Puebla, city (1990 pop. 1,007,170), capital of Puebla state, E central Mexico. Its official name is Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza, in honor of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, who defeated French forces there in 1862. Located in a highland valley, it is an important agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing center, as well as a popular tourist spot. The site of Mexico's first textile factory, Puebla's industries include automobiles and automobile parts, textiles, chemicals, pottery, and food; onyx is quarried. The city is noted for the colored tiles that decorate its buildings and those of nearby Cholula as well.
Puebla has hundreds of churches and many colonial buildings, and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The cathedral, built between 1552 and 1649 and located on the Zócalo, Puebla's central plaza, is one of the finest in Mexico. The Rosary Chapel of the Church of Santo Domingo, constructed between 1571 and 1659, is one of the finest examples of the Spanish Baroque in Mexico. Puebla's Teatro Principal, constructed in 1760 and twice rebuilt, is said to be the oldest theater on the continent.
Founded c.1535 as Puebla de los Ángeles, the city was historically a link between the coast and Mexico City. It was taken (1847) by U.S. Gen. Winfield Scott during the Mexican War. French troops captured Puebla in 1863 but were ousted by Porfirio Díaz in 1867.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.