Nayarit (Spanish pronunciation: [naʝaˈɾit]), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Nayarit (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Nayarit), is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, make up the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided in 20 municipalities and its capital city isTepic.
It is located in Western Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Sinaloa to the northwest, Durango to the north, Zacatecas to the northeast andJalisco to the south. To the west, Nayarit has a significant share of coastline on the Pacific Ocean, including the islands of Marías andMarietas. The beaches of San Blas and the so-called "Riviera Nayarit" are popular with tourists. Beside tourism, the economy of the state is based mainly on agriculture and fishing.
Home to Uto-Aztecan indigenous peoples such as the Huichol and Cora, the region was exposed to the conquistadores Francisco Cortés andNuño de Guzmán in the 16th century. Spanish governance was made difficult by indigenous rebellions and by the inhospitable terrain of the Sierra del Nayar. The last independent Cora communities were subjugated in 1722. The state's name recalls the Cora's label for themselves: Náayerite, commemorating Nayar, a resistance leader.
Radiocarbon dating estimate thatAztatlán colonization of the western Mexican coast – including parts of Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco – as occurring as early as 900 AD, with some evidence suggesting it might have been as early as 520 AD. Encountered on the western coast by the Spanish invaders in 1500, the cultures were descended from these original Aztatlán settlements and otherClassic stage cultures who had merged with them.
Francisco Cortés was the first known European to enter into the area now known as Nayarit, which claimed for Spain as part of the colony of Nueva Galicia. As the Spaniards invaded the area, led by Nuño de Guzman, their brutality caused the indigenous inhabitants to revolt, in what was later referred to as the Mixtón War. After almost two centuries of resistance, the last independent Cora communities were incorporated into the colonial administration by force in 1722. Then followed an intense missionary efforts by Jesuit friars.
In the colonial period the port of San Blas was one of the most important trade ports on the American Pacific coast. Galleons transporting goods from Manila, the Philippines arrived here before the rise of the port of Acapulco. Today the town still boasts colonial architecture from the its heyday, such as the aduana (customs office), contaduria (accounting offices) and the fortress that protected the port against pirates.
In Nayarit the struggle for independence from Spain was initiated by the priest José María Mercado, who conquered Tepic and San Blas before being defeated and executed by Spanish royalists. With the first independent constitution of 1824, Nayarit was a part of Jalisco state. During the second half of the 19th century, Nayarit was one of the most turbulent territories in Mexico. The population was in open revolt, demanding access to land. Nayarit was one of the last territories admitted as a state of the Mexican federation, which occurred on May 1, 1917.
Nayarit is predominantly an agricultural state, and produces a large variety of crops such as beans, sorghum, sugar cane, corn, tobacco, rice, chiles, peanuts, melons,tomatoes, coffee, mangoes, bananas, and avocados. In addition to these crops, livestock and fishing are also central to the local economy. Approximately 6 percent of the land in Nayarit is pasturelands, with the most common livestock being cattle, horse, pigs, goats, and sheep. Nayarit has 289 kilometers of coastline, which provides an abundance of fish and shellfish, including bass, snapper, sharks, andoysters. There are over 75 cooperatives related to the fishing industry alone in Nayarit. Much of the food produced in Nayarit is exported to the larger urban areas surrounding Mexico City and Guadalajara, and much of the agricultural labor is performed by migrant laborers. There is some mining in Nayarit, but it is mostly of non-metallic substances such as limestone or kaolin.
In recent years, Nayarit has worked to build its tourism sector, marketing the "Riviera Nayarita" as a safe, beautiful destination served by Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Popular resort towns include San Blas, Santiago Ixcuintla,Tecuala, and Compostela. However, some residents in these and other towns are concerned that the growth in the tourism industry might have harmful impacts on the community.
Nayarit is Mexico's twenty-ninth most populous state. According to the census of 2010, the state had a population of 1,084,979 and its population density was 39/km2.
Nayarit is the home to four indigenous groups: the Wixaritari (Huichol), the Naayeri (Cora), theOdam (Tepehuan) and the Nahuatl-speakingMexicaneros. The indigenous groups mostly inhabit the Nayar highlands, but are also frequently encountered in Tepic and on the Pacific coast, where they have also established colonies. They are known for their crafts and artwork which they sell. About 5% of the population of the state population speak an indigenous language.