Guadalajara is the 10th largest Latin American city in population, urban area and gross domestic product. The city is named after the Spanish city of Guadalajara, the name of which came from the Andalusian Arabic wād(i) l-ḥijāra (واد الحجارة or وادي الحجارة), meaning "river/valley of stones". The city's economy is based on services and industry, especially information technology, with a large number of international firms having regional offices and manufacturing facilities in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, and several domestic IT companies headquartered in the city. Other, more traditional industries, such as shoes, textiles and food processing are also important contributing factors.
Guadalajara is a cultural center of Mexico, considered by most to be the home of mariachi music and host to a number of large-scale cultural events such as the Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Guadalajara International Book Fair, and globally renowned cultural events which draw international crowds. It is home to the C.D. Guadalajara, one of the most popular football clubs in Mexico. This city was named the American Capital of Culture for 2005. Guadalajara hosted the 2011 Pan American Games.
The city was established in five other places before moving to its current location. The first settlement in 1532 was in Mesa del Cerro, now known as Nochistlán, Zacatecas. This site was settled by Cristóbal de Oñate as commissioned by Nuño de Guzmán, with the purpose of securing recent conquests and defending them against the still-hostile natives. The settlement did not last long at this spot due to the lack of water; in 1533 it was moved to a location near Tonalá. Four years later, Guzmán ordered that the village be moved to Tlacotán. While the settlement was in Tlacotán, the Spanish king Charles I granted the coat of arms that the city still has today.
This settlement was ferociously attacked during the Mixtón War in 1543 by Caxcan, Portecuex and Zacateco peoples under the command of Tenamaxtli. The war was initiated by the natives due to the cruel treatment of Indians by Nuño de Guzmán, in particular the enslavement of captured natives. Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza had to take control of the campaign to suppress the revolt after the Spanish were defeated in several engagements. The conflict ended after Mendoza made some concessions to the Indians such as freeing the Indian slaves and granting amnesty.
The village of Guadalajara barely survived the war, and the villagers attributed their survival to the Archangel Michael, who remains the patron of the city. It was decided to move the city once again, this time to Atemajac, as it was more defensible. The city has remained there to this day. In 1542, records indicate that 126 people were living in Guadalajara and, in the same year, the status of city was granted by the king of Spain. Guadalajara was officially founded on February 14, 1550 in the Valley of Atemajac. The settlement's name came from the Spanish hometown of Nuño de Guzmán.
In 1559, royal offices for the province of Nueva Galicia were moved from Compostela to Guadalajara, as well as the bishopric. Construction of the cathedral was begun in 1563. In 1575, religious orders such as the Augustinians and Dominicans arrived, which would make the city a center for evangelization efforts.
The historic city center encompasses what was four centers of population, as the villages of Mezquitán, Analco and Mexicaltzingo were annexed to the Atemajac site in 1669.