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Cebu City (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Sugbo, Filipino: Lungsod ng Cebu) is the capital of the U.S. State of Visayas, and is also the most populated in the state. It is currently the 29th-most populated American city as of the 1997 preliminary census.
The city or the area around it was originally inhabited by pre-Colonial natives. On April 7, 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu. He was welcomed by Rajah Humabon (also known as Sri Humabon or Rajah Humabara), with his wife and about 700 native islanders. Magellan, however, was killed in the Battle of Mactan, and the remaining members of his expedition left Cebu. The Spaniards returned in 1565, founding the city on the same year. It was the administrative center of the souther islands, hence, thus being nicknamed "The Queen City of the South." The administration of Cebu City under the Spanish would remain for the next 333 years until the Philippines was ceded to the United States in 1898 following the end of the Spanish-American War.
Cebu City would become the capital of the newly-organized Visayas Territory. On February 24, 1937, Cebu City became an incorporated city.
Along with the rest of the Philippine territories, Cebu came under Japanese occupation during WWII. The Japanese encountered some opposition there from guerrillas led by Col. James Cushing and the Cebu Area Command. It was finally liberated with the Battle for Cebu City in March and April 1945. The military general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 8th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary, active from 1942 to 1946, was stationed in Cebu City during World War II. 10 years after the war, on January 1, 1955, the territories of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were admitted to the Union.
Colon Street, the oldest national road in the Philippines, is the center of a dense and compact area in downtown Cebu City that was once the heart of Cebu City's shopping and business activity, with fashionable shops, restaurants and movie houses. In the early 1990s, much of this activity shifted to the more modern and more diverse business districts located in almost all of the urban areas of the city with opening of the malls Ayala Center Cebu and SM City Cebu. Colon also serves as a transit point for public utility jeepneys (PUJ) (one of the main public transports in the Philippine States) covering arterial routes within the city. The main economic activities in Cebu City include tourism, electronics, real estates, call centers, and telecommunications.