Must a block contain a coinbase transaction? If so, how is this enforced?

Yes, it must.

Block without coinbase transaction will be rejected by network.

From the Protocol, rule #6:

First transaction must be coinbase (i.e. only 1 input, with hash=0, n=-1), the rest must not be

  • The coinbase transaction is important as the mark of bitcoin generation. But what would it be for when the last bitcoin were mined? – Henrique Barcelos Jan 28 '16 at 13:36
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Every block must include one or more transactions. The first one of these transactions must be a coinbase transaction which should collect and spend the block reward and any transaction fees paid by transactions included in this block.

Bitcoin Foundation Developer Guide— https://bitcoin.org/en/developer-guide#transaction-data

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