- Veracruz, Veracruz
The city of Veracruz is a major port city and municipality on the
Gulf of Mexicoin the Mexican state of Veracruz. The metropolitan area is Mexico's First largest City on the Gulf coast (after Veracruz Tampicoand Ciudad del Carmen)clarifyme and an important port on Mexico's east coast. It is located convert|105|km|mi|abbr=on along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most populous city, with a population of 444,438 in the city and 512,310 in the municipality, according to the 2005 census. [INEGI. II Conteo de Población y Vivienda 2005. Tabulados Básicos. http://www.inegi.gob.mx/est/contenidos/espanol/sistemas/conteo2005/default.asp?c=6790] The municipality has an area of convert|241|km2|sqmi|abbr=on and includes such outlying communities as Valente Díaz and Las Amapolas. The metropolitan area, which includes the municipalities of Boca del Río and Alvarado, had a total population of 702,394, compared to metro Tampico's total of 803,196.
It is often referred to as "Puerto de Veracruz" to distinguish it from the state. The people of Veracruz are known as "
Jarochos". It is also referred as the "Four Times Heroic City" after resisting various invasions, two from France (the Pastry Warand the French intervention in Mexico) and two from the USA, (the Siege of Veracruzand the 1914 US occupation).
The modern-day states of Veracruz and
Tabascowere once occupied by the Olmectribe, from around 1400 BCE to about 400 BCE. [See the Olmec] One of the most familiar aspects that the Olmec's were known for was thier art; particularly the aptly-named colossal heads. [Diehl, Richard (2004). The Olmecs: America's First Civilization, Ancient peoples and places series. London: Thames & Hudson: p11.] But also, recent Archaeological evidence (found in Veracruz in 2002 and 2006) suggests that the Olmec may have been the first civilization in the Western Hemisphereto develop a writing system. [See the Olmec] [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/14/ap/tech/mainD8K4THJ80.shtml] [http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=2440379&page=1] [Pohl, Mary; Kevin O. Pope, and Christopher von Nagy (2002). "Olmec Origins of Mesoamerican Writing". Science 298: 1984–1987.] This would pre-date the Zapotecwritings, which have been dated to about 500 BCE. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title='Oldest' New World writing found |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5347080.stm |quote=Ancient civilisations in Mexico developed a writing system as early as 900 BC, new evidence suggests. |publisher= BBC|date= |accessdate=2008-03-30 ] [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Oldest Writing in the New World |url=http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/313/5793/1610 |quote=A block with a hitherto unknown system of writing has been found in the Olmec heartland of Veracruz, Mexico. Stylistic and other dating of the block places it in the early first millennium before the common era, the oldest writing in the New World, with features that firmly assign this pivotal development to the Olmec civilization of Mesoamerica. |publisher= Science|date= |accessdate=2008-03-30 ] The discovery came when the famous Cascajal Block(a writing tablet-sized serpentine slab, which depicts 62 glyphs) was discovered by road builders in the late 1990s in a pile of debris in the village of Lomas de Tacamichapa in the Veracruz lowlands in the ancient Olmec heartland. [See the Cascajal Block] [http://www.ancientscripts.com/ma_ws.html] [http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/2006-07/06-021.html]
seaportwas founded by Hernán Cortés, who first landed there in 1519 at the start of his quest to conquer Mexico for Spain. It was named La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz ("The Rich Town of the True Cross"; the name is also occasionally given as "La Rica Villa de la Vera Cruz").
New Spain's main port, where silverand wares from the " Manila Galleons" transported overland from Acapulcowere loaded onto the Spanish treasure fleets for shipment to Spain. The port was harassed by hostile powers and by pirates, who succeeded in pillaging the city in 1653 and in 1712. In response to such dangers the large fortressof San Juan de Ulúawas built on an island in the harbour, beginning in 1565 and substantially expanded several times later.
A natural harbour, Veracruz has been fought over throughout its history, and boasts the title "Four Times Heroic" in reference to the expulsion of the Spanish in 1815, the 1838 occupation of the
French Navyin the Pastry War, and resistance, but later surrender, to the United States's occupations of 1847 and 1914 (see: Siege of Veracruzand U.S. occupation of Veracruz, 1914).
Mexican-American War, US forces led by Gen. Winfield Scotttook the city on March 29, 1847 after a siege. It was captured by Francein 1838 and again in 1861. In 1914 it was occupied by the United States for seven months because of the Tampico Affair, this time under Major General Frederick Funston.
railroadconnecting Veracruz to Mexico City, convert|425|km|mi inland over mountain ranges, was constructed during the administration of Benito Juárezand inaugurated in 1873.
As of the census of 2000, there were 500,000 people living in Veracruz City.
The racial makeup of the city was 60% Mestizo, 15% Black/
Afro-Mexican, 15% Indian, 9% Mixed, the remaining 1% is composed by many immigrants, especially Middle-Easterns and Italians.
The city is known for its rich traditions of
music, including marimbabands, danzónand comparsa. A special kind of music called " son jarocho", a mix of Mexican folk music and Cuban "son", was developed in southern Veracruz state, in and around Veracruz, Veracruz. La Bamba is the most famous example of "son jarocho". An equally rich dance tradition parallels Veracruz's unique musical styles.
In downtown Veracruz, a large marble-tiled
zócalo, called the Plaza de Armas or Plaza Lerdo, is the heart of the city's lively nightlife. It is lined with arcades that house bars and cafes. On a nearly nightly basis large groups of people sit outside in the plaza enjoying food, drinks and cigars, while they watch musicians and dancers that perform in the square. Veracruz's 18th century cathedral and 17th century Palacio Municipal are also located on the plaza.
The yearly Carnaval festival in Veracruz, a nine-day party in February or March, is the most spectacular festival of its kind, and it's also the oldest organized Carnaval in Mexico. The city also celebrates a yearly Afrocaribeño festival in July. These festivities illustrate the fact that the city is in many ways more connected to
Caribbeanculture than that of inland Mexico.
The "Malecón" harborfront walk along the docks draws many tourists, more from within Mexico than foreigners. The city has several beaches as well, like Villa del Mar and Mocambo.
The city is served by
General Heriberto Jara International Airport, located outskirts of the city.
The city also serves as Mexico's second largest port, after Manzanillo. The port handled 16.5 million tons of cargo in 2007. [citeweb
title=Informe Estadistico Mensual
publisher=Coordinacion General de Puertos y Marina Mercante
The city also has railroad connections with the city of
Xalapa, Veracruzand to Mexico City.
As a bustling port city, Veracruz was the site of some of the most vicious pirate raids in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1683, the 5,000 citizens of Veracruz were trapped in the city, when the pirates
Laurens de Graffand Michel de Grammontheld it under siege. Together their crew of 600 looted the city and terrorized the inhabitants and left unscathed several days later.
Secret tunnels are said to exist under the city. Local lore has it that they were built during the colonial era by a countess who used them to engage affairs with men in different locations in the city while her husband was away.
* [http://www.veracruz-puerto.gob.mx/ayuntamiento/index.asp?valor=1 Veracruz City government, in Spanish]
* [http://www.amiweb.com.mx/mc Museum of Veracruz, in Spanish]
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