Puerto Vallarta – Named After Who?

Ignacio Luis Vallarta
We are often asked what the name Puerto Vallarta means. A visitor claimed they had searched several Spanish translator books and could not find the meaning of Vallarta… so we are here to set the record straight.
Puerto means Port in Spanish and this city was a port long before anything else, shipping produce and minerals all over the world. Before it was called Puerto Vallarta, the name was Las Peñas, meaning The Rocks and so named for the offshore formations that rise out of the sea and the rough, cliff-like mountainsides. Legend has it that Las Peñas was so named by the famous explorer Sir Francis Drake but while that information might be fascinating, it’s unfounded.
The name was changed in 1918 to honor José Luis Miguel Ignacio Vallarta Ogazón, the governor of Jalisco from 1872 – 1876. Little did he realize this far flung beach territory would grow to such amazing proportions, become world famous, and be the site of the acclaimed movie by playwright Tennessee Williams, The Night of the Iguana.
Ignacio Luis Vallarta was a graduate of the University of Guadalajara, earning his law Degree in 1854. Jalisco at the time was involved in a political struggle between liberalism, headed by the current governor of the time, Santos Degollado and traditionalism, represented by the Bishop Pedro Espinosa. Siding with the liberals, Ignacio Luis Vallarta worked alongside Degollado. He fought in the Reform War with the beloved Benito Juárez, and this trio of men acted as delegates to Congress, creating the Constitution of Mexico in 1857.Though he was in exile in the United States from 1864 – 1866, he returned to serve in the cabinet of Benito Juárez and was later elected governor as a native son of the state of Jalisco. Ignacio Lius Vallarta served his country under Porfirio Díaz as Foreign Minister and later sat as the President of the Supreme Court of Mexico. He spent the last years of his life in private law practice and is interred in the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres in Guadalajara, joining in history many other illustrious men who made Mexico grand.
Much to the dismay of many citizens of Puerto Vallarta, the name Ignacio Luis Vallarta is rarely mentioned by visitors and tourists, shortened to PV, or PVR, which is actually the airport code. A main street in Puerto Vallarta bears his name, as well as a main thoroughfare through the city of Guadalajara.

Que cómo es es.

Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!  (opionons expressed are his own)

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