Michoacan, Or Mcclioacan, a maritime state of Mexico, bounded N. by Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Queretaro, E. by Mexico, S. by Guerrero, S. W. by the Pacific, and W. by Colima and Jalisco; area, 21,609 sq. ra.; pop. in 1868, 618,240. The face of the country is extremely mountainous, being traversed in every direction by the Sierra Madre and its branches; there are several peaks of considerable elevation, especially in the S. portion, where, among other volcanoes, is that of Jornllo. (See Jorullo.) The culminating point is the Cerro de Santa Rosa, in the district of Tlapujahua, about 17,000 ft. Between the ridges stretch elevated and fertile valleys, watered by several rivers, the principal of which are the Lerma and Mescala or Balsas, and a great number of mountain torrents. Of the 11 lakes, those most noteworthy are Chapala, about 60 m. long by 20 m. in width, and the Patzcuaro, 30 m. in circumference. Along the coast line, 100 m. in extent, the only ports are those of San Telmo, Buceria, and Maratua; the first was formerly open to foreign and coasting trade, but did not prosper owing to the want of suitable shelter for shipping. Michoacan has a great variety of climates, from extreme cold to excessive heat; but it is in general very healthy.
The mean annual temperature at Morelia is 71° F. The mineral productions are silver with an admixture of gold, copper, cinnabar, iron, coal, lead, emery, sulphur, copperas, lithographic stone, marble, etc. The mines, now comparatively few, yield annually $1,175,300, of which silver is about one third. The soil, wherever accessible, is extremely fertile; maize in most parts yields 400 fold. Cattle, horses, mules, asses, and hogs are extensively reared; and the lakes and rivers abound in excellent fish, the taking of which forms an important industry. Among the manufactures are rebozos, sarapes (Mexican shawls), blankets, and silver ware of various kinds; and there are numerous flour mills, a glass factory, and in Morelia a steam weaving factory. The exports embrace gold, silver, copper, cabinet and dye woods, coffee, indigo, and silk, mostly sent to the states of Mexico, San Luis Potosi, and Durango, and to Guatemala. There are good roads in the state; and in 1872 Morelia was placed in communication with the principal telegraph lines of the republic.
The value of real estate in 1869 was estimated at $18,498,-951 10; and the government expenditure in the same year was $382,917 66. Michoacan has a state college, 53 schools for males and 28 for females, with an attendance of 11,426. There are several benevolent institutions. The state is divided into 17 districts. The capital is Morelia (formerly Valladolid); and the chief commercial towns are Morelia, Puruandiro, Zamora, Ario, Zacambaro, and Taretan.