Capital: Ciudad Victoria
A simple white blouse is worn beneath a matching fringed brown suede jacket and skirt, both heavily embroidered with white spiraling waves and the crest of the state of Tamaulipas. The state is a leading national producer of cattle and agriculture, including sugarcane, corn, tobacco, and cotton.
The Huastecos live in the area known as the huasteca, and occupy parts of Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Hidalgo, and Veracruz. Robust inhabitants of the thick forests and rugged mountains of the coastal region, the Huastecos enjoy the profusion of rivers and waterfalls, cultivating the rich soil, breeding livestock of excellent quality, and selling fruit and fresh fish - both of which they have in abundance. The Huastecos have the reputation of being as tough as the terrain they live on and, when they find free time, being equally lighthearted and tempestuous.
At Mexico's northernmost border on the Gulf of Mexico, Tamaulipas features the country's largest collection of lagoons - bodies of water separated from the ocean by sand banks that form a barrier along the coast. The Laguna Madre is the largest and best known.
In the lagoons, the intermingling of salt and fresh water, and the nutrients delivered by the rivers create an environment rich with many species of fish including shrimp and oysters. However, these bodies of water are affected by aguas negras, (black waters) contaminated with waste, industrial chemicals, and agricultural insecticides and fertilizers.
In addition to livestock and agriculture, fishing and tourism are also vital parts of Tamaulipas' economy. But gas and oil refining take place on a large scale, with pipelines carrying the state's output to different parts of Mexico. In ancient times, chapopote (tar) was used for cleaning teeth, as chewing gum, as writing ink, in construction, and in medicine. In colonial days, it was used as a protective coating on wooden ships.
The border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros are industrial areas with many attractions for visitors from the U.S. Matamoros is an 18th century town named for a rebellious priest executed by the Spanish during the War of Independence. The first major battle of the Mexican-American War took place here. Mexican troops began firing shells across the Rio Grande only to have General Zachary Taylor and his men occupy the city before marching south.
El Cielo, a biospheric reserve since 1985, offers refuge to almost 200 species of migratory birds, including quail and white-wing doves, along with some amphibians and mammals, such as whitetail deer, wild boar, badgers, and black bears.
Did you know...?
The name Tamaulipas comes from the Huasteca word tamaholipa. Tam means "place." As usual, there are varying opinions, but most agree on one of two meanings: "the place where people pray a lot", or " the place of the high mountains."