It originally rose around a monastery founded on the ruins of an Aztec village by a Franciscan friar in 1532. After being destroyed by pirates in 1683, it was not reoccupied until 1823. In 1829, however, a Spanish force was defeated by Santa Anna, whereafter it was occupied for a short time by U.S. forces during the Mexican War.
Several of the most productive oil fields in the country are situated within a 100-mile radius of the city. Until 1901 it was a second-rate port, acting as an outlet for fertile but relatively underdeveloped hinterland. The rapid exploitation of petroleum resources, however, resulted in a marked increase of population, and for several years Tampico ranked as the greatest oil port in the world.
Spacious, modern port facilities, warehouses, a union railway station within easy reach of the waterfront, and excellent equipment for loading oil tankers make Tampico the most up-to-date harbour in Mexico, today.