Mérida is the capital of Yucatán, a state in Mexico. Mérida is also the largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is located in the northwest part of the state, about 35 kilometres off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.The city is also the municipal seat of the Municipality of Mérida, which includes the city and the areas around it. According to the 2015 census, the population of Mérida was 892,363, ranking 14th among the most populous Mexican cities.
Mérida is known as the “white city”—a reference to the elegant white-stone buildings along Paseo Montejo. Over the last decade, Mérida has also become a very popular city for foreign residents moving Mexico.
In 1542 Francisco de Montejo gave the name Mérida to the captured Mayan city T’ho (Tihoo). An early base for Spanish efforts to conquer the Maya, it subsequently became an administrative and commercial centre for the Yucatán region. In the 19th century its economy was based on the processing and export of locally grown henequen, a fibrous plant from which twine and rope are produced. By the early 20th century Mérida became one of Mexico’s most important commercial cities, but the henequen trade declined precipitously after World War II. Many former henequen plantations now grow citrus fruits (notably limes and lemons) and other crops.