Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza officiallyFree and Sovereign State of Coahuila de Zaragoza (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Coahuila de Zaragoza), is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, compose the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. The state is located in Northeastern Mexico on the US border.
Coahuila borders the Mexican states of Nuevo León to the east, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí to the south, andDurango and Chihuahua to the west. To the north, Coahuila accounts for a 512 kilometres (318 mi) stretch of theMexico–United States border, adjacent to the U.S. state of Texas along the course of the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte). With an area of 151,563 square kilometres (58,519 sq mi), it is the nation's third-largest state. It comprises 38 municipalities (municipios). In 2010, Coahuila's population is 2,748,391 inhabitants.
The Spanish explored the north of Mexico some decades after their victory in the capital of the Aztecs. Such exploration was delayed because the northern climate was harsher and there was no gold. The first Spanish settlement in the region now called Coahuila was at Minas de la Trinidad in 1577. Saltillo was settled in 1586, to form part of the province of New Spain, Nueva Vizcaya of the vice-royalty. Later it became one of the first provinces of Nueva Extremadura to be explored by Europeans.
"Coahuila and Texas" was one of the constituent states of the newly independent United Mexican States under their1824 Constitution, and included Texas, Coahuila and Nuevo León. Later in the same year Nuevo León was detached, but Texas remained a part of the state until 1835, when it seceded to form the Republic of Texas. Monclova was the capital of the state from 1833 to 1835.
In 1840 Coahuila briefly became a member of the short lived Republic of the Rio Grande.
On April 4, 2004, the border city of Piedras Negras was flooded. More than 30 people died and more than 4000 lost their homes. In 2007 Coahuila became the first state in Mexico to offer civil unions (Pacto Civil de Solidaridad) to same-sex couples.
The Sierra Madre Oriental runs northwest to southeast through the State, and the higher elevations are home to theSierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests. The northernmost fingers of the Sierra Madre Oriental, the Sierra del Burroand the Sierra del Carmen, reach to the border with the United States at the Rio Grande.
East of the range, the land slopes gently toward the Rio Grande, and is drained by several rivers, including theSalado and its tributary, the Sabinas River. The Tamaulipan mezquital, a dry shrubland ecoregion, occupies the eastern portion of the State, and extends across the Rio Grande into southern Texas.
The portion of the State west of the Sierra Madre Oriental lies on the Mexican Plateau, and is part of theChihuahuan Desert. The Bolsón de Mapimí is a large endorheic basin which covers much of the western portion of the State and extends into adjacent portions of Chihuahua, Durango, and Zacatecas. The Nazas River, which flows east from Durango, and the Aguanaval River, which flows north from Zacatecas, empty into lakes in the Bolsón.Torreón, the most populous city in the State, lies on the Nazas in the irrigated Laguna Region, the (Comarca Lagunera), which straddles the border of Coahuila and Durango.
Coahuila contains two biosphere reserves. Maderas del Carmen lies on the northern border of the State, and includes sections of the Chihuahuan desert and sky islands of pine-oak forest in the Sierra del Carmen. The springs, lakes, and wetlands of Cuatro Ciénegas lie west of Monclova on the west slope of the Sierra Madre.
Coahuila is largely arid or semi-arid, but the rivers of the State support extensive irrigated agriculture, particularly cotton. The Parras district in the southern part of the State produces wines and brandies. The pine-oak forests of the Sierra Madre produce timber.
Institutions of higher learning in Coahuila, Mexico include:
About 95% of Mexico's coal reserves are found in Coahuila, which is the country's top mining state. Saltillo also has a growing automobile industry, hosting General Motors and Chrysler assembly plants.
Torreón has Met-Mex Peñoles, a mining company. This city is the world's largest silver producer and Mexico's largest gold producer. Also they have Lala, a dairy products company, which produces 40% of Mexico's milk consume.
As of 2005, Coahuila's economy represents 3.5% of Mexico's total gross domestic product or 22,874 million USD. Coahuila's economy has a strong focus on export oriented manufacturing (i.e. maquiladora / INMEX). As of 2005, 221,273 people are employed in the manufacturing sector. Foreign direct investment in Coahuila was 143.1 million USD for 2005. The average wage for an employee in Coahuila is approximately 190 pesos per day. On the other hand Coahuila is the Mexican state with the highest level of public debt in the nation.