Juárez, officially Heroica Ciudad Juárez, city (1990 pop. 789,522) Chihuahua state, N Mexico, on the Rio Grande opposite El Paso, Tex. Connected with the United States by three international bridges, it is a shipping point and highway and rail terminus. It is also the commercial and processing center for the surrounding cotton-growing area. Except for the river valley, under intense cultivation southeast of the city, Juárez is hemmed in by desert. It has experienced extremely rapid population growth and has been a favored location for the placement of maquiladoras, foreign-owned manufacturing plants that finish goods for sale in the United States.
Developing (1659) as the focal point for Spanish colonial expansion to the north, it was originally called El Paso del Norte and included settlements on both sides of the river, until they were split by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), which ended the Mexican War. In 1888 the name of the Mexican town was changed to honor Benito Juárez, who made it his capital when exiled from central Mexico. The city was captured by Pascual Orozco and Francisco Villa in the early days of the revolution in 1910. From 2008 to 2011 the city was notorious as the most deadly scene of Mexico's escalating drug-related violence.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.