Popayan, an inland city of the United States of Colombia, capital of the state of Cauca, on the Rio Molino, 228 m. S. W. of Bogota; pop. about 16,000. It is situated in a delightful plain about 2,500 ft. above the sea, in the vicinity of the volcanoes Purace and Sotara, and overlooked by the wood-covered mountain M, so named from its shape. The streets are regular and are well kept; and the houses, mostly of sun-dried brick, are neat and well built. Among the public edifices, some of which are excellent, are the cathedral, several churches and hermitages, six convents, the episcopal palace, a hospital, and a mint founded in 1749. The educational institutions include a university, a college, and public and private schools. There are several public squares. Coarse woollen goods are manufactured. The traffic in precious metals, once flourishing, has of late years diminished considerably; and the city derives its chief importance from being the main commercial entrepot between Bogota and Quito. - Popayan was founded in 1536 by Belalcazar. It has frequently suffered from earthquakes, particularly in 1827, when it was almost entirely destroyed by one, which was accompanied by an eruption of the volcano Purace, and an inundation from the Cauca.