It is located in Southwestern Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla to the northwest, Veracruz to the north, Chiapas to the east. To the south, Oaxaca has a significant coastline on the Pacific Ocean.
Mining has traditionally been important to the economy and history. Hernán Cortés sought and received the title of the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca in order to claim mineral and other rights.
There is an oil and natural gas refinery in Salinas Cruz, which provides products to the state and other areas on Mexico's Pacific coast.