Ciudad Madero is a city in Mexico, in the state of Tamaulipas, near Tampico (technically, it was annexed to Tampico in the 1970's, and is considered a suburb of that city). It is primarily known for petroleum refining, and as being the headquarters of the Mexican Oil Workers Union, but mining and fishing are also important elements of the local economy. It has also been growing as a tourist area, with many hotels and visitor attractions in the "Playa Miramar" beach area. Its population is about 190,000.
Ciudad Madero began as a good crossing spot for the Rio Panuco, where in the 1800's a woman named Cecilia Villareal built a house and had a small boat for hire to transport people and cargo across the river. The first name of this location was "Paso de Doña Cecilia", or "The Passage of Madam Cecilia."
Her house eventually grew into an inn where travellers could stay, and in 1829 a significant battle took place there between a Mexican army and invading soldiers from Spain. Eventually more buildings sprang up surrounding the inn, and the area grew slowly throughout the 19th century. In 1921 the Arbol Grande (Big Tree) oil refinery was built, and the town's name was changed to Villa Cecilia.
In 1930 it had grown large enough to be acknowledged as a city, and its name was changed to Ciudad Madero ("Madero City") in honor of Francisco Madero, a hero of the Mexican Revolution who also became President of Mexico.
Ciudad Madero is also the home of the Mexican Oil Workers Union, which was led for years by Joaquín Hernández Galea, nicknamed "La Quina." His union has been the richest in the country for decades, although he was arrested for corruption (some say sacrificed) by President Salinas in 1989, and spent ten years in prison.