Jalisco (hälēˈskō) [key], state (1990 pop. 5,302,689), 31,152 sq mi (80,684 sq km), W Mexico, bounded on the west by the Pacific. Guadalajara is the capital. Jalisco is dominated by the southern end of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the western extremity of the chain of volcanic mountains extending across central Mexico. The hot, tropical plains of the coast are broken by spurs of the Sierra, and most of the eastern part of the state lies within the central plateau. In the central part of Jalisco is an intermontane basin containing Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest lake; it is drained by the Lerma-Santiago system.
Because of the variety of climate, landform, and elevation, nearly every kind of fruit and vegetable grows somewhere in Jalisco. Corn and wheat from the central plateau make it known as the "granary of Mexico"; rice and wheat are grown in the south; and the mountains yield timber and minerals (especially iron, silver, some gold, and precious stones). The raising of livestock and the production of food products and blue agave for tequila are also important.
Although Jalisco was explored as early as 1522, a serious invasion of the area, later included in Nueva Galicia, was not undertaken until 1529 by Nuño de Guzmán. Shortly before the War of the Reform (1858–61), Jalisco became a leading state in the great liberal revolution heralded by the Plan of Ayutla. It was occupied by the French in the wars of intervention but was recaptured in 1866. In 1884 the territory of Nayarit was separated from Jalisco. There has been significant outmigration from Jalisco to the United States in recent years.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.