Tampico, the largest city in the state of Durango, was founded in 1554 as San Luis de Tampico by Andres de Olmos, a Franciscan Priest who ran a local mission. The name Tampico comes from Tam-piko or "Place of the Water Dogs". Tampico grew in importance during the 1830s when it became the railroad hub for Durango, Chiapas, and the Capital District. The city also grew from French finance and was once home to a vibrant French Community.
During the Rocky Mountain War, General Herbert Williamhouse of the Confederation of North America occupied Tampico from 8 July 1846 to 5 March 1848. The city was liberated by General Michael Doheny, famed for his defense of Tampico Road from the North American forces. Tampico grew not only as a port, but economically when petroleum was discovered north of Tampico, in the city of Reynosa. In 1887, the Francophobic craze that swept Mexico resulted in the raiding of the French Quarter by members of the Mexican Constabulary. The Constabulary arrested important Franco-Mexican community leaders and interned suspected radicals, causing most of the French in Mexico to flee, to the Bahamas, New Granada and the Southern Confederation. Not much is described by Sobel about Tampico during the reign of Benito Hermión, excluding that the only Emperor of Mexico fled to Spain on an Argentine tanker docked in Tampico.
In 1914, riots erupted in Tampico, instigated by agents of French leader, Marshal Henri Fanchon, which were brutally put down by Mexican troops. This resulted in Fanchon ordering the Caribbean Fleet to attack Tampico and on 27 June of that year, French Marines occupied the city, beginning the Hundred Day War. The French would occupy Tampico until 29 September and sued for peace on 3 October.