Tampico, at the southeastern tip of the state of Tamaulipas, is one of Mexico's leading ports and oil-refinery centers, and the site of a growing petrochemical industry. Ciudad Madero, between Tampico and the coast, is the processing center for the country's oldest oil fields. The city lies in a marshy region where the Panuco River meets the Gulf of Mexico. It is ringed by several lakes, including the Laguna de Chairel which is used for recreation, and numerous small estuaries. Going south, the spectacular Puente Tampico (Tampico Bridge) crosses the Río Pánuco to Veracruz state. - Mexico Tourism Board

located at 22.22° N 97.85° W, is the main city in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, and the Mexican Gulf's main economic powerhouse. The city lies in a rich petroleum-producing region; it is a chief commercial center of northeastern Mexico and one of the most important seaports of the country. Although oil is the largest export of the port of Tampico, it also is a major exporter of silver, copper, lumber, wool, hemp, and other agricultural products. Containerised cargo, however, is mainly dealt with at the nearby ocean port of Altamira.

The present city was founded with the granting of its formal charter in 1824, although an earlier settlement, known as Tampico Alto, was founded by Spain in 1554. According to the INEGI 2005 census, the population of Tampico was 303,924 while its metropolitan area population was about 659,597 people, this includes the cities of Ciudad Madero and Altamira.

The name "Tampico" is believed to be of Huastec origin: tam-piko, meaning "place of otters", (literally "water dogs"). The city is surrounded by rivers and lagoons which hosted a large population of otters in the past.

In 1921, Mexican commercial aviation started here, as its first flight, by Mexicana de Aviación, took off from Tampico's General Francisco Javier Mina International Airport (IATA airport code: TAM) to Mexico City International Airport in Mexico City. This airport was also one of the first ILS equipped airports in the country.

In 1926, the first Coca-Cola bottling plant in Mexico was built there. It is still in operation today under the ownership of Grupo Tampico.

Tampico's Country Club, the Campestre, and its golf course, is one of the oldest in Mexico. Seafood is important in the city - even its locals are informally known as Jaibos - and the crab emblem is seen in many places, from the sides of buses to park benches.

Jimmy Buffett wrote the song "Tampico Trauma" about his experiences there. John Huston's motion picture epic, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, is set in Tampico in its opening scenes. Joseph Hergesheimer's 1920s novel Tampico tells an engrossing tale of expatriate lives there.

Tampico's downtown architecture is an eclectic mix and reflects the growth of the city during the Porfiriato (the period of rule by President Porfirio Díaz). It includes many New Orleans inspired balconies (mostly built of English cast iron) in Plaza de Libertad, a fine Neo-classical Town Hall (or Palacio Municipal) in Plaza de Armas, and a superb English redbrick Customs House in the docks.

The prevalence of New Orleans-style architecture is attributed to the early years of the city, when many building supplies, including pre-built housing components, were shipped to the area during its initial construction. The 'historical' downtown area of Plaza de Armas and Plaza de Libertad has been greatly restored and improved in recent years with the hope of attracting more tourist revenue.

The Cathedral of Tampico, also known as The Temple of the Immaculate Conception, located in Plaza de Armas, dates to the late 19th century - although its current appearance is due to many restorations. It is of the Neo-classical style in light brown canter, with Corinthian style columns and three enormous doors that form the entrance. It has two towers made of three bodies. The eastern one has a large, London-made, public chiming clock, a gift from Don Angel Sainz Trapaga. In its interior, which has been refurbished recently, there are several wall paintings and other works of art. The altar is of white Carrara marble.

Allegedly, the oil tycoon Edward Doheny donated much money towards the Cathedral's construction and maintenance after he based his Mexican oil operations near Tampico after 1902.

http://www.tampico.gob.mx (spanish)

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