A coastal city in the southeast corner of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, known as a popular tourist destination. It also an important commercial center for northeastern Mexico, and one of the most important seaports in the country. Its population is currently listed as roughly 280,000; the metropolitan area has about 565,000.
The current city of Tampico was founded in 1823. Many supplies (including pre-built houses) were imported from Louisiana, which has influenced the architecture and flavor of the city to this day. In the 1900s the area brought in foreign capital to explore for oil. So much was found that it started an oil boom that vastly increased the population and size of the city.
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. Also near Tampico, in the city of Ciudad Madero, is the "real" headquarters of the Mexican Oil Workers Union, the home of the "godfather" of the Union, Joaquin Hernandez Galicia, known as "La Quina."
Tampico's downtown area was recently restored and improved, and features a large number of Art Nouveau buildings. Tampico has a thriving nightlife as well, including some of Mexico's best known nightclubs for dancing and live music.
The Tampico area, being coastal, is also well-known for its seafood. A specialty in the area is the jaiba, a freshwater blue crab related to the Maryland Blue Crab. The residents of Tampico also refer to themselves as jaibas, as a colloquial nickname.
More infamously, Tampico is known as the birthplace of Subcomandante Marcos, a middle-class son of a furniture magnate who became the leader of the Zapatista guerrilla rebels in Chiapas. It was also the site of the 1914 Tampico incident, which strained US-Mexico relations for a time.