Mazatlán is a Nahuatl word meaning “place of deer.” The city was founded in 1531 by an army of Spaniards and indigenous settlers. By the mid-19th century, a large group of immigrants arrived from Germany. Together with the hard work of the Natives, they were able to develop 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. The German settlers also influenced the local music, banda, with some genres being an alteration of Bavarian folk music. The settlers also established the Pacifico Brewery on March 14, 1900. With a population of 438,434 (city) and 489,987 (municipality) as of the 2010 census, Mazatlán is the second-largest city in the state.
It is also a popular tourist destination, with its beaches lined with resort hotels. A car ferry crosses 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, and El Habal. Mazatlán is served by General Rafael Buelna International Airport. Mazatlán is also known for being the hometown and center of Banda sinaloense, a musical genre that began to develop in the XIX century and is now one of the most popular music genres in Mexico.
Mazatlán has a rich culture and art community. In addition to the Angela Peralta Theater, which has many wonderful performances for non-Spanish speakers, Mazatlán has many galleries and artist’s studios. Not to mention the very active Museo del Arte, exhibiting both Mexican and international artists.