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Coatzacoalcos is a city and one of the most important ports in southern Mexico, located in the state of Veracruz next to the river of the same name. Coatzacoalcos means in Náhuatl 'place where the snake hides'. Its name is due to an ancient legend that says that in the year 947, Quetzalcoatl arrived in this city and aboard a raft sailed across the river to get lost in the horizon under the promise of returning one day. The followers of Quetzalcoatl stayed in that place awaiting the return of their leader, this is how the first settlements appeared in the region.

Somewhere in the vast expanse of land between the Coatzacoalcos River and Ixhuatlan, now Chapopotla, and between the Teapa and San Antonio rivers, there was probably the indigenous settlement that historians of the conquest claim to have known, and which is called Guazaqualco or Huazaqualco. Father Mier writes that when Quetzalcoatl arrived in Cholula pursued by Huemac, he went to the coast possibly in order to embark, having arrived precisely at this town, in which Huemac lost it. It was then that this town was given such a name, that it must have been Coatzacuakci, its meaning being the following: coatl means Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent or twin, which names were applied to it. Tzacualli, which means 'place that hides or encloses something', and co means 'in'. Its meaning would be 'place where Quetzalcoatl is hidden or enclosed'. It is the most important and developed city in southern Veracruz.

Its development has been generated by the establishment of the high altitude port and by the boom of the petrochemical complexes of Pajaritos, Morelos and Cangrejera.