Campeche is a state in the south-east region of the Mexican Republic. It is bordered by the states of Yucatan to the north east, Quintana Roo to the east, and Tabasco to the south west. To the south it is bordered by the Peten department of Guatemala and to the west by the Gulf of Mexico. Since 1996, Campeche also shares a short border with the nation of Belize to the east, although the anexation of this area by Campeche remains disputed by Quintana Roo.
The capital city of the state is the city of San Francisco de Campeche, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In addition to the city of Campeche, the state of Campeche has many ruins of the Maya civilization such as Becan, Calakmul, Dzibilnocac, Edzna, Hochob, Rio Bec, Xicalango, Xpuhil, and Xtampak. Campeche derives from the name of the Mayan city of Kan pech, which became today's San Francisco de Campeche. Before the Spanish Conquest, the territory that now is the State of Campeche was occupied by the Maya. The most important sites of the Classic Mayan Period are Calakmul, Rio Bec, Edzna, Hormiguero and Becan. Another important site is the island of Jaina, (Zaina) just off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico.
Campeche was discovered by the Spaniards on March 22, 1517, during an exploratory expedition led by Francisco Fernandez de Cordoba. Among the crew were Bernal Diaz del Castillo and Anton de Alaminos.
The name of Campeche comes from the Mayan word "Ah Kim Pech", which means "The Place of Boa Serpent". The State of Campeche was long a part of Yucatan and shared its history through the mid 19th century. Campeche broke away from Yucatan and became a separate state of the United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos) on August 7, 1857.