state SE Mexico on the Caribbean SW of Yucatán Peninsula ∗ Villahermosa area 9522 square miles (24,662 square kilometers), pop 1,501,744
State (pop., 2000: 1,891,829), southeastern Mexico. It covers an area of 9,756 sq mi (25,267 sq km), and its capital is Villahermosa. Pre-Columbian Indian cultures included those of the Quiché, Olmec, Tabasca, and Nahua peoples. The area was first visited by Europeans in 1518; in 1519 Hernán Cortés clashed with the Indians, who were partially subdued in the 1530s and '40s. Tabasco became a state in 1824. Agriculture, forestry, beekeeping, commercial fishing, and cattle-raising provided much of the state's income before petroleum exploitation began in the 1960s. The state is now a major oil producer.