/me"rddee dhah'/, n.1. a city in and the capital of Yucatán, in SE Mexico. 253,800.2. a city in W Venezuela. 74,214.
* * *IIt lies near the northwestern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, south of Progreso; its port is on the Gulf of Mexico. It was founded in 1542 on the site of the ancient Maya city of T'ho. It has numerous colonial buildings and a 16th-century cathedral. Yucatán University and the Regional Technical Institute of Mérida are located there. It serves as a tourist base for trips to nearby Maya cities, including Chichén Itzá, Dzibilchaltún, Uxmal, and Kabáh.IIancient Emerita AugustaSituated on the northern bank of the Guadiana River, it was founded by the Romans in 25 BC. It served as the capital of the province of Lusitania and became one of the most important towns in Iberia. Occupied in AD 713 by the Moors, it was recaptured in 1228 by Alfonso IX of Leon, who granted it to the Knights of Santiago. It is known for its Roman ruins, including a bridge, an amphitheatre, and an aqueduct. The modern town's economy is based on agricultural trade and tourism.
* * *▪ Mexicocity, capital of Yucatán estado (state), southeastern Mexico. It lies near the northwestern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, about 20 miles (30 km) south of Progreso, its port on the Gulf of Mexico (Mexico, Gulf of). In 1542 Francisco de Montejo gave the name Mérida to the captured Mayan city T'ho (Tihoo). An early base for Spanish efforts to conquer the Maya, it subsequently became an administrative and commercial centre for the Yucatán region. In the 19th century its economy was based on the processing and export of locally grown henequen, a fibrous plant from which twine and rope are produced. By the early 20th century Mérida became one of Mexico's most important commercial cities, but the henequen trade declined precipitously after World War II. Many former henequen plantations now grow citrus fruits (notably limes and lemons) and other crops.Mérida is an important regional commercial and administrative centre that depends increasingly on manufacturing and tourism. Maquiladoras (maquiladora) (export-oriented assembly plants), largely foreign-owned, produce apparel and other consumer goods for export to the United States and elsewhere. The city is a base for trips to several Mayan sites, including Chichén Itzá, Kabah, Mayapán, and Uxmal. Many colonial-era buildings, including the Casa de Montejo (1549) and the cathedral (begun in 1561), are also tourist attractions, as are the city's henequen-era mansions. Beach activities and sport fishing are also offered at Progreso and other nearby coastal towns north of Mérida. The city is the site of the Autonomous University of Yucatán (1922). The Regional Museum of Anthropology (1920) exhibits Olmec and Mayan artifacts. Mérida has an international airport and is on the main highway between central Mexico and Cancún. Pop. (2000) city, 662,530; (2005 est.) urban agglom., 939,000.▪ Spaintown, north-central Badajoz provincia (province), in the comunidad autónoma (autonomous community) of Extremadura, western Spain. It is located on the north bank of the Guadiana River, about 35 miles (55 km) east of Badajoz, the provincial capital. The town was founded by the Romans in 25 BC as Augusta Emerita. As the capital of Lusitania (a Roman province that encompassed modern Portugal), it became one of the most important towns in Iberia and was large enough to contain a garrison of 90,000 men. It prospered anew in the 7th century under the Visigoths.Occupied in 713 by the Moors, who enlarged the alcazar, or citadel, originally the chief Roman fort, Mérida was recaptured in 1228 by Alfonso IX of Leon, who granted it to the Knights of Santiago. Chief among the town's Roman remains is a bridge constructed of granite near the end of the 1st century AD and restored by the Visigoths in 686 and by Philip III in 1610. It comprised 81 arches, 17 of which were destroyed during the siege of Badajoz (1812) by the French, and measured 2,575 feet (785 metres) in length. There are a few remnants of Roman temples and of the colossal wall that encircled the town, as well as a Roman triumphal arch, commonly called the Arco de Trajano (Santiago), and a second Roman bridge. From the Pantano de Proserpina, also called Charca de la Albuera, a large Roman reservoir, 3 miles (5 km) north, water was conveyed to Mérida by a mighty aqueduct known as Los Milagros, of which there are extensive remains. The Roman theatre is well preserved; there are also vestiges of an amphitheatre and of a circus. The archaeological remains of the town were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. The contemporary town's economy is based on agricultural trade (cotton, tobacco) and tourism. Pop. (2007 est.) mun., 54,894.city, capital of Mérida estado (state), western Venezuela. The city lies on a large alluvial terrace near the Río Chama in the Cordillera de Mérida; at an elevation of 5,384 ft (1,641 m), it is the highest city in Venezuela and enjoys one of the most pleasant climates in the nation. In the vicinity are five snowcapped peaks exceeding 15,000 ft in height. To one of them, Pico Espejo (Mirror Peak; about 15,600 ft), runs a cable-car system 7 2/3 mi (12 km) long, said to be the longest and highest in the world.Although Mérida was founded in 1558, frequent earthquakes and relative inaccessibility long hindered its development; it did become a religious and educational centre, with a cathedral, convents, and the Universidad de los Andes (founded in 1785). With the completion of all-weather highways to the major cities in the northeast, the northwest, and into the Llanos (plains) to the south, Mérida became a regional manufacturing and commercial centre. The city is renowned for its candied fruits, ruanas (Andean poncholike woolen cloaks), fishing, skiing, and mountaineering. Pop. (2001) 196,000.estado (state), northwestern Venezuela. Except for a narrow neck extending northwestward to the shore of Lake Maracaibo, the territory of 4,400 square miles (11,300 square km) lies entirely within that portion of the Andes Mountains known as the Cordillera de Mérida. The cordillera, which rises to 16,427 feet (5,007 m) above sea level at Pico Bolívar (the highest point in Venezuela), is traversed from northeast to southwest by the Chama River. In the fertile Chama valley are most of the state's settlements, including Mérida, the capital. Although it is known primarily for its agricultural produce (principally tobacco, coffee, sugarcane, and corn [maize]) and livestock (cattle and goats), the state also contains minerals. Oil is found under and around Lake Maracaibo, and there are deposits of mica, gold, and emeralds. The dairy industry is well developed. The Pan-American Highway traverses the state from northeast to southwest, as does another highway along the Chama valley. The east–west road network is not well developed. Pop. (2007 est.) 843,830.
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