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Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave is one of the 31 states that constitute the United Mexican Statesmarker. Veracruz is borderd by Tamaulipasmarker to the north, the Gulfmarker to the east, Tabascomarker to the southeast, Oaxacamarker and Chiapasmarker to the south and Pueblamarker, Hidalgomarker, and San Luis Potosimarker to the west. With a population of 7 million the state holds the third place in the nation.

The capital is Xalapamarker, other important cities include Veracruzmarker, Coatzacoalcos and Orizabamarker.

History

In April 1518, Juan de Grijalva disembarked on an islet near the shore that was called San Juan de Ulúa. On April 22, 1519 Hernan Cortez disembarked on Chalchihuecan beach, where he decided to found a village and form the first colonial settlement in Mexico. That day was Good Friday, the day of Holy Week known as the day of La Vera Cruz (True Cross) — hence he chose the name of La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz.

It was from this base in August 1519 that Cortez began his course of conquest inland to Tenochtitlan, Mexico, while his subsidiary conquistador commanders pacified other regions that today shape the entity of Veracruz.

From this beginning, Veracruz as the entry point for conquest became the principal point of communication and harbor between Spain and New Spain. From this port were shipped many products to Europe like cotton, rice, wheat, domestic animals, gun powder, textiles, wine and all the considerable produce from this rich colony.

During the Mexican Revolution there was a brief occupation of the port of Veracruz from April to November 1914, as the United States tried to prevent a shipment of arms to the forces of Victoriano Huerta.

Prior to independence from Spain, there were numerous slave rebellions throughout the Americas, including in Mexico. The first documented slave rebellion in Mexico occurred in 1537; this was followed by the establishment of various runaway slave settlements called "palenques." Some rebellions were in alliance with Indians and mestizos even as far north as Chihuahua. In 1608, Spaniards negotiated the establishment of a free black community with Yagna, a runaway rebel slave. Today, that community in Veracruz bears its founder's name.

Geography

Veracruz is located in the east-central part of Mexico, between 17°10 and 22°38 North and between 93°55' and 98°38' West. It has a mainland area of and includes several islands in the Gulf of Mexico totalling a further .

Veracruz borders the states of Tamaulipasmarker to the north, Oaxacamarker and Chiapasmarker to the south, Tabascomarker to the southeast, Pueblamarker, Hidalgomarker, and San Luis Potosímarker to the west, and the Gulf of Mexicomarker to the east.

In the coastal plains and throughout most of the state, the climate is hot and humid. In the foothills of the mountains, the climate is cool and humid. The climate only becomes cold in the mountain regions, where it also rains copiously. Veracruz is occasionally affected by hurricanes.

Veracruz has a tropical climate and impressive natural scenery, such as the Citlaltépetlmarker Volcano (also known as Pico de Orizabamarker), the highest peak in the nation. There are picturesque cities and towns that have preserved their local architecture. Along the coast is the Costa Esmeralda, a beach strip north of the port, and the archaeological zone of El Tajínmarker, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The capital of Veracruz is Xalapamarker, located in the central western part of the state. With more than 7 million inhabitants, the state of Veracruz is the third most populous in the nation, after the Federal District and the State of Mexicomarker.

Climate

Demography

With a population of 7,011,214 inhabitants, according to the National Census of 2005 conducted by the INEGI; Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave has third place in the nation, only behind Mexicomarker and Distrito Federalmarker. Seven percent of the inhabitants reside in the port of Veracruzmarker and only six percent in the capital of Xalapamarker.

Fifty six percent of the population is less than 30 years old. Life expectancy is similar to the national average of 71 years for men and 76 for women.

The population index of the entity does not seem affected by the 3% that migrates to other parts of the country, or the 11 out of 1 thousand people average that migrate to the United Statesmarker every year.

As for the ethnic diversity of religion, in Veracruz there are 13 indigenous cultures present, whose representatives speak mainly nahuatl, totonaca and huasteco.

It is worth mentioning that 83% of the Veracruz population claims Catholicism as their religious affiliation.

Education

Institutions of higher education include:



Economy

The state of Veracruz is a land of many natural resources; its inhabitants are therefore involved in agriculture, livestock breeding and fishing. The state also has industry and tourist facilities.

The fertility of the land, the variety of climates and the abundance of water permit the cultivation of many different crops. Veracruz is an important producer of corn, sugarcane, banana, mango, citrus fruits, potatoes, tobacco and other cropsVarious animal species are also bred: cattle, pigs, goats and sheep. Studies have shown that the improvement of cattle has led to the increased production of milk and meat. Veracruz also produces poultry and bees.

Since it is a national and international port, the city of Veracruz plays an important role in the transportation of many of the products that enter or leave Mexico. Tuxpanmarker, Coatzacoalcos and Alvaradomarker are characterized by great activity as internal ports.

Industry is also crucial in Veracruz, since it is one of Mexico's main oil producers; it is also known for its production of food, beer and steel piping.

Veracruz produces handicrafts like articles and household goods made from palm, vanilla figures, pottery, woolen textiles, musical instruments and goods made from tortoiseshell.

Tourism

In the pre-Hispanic era, Isla de Sacrificios (Sacrifice Island) was inhabited by the Totonacs and the Olmecs, and was named Chalchihuitlapazco. It was discovered in 1518 by Juan de Grijalva, during the exploration of the Gulf of Mexico. One of the largest islands around Boca del Río, this site is surrounded by a coral reef.

La Antigua was the second settlement after "La Villa Rica de la Veracruz". It is located 25 kilometers from Veracruz City. It features the house of Hernán Cortés. It is a small town that holds the oldest still-standing Catholic chapel built in the American continent.

Papantla was founded by Totonacs. It is located 198 meters above sea level between the Cazones and Tecolutla rivers.

El Tajínmarker (City of Thunder) the main ceremonial center of the Totonacs, is located near 3 miles from Papantla, a beautiful and impressive old city where ruins and traditions are found. Every year in February, the site hosts the Cumbre Tajín festival.

Veracruz is also where one of Mexico's largest and best-known carnivals is celebrated every year.

Languages

Spanish is the official and heavily dominant language in Veracruz. Nahuatl is still spoken and common use in some towns and zones like Zongolicamarker, Papantla, Mixtequilla and Huayacocotlamarker. Northern Italian dialects can still be heard in the old Italian settlements of Colonia Manuel Gonzalez, Huatusco and most areas between Xalapa and Orizaba and Cordoba, Veneto is the main dialect along with Friulian and Piedmontese. In the area near Gutierrez Zamora the first Italian settlers still retain linguistic traditions of the Piedmontese dialect which has influenced local Spanish. There are a very few Greek speakers in towns near Rinconada, the "gitanos" (Gypsy). As well on the region of the low San Rafael, French is predominant, due to settlers from the Haute-Saônemarker region in France where the towns of San Rafael, Jicaltepec, Mentideros and other nearby towns are reminiscent of rural France. German has been used in the failed colony near Hatusco called El Mirador, where an old Finca was. Today the descendents of these German settlers still retain the southern Bavarian dialect to a minimum and keep their traditions, founded by Karl Sartorus. Also to be mentioned: Catalan, Basque, Gaelic, and more Spanish dialects that were brought and kept by their descendants. Although some people know essentials of English, mainly in commerce or touristic zones of big cities, locals never use it to communicate.

Traditionally, the (Spanish) accent of Veracruz resembles Caribbean Spanish, with a strong tendency to drop the final -S/-Z as in the Cuban and Chilean accents.

Examples:
  • máh o menoh for más o menos
  • conohco for conozco
  • bahta for basta
  • Veracru for Veracruz, etc.


Yet under the influence of the capital, this feature has weakened among the younger generation.

Municipalities

The state of Veracruz is subdivided into 212 municipalities (municipios). See municipalities of Veracruz.

The municipalities are grouped into the following regions (regiones):
  • Capital
  • Huasteca Alta
  • Huasteca Baja
  • Montañas
  • Nautla
  • Olmeca
  • Papaloapan
  • Sotavento
  • Totonaca
  • Tuxtlas


Major communities



References

External links




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