Tlaxcala (Spanish ; ; from Tlaxcallān ), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Tlaxcala (Estado Libre y Soberano de Tlaxcala), is one of the 31 states which, along with Mexico City, make up the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 60 municipalities and its capital city is Tlaxcala.
It is located in East-Central Mexico, in the altiplano region, with the eastern portion dominated by the Sierra Madre Oriental. It is bordered by the states of Puebla to the north, east and south, México to the west and Hidalgo to the northwest. It is the smallest state of the republic, accounting for only 0.2% of the country's territory.
The state is named after its capital, Tlaxcala, which was also the name of the Pre-Columbian city and culture. The Tlaxcalans allied themselves with the Spanish to defeat the Aztecs, with concessions from the Spanish that allowed the territory to remain mostly intact throughout 300 years of colonial period. After Mexican Independence, Tlaxcala was declared a federal territory, until 1857 when it was admitted as a state of the federation.
Most of the state's economy is based on agriculture, light industry and tourism. The tourist industry is rooted in Tlaxcala's long history with major attractions being archeological sites such as Cacaxtla and colonial constructions in and around Tlaxcala city.
The name Tlaxcala pre-dates the state by centuries; it derives from the name of the capital city, which was also used to denote the territory controlled by this city in pre-Hispanic times. According to some historians, the name comes from an ancient word texcalli, which meant "crag"; however, an alternative etymology stems from the Nahuatl word Tlaxcallān which means "place of corn tortillas." The Aztec glyph that referred to this place has both elements, two green hills and two hands holding a corn tortilla.