It is located in Southeastern Mexico, on the north part of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is bordered by the states of Campeche to the southwest, Quintana Roo to the northeast and the Gulf of Mexico lies off its north coast.
Before the arrival of Spaniards to the Yucatán Peninsula, the name of this region was el Mayab. In Mayan language, "ma' ya'ab" is translated as "a few". It was a very important region for the Mayan civilization, which reached the peak of its development on this place, where they founded the cities of Chichen Itza, Izamal, Motul, Mayapan, Ek' Balam and Ichcaanzihóo (also called T'Hó), now Mérida.
After the Spanish conquest, Yucatán Peninsula was a single administrative and political entity, the Captaincy General of Yucatán. Following independence and the breakup of the Mexican Empire in 1823, the first Republic of Yucatán was proclaimed which then was voluntarily annexed to the Federal Republic of United Mexican States on December 21, 1823. Later on March 16, 1841, as result of cultural and political conflicts around the federal pact, Yucatán declared independence from Mexico to form a second Republic of Yucatán, but eventually on July 14, 1848, Yucatán was definitely rejoined to Mexico. In 1858, in the middle of the caste war, the state of Yucatan was divided for the first time, establishing Campeche as separate state (officially in 1863). During the Porfiriato, in 1902, the state of Yucatan was divided again to form the Federal territory that later became the present state of Quintana Roo.
Today, Yucatán is the safest state in Mexico and Mérida was awarded City of Peace in 2011.