Monterrey (Spanish pronunciation: [monte’rei] ( listen)), is the capital and largest city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the base of many significant international corporations.
It is the second wealthiest city in Mexico and the ninth in Latin America with a GDP PPP of 130.7 billion dollars in 2012. Monterrey’s GDP PPP per capita of 31,051 dollars is the highest in the country and second of Latin America. It is considered a Beta World City, cosmopolitan and competitive. Rich in history and culture, Monterrey is often regarded as the most "americanized" and developed city in the entire country, even above the cities along the U.S.-Mexico border.
As an important industrial and business center, the city is also home to an array of Mexican companies, including Grupo Avante, Lanix Electronics, Ocresa, CEMEX, Vitro, Mercedes-Benz Mexico, OXXO, BMW de Mexico, Grupo Bimbo, DINA S.A., Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery and Heineken, which features Norteño capital and Grupo ALFA. Monterrey is also home to international companies such as Accenture, Ternium, Sony, Toshiba, Carrier, Whirlpool, Samsung, Toyota, Daewoo, Ericsson, Nokia, Dell, Boeing, HTC, General Electric, Gamesa, LG, SAS Institute, Grundfos, Danfoss, and Teleperformance, among others.
Monterrey is located in northeast Mexico, at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental. The uninterrupted settlement of Monterrey starts in 1596, with its founding by Diego de Montemayor. In the years after the Mexican War of Independence, Monterrey became an important business center. With the establishment of Fundidora Monterrey, the city experienced a great industrial growth.
Prior to the European foundation of the city, there was no established nation state, and the population instead consisted of some indigenous semi-nomad groups. Carved stone and cave painting in surrounding mountains and caves have allowed historians to identify four major groups in present-day Monterrey: Azalapas, Huachichiles, Coahuiltecos and Borrados.
In the 16th century, the valley in which Monterrey is located was known as the Extremadura Valley, an area largely unexplored by the Spanish colonizers. The first expeditions and colonization attempts were led by conquistador Alberto del Canto, naming the city Santa Lucia, but were unsuccessful because the population was attacked by the natives and fled. The Spanish expeditionary of Sephardic Jewish descent, Luis Carvajal y de la Cueva negotiated with King Philip II of Spain to establish a territory in northern New Spain, which would be called Nuevo León, the "New Kingdom of León". In 1580 he arrived in the newly granted lands but it was not until 1582 that he established a settlement called San Luis Rey de Francia (named for Saint Louis IX of France) within present-day Monterrey. The New Kingdom of León extended westwards from the port of Tampico to the limits of Nueva Vizcaya ("New Biscay", now State of Chihuahua), and around 1,000 kilometers northwards. For eight years Nuevo León was abandoned and uninhabited, until a third expedition of thirteen families led by conquistador Diego de Montemayor founded Ciudad Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de Monterrey ("Metropolitan City of Our Lady of Monterrey") on September 20, 1596, next to a water spring called Ojos de Agua de Santa Lucia, where the Museum of Mexican History and Santa Lucía riverwalk are now located.
During the years of Spanish rule, Monterrey remained a small city, and its population varied from a few hundred to only dozens. The city was a place that facilitated trade between San Antonio (now in Texas), Tampico and from Saltillo to the center of the country. Tampico’s port brought many products from Europe, while Saltillo concentrated the Northern Territories’ trade with the capital, Mexico City. San Antonio was the key trade point with the northern foreign colonies (British and French).
After Mexican Independence (19th century)
In the 19th century, after the Mexican Independence War, Monterrey rose as a key economic center for the newly formed nation, especially due to its balanced ties between Europe (with its connections to Tampico), the United States (with its connections to San Antonio), and the capital (through Saltillo). In 1824, the "New Kingdom of León" became the State of Nuevo León, and Monterrey was selected as its capital. However, the political instability that followed the first 50 years of the new country allowed two American invasions and an internal secession war, during which the Governor of the State annexed the Coahuila and Tamaulipas states, designating Monterrey as the capital of the Republic of the Sierra Madre as it did before in 1840 for the Republic of the Rio Grande.
In 1846, the earliest large-scale engagement of the Mexican-American War took place in the city, known as the Battle of Monterrey. Mexican forces were forced to surrender but only after successfully repelling U.S. forces during the first few advances on the city. The battle inflicted high casualties on both sides, much of them resulting from hand-to-hand combat within the walls of the city center.
Many of the generals in the Mexican War against France were natives of the city, including Mariano Escobedo, Juan Zuazua (b. Lampazos de Naranjo, NL) and Jerónimo Treviño.
During the last decade of the 19th century, the city of Monterrey was linked by railroad, which benefitted industry. It was during this period that José Eleuterio González founded the University Hospital which is now one of the best public hospitals in the northeast of Mexico, and serves as medical school support to the School of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL). Antonio Basagoiti and other citizens founded the Fundidora de Fierro y Acero de Monterrey, In 1890 the brewery company Cervecería Cuauthemoc one of the milestone local enterprises was founded and in 1900, a steel-producing company that accelerated the already fast industrialization of the city and became one of the world’s biggest of its time. In 1986, several official games of the 1986 FIFA World Cup were hosted.
In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert caused great damage to the city; the Santa Catarina River overflowed, causing about 100 deaths and economic damage.
The city has hosted international events such as the 2002 United Nations Conference on Financing for Development with the participation of more than 50 heads of state and government, as well as other ministers and senior delegates from over 150 countries. The conference resulted in the adoption of the Monterrey Consensus, which has become one relevant reference point for international development and cooperation. In 2004, the OAS Special Summit of the Americas was attended by almost all the presidents of the Americas.
In 2007, Monterrey held the Universal Forum of Cultures with four million visitors. In 2008, Monterrey held the FINA World Junior Championships.
In 2010, Monterrey was hit by another damaging storm, Hurricane Alex. Alex was considered worse than Hurricane Gilbert, with record breaking rain bringing floods, and causing severe economic damage. Damage estimates totaled $1.885 billion USD, and in $16.9 billion MXN. After this event the city was under reconstruction and urban renewal. Recently, the project Nuevo León Development Plan 2030 was presented, along with some other metropolitan projects.
The city of Monterrey is 540 metres (1,770 ft) above sea level and located in the northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo León. The Santa Catarina River dry most of the year on the surface but with flowing underground water bisects Monterrey from East to West, thus separating the city into north and south halves, and drains the city to the San Juan River and Rio Grande.
Monterrey is adjoined to San Nicolás de los Garza, García and General Escobedo to the north; Guadalupe, Juárez and Cadereyta Jiménez to the east; Santiago to the south; and San Pedro Garza García and Santa Catarina to the west.
Monterrey lies north of the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. A small hill, the Cerro del Topo and the smaller Topo Chico are located in the suburbs of San Nicolás de los Garza and Escobedo. West of the city rises the Cerro de las Mitras (Mountain of the Mitres), which resemble the profile of several bishops with their mitres.
Cerro de la Silla (Saddle Mountain) dominates the view east of the city. Cerro de la Loma LargaSouth of the Santa Catarina river separates Monterrey from the suburb of San Pedro Garza García. At the summit of the Cerro del Obispado, north of the river, is the historic Bishopric Palace, site of one of the most important battles of the Mexican-American War.
The mountains surrounding Monterrey contain many canyons, trails and roads that cross deserts and forests. Suitable trails are available to the general public. The Sierra Madre Oriental mountains south of the city are included in the "Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey" (National Park), which was added to UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program of Biosphere Reserves in 2006.
Cumbres de Monterrey includes:
Parque Ecológico Chipinque, which contains forested areas (oak and oak-pine mainly).
La Estanzuela state park, about 7 km (4 mi) south of Monterrey, a river and forested area.
La Huasteca, west of the city, in the municipality of Santa Catarina.
El Potrero Chico Climbing Area, north east of the city, in the municipality of Hidalgo.
Garcia Caves – these caves are situated in Garcia, Nuevo Leon and were discovered in 1843. Inside you can see amazing stalagmites formations and snail fossils.
Matacanes – can be found in the municipality of Potrero Redondo in Santiago, Nuevo Leon. It is a 10 hrs walking tour in which you can find rappel descents, underground rivers, waterfalls, among other obstacles.
Hydrophobia Canyon – similar to Matacanes with the only difference this is a 100% aquatic area.
Monterrey has a semi-arid climate (Koppen climate classification BSh). It is one of the warmest major cities in Mexico. Summers are generally hot, spring and fall temperate, and winters mild, with temperatures rarely below freezing. The average high in August is 35°C (95 °F) and the average low is 23 °C (73 °F). The average January high is 21 °C (70 °F) and the average low in January is 8 °C (46 °F). Rainfall is scarce in winter, but more frequent during May through September.
Monterrey frequently experiences extreme weather changes; for example, sometimes reaching 30 °C (86 °F) in January and February, despite these being the coldest months. The most extreme weather changes in summer occur with rainfall, which changes extreme heat to cooler temperatures, and the temporary absence of the northern winds in winter, which can lead to abnormally high temperatures. Seasons are not well defined; the warm season may start in February and may last until September. In April and May 2011 temperatures reached 45 °C (113 °F) or more, causing fires and extreme heat in the city, despite the fact that these months are in spring. Snow is a very rare event, although an accumulation of 20 inches (51 cm) in 8 hours occurred in January 1967. The most recent snowfall was in December 2004, on Christmas Eve. Several sleet and ice events have occurred during January 2007, December 2009, January and February 2010 and February 2011, caused by temperatures around -5 °C (23 °F).
From June 30 to July 2 of 2010, Monterrey was hit by the worst natural disaster in the city’s history when Hurricane Alex delivered more than 584 millimetres (23 in) of rain around 72 hours, with areas reaching up to 1 metre (39 in) of rain during that same period, destroying homes, avenues, highways and infrastructure, and leaving up to 200,000 families without water for a week or more. The amount of water that fell is equivalent to the average precipitation for a year period. This was about 3-4 times as much rain as when Hurricane Gilbert arrived to the city on September 15, 1988. The death toll of Hurricane Alex was estimated to be around 20.
The most traditional dish from Monterrey is cabrito, kid goat cooked on embers based on the Jewish cuisine of the founders of the city. Other local dishes and customs that perhaps date back to the Crypto-Judaism of these founders are the "semita" (bread without leavening), the capirotada dessert (a mix of cooked bread, cheese, raisins, peanuts, and crystallized sugarcane juice), and the relative absence of pork dishes. Another famous local dish is machacado con huevo.
Carne asada on weekends remains a tradition among Monterrey families. It is usually served with grilled onions, baked potatoes and sausages or chopped as tacos. Locally brewed beer and cola are an almost mandatory part of the weekly ritual. The traditional desserts, "glorias" and "obleas," made from goat milk are both traditional candies from Nuevo León.
Monterrey has two football teams in the Mexican league, the C.F. Monterrey, commonly known as the Rayados del Monterrey, which uses Estadio Tecnológico, a facility owned by the ITESM rented to the team, to host matches. Then there are the Tigres UANL, owned by CEMEX, which hosts matches at Estadio Universitario, at the main campus of the UANL. Both teams are related to the city on the derby, called Clásico Regiomontano. There was a proposed project to build a stadium for both teams, the "Estadio Internacional Monterrey", but the idea was dropped out by both teams. The project is still being promoted, and the city is giving a positive view of it, but the UANL Tigres have yet to finish their stadium contract and the Rayados are planning a stadium of their own. Club de Fútbol Monterrey built a new stadium able to sit a crowd of 50,000. It was finished on 2015, named "Estadio de Fútbol Monterrey". The new stadium is to be financed by the club’s managing firm, FEMSA, and will remain the club’s property for fifty years before becoming property of the government. The project has been in a hiatus for almost three years due to political bureaucracy, and is expected to get back on track by summer 2011. The city hosted 8 matches during the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
In addition, two professional indoor soccer teams were hosted in the past, the Monterrey La Raza, members of the Continental Indoor Soccer League and World Indoor Soccer League and the Monterrey Fury, members of the current Major Indoor Soccer League. The city was awarded another franchise to begin play in the fall of 2007 in the MISL.
Baseball has a long history in the city, where it became the most popular sport during the early 20th century. Monterrey has been champion of the Little League World Series three times (1957, 1958 and 1997), and has been host of US Major League Baseball games. In the Mexican Baseball League, the Sultanes de Monterrey are one important team every season and have won the national title several times. In the year 2003, the city unsuccessfully attempted to buy (and relocate to Monterrey) the Montreal Expos franchise of the US Major League Baseball. The Sultanes de Monterrey, are a Mexican League baseball team based in Monterrey, Mexico. They are in the Northern Division. The team was formed May 20, 1939, as Carta Blanca (A local beer brand, owned by Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery which owned the team). The team was also known as the gray ghosts. Soon, they became one of the most important teams in the league, winning its first championship in 1943. The Sultanes play in the Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey, the largest baseball stadium in Mexico.
There are two professional basketball teams: Fuerza Regia that plays in the national league, Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional and the Monterrey Venom, that plays in the minor league American Basketball Association. Fuerza Regia used to play at the Monterrey Arena and now is doing this at Gimnasio Nuevo León, while the Monterrey Venom plays at the gymnasium of the ITESM.
Champ Car race at the Fundidora Park
The city has hosted the Champ Car race in Fundidora Park from 2001 to 2005 and hosted the A1 Grand Prix of Nations on February 2006.
In 2004 Monterrey hosted the World Karate Federation Senior World Championships. In April 2004, Monterrey’s Arena Monterrey became the first city to host WWE in Mexico. In 2007 Monterrey hosted the Women’s WTBA World Tenpin Bowling Championships
The city has two college American football teams, the Auténticos Tigres (UANL) that play in the National College League (ONEFA), and the Borregos (ITESM) that play in the Nation Sports Council of Private Schools (CONADEIP). There is also a local children’s league called AFAIM.
People can also find golf, fishing, camping, and extreme-sports outdoors near the city (bungee jumping at Cola de Caballo, rock-climbing, hiking, mountain bike). In particular there is international-level rock-climbing places like la Huasteca, Potrero Chico and many other canyons.
Starting 2009 the Monterrey Open is held at Monterrey. This is a professional women’s tennis tournament. The event is affiliated with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), and is be part of the International tournaments on the WTA Tour.
In 2010, Monterrey hosted the International Ice Hockey Federation World U18 Championship at the Monterrey Ice Complex.
As for the Rugby in 2010, Centauros Rugby Club Monterrey is founded which is currently affiliated with the FMRU (Federacion Mexicana de Rugby).