Durango (dōrängˈgō) [key], state (1990 pop. 1,349,378), 47,691 sq mi (123,520 sq km), N central Mexico. The city of Durango is the capital. The western half of the state is dominated by the Sierra Madre Occidental. These mountains contain deposits of many different minerals, and the mines extend north into the state of Chihuahua and south into Zacatecas. Durango is a leading national producer of ferrous metals. The semiarid plains of E Durango afford good ranching, and livestock raising is a major occupation. Lumbering is also economically important in the state. On the border of Coahuila is the fertile Laguna District, where vast desert basin lands are irrigated by the Nazas River. Gómez Palacio is the main settlement in this region. Cotton is the chief crop in the Nazas Valley, and wheat, sugarcane, tobacco, corn, and vegetables are also grown. Although known early to the Spanish, Durango was not opened up until 1562, when Francisco de Ibarra undertook its exploration and colonization. The early European settlers of Durango and Chihuahua (which were then called Nueva Viscaya) were strongly resisted by the native population, but the mines and grazing lands continued to attract colonists. Durango became a separate state in 1823, shortly after the Mexican revolution against Spain.
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