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Coatzacoalcos - Mexico

Coatzacoalcos (Spanish pronunciation: [ko.at.sa.ko.ˈal.kos]) is a major port city in the southern part of the Mexican state of Veracruz, on the Coatzacoalcos River. Coatzacoalcos comes from an indigenous word meaning "Site of the Snake" or "Where the snake hides". The city serves as the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name.

In January 2018, a nationwide survey conducted in December 2017 by the Mexican government's statistics agency found that 93.6 percent of Coatzacoalquenses perceived their city as dangerous and unsafe. This number was the fourth highest in Mexico, behind Chilpancingo de los Bravo, Fresnillo, and Villahermosa.

The city is located at 18°9′N 94°26′W where the Coatzacoalcos Quaschnick River debouches into the Bay of Campeche. Overland it is connected by road and rail to the Pacific Ocean about 160 kilometres (99 mi) away. This location has prompted plans for an interoceanic waterway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, or for a much expanded railroad system, for over a century.

The city had a 2005 census population of 234,174, making it the third-largest city in the state after Veracruz and Xalapa, but first in metropolitan population. The municipality covers a surface area of 471.16 km2 (181.916 sq mi) and reported a population of 280,263 persons. The municipality population in 2010 was 305,260 an increase of 9% over 2005. The largest community in the municipality, aside from the city of Coatzacoalcos, is the town of Allende, with a population of 20,501 in 2005.

In the Köppen climate classification the climate is classified as Am for a tropical monsoon climate. A typical year sees more than 290 centimetres (110 in) of rainfall. Lying on the Gulf of Mexico, Coatzacoalcos has been struck by several hurricanes and tropical storms such as: Hurricane Diana in August 1990, Hurricane Mitch in November 1998, Tropical Storm Larry in October 2003, Hurricane Stan in October 2005, Hurricane Dean in August 2007, Tropical Storm Marco in October 2008, Tropical Storm Hermine in early September 2010, Hurricane Karl in mid September 2010, Tropical Storm Matthew in late September 2010, and Hurricane Richard in October 2010. The winter months are cooler and drier than the summer months. Occasionally cold high pressure cells from North America drift south across the Gulf of Mexico and drive strong Tehuano winds across the Isthmus, with very strong wind concentration taking place in Chivela Pass in Oaxaca.

Coatzacoalcos has been a transportation hub for hundreds of years. It is connected via air, water, road, and rail to the surrounding region and the rest of the world.

The Minatitlán/Coatzacoalcos National Airport is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) away in Cosoleacaque and has been an international airport since August 2006.

The Port of Coatzacoalcos (Puerto Mexico) is an international port of entry that provides transhipment of oil and petrochemicals. After an upgrade to the railway along the Tehuantepec Route was opened in 1907 by Porfirio Díaz the port saw an increase of shipping via the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, particularly from the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company. The port saw a decrease in traffic after the opening of the Panama Canal from 1914 on, but traffic has started to build up since the oil boom of the 1970s. The railway is now known as the Ferrocarril Transístmico ("Trans-Isthmic Railroad").

The CG Railway operates train ferries between the Port of Coatzacoalcos and the Port of Mobile in Alabama, USA. Ferrosur also provides rail service in and out of Coatzacoalcos as far southeast as Las Choapas, to the north and west to Veracruz and Mexico City, as well as to the south over the Tehuantepec route now owned by Ferrocarril Transistmico from Medias Aguas to Salina Cruz in the state of Oaxaca.

Mexican Federal Highway 180 follows the southern shore of the Bay of Campeche through Coatzacoalcos to the Yucatán Peninsula. Highway 180 and a rail line to Allende have been carried over the Coatzacoalcos River via the 1910 built Coatza I bridge for more than a century. A second cable stayed bridge known as Coatza II or Antonio Dovalí Jaime was built to the south to carry more road traffic over the river. It was constructed starting in 1979 and was opened by president Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado on 17 October 1984. Coatza II has a center span of 288 metres (945 ft) and an overall length of 698.25 metres (2,290.8 ft). A ferry operates between the city of Coatzacoalcos and Allende, which in 2017 was supplemented by a 1.1-kilometre (0.68 mi) underwater tunnel that carries four lanes of traffic.

Veracruz played an important part in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire by Hernán Cortés and his expedition members. They founded Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz on May 18, 1519, as the first Spanish town in what is now Mexico. By doing so, Cortés threw off the authority of the Governor of Cuba, Diego Veláquez, and took authority from the town council (cabildo) of Veracruz and claim authority directly from the Spanish crown. A small contingent of the expedition remained at Veracruz, while the main body of conquerors moved inland.

The Totonacs were the first people with whom the Spanish had contact on the American mainland. The very first contact was with Captain Juan de Grijalva on the coastline north of the present-day city of Veracruz. Still chafing under Aztec rule, Totonac ruler Tlacochcalcatl welcomed Hernán Cortés and promised 50,000 warriors to help defeat Tenochtitlan. The Spanish helped the Totonacs expel Aztec tribute collectors and to seize control of some Aztec outposts. The Spanish founded the port city of Veracruz on the coast, as the first municipality under the direct control of the king of Spain. Cortés then began his march inland to Tenochtitlan. During the Conquest, the rest of the Totonac peoples allied themselves with the Spanish, but the Huastecs, despite also being under Aztec rule, fought against them. After the fall of Tenochtitlan, Cortés sent a regiment to subdue the Huastecs.

During the early conquest era, Cortés distributed the labor of indigenous settlements to particular conquerors in an institution known as encomienda. The indigenous ruler of the settlement was charged with mobilization labor and tribute that was due the holder of the encomienda. Veracruz had a number of encomiendas that changed hands a number of times, but early on came under the direct control of the Spanish crown rather than individual encomenderos.

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