The state of Chihuahua is the largest of the 31 states of Mexico and is located in the northwestern part of the country. It has a mainland area of 244,938 km². It is largely a desert state, although there are areas of significant rainfall and green forests. In fact, Chihuahua state has more forest than any other Mexican state.
The state is named after its capital city, Chihuahua. The origin of the name is not known for sure, but it is old, predating the Spanish, and is thought to derive from the Nahuatl Xicuahua, or "dry, sandy place".
Chihuahua is bounded on the north mostly by the Río Bravo del Norte (Rio Grande) and Texas, and to some extent by the state line of New Mexico. The states of Sonora and Sinaloa border it on the west, Durango on the south, and Coahuila on the east.
As of 1990, there were 2.5 million inhabitants of the state. The largest city is not the capital, Chihuahua, with a half-million inhabitants, but Ciudad Juárez, with 800,000 residents, and perhaps the same number in the unincorporated colonias surrounding Ciudad Juárez. The capital was founded in 1709 by Don Antonio Deza y Ulloa.
Chihuahua's population is predominantly Mestizo and Creole, but includes such minority groups as the indigenous Tarahumara in the mountainous areas, as well as large rural communities of Mennonites of German origin and Anglo-American Mormon settlers (primarily in Colonia Juarez).
Chihuahua is known for its production of apples, nuts, timber, cattle and dairy products, sheep, and nonferrous metals. Large assembly plants geared toward export across the northern border are also dominant.
One of the most notable features of Chihuahua is the Barranca del Cobre, or Copper Canyon, a spectacular canyon system rivalling the Grand Canyon.
Chihuahua played a pivotal role in the Mexican Revolution, and was a battleground between revolutionary forces led by Pancho Villa and federal forces.
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