|Estado Libre y Soberano de Morelos|
|Motto: Tierra y Libertad (Land and Liberty)|
|Anthem: Marcha Morelense|
State of Morelos within Mexico
|Admission||April 17, 1869|
|• Governor||Graco Ramírez|
|• Senators||Adrián Rivera Pérez
Martha Leticia Rivera
|• Total||4,879 km2 (1,884 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||5,500 m (18,000 ft)|
|• Density||370/km2 (970/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||2nd|
|Time zone||CST (UTC−6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC−5)|
|ISO 3166 code||MX-MOR|
|HDI||0.755 high Ranked 13th|
|GDP||US$ 7,557.55 mil[a]|
|Website||Official Web Site|
|^ a. The state's GDP was 96,736,678 thousand of pesos in 2008, amount corresponding to 7,557,552.968 thousand of dollars, being a dollar worth 12.80 pesos (value of June 3, 2010).|
Morelos ( moˈɾelos (help·info)), officially Free and Sovereign State of Morelos (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Morelos), is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 33 municipalities and its capital city is Cuernavaca.
It is located in South-Central Mexico. It is bordered by the states of México to the north-east and north-west, Puebla to the east and Guerrero to the southwest. Mexico City is situated north of Morelos.
Morelos is the second-smallest state in the nation, just after Tlaxcala. It was part of the very large province then State of Mexico until 1869, when Benito Juárez decreed that its territory would be separated and named in honor of José María Morelos y Pavón, who defended the city of Cuautla from royalist forces during the Mexican War of Independence. Most of the state enjoys a warm climate year-round, which is good for the raising of sugar cane and other crops. Morelos has attracted visitors from the Valley of Mexico since Aztec times. Today, many people from Mexico City spend weekends in the state or own second homes there, especially in the Cuernavaca area.
The state is also known for the Chinelos, a type of costumed dancer that appears at festivals, especially Carnival, which is celebrated in a number of communities in the state. It is also home to the Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl, a designated World Heritage Site.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography, climate and nature
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Government
- 5 Economy and tourism
- 6 Culture
- 7 Education
- 8 Transportation and communications
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 External links
Evidence of the first human inhabitants in what is now Morelos dates back to 6000 BCE and shows these people as nomadic hunters and gatherers in the areas of Yautepec and Chimalacatlan. The first agriculturally based settlements appeared around 1500 BCE in Tamoachán. Other early finds include clay jars and figures in the Gaulupita neighborhood of Cuernavaca and three mounds in Santa María Ahuacatitlán, which are probably the remains of houses.
The earliest identified culture is the Olmec, which was dominant from 200 BCE to about 500 CE. Evidence of this culture is found in reliefs such as those found in the Cantera Mountain in Chalcatzingo and clay figures.
After the Olmec period, the area was invaded by several waves of migration from the Valley of Mexico in the north. The settlement of Mazatepec is founded in 603 by the Toltecs . A second wave of Toltecs established the city-state of Xochicalco (the City of Flowers). Their influence is evident in Teotihuacan at the temple of Quetzalcoatl, but there are also signs of Mayan, Mixtec and Zapotec influences. The last wave of Toltecs arrived in the 12th century. There are two groups from this wave. The first to arrive were the Xochimilcas, who settled in places such as Tetela, Hueyapan, Tepoztlán and Xumiltepec. Shortly afterwards the Tlahuicas arrived and has settled in an around Cuauhnáhuac or Cuernavaca by 1250. There is evidence that indicates the Tlauhuicas probably would have been expelled from Morelos by the Xochimilcas if they had not been protected by Xólotl, lord of Acolhua, who granted territory to Tochintecutli, the first lord of Cuauhnáhuac. The Tlahuicas are believed to be an offshoot of the Toltec-Chichimec group of Nahuatl-speaking peoples who have occupied the area since the seventh century.
The Tlahuica eventually became the dominant ethnic group in Morelos. They were organized into about fifty small city-states each with a hereditary ruler (tlatoani). Each Tlahuica city-state consisted of a central town, with its temple, plaza, palace and the surrounding countryside and villages. The largest of these were Cuernavaca and Huaxtepec (now spelled Oaxtepec). These people had advanced knowledge of astronomy and a highly developed agricultural system. They were especially known for growing cotton, which was planted wherever the land could be irrigated. Tlahuica women spun and wove cloth, which became an important item for exchange and for paying tribute.
The Mexica or Aztec began to arrive in the area as early as 1398, but efforts to dominate this area began in the 1420s. In the 1420s and 1430s, Cuernavaca and Jiutepec were conquered by Itzcoatl. In the middle of the century, other city-states in Morelos made war on Aztec-held Cuernavaca and the Aztecs used this as an excuse to conquer areas such as Yautepec, Tetlama and other locations, eventually dominating the entire state. The inclusion of the area into the Aztec Empire was sealed with marriage of Aztec emperor Huitzilihuitl to Miahuaxochitl, daughter of the lord of Cuernavaca. This union produced a son who would become Aztec emperor Moctezuma Ilhuicamina. These conquered areas were allowed to keep their local political structures as long as tribute was regularly paid. This tribute mostly consisted of cotton items. The territory was divided into two tributary provinces, one centered on Cuernavaca and the other centered on Oaxtepec.
Moctezuma Ilhuicamina succeeded Izcóatl, and tradition has it that he established a botanical garden in Oaxtepec. He also vacationed in the warm springs at the foothills of the Ajusco, located in what is now a resort run by the Social Security Administration (IMSS). Moctezuma’s favorite swimming area is thought to have been a nearby pond called “Poza Azul”.
The Mexica built a number of fortifications in the area, notably in the hills called El Sobrerito and Tlatoani near Tlayacapan. The pyramid of Tepozteco (Tepoztlán) may have also been designed as a fort and lookout post. During this time, the Tlauhuica built the double-pyramid known as Teopanzolco in Cuernavaca.
Conquest and colonial period
Population estimates for the beginning of the 16th century are: Cuauhnáhuac, 50,000; Oaxtepec, 50,000; Yautepec, 30,000; Tepoztlán, 20,000; Totolapan, 20,000; and 12,000 each for Tlayacapan, Tetela, Yecapitxtla, and Ocuituco.
The Spanish under Hernán Cortés arrived into central Mexico. After Cortés's defeat in Tenochtitlan (La Noche Triste) and retreat into Tlaxacala in 1520, he sent expeditions to Morelos. One of the first Mexicas to accept Spanish authority was in Ocuituco. After the fall of Tenochtitlan, the Spanish returned to Morelos to subdue the Tlahuicas in Cuernavaca in 1521, led by Gonzalo de Sandoval. However, the first attempt failed. The next attempt first took Yautepec, Oaxtepec and Jiutepec and after a fierce fight, finally took the city. He constructed the Palace of Cortés in this city five years later.
In 1529, Cortés was named the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, which gave him control over 4,000 km² of territory in Morelos with Cuernavaca as the seat of authority over about eighty communities, eight haciendas and two sugar cane plantations. These lands stayed in the Cortés family until 1809, when the government confiscated all of the lands of the Marquis. There are house-to-house censuses from the mid-1530s from communities around Cuernavaca that are the earliest extant local-level documentation in Nahuatl, likely due to a dispute between Cortés and the crown about the number of tributaries of the Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca. These indigenous censuses make it possible to establish an early colonial-era base-line for household structure, land holding, tribute obligations, and rates of baptism and Church marriage.
Historian Ward Barrett considers that the "region now known as Morelos has a physical unity sufficient to define and set it in strong contrast to other regions of Mexico." Much of this definition comes from its geography, which is a basin into which abundant water flows. The arrival of the Spanish shifted agriculture subsistence maize production and cotton cultivation to sugar cane and the refining of such into sugar in nearby mills. Since this sugar competed with that grown in the Caribbean by slaves, the hacienda system was extremely powerful, reducing many indigenous to landless peasants, dependent on wage labor. This system would remain more or less intact until the Mexican Revolution.
Independence to end of 19th century
The conditions on the sugar plantations of Morelos made Father Miguel Hidalgo’s call to take up arms well received by the indigenous and mestizo populations of the state. The first rebellions broke out in 1811, with some early successes. An early insurgent leader in the state was Francisco Ayala. Insurgents from the state managed to push as far as Chalco in what is now Mexico State when royalist forces pushed them back in 1812. After Hidalgo was executed, José María Morelos y Pavon took over the insurgent effort, and Mariano Matamoros of Jantetelco joined this army in 1811.
By 1812, insurgents had control of the city Cuautla and royalist forces began to put it under siege. Morelos and his men held out for 58 days when reinforcement arrived, breaking the siege. This was one of the early vital wins for the insurgent movement. Morelos would eventually be captured by royalists and executed in 1815, but the memory of this battle would lead to the future state being named after him.
After winning independence, what is now the state of Morelos was the district of Cuernavaca as part of the very large State of Mexico, created in 1824. The entity would change status between state and department depending on whether liberal or conservative factions were in charge. In 1857, the State of Mexico and all other states would keep their federal status permanently under the constitution adopted that year.
The next conflict to play out in the state was the uprising against President Antonio López de Santa Anna under the Plan of Ayutla in 1854. Armed rebellion broke out in Cuautla and Santa Anna responded by burning entire villages. However, the rebellion dislodged Santa Anna, naming Juan Álvarez as the president. Alvarez moved the Mexican capital to Cuernavaca, with many foreign diplomatic missions moving to the city as well. A new constitutional convention was called and when the 1857 Constitution was proclaimed, Alvarez retired and the capital moved back to Mexico City.
The new constitution did not stop fighting among conservative and liberal factions in Mexico, which escalated again into the Reform War from 1858 to 1861. Cuernavaca was a stronghold of the conservatives, while Cuautla was a liberal bastion. Anarchy ruled more than anything else, as bandits roamed the region, burned and destroyed the haciendas of Pantitlán and Xochimancas, and terrorized villagers. The war ended on January 11, 1861 when Benito Juárez took control of Mexico City. Ignacio Manuel Altamirano wrote a novel, set in Yautepec, about the war and the bandits, called El Zarco: Episodios de la Vida Mexicana en 1861–63.
The division between the liberal and conservative parts of the state remained through the French Intervention in Mexico . When the French Army invaded Mexico, Francisco Leyva raised an army in Morelos to fight in the Battle of Puebla of May 5, 1862. Despite the heroic efforts on that day, the French eventually managed to gain control of the country and install Maximilian of Habsburg as emperor in 1864. Maximilian chose the Jardin Borda in Cuernavaca as his summer residence, and he built “La Casa del Olindo” in Cuernavaca supposedly for Margarita Leguizmo Sedano, his mistress known as "La India Bonita." The French emperor improved the roads from Mexico City to Cuernavaca and telegraph service between the two began in 1866. However, resistance to French rule was well underway. On January 1, 1867, republican troops under the leadership of Francisco Leyva, Ignacio Figueroa, and Ignacio Manuel Altamirano began an eight-day siege of Cuernavaca. France, under Napoleon III, withdrew its troops soon after that, and Maximilian was defeated by Republican forces and executed.
The state of Morelos was created in 1868. After the French were expelled by forces under Benito Juárez, there were efforts to divide the State of Mexico. This resulted in the creation of the state of Morelos on 21 September 1868 by the federal Congress of Mexico. The territory of the state was the Third Military District of the State of Mexico as defined by the Juárez government. The name of Morelos and the capital Cuernavaca were selected by the state’s first legislature. The first state constitution was finalized in 1870. There were boundary disputes between the new state with Mexico State and the Federal District, but these were resolved by the 1890s.
A telegraph line from Mexico City to Cuernavaca had been laid between 1867 and 1869; in 1870 it was extended to Iguala, Chilpancingo, and Tixla. Another line, between Cuernavaca and Cuautla, was laid in 1875. Attempts were made to improve education, but limited funds made that virtually impossible. Other infrastructure projects in the late 19th century included the Toluca-Cuernavaca highway, and a rail line between Mexico City and Cuautla. Rail lines would continue to be built into the 20th century, connecting the state further with Mexico City and the Pacific Ocean. On May 11, 1874 the capital was moved to Cuautla; it was returned to Cuernavaca on January 1, 1876.
The Diocese of Cuernavaca was established in 1894 with Fortino Hipólito Vera as the first bishop.
After independence, the sugar industry made Morelos one of the richest parts of Mexico. This was the main reason for the infrastructure projects during the latter 19th century, as much of this sugar was being exported, mostly to Europe. However, the riches of the plantations were enjoyed only by often-absentee landowners, with workers in debt and poverty. During the presidency of Porfirio Díaz in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries, larger modernized plantations used steam-driven mills and centrifugal extractors. This meant that larger plantations were able to demand more water and crowd out smaller competitors. It also resulted in an even wider gap between workers and owners. The prosperous landowners had much political clout under the Diaz regime as production increased five-fold. This allowed them to apply political pressure to obtain lands that had previously been held in communially among mestizos and indigenous groups. Between 1884 and 1905, eighteen towns in Morelos disappeared as lands were taken by the haciendas.
Mexican Revolution to present
Sugar production, investment in infrastructure and laws favorable to business and foreign investment allowed Morelos to participate in the world economy at the beginning of the 20th century. Economic development followed very rapidly. Some of the haciendas even evolved into company towns, employing between 250 and 3,000 workers with their own stores, powerhouses, schools and police. However, the development of the haciendas came at the expense of the general populace, which lost lands and water rights. The growth of the large haciendas eventually concentrated the economy into 28 haciendas which occupied 77% of the state’s territory.
This situation would make the state ripe for the Mexican Revolution and the base for one of the best known revolutionaries from this period, Emiliano Zapata, who was born in the state. Some of the first outbreaks of violence took place in Cuernavaca under Genovevo de la O in 1910. The state fell into the hands of Zapata’s Liberation Army of the South only one year after hostilities broke out in 1910. Government forces attacked towns and cities in the state, trying to take it back. It would remain solidly in Zapata’s hands unitil his death in 1919, despite challenges late in the war to forces loyal to fellow revolutionary Venustiano Carranza. The Zapatistas imposed a heavy tax on haciendas; when the owners refused to pay, the rebels burned the cane fields such as those of Chinameca, Tenango, Treinta, Atilhuayan, Santa Iñes, and San Gabriel. Zapata’s remains are currently in Cuautla at the foot of a statue erected in his honor.
Since the Revolution, the state’s history has centered on development and crime. There were problems with highway and train bandits in the 1920s and 1930s, and the Buenavista-Tepoztlán highway was built in 1936. Highway construction eventually led to the closing of a number of rail lines including the Mexico City-Cuernavaca-Iguala line in 1963.
As it has been since Aztec times, the state has been a favorite retreat for those in Mexico City, especially Cuernavaca, due to its warm year-round climate. This has been especially true since the latter 20th century and has spurred a major housing boom which continues to this day. Most of this boom is centered on the city of Cuernavaca but there it also affects Cuautla and some other places as well.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the major crime problem was kidnapping for ransom. The kidnapping crime wave caused investment in the state to drop from a high of US $245 million in 1999 to $102 million in 2002, with the state lagging behind the country in job creation. The state broke the kidnapping rings in the early 2000s, mostly by arresting corrupt lawyers, police and judges who were protecting kidnapping rings, includes one run by Daniel “Mocha Orejas” Arizmendi, who received his nickname by cutting off his victims’ ears and sending them to family members. The busts brought the kidnapping rate to below national average.
The kidnapping problems, however, have been replaced with violence related to the drug trade, despite the fact that Morelos is far from the U.S. border. The 2009 slaying of kingpin Arturo Beltrán Leyva set of a turf war for his successor. It has increased the number of gun battles and gangland-style executions. Anonymous email threats succeed in keeping people away from Cuernavaca at night, with bars and nightclubs closing when such communications threaten drug violence. In 2004, Governor Sergio Estrada ordered the mass firing of all of the state police officers after top police commanders were arrested on charges that they were working with drug traffickers. This caused a major political battle for the governor, who then himself was accused of cooperating with drug rings, with attempts to take him out of office. The area around Lagunas de Zempoala National Park, on Morelos’s border with Mexico City, is one of Mexico’s 16 most dangerous regions, in part due to the narcotics trade.
The state is considered to be one of the most dangerous, despite its small size and population. Most crime is centered in Cuernavaca. Its crime rate surpasses that of Mexico City in terms of crimes per 1,000 people. It is over 50% higher than the national average. Although Cuernavaca has only 21% of the population, it suffers 45% of the crime committed in the state. There are a number of possible causes. Some blame the judicial system for being inept and there are strong links to the drug trafficking trade, bringing in merchandise to Mexico City.
Geography, climate and nature
The state is located in the center of the country and has an area of 4,893 km², accounting for 0.25% of Mexico’s total territory. It is the second smallest state after Tlaxcala. It borders with the Federal District of Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Guerrero and Puebla. The state’s capital is Cuernavaca. It was the largest city of the Tlahuicas and originally called Cuauhnahuac, but the Spanish could not pronounce this and modified it to the current name. This city is only 90 km south of Mexico City and due to its gentle climate is referred to as “The City of the Eternal Spring.”
Morelos, most of which is between 1,000 and 3,300 meters (2,900 – 9,800 feet) above sea level, has a very diverse topography: 42% is mountainous, 16% hilly land, and 42% flat terrain. The highest altitudes are found near the state’s border with Mexico City, and the lowest are found in the Huaxtla region. The state straddles two main geographic formations, the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in the north and east and the Sierra Madre del Sur, which stretches south and west from Cuernavaca and Jiutepec. The majestic mountain peaks of the Sierra Ajusco in the north of the state divide Morelos from the neighboring Valley of Mexico.
The state is in the highest part of the Balsas River basin, which ends in the north in the areas bounded by the Sierra Ajusco-Chichinautzin and the Popocatépetl volcano. From this point south, the state gradually slopes downward, interrupted by the Tlaltizapan and Yautepec mountains in the center of the state and the Huautla mountains in the south. There are no major rivers here but a large number of small rivers and streams which all eventually feed into the Balsas River.
The climate and vegetation varies from alpine meadows in the highest elevations near Popocatepetl to lowland rainforest in the south. Roughly 70% of the state has a humid and relatively warm climate, especially in the highly populated areas of Cuernavaca, Tepotzlán, Oaxtepec and Yautepec. Average temperature is approximately 25 °C (77 °F) year round, with a rainy season from May until September.
The climates can be further subdivided: hot and semihumid; semihot and semihumid; temperate and semihumid; semicold and semihumid; and cold. The hot and semihumid climate covers about 78% of the state’s territory, with an average temperature of 22C, with rains in the summer. This area presents mostly subtropical rainforest type vegetation. The semihot and semihumid climate can be found in a strip in the north of the state and accounts for 13% of the territory. Average temperature varies between 18 degrees and 22 degrees Celsius, with rains in the summer and a dry season in the winter. A temperate and semihumid climate covers about 10% of the territory and is found in the north of the state around the municipalities of Huitzilac, Tlanepantla, Totolapan, Tetela del Volcán and parts of Cuernavaca, Tepoztlan, Ocuituco, Tlayacapan and Miacatlán. This area has an average temperature of between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius, with mixed forests of pine and holm oak. A semicold and semihumid climate accounts for only 2% of the territory and found along the borders of the Federal District, Mexico State and Puebla. This area has pine forests and some alpine meadows. The coldest climate is found in the upper parts of Popocatepetl that belong to the state. Average temperature here is less than 5 degrees Celsius with frequent freezes. Most of the vegetation is alpine meadow or moss.
The natural resources of the state have been taken advantage of for centuries and have suffered changes as a consequence, especially in landscapes, water sources, flora and fauna. This change accelerates as the population grows. The state has one major national park called the Lagunas de Zempoala. It is one of Mexico’s largest national parks, located on the southern flank of the Sierra Madre mountains. The park had five mountain-fed lakes and abundant wildlife when the park was established in 1937. This park is being stressed due to illegal logging, with subsequent soil erosion and water from its last dark blue lake to drainage. Much of this drainage is to provide water to Cuernavaca, whose population uses 785 liters of water per day per person, twice that of Mexico City. The park’s area has shrunk from 55,000 acres (220 km2) to 12,500.
Much of the state’s ecological woes stem from the housing explosion, which is mostly centered in the capital of Cuernavaca, but it is a problem in places such as Cuautla as well. Groups such as the Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra y el Agua and Guardianes de los Àrboles have criticized the government for allowing city areas to grow with insufficient planning and control. They also claim that it is hurting much of the state’s ecosystem and water supply.
Morelos is the second smallest state and ranks 24 out of 31 states in population, with 1.6% of Mexico’s total population. However, it is ranked third in population density after Mexico City and the State of Mexico. 86% of the population lives in urban areas with only 14% in rural areas. Nationally, the figures are 76% and 24%. Just under 60% of the state’s population lives in seven municipalities, which are Cuernavaca, Jiutepec, Temixco, Cuautla, Yautepec, Jojutla and Ayala. The most heavily populated area of the state is the city of Cuernavaca and its metropolitan area, with 21.95% of the total population. It is followed by the urban area of Cuautla-Yautepec-Ayala with just under 20%.
The state has had a higher than average population increase since the mid-1990s at about 4%. In some areas, population growth has been very high at points, such as in Jiutepec (over 21%) and Emiliano Zapata (over 15%). Much of this growth has been in the main cities of Cuernavaca, Cuautla, Ayala and Yautepec. This growth has meant the loss of the state's ability to feed itself, with less than 40% of grains consumed grown inside Morelos. Population growth has also put strain on infrastructure such as water, sewer, potable water, electricity, roads and schools.
The Catholic religion dominates, but there are significant minorities of evangelical Protestants and those of the Jewish faith.
The indigenous population of the state is estimated at 8%, just under the national average of 10%.(perfilsoc) However, only 2% of the population is counted as speaking an indigenous language compared to seven percent nationally. The total counted in 2005 by INEGI was 24,757. Historically, various Nahua peoples have dominated the state. This population severely diminished during the colonial period and again during the Porfiriato (late 19th and early 20th century), when many indigenous peasants were sent to other parts of the country to work. Those considered to be ethnically indigenous are located in 33 municipalities with most concentrated in 15 of these. Many identify as Mixtec, Tlapaneco and Zapotec who have immigrated from Puebla, Guerrero and Oaxaca. Most of those who identify as Nahua are native to the state. Many of the immigrant indigenous are migrant workers, traveling among fields of sugar cane, corn, tomatoes and onions. Some return to their home states in the off-season and some remain permanently in Morelos.
While indigenous languages have almost completely disappeared since the Conquest, many old customs and traditions continue to live on as part of many people’s identity. Many ethnic Nahuas conserve much of their ancient knowledge, such as dances, music agricultural practices and rituals, although most are mixed with Catholic and moderns beliefs and practices. Since Mexico’s census only counts the indigenous by language spoken and not by ethnicity, it is not possible to be sure of the precise number of Nahua in Morelos. Between 32 and 35 communities in the state have been identified as being “indigenous” based on prevailing customs and tradition. However, this does not take into account migrant workers or who have immigrated to the state from other parts of Mexico. In 2000, 30,896 people were counted as speaking an indigenous language, with the municipalities of Cuautla, Cuernavaca, Ayala, Puente de Ixtla, Temixco and Tetela del Volcàn having the highest number of speakers.
Of the eleven municipalities which are classified as highly marginalized economically, only three have a significant indigenous population (Temoac, Miacatlán and Tetela del Volcán). However, within larger municipalities such as Cuernavaca and Jiutepec, indigenous communities tend to be highly marginalized.
The state is governed by an elected governor, who has a cabinet with four departments called “Policy, Security and Justice,” “Human and Social Development,” “Sustainable Economic Development” and “Development and Modernization of the Administration.” . The state Congress in is charge of passing laws and revising those already in existence. It is unicameral with thirty “deputies” (diputados) representing various portions of the state.
Aside from the state capital of Cuernavaca, nicknamed La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera (The City of Eternal Spring), other major communities include:
Economy and tourism
The economy of Morelos is based on agriculture, tourism and urbanization. Since the 1960s, the economy has been shifting from agriculture to industry and commerce. However, most of these shifts have occurred on a small scale and a number of municipalities are still almost completely reliant on agriculture. While the state provides just 1.6% of the country’s GDP, its economy is strong enough to attract workers, especially farm workers from other areas of the country. However, a large percentage of the state’s population works six days a week, receiving wages of only 500 to 700 Mexican pesos ($46–$65USD), despite the fact that Morelos is one of the more expensive states to live in.
Economically, the state divides into seven districts. The Cuernavaca Region includes the municipalities of Cuernavaca, Temixco, Emiliano Zapata, Jiutepec and Xochitepec. The Norte Region includes the municipalities of Huitzilac, Tepoztlán, Tlalnepantla and Totolapan. The Cuautla Region includes the municipalities of Atlatlahucan, Ayala, Cuautla, Tlayacapan, Yautepec and Yecapixtla. The Noreste Region includes Ocuituco, Temoac, Tetela del Volcán and Zacualpan de Amilpas. The Sureste Region includes Axochiapan, Jantetelco, Jonacatepec and Tepalcingo. The Sur Region includes Amacuzac, Jojutla, Puente de Ixtla, Tlaltizapán, Tlaquiltenango and Zacatepec de Hidalgo and the Poniente Region includes Coatlán del Río, Mazatepec, Miacatlán and Tetecala .
In 2003, it was one of the first states to take advantage of a new law allowing states to sell bonds. In 2002, the state sold $24 million USD worth of bonds on the Mexican stock market in order to finance highways, schools, waterworks and other infrastructure projects. The bond sales also allowed the state to access lower-interest long-term financing.
Due to its location near Mexico City, the state has one of the lower rates of economic marginalization, ranking 20th of 33 units in economic marginialzation, based on housing and education. The most urbanized areas of the state are the strongest economically, with the least urbanized being the poorest. Two of the factors in the development of the state’s economy since the 1960s are the opening of the Mexico City-Acapulco highway through the state in 1952 and the creation of the CIVAC (Ciudad Industrial Valle de Cuernavaca) industrial complex in 1965. This concentrated the population growth into the northern part of the state. Only eleven of the states 33 municicpalities are considered to have any serious degree of marginalization: Tlalnepantla, Totolapan, Tlayacapan, Tetela del Volcán, Ocuituco, Zaculapan, Temoac, Tepalcingo, Amacuzac, Coatlán del Río, Miacatlán and some parts of Puente de Ixtla.
Since the 1980s, the agricultural sector of the economy has been steadily shrinking but it remains an important part of the state’s economy, as there are still a significant number of communities that rely on it. Just under 20% of the working population of the state is involved in farming, ranching, fish farming or forestry. Land available for human exploitation outside of populated areas is divided between agriculture/grazing (45%) and forestry (55%). Agricultural and forestry lands are further subdivided by climate and the type of forest (conifer vs. rainforest). Roughly 70% of the state has a subtropical climate, providing ideal conditions for agriculture, in particular sugar cane, and most farming is done in the warmer areas. Sugar cane has been an important crop since colonial times and still is important today, although the percentage of land dedicated to it has decreased since the 1960s. Another important crop is rice. The production of rice in the state has fallen drastically, from a height of 100,000 tons annually to only 21,000 tons due to the reduction in cultivation areas and the high costs of production. The state still ranks sixth in its production. However, despite price and market protections, foreign rice is competing with Mexican grown rice, including rice produced in the state. Sorghum has replaced lost yields of sugar cane and rice to a certain extent, which has been encouraged by the government. One way the state tries to sell its more expensive products such as rice has been the registration of a trademark calledTradición Agrícola de Morelos (Morelos Agricultural Tradition) to identify products produced in the state on store shelves.
Another important cash and export crop is fresh flowers and ornamental plants. In 2003, this sector accounted for 27 million dollars of income to the state, up from 20 million in 2000. Morelos is Mexico’s major producers of roses, producing 54,552 dozens in 2002. Morelos claims to be the native location of the poinsettia, called noche buena in Spanish. It is native to Mexico, but there has been a “diplomatic patent” on the plant since the early 19th century when the first US ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, registered it. The state’s historical society has asked the Secretary of the Interior to review treaties and work to have this patent annulled. As it stands now, Mexican poinsettia growers must pay royalty fees to the U.S. and even import cuttings from authorized growers in the U.S. to grow the plant commercially. Another effort to combat the patent is to develop a new variety of the flower that would not be covered.
Along with corn and beans grown for subsistence, other fruits and vegetables are widely grown. These include bananas, cherimoyas, mameys, melons, cucumbers, tomatillos, jicama, squash, alfalfa, cotton, peanuts, onions and tomatoes. Many crops are grown for autoconsumption, especially in indigenous areas. The state is working to help shift agriculture production from the traditional corn and beans, which can be imported cheaper, to other products such as apricots, which have been shown to make money. Livestock mostly consists of cattle, pigs, horses and domestic fowl. There is some fish farming in the state, mostly of mojarra and tilapia in Rodeo and Zacatepec.
Industry, mining and construction accounts for 29% of the state’s GDP and employs 27% of the working population. Food processing (especially sugar came, rice, sorghum and grains) represents an important industry.
Goods produced include automobiles and auto parts, textiles, pharmaceuticals, metal products, agro-industry, ceramics and handcrafted items. Most exports go to the United States, Canada, Japan and the European Union . In the early 2000s, the state attracted a number of foreign enterprises to build industrial facilities here, includes car parts such as windshields.
There are two major industrial parks in the state, Ciudad Industrial del Valle de Cuernavaca (CIVAC) and Parque Industrial de Cuautla (PINC) . CIVAC is located in the municipality of Jiutepec. It was created in 1966 and is considered to be the most important economic development in the state. Today the park is home to 108 businesses, 35% of which are transnational. The Parque Industrial de Cuautla is located outside of the city. It occupies 113 hectares, with about 40% of this available. The industrial park suffered major fire damage in 2007. In 2009, the government intervened with plans to revive the park and improve its infrastructure with a budget of 240 million pesos.
The Desarrollo Industrial Emiliano Zapata is the newest park, located just outside of Cuernavaca in the municipality of Emiliano Zapata. It has an extension of 23.5 hectares. One of its principal occupants is the Nu Start clothing manufacturer. Another is the Emiliano Zapata Central de Abastos wholesale food market.
Commerce, transportation, services and tourism accounts for 59% of the state’s GDP and employs just over 50% of the working population. The growth of the commerce sector is due to urbanization and the growth of tourism. The biggest selling point of the state touristically is its location, just south of Mexico City, which has the largest and wealthiest population in the country. Many of these people come to spend the weekend in Cuernavaca’s nightclubs and away from Mexico City’s traffic and pollution. Many of these visitors have bought second homes here, which has driven property prices up. Those from Mexico City and other cities are also attracted to the states water parks and spas, such as Las Palmas in Tehuixtla, El Rollo and the Parque Acuatico Oaxtepec.
The state, especially around the capital of Cuernavaca, has experienced a housing boom since the late 1990s. More than 10,000 houses were built from 2000 to 2008 and another 50,000 are planned through 2013. The state’s office of urban development states that this is far above what is needed to house the state’s population. Instead, it reflects demand from Mexico City for weekend and getaway homes. The housing boom has put strain on infrastructure and on property prices.
The Secretary of Tourism for the state promotes the cities of Cuernavaca, Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, Xochicalco, Cuautla and Tequesquitengo. As the center of the state’s history and culture, the city of Cuernavaca has landmarks and attractions such as the Palacio de Cortés, where Hernán Cortés centered his enterprises of the Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca, and now the site of murals by Diego Rivera; the Morelos and Juárez Gardens, the Cuernavaca Cathedral, and the Borda Garden. The various Spanish language schools in Cuernavaca also attract foreign students, many from the United States.
Tepoztlán is another area that many people from Mexico City visit during the weekends. Tepoztlan is a “New Age” town famous for its pyramids and “revitalizing energy.” It was named a “Pueblo Mágico” in 2002. It is home to one of the Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl, a World Heritage Site. Tlayacapan is located in the northeast part of the state, just south of Mexico City. It is a rural area, with a way of life that has not changed much over the 20th century. Ninety percent of its population is still partially or fully dependent on agriculture. The town has old mansions, houses with red tile roofs and streets paved with stones. Many ravines crisscross the area and are crossed by numerous stone bridges. It is also home to the San Juan Bautista Monastery and 26 chapels built in the colonial era.
Cuautla is the second largest city in the state and was the site of one of the early major battle of the Mexican War of Independence and the Battle of Cuautla during the Mexican Revolution. The center of the town is home to the Municipal Palace and the Santo Domingo Church. One major attraction is the Morelos House, where José María Morelos y Pavón lived. Near the city are various spas and waters parks such as the Agua Hedionda, famous for its foul-smelling sulfur-laden waters. The original town of is now located under Lake Tequesquitengo, which was created when the area was flooded by damming the local river. Only the bell tower of the town church is visible. The lake is 3 km by 4.5 km and is used by visitors for watersports and weekend getaways.
The state has a number of archeological sites, the largest and most important of which is Xochicalco. It was founded by Mayan traders known as the Olmeca-Xicallanca, later inhabited by the Tlahuica and designated as a World Heritage Site. Its best known structure is the Temple of Quetzalcoatl . The site of Teopanzolco is within the city of Cuernavaca. It was a ceremonial center of the Tlahuicas, which was modified in the 15th century by the Mexicas. The site has large plazas and circular buildings. The most important temple is the Twin Temples (Templos Gemelos), similar to the Templo Mayor in Mexico City. Tepozteco is located on a mountain ridge 600 meters over the town of Tepotzlán. It was built between 1150 and 1350 CE and dedicated to Ometochtli-Tepoxtécatl, the god of pulque, fertility and harvests. Today, the mountain area in which it is located is the El Tepozteco National Park, which was established in 1937.
The Monasteries on the slopes of Popocatépetl is a World Heritage Site that consists of fourteen monasteries south and east of Mexico City. Most are in the state of Morelos, with three in the state of Puebla. The monasteries in Morelos are located in the municipalities of Atlatlahucan, Cuernavaca, Tetela del Volcán, Yautepec, Ocuituco, Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, Totolapan, Yecapixtla and Zacualpan de Amilpas. The three in Puebla are located in Calpan, Huejotzingo and Tochimilco . The state promotes the monasteries as the “Route of the Monasteries” or the “Route of the Volcano.” Most, but not all, of these monasteries are located on the periphery of the Popocatepetl volcano. This area also has varying landscapes, a wide variety of flora and fauna as well as churches, former haciendas, archeological sites and ruins.
Culturally, the state divides into four sections called Zona Norte, Zona Oriente, Zona Sur Oeste and Zona Centro. Zona Norte is linked to the Valley of Mexico and includes the municipalities of Cuernavaca, Tepoztlán, Tlalnepantla, Totolapan, Atlatlahucan, Yecapixtla, Ocuituco and Tetela del Volcán. Zona Oriente is linked to Puebla and includes the municipalities of Zacualpan de Amilpas, Jantetelco, Jonacatepec and Axochiapan. Zona Sur Oeste includes the municipalities of Tlaquiltenango, Jojutla, Zacatepec, Puente de Ixtla, Amacuzac, Coatlán del Río, Tetecala, Mazatepec and Miacatlán. Zona Centro includes the municipalities of Temixco, Yautepec, Jiutepec, Emiliano Zapata, Ayala, Tlaltizapan and Axochiapan.
Most of the state's traditional music is associated with corridos. The corrido is sung and played in many parts of Mexico. Those performed in Morelos belong to the "sureño" (southern) type, which can be complicated but, unlike the northern version, is not meant for dancing. The lyrics of this type of corrido generally haveeight syllables per line forming stanzas of five verses each. This type of corrido dates back before the Mexican Revolution, but the tradition has waned. One band noted for saving traditional melodies and songs is the Banda Tlayacapan, based in Tlayacapan in the north of the state. This band was formed in 1870 and is the state's oldest band organization. In popular music, the best known composer from the state is Arturo Márquez, who was born in Álamos, Sonora, but has lived in Cuernavaca for a long time. He is known for his danzones.
Music, dance and Carnival
One tradition that is identified with the state of Morelos is the Dance of the Chinelos.The dance is popular on many occasions but especially during Carnival. The origin of the dance or tradition is not known. One story dates the origin to 1870, when a group of youths decided to dress in old clothes, covering their faces in cloth to shout and jump around in the streets. Other stories place the origin in the colonial past, either as a syncretism between Spanish and indigenous dances, or as a protest or mockery of the indigenous’ Spanish overlords. However, it has clearly been identified as originating in Tlayacapan and later spreading to various parts of Morelos, Puebla and the Federal District of Mexico City.
Today, the Chinelo is a symbol of the identity of the state. Although Chinelos are most frequently found in Tepoztlán, Chinelos groups exist in many communities such as Yautepec, Oacalco, Cualtlixco, Atlahuahuacàn, Oaxtepec, Jojutla and Totolapan. They can also be found in certain parts of Puebla. The Chinelos dance in groups near each other. Each dancer has his or her own style that has been developed since childhood.
Although not as well known as the Carnival of Veracruz, a number of communities in the state hold Carnival celebrations in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. These include Jiutepec, Tlaltizapán, Emiliano Zapata, Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, Yautepec, and Xochitepec. What distinguishes carnivals in Morelos from others in Mexico is the participation of the Chinelos and bands with wind instruments. In Tepotzlan on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, the traditional tianguis market is cleared away from the main square and hundreds of multicolored stands move onto the streets in order to make way for Carnival. The street stands mostly specialize in items needed to enjoy the event. Chinelo dancers dominate the event, many in costumes which have been very expensive to assemble. Other events during Carnival here are processions, including the principal one in which there are representatives of all the communities of the municipality. The events last from Sunday to midnight Tuesday, signaling the beginning of Ash Wednesday and Lent. Each day, the Chinelos dance more energetically than the last.
Art, literature and architecture
Most of the state's art scene dates from the 20th century. After the Mexican Revolution, and partly because of state's role in it, a number of muralists came to the state and painted works with social themes in places such as the Palacio de Cortés and the Museo de la Tallera Siqueiros. Because of the state's mild climate and Cuernavaca's cultural tradition, many Mexican and foreign artists and writers have made the state home. Joy Laville is from Wight, England and resides in Cuernavaca. She is known for her landscapes which often include nude humans. Some of her works include Mujer viendo una casa, Mujer en perfil and Mujer con flores. Jorge Cázares Campos is a native of the state who is a self-taught painter, mostly of Mexican landscapes. Rafael Cauduro was born in Mexico City and his artwork has brought him fame not only in Morelos but internationally as well. Magali Lara is also originally from Mexico City and has had shows in various countries. Morelos native Carlos Campos Campus is known for his sculpture with pre-Hispanic influence. Writers include Malcolm Lowry, an Englishman who wrote Bajo del Volcán in the first half of the 20th century. It is set in Cuernavaca and made the city internationally famous. Elena Garro is an important Mexican writer originally from Puebla, but who lived most of her life in Cuernavaca. She is known for works such as Los recuerdos del porvenir, El Árbol and Andarse por las ramas. Another Mexican transplant to Cuernavaca is Franciso Hinojosa, one of the best known authors of children´s literature in the country.
Major architectural works in the state date from the pre-Hispanic period to the 19th century. The most important pre-Hispanic structure are found at the Xochicalco and Teopanzolco archeological sites. The first is a city that was built on top of a large hill, with the Temple of Quetzalcoatl as its center. This temple is really a pyramid with significant Toltec influence with four columns in the center. Teopanzolco has a pyramid with twin temples, as it was built by the Aztecs after they conquered the area. After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, major constructions here were Christian instead of the native pagan. In the first half of the 16th century, a series of fortress-like church and monastery complexes were built around the slopes of the Popocatepetl volcano from Cuernavaca to Tetela del Volcán, and on into Puebla state, all related to early evangelization efforts. Today, these monasteries are no longer used as such, although most of the churches associated with them remain active, and are now a World Heritage Site. Non-ecclesiastical buildings from the colonial and independence periods were mostly confined to the capital of Cuernavaca and include the Palacio de Cortés, the Borda Gardens and the Morelos and Ocampo Theaters. Much of the rest of the state was divided into large haciendas, many dedicated to sugar production, with large senorial mansions for their owners. Some of these include Hacienda de Chiconcuac, Hacienda de San Gaspar and Hacienda de Ixtoluca. One notable 20th-century structure was the Japananese style house built by Woolworths heiress Barbara Hutton, just outside of the city of Cuernavaca.
The state, especially in the Cuernavaca area, is known as a center of education, second to Mexico City. The state has a high percentage of educated and well-traveled people, many of whom speak second languages such as English, French and German.
Modern education in the state began during the Reform period, with the Mexican government taking over educational responsibilities from the church. The government’s role in education expanded after the Mexican Revolution. In Morelos, the government founded “Casas del Pueblo” (People’s Houses) staffed with a teacher for the community to become a central figure. In 1936, the Escuela Regional Campesina (Farm Workers’ Regional School) was established in Yautepec and a short time after that President Lázaro Cárdenas founded the Escuela Normal Feminina de Palmira (Palmira Teachers College for Women) and the Instituto Federal de Capacitacion del Magisterio for those to earn or complete their teaching credentials.
Until 1991, education was rigidly centralized and bureaucratic, causing difficulties in providing adequate education to many areas. In 1992, the Instituto de la Educación Básica (Basic Education Institute) was created to change this. This divided basic education into preschool, special education, primary and secondary and it provided guarantees for a minimum.
Today over 360,000 students are taught by over 13,000 teachers in 823 schools up to the eighth grade. All municipalities are required by state law to provide preschool, and grade school education to their populations up to the eighth grade, as well as professional development for teachers. All are required to attend school up to the eighth grade. Most schoolchildren begin with at least one year of preschool or kindergarten and secondary school (middle school) is provided either through face-to-face classes or through “telesecundarias” with televised classes in the more rural areas. Secondary schools are also divided into general and technical schools. The state has four teachers’ colleges, two which produce primary school teachers and two which produce secondary school teachers. The state education system provides education from preschool to high school, vocational-technical education, as well as higher education to the doctoral level. There are also “centros de capacitacion” or training centers for workers looking to improve basic skills or gain technical skills. The average number of years of schooling completed is 8.4 years (second year of middle school), with the national average at 8.1.
There are a total of 32 institutions of higher education in the state. Many schools have set up campuses in Cuernavaca to escape Mexico City and the state is encouraging this. One of these schools is ITESM.
The origins of the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM) date back to the 19th century, when governor Francisco Leyva founded the Instituto Literario y Cientifico de Morelos in 1871. It was mostly suspended shortly thereafter by President Porfirio Díaz, a political opponent of Leyva, leaving only the School of Agriculture and Veterinary Studies in Acapantzingo. It was revived under the name of Instituto de Estudios Superiores del Estado de Morelos by Governor Elpidio Perdomo and President Lázaro Cárdenas. It was reorganized under its current name in 1953, after the addition of more fields of study. Currently, the school offers forty bachelor's degrees.
Transportation and communications
Telecommunications in the state include telegraph, mail service, telephone, rural telephone service, terrestrial and satellite television, telex, and internet.
Rural telephone service is available via satellite in the municipalities of Amacuzac, Ayala, Puente de Ixtla, Jojutla, Tlaltizapan and Tlaquiltenango.
Morelos operates a public television station, XHCMO-TV Channel 3 in Cuernavaca, with a repeater, XHMZE-TV channel 22 in Zacatepec. Cuernavaca also has other terrestrial television stations available, some local and others repeaters of Mexico City-based stations.
Morelos is the most-connected state in terms of roadways, with highway connecting all of its communities. It has one of the highest densities of roadways in the country. There are also a number of rail lines that pass through.
The Cuernavaca airport west of the city has a 3.8 kilometres (2.4 mi) runway for modern passenger and cargo jets. The airport was expanded to make it possible to commute between Cuernavaca and cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles.
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- Geographic data related to Morelos at OpenStreetMap
- Morelos State Government Site (Spanish)
- Morelos Mac with travel, cultural, archeology, etc. (Spanish)
- Morelos Travel portal tourist information, municipal, cultural, archaeological, and so on. (Spanish)
- Air Video of Tequesquitengo , Xochicalco and El Rodeo
- Morelos in Mexico, portal events and tourist attractions, municipal, cultural, archaeological, and so on. (Spanish)