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Xalapa, or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the year 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. 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. Xalapa comes from the Nahuatl roots xālli "sand" and āpan "water place", which approximately means "spring in the sand." It is classically pronounced in Nahuatl, though the final is often omitted; the sound was written x in the 16th century, but does not occur in modern Spanish, and its counterpart is the or sound, normally written j. The spelling Xalapa reflects the archaic pronunciation. The full name of the city is Xalapa-Enríquez, named in honor of 19th-century Governor Juan de la Luz Enríquez. The city's nickname La ciudad de las flores, was bestowed by Alexander von Humboldt, who visited the town on 10 February 1804. However, the reference is firmly embedded in its earlier colonial history. In folklore, the Spaniards believed that Xalapa was the birthplace and home of the Florecita, which literally means "little flower".
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