History on Nayarit

Nayarit , state (1990 pop. 824,643), 10,547 sq mi (27,317 sq km), W Mexico, on the Pacific Ocean. Tepic is the capital. Mostly wild and rugged, Nayarit is broken by western spurs of the Sierra Madre Occidental. In the northeast are broad, tropical plains watered by the Santiago River, a continuation of the Lerma. Nayarit has two volcanoes, Ceboruco and Sangangüey. The volcanic soil, heavy rains, and altitude variations permit the cultivation of a variety of products of tropical and temperate agriculture—grain, sugarcane, cotton, coffee, and tobacco. Cattle raising is also important. Forest wealth, little exploited in the past, is rapidly being developed. With large deposits of lead, copper, silver, and gold, mining is a significant part of the state's economy. The coastal swamps are noted bird refuges. The Nayarit region was known to the Spanish early in the 16th cent., and one of its towns, Compostela (near Tepic), was the first capital of Nueva Galicia. Spain did not finally conquer the area until the early 17th cent. Shortly afterward, Nayarit became a dependency of Guadalajara and, upon Mexican independence, part of Jalisco. Continued turbulence led to Nayarit's separation as a territory in 1884; it became a state in 1917. The name Nayarit is given to pre-Columbian clay figurines that are found in the vicinity.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2005, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

A little more from Nayarit
Historical Overview of the Bahia de Banderas/Bay of Banderas
There is little known about the history of the Bay of Banderas (Bay of flags) which occupies the coast of Nayarit and Jalisco. This is due to the fact that throughout most of its existence the region has been occupied by various tribes indigenous to the area who did not keep written records of their endeavors. It is known that the Bay was traversed by the Filiacion Nahuatl tribes during their pilgrimage to the Valley of Mexico. Archeological evidence also proves the presence of the Aztec and the Toltec Indians in the areas of Sayulita, Higuera Blanco, Punta de Mita, San Juan de Abajo and Valle de Banderas. Unfortunately, since none of these tribes kept much in the way of written records it is difficult to determine who arrived in the region first.
One thing which is certain is that at the time the Spaniards arrived the territory was in the possession of the Kingdom of Huey Tlahtenozgo de Xalisco. The main settlement at this time, the city of Tintoque, was populated by over 20,000 people whose overlord presided over more than 80 villages in the region. The Spaniards first arrived in the bay in 1525 with the emergence of Francisco Cortes de San Buenaventura, nephew of the famous conquistador Hernando Cortes. When he came upon the area it was occupied by various settlements of warlike Indians. These Indians would carry arches and spears flying cotton flags of different colors and designs when entering into battle which inspired him to name the region Valle de Banderas or the Valley of Flags. This is where the Bay of Banderas acquired its name. The Spaniards immediately set out to conquer the region and the final conquest of the Valley of Banderas was led by Niño Beltran de Guzman in the year 1530. Since that time the territory pertaining to the Valley of Banderas was united with Compostela in Nayarit, and remained so until 1989 when the district of the Bay of Banderas was formed. Eleven years after conquering the region in 1541, the territory which is now encompassed by Puerto Vallarta was discovered by Don Pedro de Alvarado. Shortly after Alvarado arrived on the shores of what would one day become Puerto Vallarta it was forgotten completely for nearly 300 years.
During this time the Valley of Banderas remained primarily a tribal region and for this reason there is also little known about its history from the 1500's to the 1800's. Throughout the 17th century the cultivation of tobacco intensified under control of "Los Encomenderos" which helped the region to slowly develop an agricultural economy. During the 18th century the Bay began to be used as a haven for ships that had embarked on long journeys. Most of which belonged to pirates but it was also used by merchant ships which flanked the Pacific Ocean due to an increase in the in the number of ships heading for the ports of San Blas and Acapulco. It was not until 1850 when Guadalupe Sanchez and his family settled here to farm the area around the mouth of the Rio Cuale (Cuale River) that the region finally began to develop into a village. By the year 1851 the village of Puerto Las Peñas had been founded as an agricultural community and eventually transformed into a fishing village. As Puerto Las Peñas became more prosperous and grew in size it was eventually granted the status of a city by the Mexican government in 1918. The name of the city was then changed to Puerto Vallarta in honor of Don Ignacio L. Vallarta who was a very well respected governor for the State of Jalisco.
Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding villages remained a tranquil fishing and agricultural village for 30 years before select groups of tourists began to discover the its' treasures. It remained a quaint, little known getaway for another 15 years until it entered the realm of international attention when it was discovered by director John Houston. Houston had read many descriptions of travelers' visits to Puerto Vallarta and decided that he would have to discover for himself the magnificent treasures Vallarta had to offer. Houston found the town to be even more amazing than he expected and the result of his visit was the filming of the blockbuster hit "Night of the Iguana" in the village of Mismaloya, located just south of Puerto Vallarta. Up until this time Puerto Vallarta had been a peaceful fishing village. The roads that weren't made of dirt were made from cobblestones found in the Rio Cuale. It was not uncommon to see men with mule drawn wagons filled with goods for sale strolling through the streets or maybe departing for home with a load of newly acquired goods. Much of the economy in the Bay of Banderas was based in agriculture, with large coconut and banana plantations dominating the area in the first half of the 20th century.
In the spring of 1962 Puerto Vallarta was suddenly flooded with excitement when John Houston introduced Hollywood to the heretofore tranquil setting. Huge trucks filled with filming equipment and bright lights poured into town. Some of Hollywood's most prestigious stars were brought in for the production of "Night of the Iguana" including actresses Ava Gardner, Debora Kerr and Sue Lyon as well as actor Richard Burton. As if this wasn't enough to bring reports flocking to Vallarta from all over the world, the attention to Puerto Vallarta intensified when Elizabeth Taylor unexpectedly arrived on the scene. Burton and Taylor had begun a widely publicized romance during their filming of "Cleopatra" together which ignited flames of passion inside the hearts of moviegoers everywhere. Taylor came to Vallarta and bought a house (Casa Kimberly) so that she could be close to her lover and the eyes of the world followed her as the two fell deeply in love. Burton bought the house across the street from Taylor and built a bridge connecting their homes which can still be seen today and is located in the Gringo Gulch area of Downtown. The movie "Night of the Iguana brought Burton and Taylor to Puerto Vallarta and it was their love affair that transformed it from a slow paced fishing village into the thriving tourist community it is today.
Today, the Bay of Banderas offers some of the best natural beaches in Mexico with warm transparent water and fine sandy shores which range from 45 feet wide to nearly 90 feet at the widest points. Some of the most popular activities of the area involve the beach and ocean such as sailing, fishing for marlin, sailfish and tuna, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking which can be done in the central area of the bay or in more secluded areas like the Marietas or Quimixto. The bay is also home to hundreds of humpback whales and dolphins during the winter and endangered sea tortoises in during the summer and fall that all arrive in the bay for their mating season. But the bay has much more to offer than just warm weather and beautiful beaches. The great diversity of entertainment and activities within the Bay of Banderas brings us far beyond the traditional "fun in the sun" destination. It is complemented by ecotourism, a rich Mexican culture filled with history and culture and an extensive variety of dinning establishments including Italian, French, German, Cuban, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, seafood and of course Mexican restaurants. The bay has also become a fantastic destination for golf lovers. The area contains 7 golf courses, designed by some of the most renowned designers of golf courses in the world. If culture is what tickles your fancy there are over 15 rural villages along the coast and throughout the inland area of the bay. Many tourists visit these towns and take advantage of the opportunity to engage in the local Mexican traditions and culture which cannot be found in many of the vacation destinations in Mexico. When you include to all of this the abundant variety of jungle, city, pueblo and ocean tours it is no wonder the Bay of Banderas has one of Mexico's most popular vacation destinations.
info from vallarta-mexicox

Nayarit is a state in the west of Mexico.
It borders the states of Sinaloa, Zacatecas and Durango to the north, and Jalisco to the east and south. To the west it borders the Pacific Ocean. The Islas Tres Marías in the Pacific are part of the state of Nayarit.
The capital of Nayarit is Tepic. Also in Nayarit are the cities of Acaponeta , Tecuala , and Tuxpan .