Torreón, city in southwestern Coahuila, Mexico, on the Nazas and Aguanaval rivers, in the heart of the Comarca Laguna.
In the colonial era, the future site of Torreón was part of the Marquesado of San Miguel de Aguayo, but after Mexican independence the area passed through a number of different owners. In the mid-nineteenth century the area gave rise to a small ranch community, which expanded rapidly with the arrival of the Mexican Central Railroad in 1883. Five years later the International Railroad also passed through Torreón, linking it to Durango and Piedras Negras, and Torreón received villa status in 1893. With the arrival of the Coahuila and Pacific Railroad in 1903, Torreón became the third largest railroad center in Mexico. It was recognized as a city in 1907.
Torreón was strategically important in the Mexican Revolution and formed the geographical core of Francisco Madero's Antireelectionist movement. On 14-15 May 1911, Torreón was the site of one of the bloodiest massacres in the history of the revolution when forces loyal to Madero occupied the city. In the confusion that followed, there erupted a race riot in which over two hundred fifty Chinese were murdered. On 1 October 1913 Francisco Villa took the city after two days of fierce fighting against Victoriano Huerta's Federalist troops. Villa retook the city in early April 1914. Today, Torreón is a large urban and industrial city with a population of 328,086 (1980).
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Aaron Paine Mahr