HISTORY

 

All of the highplains in the State of San Luis Posoti, around the 16th Century, in the era of great discoveries and conquests, received the name of ¨The Great Chichimeca” Its inhabitants had been living a nomadic lifestyle until they were discovered by the conquerors. They were tribal, nomadic, hunter-gatherers. A people dispersed and divided in many groups with several names as they inhabited the high deserts of North America .

 

This tribal, ancient people were hostile to begin with but they became even more antagonistic and cruel against the Spaniards as they invaded their lands further. From the beginning they offered fierce resistance to the conquerors. It was then when the term “Chichimeca War” (1550-1590) was coined. It meant blood and money to the invaders and in turn slowed down the intrusion of the Spaniards in Central Northern Mexico.

With the help of some Otomi Indians from Queretaro , the conquerors, missionaries and settlers, slowly began building forts at a great cost (in a war driven by blood and tears), as they built their presence in the area, guarding and defending their conquests and, slowly advancing towards Guachichila.

As it happened, settlers coming from Zacatecas, combined with the support of the inhabitants of Salinas de Santa Maria , using an almost suicidal audacity, were finally able to found the Mission in Santa Maria de las Charcas in 1574. Their main objective was to establish peace in this region, from Matehuala Valley to Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. It was in this manner that Christianity and civilization reached this part of Mexico .

 

The only known fact is that, Don Silvestre Lopez Portillo, a resident of San Luis Potosi, who knew quite well the mines in Los Reales in Guanajuato, Guadalcazar y Cerro de San Pedro, being the owner of these properties, signed a letter with the following address “Real of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Guadalupe of Alamos, July 23 of 1772.” This meant that mines in this area had been discovered several years earlier and that this place had an undetermined number of dwellers. However, it is notable that this site was not known as “Catorce”.

We will attempt to answer the original question. It is obvious that we are an old parish and that we owe Christianity and culture to the missionaries of Charcas who, in turn, owed to the Mission of San Francisco, founded in 1717.

As many towns established themselves around the area, Franciscans built several small chapels on which the Franciscan Friars celebrated Mass. They came from Charcas. In 1779, Don Silvestre Lopez Portillo made official the township of Real . Miners agreed to pay for the construction of a church and other public buildings.

The Franciscan Friars gave the management of this church to the Bishop of Guadalajara. It was then, in August 12, 1790 , that the Parish of the Immaculate Conception was officially delegated to the Diocese of Guadalajara.

The Parish was very small and in 1793, the construction of a larger church (53 by 13.25 m) was began. In August 16, 1797 this parish received the first pastoral visit of the Bishop Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas. This Bishop was very famous due to his spirit of charity and his administrative skills. He was surprised when he observed the riches and the number of dwellers, 7,300 people, in the main town, and 10,000 overall.

Around 1893, this parish counted 54 communities. They were tended by two priests after the religious persecution in 1893. At that year, the total population was 15,000 people. Due to the decline of mining, many people were forced to leave the area to the cities, north and south. It was the same year that the parish was divided in two. The Sierra portion, being the old parish, with the St. Francis' statue, and the High Plains section. We will talk in more detail about this statue in a special section.

Today, this parish has approximately 3,000 inhabitants in 23 communities. The communities are: Real de Maroma, Adjuntas del Jordán, El Jordán, La Alberca, Tahonas del Jordán, Los Rayos – Lagunita, El Pastor – Santa Rita, Jesús de Coronados, Vigas de Coronados, Adjuntas de Matanzas, Matanzas, Alamitos de los Días, La Luz, El Potrero, San Antonio de la Cruz, Potrerillos, El Salto, Tahonitas, La Palma, La Cañada, Ojo de Agua – Agua Blanca, Los Catorce and Real de Catorce.

As we can see, today it is a small parish given the number of communities and habitants. However, due to the lack of decent access by road it is difficult to provide proper service to the outlying communities.

As we can see, today it is a small parish given the number of communities and habitants. However, due to the lack of decent access by road it is difficult to provide proper service to the outlying communities.