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The History of Lakeside

By Lawrence H. Freeman

Chapala2018At nearly 50-70 miles long and 15-20 miles wide, covering some 417 square miles, Lake Chapala is the largest natural lake in Mexico. It is fed at its eastern end by the River Lerma, originating in the Toluca mountain range, and drained at its northeastem corner by the Rio Santiago that then goes to the Pacific Ocean. It provides 55% of the drinking water to Guadalajara.

The lake was formed some 12,000,000 years ago in a seismic upheaval and was ahnost 7 times its present size, even covering the present city-site of Guadalajara. The lake bed is the resting place of many fossils. Originally called Lake Jalisco, it now hears the name Chapala, taken from the Nahuatl ‘Chapalal,’ the sound that water makes splashing on a sandy shore.

Ajijic was originally named, in Nahuatal, the Aztec language, ‘Axixic, place where the water springs forth,’ commemorating the seven fresh-water wells that originally provided the water in this area. One of the wells was at the head of Calle Colon, and another was likely on the site of the church on Marcos Castellanos.

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