Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located along the coast in the central part of the state, 90 km southeast of the state capital Xalapa along Federal Highway 140.
It is the state's most populous city, with a population that is greater than the municipality's population, as part of the city of Veracruz extends into the neighboring Boca del Río Municipality. At the 2010 census, the city had 554,830 inhabitants, 428,323 in Veracruz Municipality and 126,507 in Boca del Río Municipality. Developed during Spanish colonization, Veracruz has been Mexico's oldest, largest, and historically most significant port.
When the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico on 22 April 1519, he founded a city here, which he named Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz, referring to the area's gold and dedicated to the "True Cross", because he landed on the Christian holy day of Good Friday, the day of the Crucifixion. It was the first Spanish settlement on the mainland of the Americas to receive a coat-of-arms.