Often referred to as Mexico's "City of Eternal Spring", Cuernavaca is a destination prized by tourists for its warm and stable climate. It is located in Mexico's south-central region state, Morelos. The city came to be as a result of an Aztec emperor's (Acamapichtli's) victory, around 1396, over the ruler of the region called 'Tlalnahuatl' in the area south of the Valley of Mexico. Subsequently, the area was then renamed 'Cuauhnahuac', in the Aztec (Nahuatl) language. It is believed that the union of the emperor and a princess of the conquered Tlalnahuatl people resulted in the birth of Montezuma I, the fifth emperor and unifier of all Aztec peoples. Through the 1400s, as the Aztec empire expanded under Montezuma I, Cuernavaca grew in size and strength, subsuming other peoples of the province intro the empire. Then, around 1520, Cortes brought the Spanish to the city, conquering the Aztecs and founding plantations on the fertile surrounding land. In 1526, Cortes built a great palace for his wife in the city, though eventually Cortes moved his family to Altacomulco, the palace remains in Cuernavaca to this day. With the arrival of the Franciscans and founding of their monastery in 1529, the Spanish presence and expansion began. By 1786, the development and reorganizing of "New Spain" resulted in a system of 12 Mexican provinces wherein Cuernavaca became ancillary to Mexico City. It was the war for Mexican Independence (1810-1821) and the signing of the Mexican Constitution in 1824 that led to independence for the state of Morelos and Cuernavaca, as well. And in 1833 the Mexican government declared the Palace of Cortes property of the people.
Independence from Spanish rule, however, was only the beginning of a long struggle to be free. During the Mexican American War (1846-1848), Cuernavaca saw its leadership in Mexico City replaced by a junta who voted in a new president. Then, in 1856, under president Alvarez, Cuernavaca was declared separate from Mexico City. Unfortunately for the city, the result was that during the Franco-Mexican Intervention of 1861, Cuernavaca fell to French control. This governmental arraignment lasted until 1867 when the French-installed ruler fell as fighting broke out between the residents of Cuernavaca and the Mexican Republican army out of Mexico City.
In the end, by 1869, Morelos was designated as its own state within Mexico and Cuernavaca its capital. Thus began the establishment and development of Cuernavaca as the city we know today. The banks, schools, and hotels that were built from this period on now form this hub for tourism and business.
The primary economic activities in Cuernavaca focus on manufacturing. Some of these products include: foods, pharmaceuticals, clothing, textiles, and automobiles. Secondary sources of growth involve service oriented endeavors and agriculture. Sugar is still a large sector of the farming of these climes, in addition to corn, cotton, beans, and tropical fruit grown on orchards.
Did you know?
* "Cuernavaca" was given then nickname "The City of Eternal Spring" by German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.
* The former Palace of Cortes has been restored and dedicated as a history museum. The Museo Regional Cuauhnahuac features many murals painted by Diego Revera that depict the history of the Morelos State.
* The city's Aztec (Nahuatl) name 'Cuauhnahuac' means "surrounded by trees".
* During the "Prohibition" years in American, Cuernavaca was a popular vacation spot for gambling. It attracted celebrities such as Rita Hayworth as well as some notorious figures the likes of Al Capone and Bugsy Segal.
* Temperatures in the region of Cuernavaca rarely go below 15C/55F or above 28C/82F.
* In the late 1950's Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton built an extravagant Japanese style palace on 30 acres in Cuernavaca. Designed by Japanese artist and architects and surrounded by Japanese gardens, the mansion was converted to a hotel and resort. It now operates under the name Camino Real Sumiya.
* Not far from the city are volcanoes towering 20,000 feet above the valley. Archeological digs atop these mountains have traced artifacts dating to pre-Columbian era and the sites allow for compelling excursions into the history of the Morelos region.
* Counter-culture leader of the so-called psychedelic movement, Timothy Leary, was reported to have first tried psilocybin mushrooms while on vacation in Cuernavaca circa 1960.
* Cuernavaca remains a celebrated vacation destination for people around the world having attracted a large number of expatriates. All manner of former diplomats, actors, business executives, and government officials make up the pool of foreign retirees living in the area. Nonetheless, the city draws a good number of young people and students from other countries who come to visit and study here.
* In 1957, "Our Cabana Center" was opened at Cuernavaca by the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Guides.
Why is it a sister city?
*Cuernavaca shares with Minneapolis a rich history, a similar climate, a strong devotion to advanced education, and a serious appreciation of the arts.
*Minneapolis is home to the descendants of many people from Morelos who settled in the Midwest.
*Biotechnology, Agriculture, and Medical research are core enterprises in both cities.