Puebla de Zaragoza (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpweβla]; Nahuatl languages: Cuetlaxcoapan), formally Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza, formerly Puebla de los Ángeles during colonial times, or known in English simply as Puebla, is the seat of Puebla Municipality. It is the capital and largest city of the state of Puebla, and the fourth largest city in Mexico, after Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. A viceregal era planned city, it is located in the southern part of Central Mexico on the main route between Mexico City and Mexico's main Atlantic port, Veracruz—about 100 km (62 mi) east southeast of Mexico City and about 220 km (140 mi) west of Veracruz.
Puebla de Zaragoza
Puebla de los Ángeles, Cuetlaxcoapan
|• Municipal President||Eduardo Rivera Pérez|
|• Municipality||534.32 km2 (206.30 sq mi)|
|• Urban||68,987 km2 (269.48 sq mi)|
|2,135 m (7,005 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|Postal code (of seat)|
|Area code(s)||222, 221|
|ISO 3166 code||MX-PUE|
|GDP||1.527 billion pesos|
|Website||(in Spanish) Official site|
The city was founded in 1531 in an area called Cuetlaxcoapan, which means "where serpents change their skin", between two of the main indigenous settlements at the time, Tlaxcala and Cholula. This valley was not populated in the 16th century, as in the pre-Hispanic period this area was primarily used for the "flower wars" between a number of populations.[failed verification] Due to its history and architectural styles ranging from Renaissance to Mexican Baroque, the city was named a World Heritage Site in 1987. The city is also famous for mole poblano, chiles en nogada and Talavera pottery. However, most of its economy is based on industry.
Being both the fourth largest city in Mexico and the fourth largest Metropolitan area in Mexico, it has a current population of 3,250,000 people, and the city serves as one of the main hubs for eastern Central Mexico. Many students come from all over the country to study in its many renowned and prestigious universities, such as BUAP, UDLAP, Ibero, UPAEP, Tecnológico de Monterrey and Instituto Tecnológico de Puebla, among others. The city also excels in industry, having the world's largest Volkswagen factory outside Germany located in the Municipality of Cuautlancingo and an Audi plant in San José Chiapa that is the most technologically advanced plant in the western hemisphere. As a result, many suppliers to Volkswagen and Audi assembly plants have opened factories in the metropolitan area of Puebla.
The city was founded in 1531 within the Valley of Cuetlaxcoapan as a Spanish city, not on the foundation of an existing indigenous city-state. The official date of foundation is 16 April 1531, however, this first attempt at settlement failed due to constant flooding of the site right next to the river. Several rivers flow through the Valley of Puebla, the San Francisco, Atoyac and the Alseseca. This valley was bordered by the indigenous city-states turned colonial towns of Cholula, Tlaxcala, Huejotzingo and Tepeaca, all of which had large indigenous populations. After the city's foundation, this valley became the main route between Mexico City and Veracruz, the port on the Caribbean coast and the connection to Spain.
Puebla was an important city and region in the history of New Spain, since it was in the center region of Spanish settlement, midway between the main port and the capital, had a large indigenous population, and drew many Spanish settlers. It supplied the capital with commercially grown agricultural products and became a center of local textile production. It was well connected to Mexico's North, particularly the silver-mining region around Zacatecas.
Most of the population moved away from the west bank of the San Francisco River to a higher site. A few families remained behind and renamed the original settlement Alto de San Francisco. The Spanish Crown supported the founding of Puebla as a city without encomiendas, as this system was being abused and a number of Spaniards were finding themselves landless. Puebla received its coat-of-arms in 1538, and the titles "Noble y Leal" (Noble and Loyal) in 1558, "Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad" (Very Noble and Loyal City) in 1561 and "Muy Noble y Muy Leal Ciudad" (Very Noble and Very Loyal City) in 1576.