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The city of Veracruz is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexicomarker in the Mexicanmarker state of Veracruzmarker. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapamarker, and is the state's most populous city. 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 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, Vercruz 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 20th century and into the 21st, 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.


Fort San Juan de Ulúa, taken from the malecón (boardwalk)
Spanish captain Juan de Grijalva first arrived to the island known as San Juan de Ulúamarker in 1518, along with Bernal Diaz del Castillo. The island was named San Juan because the expedition landed on the feast of John the Baptist, and in honor of the captain. “de Ulúa” is derived from the local name for the Aztecs, “coluha” or “acolhua.” The story is that when the Spanish arrived, they found two young men who had been sacrificed. Then asked what happened, the local people stated that the Aztecs had ordered their sacrifice. The word for Aztec here evolved into Ulúa.Because the first expedition detected the presence of gold in the region, a second expedition under the command of Hernán Cortés arrived in 1519. Cortés and his men landed at the shore opposite the island where Grijalva had moored, which has the pre-Hispanic name of Chalchihuecan. The Spanish settlement of Veracruz was founded by Hernán Cortés, Francisco de Montejo and Alonso Hernández Portocarrero with the name Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz. The name “Villa Rica” (Rich village) referred to the gold that was found here and “Veracruz” (True Cross) was added because the Cortés expedition landed on Good Friday. Veracruz was established as the first city with the first city council on the American continent when Hernán Cortés and his soldiers elected a “Justicia Mayor” and a “Capitán General” establishing Villa Rica de Vera Cruz. The city was the first on mainland America to receive a coat of arms, which was authorized by Carlos V in Valladolidmarker, Spain on 4 July 1523.The original settlement was moved to what is now known as Antigua, at the mouth of the Huitzilpan or Antigua River shortly thereafter. This separated the city from the port, as ships could not enter the shallow river. Ships continued to dock at San Juan de Ulúa, with small boats being used to ferry goods on and off the ships. This led to large scale smuggling of goods to avoid customs officials. This prompted the Spanish Crown to order the settlements return to the original site that Cortés founded at the end of the 16th century. Docks were then constructed on the island as well as an observation tower to ensure that goods went through customs officials.Like most of the rest of Mexico, European diseases and maltreatment decimated the indigenous population after the Spanish arrived. African slaves were brought to Mexico via the port of Veracruz to work on sugarcane plantations, with the state having the largest enslaved population in Mexico in the 16th century.By the end of the 16th century, roads were constructed to link Veracruz with other cities such as Córdobamarker, Orizaba, Pueblamarker, Xalapamarker and Perote, as gold and silver became the principle exports. This caused the city had problems with pirates, prompting the construction of Fort San Juan de Ulúa on the island where Grijalva landed in the mid 16th century. The city began to grow starting at the beginning of the 17th century, with the construction of what is now the municipal palace, the monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Merced and the Hospital de Nuestra Señora de Loreto. In 1618, a major fire here nearly reduced much of the city to ashes. In 1640, the Barlovento Armada was stationed here for further protection against pirates. Through the rest of the colonial period, this was the most important port in New Spain, with a large wealthy merchant class that was more prosperous than Mexico City.

Veracruz in 1854
The 19th century is marked by armed conflicts. During the Mexican War of Independence, Spanish troops were placed here to maintain Mexico City’s sea link with Spain. In 1816, Antonio López de Santa Anna was in charge of royalist troops countering the insurgency. In 1820, insurgents took the city, despite Santa Anna’s failed attempts to stop them. The last viceroy of New Spain Juan O’Donojú arrived here in 1821, signing the Treaty of Córdoba with Agustín de Iturbide at Fort San Juan de Ulúa. .In 1823, Spanish troops left at Fort San Juan de Ulúa fired on the newly independent Mexican city of Veracruz. The city’s defense against this earned it its first title of “Heroic City.” The second title of “Heroic City” was earned for the French attack here during the Pastry War in 1837.

The next battle was the 1847 U.S. invasion of Veracruz as part of the Mexican-American War. The city was defended by General Juan Morales and General José Juan de Landero, but they were forced to surrender a few days later. This would lead to Veracruz’s third title of “Heroic City.”

Ten years later, civil war between liberals and conservatives forced Benito Juárez’s government to flee Mexico City. Juárez fled to Veracruz and governed from there in 1857. In the 1860s, the port was occupied by Spanish troops trying to enforce foreign debt payments suspended by Benito Juárez. French occupation under Maximiliano I began when the emperor and his wife Carlota of Belgium arrived in 1864.

The conflicts and damaged trade relations with Europe took its toll on the port of Veracruz. By 1902, the port had degraded into one of the most dangerous on the American coast. President Porfirio Díaz contracted with foreign enterprises to modernize the port’s infrastructure.

In 1914, the port was attacked again by the United States, which would lead to the city’s fourth title of “Heroic City.”

After the Mexican Revolution, most port workers were unionized. Through most of the 20th century, a number of legal and political initiatives intended to better workers’ lives had effects on the operations of the port. Eventually, unions came to have great power over the operations and tariffs charged. By the latter part of the 20th century, competing unions made the operations of the port difficult, which included blocking access to the port from federal roads and corruption. In the 1970s, a commission was established to design a new administrative system for the ports of Mexico. This eventually resulted in federal laws allowing the government to take control over ports such as Veracruz. The federal government once again worked to modernize the port, especially with automation of loading and unloading, leading to a loss of 80% of the ports jobs and strikes. This led to a unification of the dockworkers’ unions, giving most of them a stake in a new company to manage the port’s functions called the Empresa de Servicios Portuarios de Veracruz, S.A. de C.V. The old Compañia Terminal de Veracruz was dissolved in 1988 and the new organization was fully in place in 1991.

Much of the most recent development is in the south of the city and in the neighboring municipality of Boca del Río, linked by a ten-kilometer road along the shore that caters to tourists and business travelers. The hotels in Veracruz are more rustic and traditional; the modern ones are in Boca del Río, especially near Playa Mocambo.

Notable Sites

Veracruz is not as popular a tourist destination as many other resort areas. However the city has been promoting itself as a tourist location with new attractions such as the Veracruz Aquarium and the City Museum and the renovation of old ones such as Fort San Juan de Ulúa and the Naval Academy,

The cultural center of the city is its main plaza, officially named Plaza de las Armas but commonly called the Zocalo. In this tree-filled square, in which have camped a number of foreign invading armies, is occupied from morning to night with people playing dominos, selling food, cigars, etc. playing music, dancing and other activities. It is more crowded in the evening where just about every night the danzón is danced. This dance was brought over to Mexico from Cuba by refugees in the 1870s. It was originally restricted to the lower classes but eventually gained accepted by all levels of society. This is sponsored by several dance schools dedicated to keeping the tradition alive. Around the plaza there are numerous shops and restaurants as well as the municipal palace and the cathedral.
Municipal Palace of Veracruz

The Municipal Palace was built for the city council in 1608, though the building was extensively remodeled in the 18th century. Its architectural style is a sober Baroque with a tower at one of the corners. It is said that this tower was used to keep watch on the ships entering and leaving the port. It has a large courtyards surrounded by wide arches and is the oldest city government building in Mexico.

The city’s cathedral, named Virgen de la Asunción, is also located on the Zocalo. This cathedral was begun in the 17th century and finished in 1731. It was modified in the 19th century but did not become a cathedral until 1963. The building has five naves, with an octagonal cupola covered in Puebla tiles. The tower was begun in the early 20th century and has its own small cupola. The main facade is Neoclassic with two levels and a crest. The lower level contains an arched entrance flanked by two Doric columns and the upper level contains the choral window, above which is a medallion. The interior is simple with crystal candelabras.
The Carranza Lighthouse overlooks Veracruz's malecón

In the port area are the Pemex Tower, the old lighthouse, which was the seat of government for Venustiano Carranza, and the Crafts Market. Also here on Marina Mercante Street is the Old Customs Building, the Postal and Telegraph twin buildings as well as the old railroad terminal, which was luxurious enough that it had its own hotel in the 1920s. The Juarez Hemicycle Monument is also here, in front of the Civil Registry Building that contains the first birth certificate issued in the country.

The malecon (boardwalk) stretches for kilometers along the Gulf of Mexico leading away from the city center into the suburbs. This area is popular at night, when people stroll and exercise, enjoying the ocean breezes. Near the city center, the malecon is crowded with merchants selling knickknacks, souvenirs, jewelry made with seashells and t-shirts.

Fort San Juan de Ulúa
Fort San Juan de Ulúa is located on an island, now connected to land, of the same name. The island is part of the La Gallega coral reef and has about 2,500 meters of beach. The full reef covers about 100 hectares and varies in depth between sixty and ninety centimeters, forming a natural break. In the pre-Hispanic era, this island was a sanctuary dedicated to the god Tezcatlipoca. The site where the Spanish first landed is now the container ship terminal of the port. However, most of the island is occupied by the fort. This fort was where the Spanish first landed to conquer Mexico and was also their last stand during and just after the Mexican War of Independence. For the time in-between, the location also serves as a reminder of the days of piracy and the Inquisition. The fort was begun here in 1582 to protect the city from pirates. The danger of attack by foreign powers prompted the Spanish to enlarge the fort in 1635. It was finished in 1707.

After the War of Independence ended in 1821, the Spanish kept control of the island and fort, and occasionally would bombard Mexican forces on land. This area was finally handed over to Mexico in 1825. The fort next saw action in 1838 during the Pastry War with the French. In 1847, it would witness the invasion of U.S. forces during the Mexican-American War.

In the 19th century, the fort was converted into a military prison. The fort’s narrow stone passageways lead to a series of dungeons with walls 24-feet thick in some places. Those cells which were darker and hotter were reserved for those charged with more serious crimes. A few of the most dreaded dungeons were nicknamed "Heaven," "Purgatory" and "Hell." Some of prison’s more famous prisoners include Fray Servando Teresa de Mier and Benito Juárez, both political prisoners. But the most famous is Jesús Arriaga, better known as “Chucho el Roto.” Most people visit San Juan de Ulúa due to the legend of this bandit.

Jesús Arriaga, better known as “Chucho el Roto,” was held at Fort San Juan de Ulúa where he died. It is not known if he died of natural causes, as a result of a fight with other prisoners or by other means. Chucho was a Robin Hood figure who lived during the 19th century. He stole from the rich and gave to the poor, inspiring songs and poetry such as the verses penned by Rafeal de Zayas Enriquez. Chucho was arrested in Querétaromarker after a jewelry store heist. He was sent to the Belen Prison in Mexico City, then to Veracruz. He was also renowned as a seducer of women, especially those who were rich and lonely. Most of his targets were jewelry shops, pawnshops and the homes of the wealthy.

Along with Fort San Juan de Ulúa, the city used to be walled in for protection against pirates and invasions. All that is left of these walls is the “Baluarte,” a small fortress.The 1635 structure has thick, sturdy walls with cannons outwards to the sea. Inside is a tiny museum that has an exquisite exhibition of pre-Hispanic jewelry discovered by a fisherman in the 1970s.

The Veracruz Aquarium was built in 1992, and is the largest and most important in Latin America. The Freshwater Gallery consists of thirteen exhibitions containing 562,177 liters of water. These exhibitions contain aquatic species from Asia, Africa, South America as well as Mexico. The Reef Tank is best known for its sharks. The Salt Water Gallery contains fourteen tanks with tanks dedicated to the species of Veracruz, the Red Sea and the Pacific Ocean. There is also another exhibit dedicated to sharks, which contains 25 species that swim around visitors as they pass through a glass tunnel built through the tank.There is also an exhibit dedicated entirely to manatees

The Heroica Escuela Naval (Heroic Naval School) was founded here in 1897 by José María de Vega, then Secretary of the Navymarker. The school was founded because at the time, Mexico was dependent on the hiring of foreign sailors and foreign training of its officers to staff its Navy as prior attempts to establish an academy had failed. The project to establish the school here was approved by Porfirio Diaz to train both Navy and Merchant Marine officers, to be based on similar schools in Western Europe.

The City Museum (Museo de la Ciudad) is located at the intersections of Zaragoza and Esteban Morales streets in the historic center. It is housed in a two-story building which is of Neo classic design built between the mid and latter 19th century. The main facade on Zaragoza Street has an enormous main door with posts, framed by Ionic pilasters, which reach to the upper floor, and toped by a pediment and a cornice. The building was originally constructed to be an asylum, but in 1861, the French invaded Veracruz and the building was commandeered for other purposes until 1870. The asylum then operated here for almost 100 years, until the construction of new facilities in the south of the city, and work was undertaken to restore and modify the building for a museum. The City Museum was inaugurated in 1970 and contains exhibits relating to the history of the city of Veracruz.

The Agustin Lara House Museum exhibits works, photographs and personal effects of the poet Agustín Lara, located in what was his house just outside Veracruz city in Boca del Río. News clips, caricatures and a replica of the radio studio where he hosted " La Hora Azul" ("The Blue Hour") are among the items on display. Lara was one of the city's most famous sons as a popular songwriter and singer in Mexico. Lara began his career playing the piano in brothels and later became a bullfighter. Lara had seven wives, one of whom was Mexican screen diva María "La Doña" Félix, for whom he wrote the song, "María Bonita." To be a gentleman, when he and Félix were about to break up, he married her to "make an honest woman of her" even though they had lived together for years.
Isla de Sacrificios
Veracruz is primarily a commercial port, but there are some beaches and other sea attractions. The most contentious attraction is the island called Isla de Sacrificios, which lies just off the coast of the city and measures 450 meters long and 198 meters wide. The island is part of a system of twenty three coral reefs called the Veracruz Reef System which is a national park. It is possible to kayak to the Isla de Sacrificios to observe seagulls, pelicans and the fish that inhabit the coral reef. In 1983, a study and initial cleanup project was undertaken at the island, which collected fifty tons of trash. Shortly thereafter, the island was closed to the public and since then, there has been a struggle between authorities, tour operators and fisherman as to the fate of the island. There are those who would like to build hotels, restaurants and other facilities for ecotourism. However, access to the island has been restricted to research, teaching and the occasional sporting event.

For 400 years the island has suffered ecologically from the pillaging of its coral reefs and archeological pieces and pollution. Current pollution problems are mostly due to untreated wastewater that flows into the ocean from the city and from the polluted Jamapa River. Its coastline has been modified and more than 200 hectares of reefs in its littoral zone have been pillaged. Coral and other marine species have been taken for commercial and craft purposes, as well as by fishermen. Some of these reefs are already dead due to pollution. Since the island was closed, there has been some recuperation of marine life here.

Ruins here have not been extensively studied but cover more than 700 years of history. In the pre-Hispanic era, the island was considered sacred and sanctuary on which to perform religious rites. Human sacrifice was frequently performed and the remains buried here. There was a small altar here but it has not been found. The Spanish built a hospital here, but all that is left of this is part of one wall. Later, a storage faculty to store gunpowder was built, as well as an obelisk during the French Intervention, but these have crumbled as well. Only a small lighthouse currently exists. About 800 archeological pieces have been partially excavated on the island but cannot be exhibited because the humidity and weather would damage them.

Reopening the island is difficult because the ecosystem here is delicate, and any construction could damage archeological sites and valuable pieces. Any plans to reopen the island to visitors will require the participation of the Veracruz Reef System Park, to which it belongs, as well as Secretariat of the Navy, INAH, the Veracruz Aquarium and other government agencies negotiating with the local associations of hotels, tour operators and fishermen. So far, government agencies have blocked efforts to develop anything on the island. An ecotourism project consisting of guided tours is considered the most viable, such as that proposed by the Veracruzana University and the Aquarium, but there is concern on the part of INAH and the Secretariat of the Navy.
Villa del Mar

On the mainland, there are a number of beaches. Playa Martí is located between the city of Veracruz and Boca del Río, five km from the historic center. This beach is equipped with goals and nets for soccer and volleyball. The Playa de Hornos is located next to the Veracruz Aquarium. It is safe to swim here and there are tables, chairs and umbrellas to rent, as well as food stands. During the high seasons there are lifeguards and banana boats to rent. There are also boats that take tourist to the Isla de Sacrificio and Canuncito. Villa del Mar is just south of Playa de Hornos and is more popular.


Street scene from the Zocalo
Due to its status as a port, Veracruz has always been a mixture of cultures, principally the indigenous, the Spanish and the Afro-Cuban. African slaves were brought to work in the fields and shipyards and since then others, such as Italians and Cubans have also immigrated through here, Much of the food and music in this city is reminiscent of Brazil or Trinidadmarker. Steel drums are not uncommon, and the food here has more Spanish and African elements to it than other parts of Mexico. Much of this mixture was sustained to the sugar, slave and rum trade that passed through this port during colonial times. As the home of the Naval Academy of Mexico, one can see not only Mexican sailors but also foreign ones wandering the town. The city has a reputation for being boisterous as well, with people in the squares listening to music late at night and then up early the next morning drinking coffee in sidewalk cafes.

Veracruz cooking is based on corn, beans and squash, much like the rest of Mexico, but this diet is also supplemented by tropical foods such as chili peppers, tomatoes, avocados, papaya, mameymarker and sapote fruit.The Spanish introduced herbs such as parsley, thyme, marjoram, bay laurel and cilantro as well as saffron, wheat, rice, almonds, olives/olive oil, garlic and capers. These are far more prevalent in Veracruz cooking than in other parts of the country. Afro-Cuban culture and cuisine was brought here by the Spanish, adding ingredients such as pineapples and sugar cane as well as the use of peanuts to flavor meat, fish and vegetable dishes. Other African foods incorporated here include plantains, yucca and sweet potatoes.

A signature dish of the area huachinango(red snapper) a la veracruzana uses native ingredients (tomatoes, chili peppers) as well as Spanish ones (olive oil, garlic and capers). Pollo encacahuatado (chicken in peanut sauce) is a direct descendent of West African cooking. Other popular dishes here include arroz a la tumbada, a rice dish baked with a variety of seafood and caldo de mariscos, a seafood soup reputed to cure hangovers.

"El Gran Café de la Parroquia" is the most famous coffehouse in Veracruz.
Its signature drink is the "lechero" which consists of expresso coffee mixed with steamed milk.
Coffeehouses are a center of social life in the city with the Gran Café del Portal and the Café de la Parroquia being the two best known establishments. The favorite drink is called the “lechero” in which steaming hot milk is poured into a glass containing a small amount of espresso-strength coffee. To request a refill, customers clink the sides of their glasses (not cups) with their spoons. This clinking can be heard from the early morning to late at night. The story behind this custom is that a trolley driver used to ring his bell when he was a block away from the Gran Café del Portal to let the waiters know he was coming. When the driver died, his casket was borne on the trolley and when it passed the establishment, the customers and waiters clinked glasses in his honor.

The song La Bamba, made famous by Ritchie Valens has it roots in the Veracruz “son” style of music, which came into being in southern Veracruz state, with African and Carribean influence, and is now found in seven regions of Mexico with variations. The Veracruz version is popularly known as “Son Jarocho.” La Bamba is the best-known of Sones Jaroches and there are about 100 more. These sones are most traditional in the countryside, but one type of son jarocho most associated with the city of Veracruz is called the “son commercial.” This style is faster and flashier than those of the countryside. This is the kind of son heard in Mexican folkdance exhibitions, when Veracruz women with long white dresses and fans dance with partners also dressed in white. This type of son developed in the 1940’s from a son style native to the port of Veracruz and is so pervasive, it is considered the original. The Casa de Cultura has a workshops for traditional music and son singers can be heard just about anytime on the main plaza (Zocalo)
Float from the Veracruz Carnaval

The Veracruz Carnaval has been celebrated every year since 1866, during the empire of Maximilian I. At that time, a request was made to sponsor “Festival of Masks” which would consist of dances at the principal social gathering sites of the city such as the main theater. While the events were officially held at these locations, others took advantage of the celebration on the streets, near these sites. Eventually, the event became based in the historic center of the city and focused on the Carnaval Parade of Veracruz. Today, the event begins with the “Burning of Bad Humor” and ends wth the “Burial of Juan Carnaval.” Carnaval here is the largest in the country,


The Veracruzana University was established in 1944. It was created by joining a number of professional and higher education establishments together. It is now the main center of higher education in the state of Veracruz, with five campuses and twenty-two satellite locations in the state. The student population is approximately 70,000, offering degrees in sixty different fields.

The Technological Institute of Veracruz was founded in 1946 by Ismael Lagunes Lastra. It started out as the School of Arts and Letters, with a mission to train students for the jobs associated with the developing port and industrial base of the city. It started teaching students at the secondary and high school level, later adding bachelor’s degree programs. In 1952, the school received a grant of lands by the federal and state governments to expand. Technical programs were added in the 1960s and have become the main part of the school’s work.

There are many other private universities such Cristobal Colon University, mainly dedicated to architecture and administration [68182] and UNIMEX, which was founded in 1991 and focuses on marketing, graphic design and law.[]

The port

View of the shipping docks
Veracruz is Mexico’s oldest and largest port and the port most connected with its history. During the colonial period, it was the most important port in New Spain, with a large wealthy merchant class that was more prosperous than Mexico City. From the port of Veracruz were exported turkeys, corn, beans, avocados, and cotton to Spain. From Spain came fava beans, wheat, rice, cattle, pigs, fabric, wine and other goods. In the mid 16th century, so much gold and silver was found in Veracruz that it became the bulk of the exports to Spain. This attracted pirates, mostly from Britain and Holland, such as Francis Drake and John Hawkins. As the Spanish did initially, Veracruz was the point of invasion for other countries such as France and the United States.

In the latter half of the 19th century, Veracruz’s importance waned as trade to Europe diminished. The port was refurbished at the beginning of the 20th century, but petroleum production was the primary income for the state rather than the port. This began to change in the latter half of the 20th century, and the port has surged back to the state’s economic forefront,

In 1991, the federal government took over the port of Veracruz to correct than handling of merchandise through here. Later that same year, the first private shipping companies began operations. In 1993, the Law of Ports was passed regularizing the operations of ports in the country. Under this law was created the Administración Portuaria de Veracruz (Port Authority of Veracruz).

In the 2000s, the port continues to handle all kinds of cargo, moving 16.1 tons of products in 2004. This figure is expected to rise once modernization efforts have finished, especially a truck bypass that leads directly from the highway to the port. Veracruz is the gateway for Mexico’s automobile industry, which is concentrated in the center of the country, in the states around Mexico City. This port has several advantages. It is the first to be equipped specifically for shipping automobiles. Located on the south-central coast, Veracruz is closer to car manufacturers and has better access to both import and export markets in the U. S., Europe, Central and South America than other Mexican ports. In 2004, the port handled 70% of the 687, automobiles exported. With traffic expected rise the port authorities unveiled a program to enlarge the port’s infrastructure and expand operations by 2010.

The municipality

As municipal seat, the city of Veracruz is the governing authority for 227 other named communities, forming a municipality with a territory of . The population of the municipality is 512,310 of which 444,438 or approximately 87% live in the city proper. The municipality is bordered by the municipalities of La Antigua Boca del Río and Manlio Fabio Altamiranomarker with the Gulf of Mexicomarker to the east, with an average altitude of ten meters above seal level. The area is flat with little in the way of elevations and is crossed by the Medio, Grande and Tonayán Rivers. There are also beaches here such as the Sacrificios and Verde. Its climate is tropical with an average temperature of 25.3C. Vegetation is mostly of the rainforest type, with many trees losing leaves during the winter dry season. Fauna mostly consists of birds, small mammals and insects.

Much of the land in the municipality outside of the city is used for agriculture and livestock. Principle crops include corn, beans, watermelon, oranges, sorghum, mango, pineapple and sugar cane. Livestock raised includes cattle, pigs, sheep, fowl and horses. There is also some forestry. The municipality contains deposits of marble, lime, cement, sand and clay. In and round the city there are a number of industrial sites producing paints and solvents, food products, plastics, petrochemicals and metals.


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