Mazatlan, a maritime city of Mexico, in the state of Sinaloa, at the head of a bay at the entrance of the gulf of California, 530 m. N. W. of Mexico; pop. in 1867 (according to official reports), 11,681; in 1871,12,706, of whom about 4,000 constitute a floating population, mostlv merchants and traders, who in summer resort hither from Chihuahua, Sonora, Jalisco, Colima, and Durango. The upper part of the town, standing in front of rocky hills, is somewhat irregular; but that facing the bay contains some very good streets with handsome residences, mostly in the old Castilian style of architecture. There are five public squares, on the largest of which, the plaza de Armas, enclosed with railing, and embellished with orange trees, stand the chief public buildings. On another square nearer the beach are the custom house, the offices and residences of the commandant and captain of the port, and the public stores, all tastefully constructed. The American consul reported in 1873 that many of the houses were vacant, and some as well as the custom-house wharf greatly decayed, and that business was rapidly declining. Other reports, however, are more favorable.
The climate is damp, and in summer excessively hot, the mean temperature from June to October being about 90° F.; while during the remainder of the year the temperature ranges from 70° to 75°, and frequent rains inundate the country, rendering travel almost impracticable. Silver mines abound in every direction, those which are worked on the largest scale being the property of Americans, and valued at $2,000,000. Although the soil favors agriculture, the only products are cotton, corn, and beans, for home consumption. Such immense quantities of bananas are used in the town and its neighborhood that the local supply is quite insufficient, and the fruit is yearly imported to the value of about $200,000. The chief articles of export are dyewoods, fino pearls, and gold and silver. Mining machinery and implements, and sugar, fruits, and vegetables, are brought from San Francisco; and the various cotton fabrics, etc, come from Europe. The value of the exports for the year ending Sept. 30, 1873, was $2,797,385, including gold and silver bullion and coin to the amount of $2,435,450; imports, $1,276,000. The import duties for the same year amounted to $758,300, and the export duties to $137,670. The entrances and clearances for the year were 53 steamers and 26 sailing vessels, with an aggregate tonnage of 117,493. There are six public schools (two primary and one grammar school each for both sexes), with an attendance of 400 scholars in 1867; besides which there were 21 private establishments for the primary and higher branches.
The number of adults unable to read or write was in the same year 5,761.