The Mexican state of Tamaulipas borders the U.S. state of Texas. Situated in northwestern Mexico, Tamaulipas also borders the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, and San Luis Potosi as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Ciudad Victoria is the capital of the state; however, Reynosa is its largest, most populous city. The capital was named for Guadalupe Victoria, the first President of Mexico.
Admitted as a state in 1824, Tamaulipas has an area of 30,956 square miles. It is home to a population of 3,324,823 people. Noted for its manufacturing industry, the state also boasts a great deal of agriculture. The state is divided into forty-three municipalities. The Tropic of Cancer traverses the state as it crosses through the northern region of the capital. Aside from Victoria and Reynosa, other important cities in Tamaulipas include Matamoros, Tampico, and Nuevo Laredo.
Geography and Landscape
As one of the larger states of Mexico, Tamaulipas features a diverse topography characterized by various ecosystems. The coastal areas are dominated by pasturelands as well as some dry flatlands that are home to many cactus plants. Mountain lions, ocelots, and badgers can be found in this part of the state. The Southeastern portion of the state is characterized by peaks and valleys of the Sierra Madre range. Major rivers of Tamaulipas include the Rio Grande, Purificacion, and Guayalejo. Most of Tamaulipas boasts a semi-dry to dry climate; however, the region surrounding the Huasteca Mountains is known for its hot and humid climate. Moreover, Tamaulipas boasts rich natural beauty that makes it a picturesque backdrop for vacationers who desire a more eco-friendly experience.
Archaeologists believe that the region was likely occupied by humans for about 8,000 years. The Olmec people were followed by the Chichimec and Huastec tribes. Later, most of the Tamaulipas territory was conquered by the Aztecs. Although Cortes conquered the Aztecs, it took the Spanish a couple centuries to subdue the indigenous people of the Tamaulipas region. In fact, there wasn’t a permanent Spanish settlement in the region until 1554 when they settled in the area of present-day Tampico. After this settlement, however, the Franciscans began to move in throughout the region. Yet, frequent uprisings made the area an unpopular choice for most settlers. During the seventeenth century, most of the hostility the Spanish faced was directed from the Apache. Systematically, however, the Apache of the region were driven north into Texas.
Tamaulipas was one of the earliest states admitted into the Mexican federation after the War of Independence. The state did, however, lose considerable territory after the end of the Mexican-American War and the fall of the Republic of Texas as outlined in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Tamaulipas also experienced considerable turmoil during the French occupation; however, after the execution of the emperor and the tumult of the Mexican Revolution, Tamaulipas began to thrive and much of its ensuing prosperity was due to international trade, particularly with the U.S.
Tamaulipas has extraordinary natural and cultural attractions. As a border state, it receives many visitors from the U.S. From eco-activities, to hunting lands, to Gulf Coast beaches, the state is well-known for its tourist destinations. Both city and state attractions add to the many charms of this region. Hotels, museums, restaurants, and exciting activities make the state a great place to vacation.
The capital is located in western central Tamaulipas and lies slightly to the north of the Tropic of Cancer. The city is noted as a bird-watcher’s paradise; there are some 400 species of migratory birds that visit the area of the capital. Many adventuresome tourists base their Tamaulipas visit in Victoria because of its proximity to great fishing, hunting, and hiking grounds.
One of the fastest growing cities in Mexico and the largest metropolitan area of Tamaulipas, Reynosa is a border city situated on the Rio Grande located directly across from Hidalgo, Texas. Hallmarks of the city include its banda music and corridos, delicious grilled cuisine, and shopping promenades. The city celebrates many popular attractions including the Reynosa Cathedral, Plaza of the Republic, and Reynosa History Museum.
This southeaster port city is one of the state’s most vibrant and important destinations. The city boasts notable architecture, especially its many New Orleans-style terraces and balconies and plenty of fresh seafood. As a city of international repute well known for its tourist activities like fishing and water sports, Tampico is a sunny destination that regularly greets visitors from all over the world.
Other Things to See and Do in Tamaulipas
El Cielo Biosphere Ecological Reserve: Regarded as one of the nation’s hidden gems, this reserve boasts four separate ecological systems and attracts eco-tourists with its myriad of flora and fauna. The landscape is famous for its cascades, caverns, and sinkholes.
Casamata Museum: Located in Matamoros, this museum showcases the turbulent history of both the city and state.
Turtles of Playa Tesoro: This beach is famous for its population of sea turtles. Locals have created a nursery to assist migrating turtles during the breeding season.
Sport Fishing: Many people visit Tamaulipas for its fine sport fishing. With its seaside cities and towns, there are many places to consider. The most popular municipalities feature freshwater fishing opportunities as well as excursions out into the Gulf.
Matamoros: Situated on the Mexican-American border, this vibrant city is filled with many historic monuments and cultural attractions. Its cathedral and theater are among its most important historical sites.
Hunting Grounds: Hunting is immensely popular in Tamaulipas. Although seriously regulated, there are many ranches and grounds throughout the state where hunting is a popular tourist activity.
Gulf of Mexico Beaches: Tamaulipas has over 250 miles of coastline, so it isn’t surprising that is beaches are popular tourist draws to the state. Some favorite beaches among tourists include Miramar and Bagdad. Beach areas also tend to boast popular markets where traditional handcrafts are sold.
Nuevo Laredo: An important border city, Nuevo Laredo is celebrated for its arts and crafts available at its many markets and shops. It’s also famous for its hunting tours and Mexican rodeos.