Matamoros is a city in Mexico in the state of Tamaulipas. It is located just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. It is connected to Brownsville by the Puente Nuevo ("New Bridge") over the Rio Grande. The city has a population of just over 400,000.

Matamoros was founded in 1686 when Captain Alonso de Leon founded the Congregación de los Esteros Hermosos. Its name was changed to San Juan de los Esteros Hermosos in 1774. It went through other changes of name before finally being named Villa de Matamoros in 1896, after Mariano Matamoros, a hero of the Mexican revolution. In 1834 Matamoros was officially upgraded from a village to a city, and retained the simple name of Matamoros.

Matamoros played a part in the Mexican-American War in 1846, when its artillery were used to shell Fort Taylor (now named Fort Brown), a US Army outpost near Brownsville. Two weeks afterward, General Zachary Taylor advanced on and captured the city before continuing on to Monterrey.

In 1851 the city was defended by troops under General Francisco Ávalos and Mayor Macedonio Capistrán when it was attacked by political insurgents. The Mexican government granted the titles "Unconquered" (Invicta), "Heroic" (Heróica) and "Loyal" (Leal) to the city. Hence, the city of Matamoros is sometimes referred to as "H Matamoros" (with the "H" for "Heróica").

Matamoros had an economic boom from the 1840's to the 1960's due to significant cotton production in the area. Today the main economic influences are trade (especially with the US), border tourism, and agriculture (chiefly sorghum and corn). There is also a growing maquiladora industry which produces, for example, nearly all of the radios placed in GM vehicles. Matamoros is also home to the largest regional labor union in Mexico.

Of interest in Matamoros are museums (such as the "Museum of Maize"), beautiful plazas and market squares, and an opera house (the Teatro de la Reforma -- the oldest theater in northern Mexico). Since it is a border city, it is also popular as a partying destination for 18-20 year-olds from the US.

Columbia Encyclopedia

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