Father Juan de San Miguel, a Franciscan missionary born in Spain, founded the original Indian settlement in 1542 and named it San Miguel Viejo after his patron saint. By the end of the 16th century, San Miguel was a booming town, flourishing with agriculture, ranching and tanneries. It was then renamed San Miguel el Grande.
Heroes of the Independence
The heroes of Mexico’s independence movement were born in San Miguel el Grande, including General Ignacio Allende, Father Miguel Hidalgo, José Marino and Juan Aldama. On March 8, 1826, the Guanajuato state government honored Allende’s heroism by renaming San Miguel El Grande to San Miguel de Allende.