1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Campeche (city)

CAMPECHE, or Campeche de Baranda, a fortified city and port of Mexico, and capital of a state of the same name, situated on the Bay of Campeche, 825 m. E. of the city of Mexico and 90 m. S.W. of Merida, in lat. 20° 5′ N., long. 90° 16′ W. Pop. (1900) 17,109. Campeche was one of the three open ports of this coast under the Spanish régime, and its walls, general plan, fine public edifices, shady squares and comfortable stone residences are evidence of the wealth it once possessed. It is still one of the most attractive towns on the Gulf coast of Mexico. It had a monopoly of the Yucatan trade and enjoyed large profits from its logwood exports, both of which have been largely lost. It was formerly the principal port for the state and for a part of Yucatan, but the port of Carmen at the entrance to Laguna de Términos is now the chief shipping port for logwood and other forest products, and a considerable part of the trade of Campeche has been transferred to Progreso, the port of Merida. The port of Campeche is a shallow roadstead defended by three forts and protected by a stone pier or wharf 160 ft. long, but vessels drawing more than 9 ft. are compelled to lie outside and discharge cargo into lighters. The exports include logwood, cotton, hides, wax, tobacco, salt and cigars of local manufacture. The principal public buildings are the old citadel, some old churches, the town hall, a handsome theatre, hospital and market. The streets are traversed by tramways, and a railway runs north-eastward to Merida. Campeche stands on the site of an old native town, of which there are interesting remains in the vicinity, and which was first visited by Hernández de Córdoba in 1517. The Spanish town was founded in 1540, and was sacked by the British in 1659 and by buccaneers in 1678 and 1685. During the revolution of 1842 Campeche was the scene of many engagements between the Mexicans and people of Yucatan.