Fertile valleys make agriculture the principal economic activity. Sugarcane, coffee (of which Oaxaca is a leading national producer), tobacco, cereals, and tropical and semitropical fruits are grown; livestock is raised. Oaxaca's mineral deposits remain largely unexploited. The state's limited industrial activity centers around oil refining, beverage and paper manufacturing, and sugar and flour milling. Oaxaca is also known for its handicrafts, especially handwoven textiles, pottery, and leather goods. Despite the existence of several highways, inadequate communications remain the chief barrier to the state's industrialization.
There are famous archaeological sites at Mitla and Monte Albán. Indigenous peoples predominate here, as in few other states, with Mixtecs dominating in the highlands and Zapotecs elsewhere. Beach resorts are under development at Huatulco Bays and other locales along the southern coast, which should increase the already important contribution of tourism to the state's economy. Porfirio Díaz and Benito Juárez were born here.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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