Morelia is a city and municipality in the north central part of the state of Michoacán in central Mexico. The city is in the Guayangareo Valley and is the capital of the state. The main pre-Hispanic cultures here were the P'urhépecha and the Matlatzinca, but no major cities were founded in the valley during this time. The Spanish took control of the area in the 1520s. The Spanish under ViceroyAntonio de Mendoza founded a settlement here in 1541 with the name of Valladolid, which became rival to the nearby city of Pátzcuaro for dominance in Michoacán. In 1580, this rivalry ended in Valladolid’s favor and it became the capital of the colonial province. After the Mexican War of Independence, the city was renamed Morelia in honor of José María Morelos y Pavón, who hailed from the city. In 1991, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well preserved colonial buildings and layout of the historic center.
Michoacán, formally Michoacán de Ocampo (Spanish pronunciation: [mitʃoaˈkan de oˈkampo]), officially Free and Sovereign State of Michoacán de Ocampo (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo), is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia (formerly called Valladolid). The city was named after José María Morelos, hero of the Mexican War of Independence.
Michoacán is located in Western Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Colima and Jalisco to the northwest, Guanajuato and Querétaro to the north, México to the east, Guerrero to the southeast. To the southwest, Michoacán has a stretch of coastline on the Pacific Ocean.
The name Michoacán is from Nahuatl: Michhuahcān[mit͡ʃ.'waʔ.ka:n] from michhuah['mit͡ʃ.waʔ] ("possessor of fish") and -cān[ka:n] (place of) and means "place of the fishermen" referring to those who fish on Lake Pátzcuaro. In pre-Hispanic times, the area was the home of the Tarascan Empire, which rivaled the Aztec Empire at the time of Spanish encounter. After the Spanish conquest, the empire became a separate province which became smaller over the colonial period. The state and several of its residents played a major role in the Mexican War of Independence. Today, the state is still home to a large population of Purépecha people as well as Otomi and Nahua. The economy is based on agriculture, fishing, mining and some industry. The major tourism draw for the state is the Lake Pátzcuaro–Tzintzuntzan–Quiroga area, which was the center of the Tarascan Empire.