A Maritime State Of Mexico, bounded N. W. by Puebla, K E. by Vera Cruz, S. E. by Chiapas, S. by the Pacific ocean, and W. by Guerrero; area, 27,389 sq. m.; pop. in 1869, 646,729, and in 1872, as reported by the governor, 662,463. It is extremely mountainous, being traversed from S. to N. by the great chain of the Mexican Andes, which, after entering from the south in a single ridge almost midway between the two oceans, bifurcates, sending N. the two separate branches which flank the vast central plateau. These lateral ridges cut the country into valleys and gorges of no great extent, but of surprising beauty and fertility. The most remarkable summits are Zempoaltepec in the district of Villalta, with an elevation of 10,542 ft, above the sea, and whose crest commands magnificent views of both oceans; the Sirena, S. of San Juan de Ozolotepec; Chicahuastla, in Teposcolula; Colcoyan, S. of Huajuapam; Jilotepec, in Tla-colula; and Mijes, S. of Quetzaltepec. The principal rivers are the Quiotepec, which rises in the mountains N. of the city of Oajaca, collects the waters of the Tonto, and unites with the Cosamaloapam after a course of 120 m.; the Villalta, also a tributary of the Cosamaloapam, descending from the Zempoaltepec, and having a course of more than 100 m.; the Tehuantepec, flowing from the mountains of Quiechapa, Amatlan, and Minas, and falling into the Pacific at Ventosa; and the Atoyac or Verde, which takes its rise near the capital, and empties into the Pacific after a winding course of nearly 170 m.
The climate presents all the variations characteristic of the torrid and temperate zones, and is mostly very salubrious. There are in Oajaca 8 gold and 17 silver mines, besides 39 mines of silver and gold, 5 of iron, and 4 of lead; but the mining operations are comparatively limited for want of adequate labor. The agricultural products include maize, chilli, beans of several kinds, wheat, barley, rice, aniseed, coffee, cotton, wax, and tobacco; but the great staples are the sugar cane, cochineal, indigo, and cacao, the last being equal in quality to the best from Caracas. The annual yield of cochineal is about 500,000 lbs.; and the mean annual value of all the products is $2,250,000. Oajaca is essentially an agricultural country; but it has likewise a large number of manufactures, the more important being soaps, sugar, aguar iiente or cane rum, beer, gunpowder, and palm-leaf hats; and there are numerous flour mills, two salt works, 10 tanneries, and about 70 looms. The school statistics in 1873 were as follows: 709 primary schools, with 28,166 male and 2,089 female pupils; one female academy, with 826 pupils; a state literary institute, pontifical seminary, and Catholic college, having 504, 62, and 291 students respectively. The state library, in the capital, contains 13,000 volumes.
Oajaca is divided into 25 districts.
An Inland City, capital of the state, in the delightful valley of the same name, on the left bank of the Atoyac, 210 m. S. E. of Mexico; lat. 17° 10' K, lon. 97° 30' W.; pop. about 25,000. The streets are spacious and regular, and the houses substantially built, and for the most part neat in appearance, though many of them are of adobe. The principal buildings are the cathedral, the Santuario de la Soledad and other churches, and convents, gorgeously decorated, the cabildo or city hall, and the episcopal palace. There are several handsome squares or plazas, embellished with trees and flowers; and the surrounding country is exceedingly picturesque, being literally covered with gardens and cochineal groves. Education is zealously promoted. The general hospital is said to be one of the best organized in the republic. The chief occupations of the people are the manufacture of sugar, beer, indigo, cane rum, and especially of cacao, for which this city is celebrated, and the preparation of cochineal. Palm-leaf hats are extensively made, and silk weaving employs a small number of hands.
Oajaca was injured by an earthquake on May 11, 1870.