La Paz (pronounced [la ˈpas](listen), Peace) is the capital city of the Mexicanstate of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The city had a 2015 census population of 244,219 inhabitants, making it the most populous city in the state. Its metropolitan population is somewhat larger because of the surrounding towns, such as El Centenario, Chametla and San Pedro. It is in La Paz Municipality, which is the fourth-largest municipality in Mexico in geographical size and reported a population of 290,286 inhabitants on a land area of 20,275 km2 (7,828 sq mi).
The population of La Paz has grown greatly since the 2000s. The growth is largely because the city has one of the highest standards of living and quality of life in Mexico. Many workers migrate to La Paz and other areas in Baja California Sur.
La Paz was first inhabited by Neolithichunter-gatherers at least 10,000 years ago who left traces of their existence in the form of rock paintings near the city and throughout the Baja California Peninsula. Fortun Ximenez piloted the Concepcion into the bay in late 1533. He and twenty-two of his crew were killed by the native population. On May 3, 1535, Hernán Cortés arrived in the bay by La Paz and named it "Santa Cruz"; he attempted to start a colony but abandoned his efforts after several years due to logistical problems. In 1596 Sebastián Vizcaíno arrived, giving the area its modern name, La Paz.
From January 10, 1854 to May 8, 1854 it served as the capital of William Walker'sRepublic of Sonora. The project collapsed due to lack of US support and pressure from the Mexican government to retake the region.