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 Viceroy Antonio 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 is from here. In 1991, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well preserved colonial buildings and layout of the historic center.