includes the states of Aguascalientes, Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Querétaro. Bajio is located on the Mexican Plateau, making the region perfect for harvesting crops and other agricultural uses.

List of Cities

  • Guadalajara
  • Leon
  • Santiago de Queretaro
  • Aguascalientes City
  • Celaya
  • Irapuato
  • Salamanca
  • Valle de Santiago

Quick Facts

  • Population: ~ 13 million
  • Languages: Spanish, Aztec, native indigenous languages (Nahuatl, Otomi)
  • Ethnicities: Spanish, Mestizo, Afro-Mexican, White Mexican, Chinese-Mexican
  • Capitals:
    • Queretaro City, Queretaro
    • Guanajuato City, Guanajuato
    • Guadalajara, Jalisco
    • Aguascalientes City, Aguascalientes

Brief History

Bajio Mexico is one of the only regions in Mexico with prehistoric tribes of indigenous people master agriculture. These tribes helped the Toltecs further develop the region. The Toltecs took what the tribes before them had started and expanded those developments exponentially. Agriculture in the area flourished and eventually attracted the Aztecs to the region. The Aztecs dominated Bajio Mexico until their fall in the 1300s.

Once the Aztecs fell in 1325, the Otomi remained in the area until the Spanish arrived in the 1500s. The Otomi was the major indigenous group that was currently living in the region. The Aztecs and Otomi never officially established any official cities or towns. With the help of the Otomi, Spain colonized one of the first cities in the region, the city of Queretaro.

Spain took advantage of the diverse terrain of the region and used it to their advantage. The northern area of the region was rugged and provided a defense against invaders or tribes from the north, while the central and southern areas of the region provided agriculture and developmental infrastructures. One of the most successful agricultural productions in the region was harvesting livestock. This gave the region much of its economic success and brought many immigrants to the area.

Bajio Mexico flourished during the Colonial era from the 1500s to the 1800s. In 1808, the Mexican War for Independence began. This was a war that occurred due to Mexico attempting to become their own territory that was free from Spanish control.

Bajio Mexico played a role in the Mexican War for Independence as it was the location of a major attack on the Spanish army from the Mexicans. It was led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Spanish Catholic priest who became a leader in the Mexican War for Independence.

Hidalgo discovered that the Spanish army was stockpiling weapons to engage in war. Hidalgo assembled his army and ordered that they attack the Spanish army. This occurred in present-day Queretaro, one of the states that make up the Bajio Mexico region.

Queretaro also became the capital of Mexico during the Mexican-American War for a brief period of time. The Mexican-American War began as a result of the United States annexing Texas. Mexico believed that Texas (Tejas) still belonged to them because the government did not recognize the treaty that was signed by Mexican General Santa Anna.

There was a battle over the state of Texas, which would eventually end with Mexico being overpowered by the strength of the United States military. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established that the Rio Grande would serve as the border between Mexico and the United States.

There were also additional terms included in the treaty that offered Mexican citizens who lived on the American side of the Rio Grande to become U.S. citizens, as long as it would be fulfilled within the first year of the treaty.

After the Mexican-American war, Mexico’s economy suffered and would need to be rebuilt. Over time, the economy was slowly rebuilt, as the area focused mostly on industrial infrastructure and modernizing the region.

As this happened, the population in the region increased as well. Industrial development grew in and around Quererato City, which significantly improved the region’s economy, which continues to be one of the area’s leading fields of employment opportunities today.


Spanish is the primary language spoken in Bajio, Mexico, today, but that wasn’t always the case. Before the Spanish settled in the region, many indigenous tribes lived in the area, including the Toltecs, Aztecs, Otomi, and Nahuatls. These tribes spoke their own native languages before Spanish began to dominate the area.

Today, Spanish is the primary language spoken in the region, but there may be dialects and references to these indigenous languages that existed before the Spanish arrived.


Just like Spain’s influence on the language of Mexico, it also influenced the religion that was practiced in the area.

The primary religion of Bajio Mexico is Roman Catholic because it is the primary religion of Spain. When the Spanish arrived in the 1500s and continued throughout the 1800s, they brought their ideas and beliefs. Spain spread their belief and practice of Roman Catholicism to Mexico during this time. As the Spanish expanded and created new families, they taught Roman Catholicism to their children.

Today, it is estimated that around 80% of the region is Roman Catholic.


The region of Bajio Mexico is considered one of the best geographical regions in all of Mexico. Even though it is landlocked with no access to coastal waterways, it makes up for it in other ways.

First, the region maximized the many agricultural opportunities that it offered. This is what grew Bajio Mexico into the economic success it is today. Livestock and crop harvesting are dominant throughout the region and bring many employment opportunities to those who live in the region, as well as those who lived nearby and chose to relocate to the region. Maize and wheat are the dominant crops that are harvested in the area.

Another reason agriculture is so successful in this region is the ample rainfall that is received each year. Getting enough rain helps both the crops and the livestock thrive in this region.

The other reason that Bajio Mexico has arguably the perfect geography is because of the rugged mountains that lie to the north. These mountains serve as a barrier to protect the region from the north, which was extremely beneficial during the prehistoric and Toltec time period.


Bajio Mexico has grown into an industrial region in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean that much of the culture has been forgotten. Bajio Mexico has many cities that still focus on the culture that helped form the region. Some festivals display art and music from this region. This includes leather goods, vibrant artwork, and mariachi music.

To remind the region’s citizens about where they come from, many festivals focus on the cultural arts that historically defined the region. It is a way for the region to remember that they are more than just the industrialism that is often seen throughout the area.

Immigration and Migration Patterns

During the Colonial Era of Bajio Mexico, Spanish settlers left Mexico and began a new life in the west. One of the areas they largely settled in was Bajio, Mexico. Bajio Mexico had much to offer the Spanish settlers, including geography and industrial growth.

Between the 1500s and 1800s, more and more Spanish immigrants relocated to Mexico. In doing so, they began new families with the indigenous tribes in the region. This created a new mixed-race called Mestizo, which is a combination of Spanish and indigenous people.

Another migration pattern that can be seen in Bajio Mexico occurred after the Mexican-American War. Because the Mexican-American War focused mainly on Texas and areas near the Rio Grande, the region saw migration patterns centered around those who lived near these areas.

Mexicans were allowed to relocate to the United States within the year after the Mexican-American War ended. Some Mexicans relocated to the United States, while some Americans relocated to Mexico.

In addition to Spanish and American immigrants, some African slaves were brought into the area. They were permanently relocated to Mexico, where they eventually began a new life in the region, ultimately leading to the creation of the Afro-Mexican race.

The last migrants to arrive in Mexico didn’t occur until the late 1800s and early 1900s, and these were the Chinese. Mexico was on the brink of developing reliable railroads and other infrastructures but needed additional help, so they called on the Chinese to help them. Many Chinese men migrated to Mexico to help advance their systems and ended up permanently staying in the area.


The genealogy of Bajio Mexico can be connected to countries all over the world. The most prominent and likely country that Bajio Mexican genealogy encompasses is Spain. This is because Spain dominated the region of Bajio, Mexico, for many centuries. This is also why many Mexicans have Spanish qualities and traits, including dark skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. However, the dark traits can also come from the African slaves brought into the area.

In addition to African and Spain connections, there can also be many additional European heritages that show up in Bajio Mexican genealogy. This is because of the likelihood that Americans living near the Rio Grande relocated to Mexico after the Mexican-American War. This means that French, Italian, or English genealogy may also show up in those who live in Bajio, Mexico.

Caleb Pike
About the author

Caleb Pike is an avid hiker and nature lover, with a passion for exploring the great outdoors. He's a writer, photographer, and adventurer, always seeking new trails to blaze and peaks to conquer.