Tijuana is the largest city on the Baja California Peninsula and center of the Tijuana metropolitan area, part of the international San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. Tijuana exerts a strong regional influence on economics, education, culture, art, and politics. Second only to New York City, Tijuana is the most visited city in the western hemisphere. The surrounding metropolitan area has become a major industrial and dominant regional center in northwestern Mexico. Currently one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico, Tijuana maintains global city status.

On the Gold Coast of the Baja California Peninsula, Tijuana is the municipal seat and cultural and commercial center of Tijuana Municipality; one of the five municipalities into which the state is divided.. The city shares an approximately 24 km (15 mile) long border with its sister city San Diego. The city is the 42nd largest city in the Americas and westernmost in Mexico. Over fifty million people cross the border each year between Tijuana and San Diego, making it the busiest land-border crossing in the world. According to the 2010 census, the Tijuana metropolitan area was the fifth-largest in Mexico, with a population of 1,784,034. The international metropolitan region was estimated to be just over five million in 2009 and approximately 5,105,769 in 2010, making it the third largest metropolitan area in the Californias, 19th largest metropolitan area in the Americas and the largest bi-national conurbation that is shared between US and Mexico. It is estimated that the two border crossing stations in Tijuana account for 300,000 daily border crossings from Greater San Diego.

Tijuana traces its modern history to the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 1500s mapping the coast of the Californias. As the American conquest of northern Mexico ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Tijuana's new international position on the border gave rise to a new economic and political structure. The city was founded in July 11, 1889 as urban development began. Often known its initials, T.J., and nicknamed Gateway to Mexico, the city has historically served as a tourist center dating back to the 1880s.

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