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Oaxaca, state, Mexico
Oaxaca (wähäˈkä), state (1990 pop. 3,019,560), 36,375 sq mi (94,211 sq km), S Mexico, on the Pacific Ocean and its arm, the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Oaxaca is the capital. The northern part of the state is dominated by the Sierra de Oaxaca; there are deep tortuous valleys in the south and broad, open semiarid valleys and plateaus in the north. Except on the west and the north, the periphery of the state is tropical, the interior generally temperate.
Fertile valleys make agriculture the principal economic activity. Sugarcane, coffee (of which Oaxaca is a leading national producer), tobacco, cereals, and tropical and semitropical fruits are grown; livestock is raised. Oaxaca's mineral deposits remain largely unexploited. The state's limited industrial activity centers around oil refining, beverage and paper manufacturing, and sugar and flour milling. Oaxaca is also known for its handicrafts, especially handwoven textiles, pottery, and leather goods. Despite the existence of several highways, inadequate communications remain the chief barrier to the state's industrialization.
There are famous archaeological sites at Mitla and Monte Albán. Indigenous peoples predominate here, as in few other states, with Mixtecs dominating in the highlands and Zapotecs elsewhere. Beach resorts are under development at Huatulco Bays and other locales along the southern coast, which should increase the already important contribution of tourism to the state's economy. Porfirio Díaz and Benito Juárez were born here.
Oaxaca, city, Mexico
Oaxaca, city (1990 pop. 212,818), capital of Oaxaca state, S Mexico. The city is officially called Oaxaca de Juárez. Situated in a valley encircled by low mountains, Oaxaca is a commercial and tourist center with gardens and many examples of colonial church architecture. The church and monastery of Santo Domingo de Guzmán is a national monument. Oaxaca is noted for hand-wrought gold and silver filigree, pottery, and sarapes that rank among the finest in Mexico. The city has two museums that feature pre-Hispanic art and a contemporary art museum, and the ancient Zapotec capital of Monte Albán is nearby. There is an annual festival that celebrates indigenous culture. The chief city of S Mexico, Oaxaca is linked with the federal capital by rail and the Inter-American Highway. The city is subject to severe earthquakes.
According to Aztec tradition, Oaxaca was founded as Huasyacac in 1486, during the brief ascendancy of the Aztecs over the Mixtecs and Zapotecs; the present city was laid out by Spanish conquerors in 1529. Prominent in the Mexican revolution against Spain, the city also joined in the War of the Reform and in resistance to the French intervention. Both Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz were born in Oaxaca in the 1800s. During May–Nov., 2006, the city was torn by a bitter protest against Oaxaca state's governor by teachers, leftists, and others and a heavy-handed state response; in October, federal police intervened with force to restore order to the central city.
a state in southern Mexico, located chiefly in the Sierra Madre del Sur. Area, 95,400 sq km. Population, 2,015,000 (1970). Its administrative center is Oaxaca.
Oaxaca is one of Mexico’s most backward states. The slash-and-burn method of agriculture is widely used, and corn and beans are the main crops. Tropical fruit is cultivated on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and titanium ore is mined near Puerto Angel. There are canneries in Loma Bonita and a paper-and-pulp factory in Tuxtepec.
a city in southern Mexico, in the Atoyac Valley. It is the administrative center of the state of Oaxaca. Population 117,000 (1970). The city is a transportation junction and a major commercial center. It has a food-processing industry and cottage industries producing pottery and leather articles.