Mazatlán, Sinaloa Mexico
Photographs by Bill Bell
Mazatlán is a city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa; the surrounding municipality for which the city serves as the municipal seat is also called Mazatlán. It is located at 23°13′N 106°25′W / 23.217°N 106.417°W / 23.217; -106.417 on the Pacific coast, just across from the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula.
Mazatlán is a Nahuatl word meaning “place of the deer.” The city was founded in 1531. By the mid-1800s a large group of immigrants had arrived from Germany. These new citizens developed Mazatlán into a thriving commercial seaport, importing equipment for the nearby gold and silver mines. It served as the capital of Sinaloa from 1859 to 1873. They also influenced the music. Banda, which is an alteration of Bavarian folk music, and also started the Pacifico Brewery on March 14, 1900.
Mazatlán, with a population of 352,471 (city) and 403,888 (municipality) as of the 2005 census, is the second-largest city in the state (after Culiacán) and Mexico’s largest commercial port. It is also a popular tourist destination, with its beaches lined with resort hotels. A car ferry plies its trade across the Gulf of California from Mazatlán to La Paz, Baja California Sur.
The municipality has a land area of 3,068.48 km² (1,184.75 sq mi) and includes smaller outlying communities such as Villa Unión, La Noria, El Quelite, El Habal and many other small villages.