La Ilusión del Centenario

Mexico was about to celebrate its first hundred years of independence and President Porfirio Díaz was there to see it in. His period of power, known as the Porfiriato, was at his height. Peace, so anxiously sought, was real, and the effects of the order and progress promoted by the president in both his words and his acts were everywhere to be seen. Thirty years of unyielding rule had changed the country: industrialization, commercial development and many, many public construction projects.

It was time to show the world that Mexico was not only and independent country, but a prosperous one. For the first time there was a budget surplus in the government budget; the peso and the dollar were at parity. There were new railroads, electrification, highways, bridges, grand monuments, even buildings chosen from catalogues and brought over from Europe.

And President Diaz showered Guanajuato with gifts: the Juarez Theater, the State Legislature, the Hidalgo market – which was originally designed as a railroad station – the Coajín tunnel, the monument to Hidalgo and the Plaza de la Paz are all part of his legacy.

But as beautiful as all these were, the people were hungry, and thirsty for freedom.

The centenary celebrations were still in progress when the revolution broke out, ending Diaz’s dream. However, over a hundred years on, these buildings have endured, and continue to grace Guanajuato with their beauty.