Mazatlan is a Nahuatl word meaning "place of the deer." The city was founded in the 1820s.
By the mid-1800s a large group of immigrants had arrived from Germany. These new citizens
developed Mazatlan 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.
Mazatlan, 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 Culiacan) and Mexico's largest
commercial port. It is also a popular tourist destination, its beaches lined with resort
hotels. A car ferry plies its trade across the Gulf of California from Mazatlan to La
Paz, Baja California Sur.