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Coordinates: 18°48′18″N 99°40′09″W / 18.80500°N 99.66917°W / 18.80500; -99.66917Coordinates: 18°48′18″N 99°40′09″W / 18.80500°N 99.66917°W / 18.80500; -99.66917
Country Mexico
State State of Mexico
Municipal seat Tonatico
Largest city Tonatico
 • Municipal president C. Ana Cecilia Peralta Cano (2016-2018) (PRI)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Website (Spanish)

Tonatico Municipality is one of the municipalities of the State of Mexico, in Mexico located 153 kilometers from Mexico City, 105 from Cuernavaca, 84 from Toluca, 68 from Taxco and 5 from Ixtapan de la Sal. Tonatico, of Náhuatl origin, is from the Náhuatl word tonatihco, place of the sun.[1]

Municipal seat[edit]

In the area around the modern town have been found prehistoric animal remains and cave paintings. According to legend, Axayacatl conquered the place, then known as Tenati-Tlan, "behind the walls", which had existed a few thousand years, and founded Tonatiuh-Co, which had the same borders than the current town. However, no records of this exist. The region had been principally populated by the Matlatzincas, but at the time of the Spanish Conquest, the area belonged to Tlatoani Axayacatzin of Cuahnahuac(present-day Cuernavaca). In 1521 Hernán Cortés sent Andrés de Castro to keep the local peoples from supporting Cuauhtémoc and subdue the area. Don Gaspar Alonso, a conquistador, forsaked his heritage and sided with the natives of Tonatico, taking on the name of Tlachcolcatcal or Tlacatecutli. He most likely died in the town after Spanish dominatino. In 1525, the Spanish founded the modern town, modifying the indigenous name to Tonaltinco or Tonaltiunco. A few years later Franciscan friars come to evangelize the area. At the same time a statue of the Virgin Mary arrived, now-called the Our Lady of Tonatico who is credited with miracles related to problems Tonatico had with nearby Ixtapan de la Sal. However, the town eventually came under the control of Ixtapan de la Sal in 1553.[1]

During the Mexican War of Independence both Hermenegildo Galeana and Pedro Ascencio de Alquisiras were active in this area. In 1863, Don Teodoro Estrada and Don Fructuoso Vázquez fought here against the French. In 1870, the town became the seat of the current municipality of Tonatico, but the territory it governs is only about half the size of its historical extent. The Liberation Army of the South (Zapatistas) were active here, first burning the municipal library in 1912, attacking federal troops in the main church and lastly dispersed federal troops from here in 1916. Tonatico's annual Passion Play was inaugurated during Holy Week 1940, the same year that the Feria del Calvario (Calvary Festival) was promulgated for the third Friday in Lent every year. The 1985 Mexico City earthquake also affected this area as well, damaging the Sanctuary of Our Lady.[1]

Our Lady of Tonatico is housed in the Sanctuary of Our Lady in the town.

The actual president for 2013-2015 is Dr. Elodio Gordillo Mendez well known by the nickname of El Chintete prieto.

Tonatico has had a number of notable residents. Teodoro Estrada was born in Zumpahuacan State of Mexico, fought against the French, next to Porfirio Diaz. His performance on the battlefield gave him the grade of colonel. Porfirio Diaz had him murdered in Tenancingo. Brigadier General Domitilo Ayala Arenas was born on May 12, 1885 in La Audiencia Tonatico. He fought with the Liberation Army of the South, next to Emiliano Zapata. He died February 12, 1932 in Mexico City. Don Sebastián Lealba was born in Tonatico February 26, 1830, and died in Tetipac, Guerrero. He was the leader of the movement with which Tonatico gained municipal independence on April 26, 1908. There is a bust of Don Sebastián in the municipal hall.[1]

Notable landmarks in Tonatico include:

  • The house of Gaspar Alonso dating from late 17th century.
  • The remains of a mill for wheat, on the farm of San Miguel from the 17th century.
  • The ruins the first houses that were constructed, mainly on Francisco Javier Mine Street from the 17th century.
  • The remains of old stone bridges on the San Jerónimo River, probably from the 16th century.
  • A stone bridge constructed on San Jerónimo, which is still in good condition.
  • A sundial in pink stone, which today is on the arch of the North front door to the vestibule of the church.
  • Sanctuary of Our Lady of Tonatico, whose construction was initiated in 1650 and is still in use.
  • Chapel dedicated to El Niño de la Azucena, built in 1948.
  • Chapel to the El Señor de la Agonía (Our Lord of Agony), built in 1956.
  • Chapel of the Calvary, which has been expanded and remodeled in the last decades

The population of the town as of 2005 was 6,889 people.[2]


As municipal seat, the town of Tonatico has governing jurisdiction over the following communities:La Audiencia, Ojo de Agua, La Puerta de Santiago, El Rincón, Salinas, San Bartolo, Los Amates (San José de los Amates), San Miguel, El Terrero, Tlacopan, La Vega, El Zapote and Colixtlahuacán. The municipality of Tonatico borders with Ixtapan de la Sal, Pilcaya, Zumpahuacan, Villa Guerrero and with the state of Guerrero to the south. The territorial extension of Tonatico is 91.724 km2.[1] The population of the municipality as of 2005 was 10,901.ref name="INEGI"/>

Population growth rate is very slow, growing only at 3.61% from 1970 to 1980 and even less (0.51%) from 1990 to 1995. The number of births in the municipality have been: in 1996, 280; in 1997, 290 and in 1998 only 84. The average family size is five.[3]

Tonatico has several mountains such as “La Cruz”, the “Tapachichi,” but the largest is “La Puerta” that is 1685 meters high. The “Salto de Zumpantitlán” is a waterfall that Tonatico has, along with “Tenancingo”, “San Geronimo” and “Taplalla” rivers.[1]

The main important economic activity is agriculture, particularly corn, which is grown on over 2300 hectares. Another major crop is onions which is sown on 750 hectares, and on a smaller scale can be found cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, chiles, alfalfa and flowers. In this municipality there is no industrial production, but there is tourism because it has thermal springs. Another activity is mining. According to INEGI, in 1995. Tonatico had 2,258 households in total. Within these, 1605 had potable water, another 1880 had sewer connections. and finally 2164 had electrical power.[1]

Around the municipality have been found prehistoric animal remains and cave paintings. It is said that Axayacatl conquered the place, then known as Tenati-Tlan, "behind the walls", which had existed a few thousand years, and founded Tonatiuh-Co, which had the same borders than the current town.[1]

Remains of pre-Hispanic animals have been found, as well as caves with cave paintings within ravines. Artifacts from pre-Hispanic peoples include ixtamiles, temascales, tanks, pots channels etc.

In Tecomatepec, several clay whistles which are used to entertain the children. Some people make reed flutes. The ayacachtli or rattle make of "bules", "cirianes", "socos", or another objects that sound when shaken.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Enciclopedia de los Municipios de Mexico Estado de Mexico Tonatico". Archived from the original on May 8, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  2. ^ "Principales resultados por localidad 2005 (ITER)". Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  3. ^ H.Ayuntamiento de Tonatico, Registro Civil, 1998.