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Xalapa

The meaning of «xalapa»

Xalapa (often spelled Jalapa, Spanish pronunciation: [xaˈlapa] (listen); English: /həˈlɑːpə/;[1] officially Xalapa-Enríquez [xaˈlapa enˈrikes]) is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the 2005 census the city reported a population of 387,879 and the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat reported a population of 413,136.[2] The municipality has an area of 118.45 km². Xalapa lies near the geographic center of the state and is the second-largest city in the state after the city of Veracruz to the southeast.

The name Xalapa comes from the Classical Nahuatl roots xālli [ʃaːlːi] "sand" and āpan [aːpan] "place of water", which means approximately "spring in the sand". It's classically pronounced [ʃalaːpan] in Nahuatl, although the final /n/ is often omitted[citation needed]. This was adopted into Spanish as Xalapa.

The complete name of the city is Xalapa-Enríquez, bestowed in honor of a governor from the 19th century, Juan de la Luz Enríquez. The city's nickname, City of Flowers (Spanish: La ciudad de las flores), was given by Alexander von Humboldt, who visited the city 10 February 1804. The reference is also related to the city's older colonial history. According to folklore, the Spanish believed that Jalapa was the birthplace and home of the world's most beautiful woman, la Florecita, which literally means "little flower".[citation needed] The residents of Xalapa are called Xalapeños or Jalapeños, which is the name given to the popular large peppers cultivated in this area.

The Totonacs first established themselves around Macuiltepetl [es] ("fifth mountain" in Nahuatl).[3] This extinct volcano received its name because the Aztecs used it as the fifth reference mountain to get to the gulf of Mexico's shores. Today it is preserved in a park. During the 14th century, four indigenous peoples settled in the territory today known as Xalapa. Each built a small village: Xalitic (in the sand) was founded by the Totonacas; Techacapan (river of waste) was founded by the Chichimecas; in the northeast Tecuanapan (river of the beasts) was founded by the Toltecas, and Tlalnecapan was founded by the Teochichimecas.

Around 1313, the four villages grew together and joined, forming one large village named Xallapan. Moctezuma Ilhuicamina, the fifth Aztec emperor, invaded the territory during the second half of the 15th century. All the land was ruled as part of the Aztec Empire before the arrival and conquest of the Spanish conquistadores.

In 1519 Hernán Cortés passed through en route to Tenochtitlan.[4]:135 In 1555 Spanish Franciscans completed construction of a convent, an important event in the Nueva España of that time.

When the Spanish invaded, Xalapa was barely populated. The population rose after the conquest and colonial settlement. When the Spanish improved the Mexico-Orizaba-Veracruz route, Xalapa declined in importance as a transport hub, and its population stagnated in the 17th century.[5]

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