Coahuila

Coahuila

[kaw-ah-wee-lah]
Coahuila, state (1990 pop. 1,972,340), 58,067 sq mi (150,394 sq km), N Mexico, on the northward bulge of the Rio Grande, S of Texas. Saltillo is the capital. In the eastern part of the state, where peaks of the Sierra Madre Oriental rise, are quantities of silver, copper, lead, iron, and zinc. Coahuila is an important coal-producing state and a leading national producer of iron and steel. Lumbering is important, and northeast of the mountains, in the drainage area of the Rio Grande, there is considerable cattle raising. Across W Coahuila and E Chihuahua lie vast and arid plains (some of them recently irrigated), which are broken by barren mountains; most notable of these plains is the Bolsón de Mapimí, extending into Chihuahua. South of the Bolsón is a fertile lake region, center of a vast inland basin, which absorbs rivers with no outlet to the sea. A considerable portion of the Laguna District lies in this area. Torreón is the chief metropolis. Coahuila produces cotton, corn, and grapes; the state is noted for its wines. Exploration of the territory began in the 16th cent. but was hampered by Native American hostility. After playing some part in the war against Spain, Coahuila was combined (1830) with Texas, a proceeding that caused dissatisfaction among the U.S. minority and contributed to the Texas Revolution (1835-36). During the Mexican War, Saltillo was of strategic importance, and the battle of Buena Vista was fought nearby. Joined with Nuevo León by the constitution of 1857, Coahuila regained its separate status in 1868. The revolutionary leaders Francisco I. Madero and Venustiano Carranza were born in the state.

State (pop., 2000: 2,298,070), northeastern Mexico. It covers 57,908 sq mi (149,982 sq km), and its capital is Saltillo. Coahuila occupies a roughly broken plateau intersected by several mountain ranges. The first Spanish settlement in the region was at Saltillo in 1575. Coahuila and Texas formed a single state (1824–36) until Texas declared its independence. In 1857 Coahuila was combined with Nuevo León, and in 1868 it became a separate state. Its economy is based on livestock raising, agriculture, and mining; southern Coahuila has long been known for the wine and brandy it produces.

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Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza is one of Mexico's 31 component states. It is located in the north of the country.

To the north, Coahuila accounts for a stretch of the U.S. - Mexico border, adjacent to the U.S. state of Texas along the course of the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte). Coahuila also borders the Mexican states of Nuevo León to the east, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi to the south, and Durango and Chihuahua to the west. With an area of , it is the nation's third-largest state. It comprises 38 municipalities (municipios). In 2005, Coahuila's population was 2,495,200 inhabitants. Coahuila's population is comprised mainly of people of European ancestry, making up 74 per cent of the population. The second-largest ethnic group is the Mestizo (European-Amerindian) who are 20 per cent of the population, and the smallest ethnic group is the Amerindian, comprising 1 per cent of Coahuila's population. The rest of the population is composed of American, Canadian, and Japanese communities.

The capital of Coahuila and its largest city is Saltillo. Coahuila also includes the cities of Torreón (the largest metropolitan area of the state but part of this metro area is in the neighboring state of Durango), Monclova (a former state capital), Piedras Negras, and Ciudad Acuña.

Geography

The Sierra Madre Oriental runs northwest to southeast through the state, and the higher elevations are home to the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests.

East of the range, the land slopes gently toward the Rio Grande, and is drained by several rivers, including the Salado and its tributary the Sabinas. The Tamaulipan mezquital, a dry shrubland ecoregion, occupies the western portion of the state, and extends across the Rio Grande into southern Texas.

The portion of the state west of the Sierra Madre Oriental lies on the Mexican Plateau, and is part of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Bolsón de Mapimí is a large endorheic basin which covers much of the western portion of the state and extends into adjacent portions of Chihuahua, Durango, and Zacatecas. The Nazas River, which flows east from Durango, and the Aguanaval River, which flows north from Zacatecas, empty into lakes in the Bolsón. Torreón, the most populous city in the state, lies on the Nazas in the irrigated Laguna Region, the (Comarca Lagunera), which straddles the border of Coahuila and Durango.

The state contains two biosphere reserves. Maderas del Carmen lies on the northern border of the state, and includes sections of the Chihuahuan desert and sky islands of pine-oak forest in the Sierra del Carmen. The springs, lakes, and wetlands of Cuatro Ciénegas lie west of Monclova on the west slope of the Sierra Madre.

The state is largely arid or semi-arid, but the rivers of the state support extensive irrigated agriculture, particularly cotton. The Parras district in the southern part of the state produces wines and brandies. The pine-oak forests of the Sierra Madre produce timber.

History

The Spanish explored the north of Mexico some decades after their victory in the capital of the Aztecs. Such exploration was delayed because the northern climate was harsher and there was no gold. The first Spanish settlement in the region now called Coahuila was at Minas de la Trinidad (now Monclova) in 1577. And Saltillo was in 1586, when it formed part of the province of Nueva Vizcaya of the vice-royalty of New Spain. Later it became the province of Nueva Extremadura. Francisco Cano was one of the earliest Europeans to explore Nueva Extremadura.

Coahuila y Tejas ("Coahuila and Texas") was one of the constituent states of the newly independent United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution, and included Texas, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon. Later in the same year Nuevo Leon was detached, but Texas remained a part of the state until 1835, when it seceded to form the Republic of Texas. Monclova was the capital of the state from 1833 to 1835.

In 1840 Coahuila briefly became a member of the short lived Republic of the Rio Grande.

On February 19, 1856, Santiago Vidaurri annexed Coahuila to his state, Nuevo León, but it regained its separate status in 1868.

During the Mexican Revolution, Francisco Villa attacked the city of Torreón.

On April 5, 2004, the border city of Piedras Negras was flooded. More than 30 people died and more than 4000 lost their homes.

In 2007, Coahuila became the first state in Mexico to offer civil unions (Pacto Civil de Solidaridad) to same-sex couples.

Economy

About 95% of Mexico's coal reserves are found in Coahuila, which is the country's top mining state. Saltillo also has a growing automobile industry, hosting General Motors and Chrysler assembly plants.

As of 2005, Coahuila’s economy represents 3.5% of Mexico’s total gross domestic product or 22,874 million USD. Coahuila's economy has a strong focus on export oriented manufacturing (i.e. maquiladora / INMEX). As of 2005, 221,273 people are employed in the manufacturing sector. Foreign direct investment in Coahuila was 143.1 million USD for 2005. The average wage for an employee in Coahuila is approximately 190 pesos per day.

Municipalities

Coahuila is subdivided into five regions and 38 municipalities (municipios). For a full list with municipal seats, see: municipalities of Coahuila

Major communities

List of governors

This list is incomplete

Notable people

See also

References

External links

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