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Chiapas is a state in the southeast of Mexico. Chiapas is bordered by the states of Tabasco to the north, Veracruz to the northwest, and Oaxaca to the west. To the east Chiapas borders Guatemala, and to the south the Pacific Ocean.

Chiapas has an area of 73,887 km² (28,528 square miles). The 2003 population estimate was 4,224,800 people.

IIn general Chiapas has a humid, tropical weather. In the north, in the area bordering Tabasco, near Teapa, rainfall can average more than 3,000 mm/year. Natural vegetation at this region was lowland, tall perennial rainforest, but this vegetation has been destroyed almost completely for agriculture and ranching. Rainfall decreases moving towards the Pacific Ocean, but it is still abundant enough to allow the cultivation of bananas and many other tropical crops near Tapachula. On the several parallel sierras or mountain ranges running along the center of Chiapas, climate can be quite temperate and foggy, allowing the development of cloud forests like those of the Reserva de la Biosfera el Triunfo, home to a handful of quetzals and horned guans.

The state capital city is Tuxtla Gutiérrez; other cities and towns in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán, and Tapachula. Chiapas is also home to the ancient Maya ruins of Palenque, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, Chinkultic, and Tonina.

Many of the people in Chiapas are poor, rural small farmers. About one third of the population are of full or predominant Maya descent, and in rural areas many do not speak Spanish. The state suffers from the highest rate of malnutrition in Mexico, estimated to affect over 40% of the population.

Other social issues involve the increasing presence of the Central American gangs known as Maras, and illegal immigration from Central America in general, mostly directed towards the United States, but further aggravating the panorama of local poverty. This floating influx of people is frequently subject to abuse and human rights violations from Mexican authorities.

Since 1994, Chiapas has been involved in an ongoing civil war or revolution, nowadays in a calm but somewhat tense state, especially in the "autonomous municipalities" (see below). The two sides are the Mexican Government and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (the EZLN or Zapatistas). There are currently 32 "rebel autonomous zapatista municipalities" (independent Zapatista communities, MAREZ from their name in Spanish), controlled by the EZLN in Chiapas: some of these communities are Ocosingo and Las Margaritas.

IIts anthem is called Himno a Chiapas.

Some Landmarks
The Cañon del Sumidero [1] is occupied now by an artificial lake, the presa (dam) Chicoasen [2], which produces a large percent of the electricity in Mexico. The sides of the cañon are covered with tropical vegetation.

The Alvarez del Toro Zoo, ZOOMAT [3], in Tuxtla Gutierrez, featuring local, native fauna.

The Lagunas de Montebello, near Comitan.

The Cascadas de Agua Azul (Blue Waterfalls), near Palenque.

The Maya ruins of Bonampak, in the Lacandon rainforest (La Selva Lacandona), feature probably the finest and better-known Maya murals. These are very realistic, depicting human sacrifices, music players and life at the royal court.

The Lacandon rainforest [4] itself is an important biodiversity spot, which recently yielded one of the newest and unique plant family discovered, represented by the plant Lacandonia schismatica.

The Soconusco, the south-eastern coastal region bordering Guatemala, is a hot tropical agricultural area devoted to the intensive production of bananas and coffee, for the national and international markets.

Chiapas is part of the Ruta Maya or Gringo Trail that links Cancun, Belice, Tikal, Lake Atitlan, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque and other Maya archeological sites.

San Cristobal de las Casas, [5] is a favorite international tourist destination due to its colorful Indian traditions and customs.

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