Tegucigalpa (tāgōsēgälˈpä) [key], city (1997 est. pop. 897,000), capital and largest city of Honduras, in a small valley in the mountains of S central Honduras. The city has diverse light industry, including the production of textiles, sugar, and cigarettes. Old Tegucigalpa, built on a steep hill, retains many quaint colonial aspects, with narrow streets and sidewalks, overhanging balconies, and stair-stepped streets. Across the Choluteca River lies Comayagüela, the more modern but less affluent section; the city's population has expanded greatly there in the last few decades. Founded late in the 16th cent., Tegucigalpa was a colonial center of silver and gold mining. With independence from Spain (1821), it became the stronghold of the liberals under Francisco Morazán. The city vied with Comayagua as the republic's capital, not securing the title permanently until 1880. Its university was founded in 1847. There is an international airport, but the city is not served by a railroad. Tegucigalpa was significantly damaged by a hurricane in 1998.