Coahuila (kōäwēˈlä) [key], state (1990 pop. 1,972,340), 58,067 sq mi (150,394 sq km), N Mexico, on the northward bulge of the Rio Grande, S of Texas. Saltillo is the capital. In the eastern part of the state, where peaks of the Sierra Madre Oriental rise, are quantities of silver, copper, lead, iron, and zinc. Coahuila is an important coal-producing state and a leading national producer of iron and steel. Lumbering is important, and northeast of the mountains, in the drainage area of the Rio Grande, there is considerable cattle raising. Across W Coahuila and E Chihuahua lie vast and arid plains (some of them recently irrigated), which are broken by barren mountains; most notable of these plains is the Bolsón de Mapimí, extending into Chihuahua. South of the Bolsón is a fertile lake region, center of a vast inland basin, which absorbs rivers with no outlet to the sea. A considerable portion of the Laguna District lies in this area. Torreón is the chief metropolis. Coahuila produces cotton, corn, and grapes; the state is noted for its wines. Exploration of the territory began in the 16th cent. but was hampered by Native American hostility. After playing some part in the war against Spain, Coahuila was combined (1830) with Texas, a proceeding that caused dissatisfaction among the U.S. minority and contributed to the Texas Revolution (1835–36). During the Mexican War, Saltillo was of strategic importance, and the battle of Buena Vista was fought nearby. Joined with Nuevo León by the constitution of 1857, Coahuila regained its separate status in 1868. The revolutionary leaders Francisco I. Madero and Venustiano Carranza were born in the state.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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