About San Miguel de Allende, Tequisquiapan, and Bernal, Mexico

San Miguel de Allende is a city and municipality located in the far eastern part of the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. It is 170 miles from Mexico City and 40 miles from Querétaro.

The population of the town is estimated to be 80,000. Of these, about 10-12,000 are foreigners, of which 70% are from the United States.

 

San Miguel was founded in 1542 by the Franciscan monk Fray Juan de San Miguel as a presidio to protect the Antiguo Camino Real, the silver route from Zacatecas to Guanajuato to Mexico City.  Then known as San Miguel El Grande, the town thrived for almost three hundred years under the repressive but orderly rule of Spain and the Catholic Church.  The town was renamed in 1826 to San Miguel de Allende, in honour of Ignacio Allende who was born here.

By 1900, due to the decline in silver mining, San Miguel de Allende was in danger of becoming a ghost town. It was its Baroque-Neoclassical architecture which captured the attention of foreign artists who, in the mid 20th Century began to move here and set-up several cultural and artistic institutions in the town. Famous artists, including Siquieros, began to lend the town some notoriety, and so followed a steady stream of foreign students, artists and retirees who came to San Miguel. Today, tourism, art, culture, retail commerce, and agriculture are the mainstays of the local economy.