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Chiapas is a state in southern Mexico. It was governed from Guatemala during the colonial era, but in 1824, after a brief independence, it chose to join Mexico. Chiapas has a sizeable indigenous (predominantly Mayan) population. Much of Chiapas' history has been characterised by struggles between indigenous peasants and the mostly Ladino elite. The state's colonial cities, Mayan peoples and natural wealth have made it one of Mexico's major tourist destinations.