Tampico is a city and port in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico; it is located on the north bank of the Pánuco River, about 10 kilometres (6 mi) from the Gulf of Mexico. The city is located in the southeastern part of the state, directly north of the state of Veracruz. Tampico is the fifth-largest city in Tamaulipas with a population of 297,284. The Metropolitan area of Tampico has 859,419 inhabitants.
In the early 20th century during the period of Mexico's first oil boom, the city was the "chief oil-exporting port of the Americas" and the second in the world, yielding profits that were invested in the city's "grandiose architecture," often compared to that of Venice and New Orleans. The first oil well in Mexico was drilled here in 1901 at Ébano. In 1923 the major oil field dried up, leading to an exodus of jobs and investment.
Economic development during the 1920s made the city a pioneer in the aviation and soda industries. The city also is a major exporter of silver, copper, and lumber, together with wool, hemp, and other agricultural products. Containerized cargo, however, is mainly handled by the neighboring ocean port of Altamira.