Maracay is a city in north-central Venezuela, near the Caribbean coast, and is the capital and most important city of the state of Aragua. Most of it falls under the jurisdiction of the Girardot Municipality. The population of Maracay and its surroundings as per the 2011 census was 955,362. In Venezuela, Maracay is known as "Ciudad Jardín", or "Garden City".HistoryOfficially established on March 5, 1701 by Bishop Diego de Baños y Sotomayor in the valleys of Tocopio and Tapatapa (what is known today as the central valley of Aragua) in northern Venezuela.According to the most accepted explanation, it was named after a local indigenous chief, and refers to the "Maracayo" (Felis mitis), a small tiger. Alternative etymologies cite a local aromatic tree called Mara.Maracay experienced rapid growth during Juan Vicente Gómez's dictatorship (1908–1935). Gómez saw Maracay as a suitable place to make his residence during his rule, and ordered the construction of an Arc of Triumph, a bull plaza (a near replica of the one in Seville, Spain), an Ópera house, a Zoo, and, most notably, the Hotel Jardín (Garden Hotel), a majestic, tourist attraction with very large gardens. The city is home to the Mausoleo de Gómez (Gómez's mausoleum), where the dictator's remains are stored.Economy and transportOne of the most important cities in Venezuela, Maracay is primarily an industrial and commercial center, the city produces paper, textiles chemicals, tobacco, cement, cattle, processed foods, soap, and perfumes.