State (pop., 2000: 874,963), eastern Yucatán Peninsula, southeastern Mexico. It has an area of 19,397 sq mi (50,212 sq km), and its capital is Chetumal. The region was used as a place of exile for political prisoners for many years. Originally created as a territory from parts of Yucatán and Campeche states, it became a state in 1974. It is the site of many Maya ruins. Its main products are chicle (for chewing gum) and a small amount of copra (for producing coconut oil); the latter is produced on the coast near the island of Cozumel (where Hernán Cortés landed in 1519), which is now a popular tourist destination.
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