Tampico is a city and port in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico; it is located on the north bank of the Pánuco River, about 6 miles 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 Ébona. 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.
In the 21st century, the city has suffered severely from "ultra-violence", gang warfare by drug cartels, which control all criminal activity in the area. Seeking more money, they kidnapped the wealthy for ransom, and the wealthy left the city. Next, they targeted middle and upper-middle class for kidnappings; those who could left the city. In the last several years, more than 200 bars, restaurants and other businesses have closed. To stimulate development in Mexico, President Enrique Pena Nieto announced in 2014 an end to the government's monopoly on oil, inviting in private investors. It is expected that smaller firms are likely to work in mature fields, such as those of Tampico. Current technology can make production profitable.