Orizaba, Mexico - Encyclopedia

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ORIZABA (Indian name Ahuaializ-apan, pleasant waters), a city of Mexico in the state of Vera Cruz, 82 m. by rail W.S.W. of the port of Vera Cruz. Pop. (1900) 32,894, including a large percentage of Indians and half-breeds. The Mexican railway affords frequent communication with the City of Mexico and Vera Cruz, and a short line (42 m.) connects with Ingenio, an industrial village. Orizaba stands in a fertile, well-watered, and richly wooded valley of the Sierra Madre Oriental, 4025 ft. above sea-level, and about 18 m. S. of the snow-crowned volcano that bears its name. It has a mild, humid and healthful climate. The public edifices include the parish church of San Miguel, a chamber of commerce, a handsome theatre, and some hospitals. The city is the centre of a rich agricultural region which produces sugar, rum, tobacco and Indian corn. In colonial times, when tobacco was one of the crown monopolies, Orizaba was one of the districts officially licensed to produce it. It is also a manufacturing centre of importance, having good water power from the Rio Blanco and producing cotton and woollen fabrics. Its cotton factories are among the largest in the republic. Paper is also made at Cocolapan in the canton of Orizaba. The forests in this vicinity are noted for orchids and ferns. An Indian town called Ahuaializapan, subject to Aztec rule, stood here when Cortes arrived on the coast. The Spanish town that succeeded it did not receive its charter until 1774, though it was one of the stopping-places between Vera Cruz and the capital. In 1862 it was the headquarters of the French.

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