About Torreón

The name given to this city is intimately related to the beginning of its construction, when Don Leonardo Zuloaga ordered building the first watchtower (torreón) alongside Nazas River. Today, the municipality of Torreón is located on the southwest of Coahuila State and is considered a thriving city in the middle of a semi-desert landscape.

Historians indicate that more than 13,000 years ago, the territory located between Nazas and Aguanaval Rivers, now known as Chihuahuense Desert, was very different than today. During that era, it was a region full of vegetation, water (lagoons) and animals; making it the ideal place for the first dweller settlements. Among the first groups in this region were Paoquis, Caviseres, Ahomanes, Nauopas, Irritilas, Mevisas, Miopacoas, Maiconeros, Tobosos, Conchos, Coahuiltecos, Zacatecos, Cocyemes and Tepehuanos.

The beginning of Torreón City as such happened in 1850, when Spaniard Leonardo Zuloaga (owner of this land for being married to Doña Luisa Ibarra) hired Pedro Santa Cruz for building the Carrizal Dam and decided to construct the first watchtower (torreón) on the right hand side of Nazas River. In consequence, one block and a house next to the tower were also built for the designated administrator (Pedro Santa Cruz). Afterwards, a few people started to settle and begin small businesses around the tower, originating what we now know as the City of Torreón. It is said that the first people to settle were the Peralta brothers, humble citizens of Cuencame. A year later, the Jimenez and Zuloaga men started the agricultural era, but in 1852 decided to put an end to their partnership and established two estates: one on the Durango side of the river and another in Coahuila. The following years were characterized by constant disputes over the water of Nazas River and continuous attacks by nomad Indians. All of this deteriorated the health of Don Leonardo Zuloaga and he died a few years later. Afterwards, after the triumph of the Republic, the land was confiscated from Widow Doña Luisa Ibarra de Zuloaga under the excuse of coexisting with the enemy. Fortunately, after a harsh dispute and tireless petitions, by the mid XIX century, the then president Juarez returned the land to Mrs. Ibarra, including the Torreon Ranch.

After the French Intervention, in 1864, President Benito Juarez decided to solve the problem between Lagunero farmers and the Zuloaga family, erecting the Ranch of Matamoros and conceding the legal foundation of the new town regarding political and judicial issues to Matamorenses, giving the land to 352 families. He also established that Matamoros belonged to the District of Parras (only up to 1869 when it became part of Viesca) and the Ranch of Torreón belonged to the municipality of Matamoros. The following years were of great development for this area, mainly for the excellent administration of Mr. Andres Eppen, who started being in charge in 1879. Such development prompted the need to improve the transportation connecting Torreón to the rest of Mexico and this is why Mr. Eppen requested from Mrs. Zuloaga the necessary land to construct railways and rail stations, she granted those requests. This is how on a 23rd of September 1883 the Ferrocarril Central arrived for the first time to Torreón. Three years later, Casa Rapp, Sommer and Company, successor of Don Agustin Gutheil and Company from Mexico City, purchased the estates of San Antonio del Coyote, Solima, Hormiguero, Guadalupe, Purisima, Granada, Soliz and Torreon, including Tajito, San Luis and San Antonio de los Bravos.

In the following years, the development of Torreón was accelerated and focused around the railroad, so on the 25th of September 1893, Governor Jose Maria Muzquiz substitute of Coronel and Former Governor Jose Maria Garza Galan, granted the category of villa to Torreón. A year later, Casa Rapp, Sommer and Company sold the Torreón Estate to Colonel Carlos Gonzalez Montes de Oca, who was elected Municipal President of the villa on the 1st of January 1894. During the beginning of the XX century, the development continued and in 1907 it was given the category of city. From then on, Torreón continues forging itself as a city amid the industrial development and agitated history of Independent Mexico.

Today, the municipality of Torreón extends over nearly 1950 square kilometers on a semi-desert and arid surface. Despite representing little more than 2% of the State's territory, it concentrates nearly 24% of its population, having more than 557 thousand residents according to the II Conteo de Población y Vivienda 2005, of which 52% are women and 48% are men. Also, currently the coverage of public services is vast, 97% of the houses have potable water, 92% sewer system and 78% electricity. Finally, we can say that the development of this pearl in the middle of the desert is based on diverse economic activities, mostly represented by commerce and services, agricultural production, bovine livestock production, a diversified industry and mining, where the number one mining metallurgic center of Latin America operates, Met-Mex Peñoles; so 71% of its economically active population is employed in the tertiary sector.

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