City (pop., 2000: 549,996), capital of Michoacán state, west-central Mexico. It was founded in 1541 as Valladolid, at the site of a Tarascan Indian settlement. It replaced Pátzcuaro as the provincial capital in 1582. During the Mexican wars for independence it served briefly as the base of operations for the revolution; in 1828 its name was changed from Valladolid to Morelia in honor of revolutionary leader José María Morelos. It is the commercial centre of an agricultural region. Its educational institutions include the University of Michoacán and the Colegio San Nicolás (1540), Mexico's oldest institution of higher learning.