Dating from 1596, the city did not begin to prosper until after Mexican independence – thanks to its proximity to the US, which gave it advantages in trade and smuggling.

In 1900 the first heavy industry in Latin America, a vast iron and steel works (now the site of the Parque Fundidora), rose to dominate the cityscape. Monterrey was soon dubbed the ‘Pittsburgh of Mexico,’ and still produces about 25% of Mexico’s raw steel. The city also churns out around 60% of the nation’s cement and half of its beer.