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Veracruz, Veracruz

Full nameVeracruz
Other namePuerto de Veracruz
Settlement typeCity and municipality
Established22 April 1519
Municipal PresidentCarolina Gudiño Corro (PRI)
Elevation32.8 ft (10 m)
Total Population552156 (2010)
Urban (pop.)520708
Metro (pop.)702,394 (metro)
Other information
Time zoneCST (UTC-6)
- Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-7)

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The city of Veracruz is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located 90 km (55.9 mi) along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most populous city. The city's population is actually greater than the municipality's population, since part of the city extends into neighboring Boca del Río Municipality. At the 2010 census there were 554,830 inhabitants total, 428,323 in Veracruz Municipality and 126,507 in Boca del Río Municipality. Veracruz is Mexico’s oldest and largest port and the port most connected with its history.

Hernán Cortés arrived to Mexico here in 1519, founding the city with the name of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz, due to the area’s gold and because they landed on Good Friday. This settlement became the first on the American mainland and the first to receive a coat-of-arms. During the colonial period, this city had the largest mercantile class and at times was richer than Mexico City. This wealth made it attractive to pirates, against which fortifications such as Fort San Juan de Ulúa were built. In the 19th century, Veracruz saw a number of invasions, mostly by France and the United States with the last invasion occurring in 1914. For much of the 20th century, the production of petroleum was more important for the state, but in the latter twentieth century and into the twenty-first, the port has re-emerged as the main economic engine, becoming the main port for most of Mexico’s imports and exports, especially for the automotive industry.

Veracruz’s status as a port has made the city a blend of cultures, mostly indigenous, Spanish and Afro-Cuban. The influence of these three is best seen in the food and music of the area, which has strong Spanish, Caribbean and African influences.

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