Take a look at this video about Santa Cruz de la Soledad, a beautiful town near Chapala full of culture and traditions.
Santa Cruz de la Soledad is a small town in the municipality of Chapala located within the limits of Lake Chapala in the state of Jalisco, at an approximate altitude of 1,540 m above sea level, and with a population of 1,723 inhabitants (1995 census).
The name Santa Cruz was given by the Franciscans who were in contact with the natives living on the lakeside. It was a Catholic custom to assign the name of a saint or Christian symbol to the small villages around the municipality in order to gain control over the parishioners. The name Santa Cruz translates to Holy Cross.
By the year 1548, when the church and convent in Chapala were built, the spiritually conquered population of Santa Cruz was fully identified with this name since it was to become a district of said convent along with two other villages: Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, and San Juan Tecomatlán.
The suffix “de la Soledad” comes from the cult and veneration to La Dolorosa (Our Lady of Sorrows) who regained a huge presence at the beginning of the 20th century. By 1823, when the Sovereign Government of Jalisco was initiated, the name finally appeared in the official nomenclature as Santa Cruz de la Soledad, Jal.
Not until less than a century ago the ethnic population of this town was still mostly indigenous. This was concluded after reviewing some evidentiary documents, such as various censuses done in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the census done by priest Antonio Manuel Velazquez titled: “Census prepared by Dr. Diego Rodríguez Rivas of the Kingdom of Velazco and His Excellency Bishop of Guadalajara of the Kingdom of Galicia de Leon”, the following text appears: Lineage of the natives of the town of Santa Cruz, in state, quality and age in which they are found in the month of November of 1766; on this date lived 41 families, not counting widows, widowers and orphans.
On the other hand, in “Description and Census of the Intendance of New Spain” (1789-1793) by historian José Mendez Valdéz, reads as follows: Santa Cruz indigenous village, with four Spaniards, 305 natives, and 30 castes.
Scientific studies have confirmed that Chapala lakeside’s indigenous settlements belonged to a family of Cocas, an ethnic group specific to this area. For Jose Ramírez Flores, an eminent scholar of the indigenous languages of the region, the term “Cocas” is of Mexican descent, meaning inhabitants or dwellers where pots are abundant. The word stems from Comitl = pot, plus Can = abundance of something, where together they form “Cocan” = where the pots abound, and that in the plural form it becomes “Cocas”.
The fertile lands and marshes of these lacustrine valleys were great for agriculture and gathering. There were many animals for hunting, and rivers and lakes attracted a great variety of birds, fish and other aquatic fauna. In addition to the benefits they had from natural resources, the human-water relationship was very important, for religion was intimately bound with nature in rituals of purification, fertility, and abundance.