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Believe it or not, Chihuahua is a state in Mexico. I know, you probably thought it was a breed of dog, and it is. Let’s learn more about the fascinating place from which that dog hails!

Chihuahua is the largest of 31 states in Mexico, larger in size than the United Kingdom. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence that the area was inhabited as long as 3,000 years ago. When the first Spaniard, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, arrived in Chihuahua, he found more than 200 indigenous groups already living in the area.

Early on, the area became a silver mining area, and settlers in the area established haciendas (country estates) around these mining areas. Today, these silver mines, along with the flourishing beef industry, makes Chihuahua the richest state in Mexico. It is also home to the world’s fifth largest oil company, Pertroleos Mexicanos.

The area itself is largely a desert area, although it also has lush forests as well. In fact, it has more green forests as any other state in Mexico.

Chihuahua boasts many tourist attractions, from bird watching (there are more than 400 native bird species in the area) to the world famous Copper Canyons, or Barranca del Cobre, forged by six rivers. The Copper Canyons are often compared to the majesty of the Grand Canyon in the United States, although the Copper Canyons are over seven times the size. Popular activities in the Canyons are backpacking, bike or horseback riding and fishing.

While the Copper Canyons may be arguably the most famous attraction in the area, the Capital city of Chihuahua, affectionately known as The Lady of the Desert, is also popular for tourists. The restaurants, nightlife and central location for business and industry keeps the area bustling with visitors. History buffs are also drawn to the Government Palace building, where Mexico’s founder, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, was imprisoned, and ultimately executed in 1811. Mexican Revolutionary General Pancho Villa’s home, Quinta Luz, is also in the city. This 50 room estate is now the Museum of the Revolution. El Chepe, also called the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway, runs from the coast, deep into the Copper Canyons area. The railway, took more than 100 years to complete.

So, though tiny dog lovers the world over are thankful for the most famous export from the state of Chihuahua, there are so many reasons to love the Lady of the Desert.