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Chiapas has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean to the south. In the north, in the area bordering Tabasco, near Teapa, rainfall can average more than 3,000 mm (120 in) per year.

In the past, natural vegetation in this region was lowland, tall perennial rainforest, but this vegetation has been almost completely cleared to allow agriculture and ranching.

Nearly all Mayan cities collapsed around the same time, 900CE.Chiapas is home to the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque, Yaxchilán, Bonampak, Chinkultic and Toniná.It is also home to one of the largest indigenous populations in the country with twelve federally recognized ethnicities.The first military incursion was headed by Luis Marín, who arrived in 1523.For three years, Marín was able to subjugate a number of the local peoples, but met with fierce resistance from the Tzotzils in the highlands.

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