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Huasca de Ocampo

4.2
Huasca de Ocampo is a town and municipality of the state of Hidalgo in central Mexico. It is located 34 km from Pachuca and 16 km from Real del Monte in the Sierra de Pachuca Mountains. While the town itself is just within the mountain range, much of the municipal land is located in a valley that opens up to the east of the town. While one of the first haciendas to be established in Mexico is located here, economic development started with mining haciendas built by Pedro Romero de Terreros in the 18th century. By the mid 20th century, none of these haciendas were in existence, having been broken up into ejido lands and some even fully or partially under lakes created by dams. While agriculture remains important economically, the area has been promoted as a tourism destination, especially for weekend visitors from Mexico City, with attractions such as canyons, traditional houses, old hacienda facilities and waterfalls.EtymologyThe original name for the area was “Huascazaloya.” This come from Nahuatl and has three possible meanings. The first and most probable means “place of happiness and abundance.” The second derives from a phrase that means “place of water.” The third comes from a phrase that means “place where they make precious cotton shawls (mantas).” The appendage “de Ocampo” was adopted in honor of Melchor Ocampo, who lived briefly here in the mid 19th century.HistoryFirst records of the area extend only as far as the early colonial period. The area came under the encomienda of the Diego de Paz family, who were centered in Atotonilco el Grande starting in 1558. Small villages such as San Sebastian and San Bartolomé are mentioned in early records but not the municipal seat of Huasca. In the late 16th century, the area was acknowledged as an “Indian Republic,” meaning that the natives here had a certain amount of autonomy from the Spanish. By the 17th century, the encomienda was broken up and the lands around the Indian republic became haciendas.
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