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San Juan del Rio

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San Juan del Río is a city and administrative seat of the surrounding San Juan del Río Municipality in the central Mexican state of Querétaro. The population in July, 2007 is calculated in 128,270 for the city and 217,980 for the municipality.The city and municipality both rank second in population in the state. The municipality has an area of 799.9km2.It is located on the country's central plateau, 50km south-east of state capital Santiago de Querétaro, at and an elevation of 1,922 metres . Famous for its opals, mined at nearby La Trinidad, it is also an agricultural center and has some light industry. A number of wineries are also located in the vicinity.It is connected to Santiago de Querétaro and Mexico City by the mainline freight railway and Federal Highway 57.HistoryThe city was founded on the Feast of Saint John the Baptist June 24, 1531 by Fernado de Tapia, an Otomí chieftain that converted to Catholicism and dropped his Native name Conín. San Juan was one of the first Spanish settlements outside the Valley of Mexico and thus marked the beginning of the colonisation of Northern and Western Mexico, including the city of Querétaro which was founded one month later. The settlement became important since it was an obliged stop en route to the rich mining regions of Guanajuato, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí.
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