Campeche (kämpāˈchā) [key], state (1990 pop. 535,185), 21,924 sq mi (56,798 sq km), SE Mexico, on the Gulf of Campeche. The city of Campeche is the capital. Comprising most of the western half of the Yucatán peninsula, much of the state lies in hot, humid, and unhealthy lowlands. Rainfall in the southwestern sector is heavy. The state had extensive forests, and logwood ( campeche in Spanish) has been one of the chief exports. Agriculture and stock raising are important in the more arid northeastern sector. Using Campeche as a base, the Spanish explorer Francisco de Montejo led (1531–35) expeditions against the Maya. The coast was a haunt of pirates from the 17th cent. to the 19th cent. The principal ports are Campeche and Carmen, a small town on an island at the entrance to the Laguna de Términos.
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