The Spanish city of Manila was founded on June 24, 1571, by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi. The date is regarded as the city's official founding date. Manila was also the seat of power for most of the country's colonial rulers. It is home to many historic sites, some of which were built during the 16th century. Manila has many of the Philippines' firsts, including the first university (1590), water system (1878), hotel (1889), electricity (1895), oceanarium (1913), stock exchange (1927), flyover (1930s), zoo (1959), pedestrian underpass (1960), science high school (1963), city-run university (1965), city-run hospital (1969), and rapid transit system (1984; also considered as the first rapid transit system in Southeast Asia).
The term "Manila" is commonly used to refer to the whole metropolitan area, the greater metropolitan area or the city proper. The officially defined metropolitan area called Metro Manila, the capital region of the Philippines, includes the much larger Quezon City and the Makati Central Business District. It is the most populous region of the country, one of the most populous urban areas in the world, and is one of the wealthiest regions in Southeast Asia. The city proper is home to 1,780,148 people in 2015, and is the historic core of a built-up area that extends well beyond its administrative limits. With 71,263 people per square kilometer, Manila is also the most densely populated city proper in the world.
The city is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay. The Pasig River flows through the middle of the city, dividing it into the north and south sections. Manila is made up of 16 administrative districts: Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo, while it is divided into six districts for its representation in Congress and the election of the city council members.
Maynilà, the Filipino name for the city, originated from the word nilà, referring to a flowering mangrove tree that grew on the delta of the Pasig River and the shores of Manila Bay. The flowers were made into garlands that, according to folklore, were offered to statues on religious altars or in churches. As nilà products were distributed in other places, people came to refer to the area as Sa may Nilà, Tagalog for "the place where there are nilàs". The word nilà itself is probably from the Sanskrit nila (नील), meaning "indigo tree".