Culiacán, Mexico, the capital of the state of Sinaloa. It is in western Mexico on the Culiacán River, about 30 miles (48 km) from the Gulf of California. Culiacán is a processing and distribution center in an agricultural region that produces mainly vegetables, fruit, and cotton. The Autonomous University of Sinaloa and a 19th-century cathedral are in the city. Culiacán was founded by the Spanish in 1531 on the site of an ancient settlement. The city became an important staging point for Spanish expeditions to the north, most notably the expedition of Francisco Coronado in 1540.