The Banco de Mexico has released (22nd April) new commemorative circulation-type 20-peso coins (U.S. $0.81) which are in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of Veracruz, one of the most important settlements in what was once part of New Spain. Officially, Veracruz is part of a broader region and state which is known as the Free and Sovereign State of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave and which comprises one of 32 states in present-day Mexico. Veracruz played a critical role in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire by Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), the onetime first governor of New Spain.
When the Mexican War of Independence broke out in 1811, much of what became the state of Veracruz supported the insurgents against colonial rule. In 1821, the last viceroy of New Spain sailed from the main port in Veracruz to leave for Spain, and in 1826, the city would receive the first of its four titles of “heroic city” for confronting the remaining Spanish troops. During this turbulent time, and while the last of the Spanish forces were fighting to hold onto the colony, Agustín de Iturbide (1783–1824), a Mexican army general and politician, had been declared emperor of Mexico in 1822. However, his reign quickly encountered resistance from those favouring a republican form of government. Months later, Iturbide would go into exile.
Veracruz obtained the status as a sovereign state within the Mexican United States when it became the seventh to enter the Union on the 22nd December 1823, two years after declared independence. Wars and a weak economy led to a severe foreign debt which the country could not pay, and when its president announced the debt unilaterally cancelled, Spain, Britain, and France decided in October 1861 to occupy the Mexican Gulf Coast, of which Veracruz was the main port. The Spanish and the British withdrew after making deals with Mexico’s president, and France supported the establishment of a monarchy under the Hapsburgs, and the reign of Maximilian I of Mexico was in place from 1864. The French were expelled through Veracruz in 1866, and the Emperor was shot one year later. During the Imperial Era, the state was officially named “Veracruz-Llave” in 1863.
Today, Veracruz has one of Mexico’s leading economies based on agriculture and petroleum, with a population which ranks third, in terms of numbers with over eight million residents. The state of Veracruz is also rich in natural resources and is a crucial component of Mexico’s economy, with approximately 35% of the country’s water supply originating from Veracruz. Tourism also plays an integral part in the local economy, as the port city of Veracruz is one of the most visited, with almost all of the four and five-star establishments located in the metropolitan area of Veracruz.
The 12-sided bi-metallic coins are produced La Casa de Moneda de Mexico at their facilities in San Luis Potosí, on behalf of the Banco de Mexico. The obverse side depicts a composite of references to the anniversary of Veracruz, including the founding of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz in April 1519. Towards the left side, a 16th-century ship is shown on stylised waves in the sea, and to the right, is the profile of the Old City Hall, which now houses the Municipal Palace. Above this building is a new security element, the latent image, of the numeral 20. On the left, above the boat and near the edge of the nucleus, you can see micro-text 500 VERACRUZ. On the contour of the field is the legend 500 AÑOS DE LA FUNDACIÓN DE LA CIUDAD Y PUERTO DE VERACRUZ (“500 Years of the Foundation of the City and Port of Veracruz”). Below the primary design and encompassing both the perimeter ring and part of the core, the denomination $20 is shown.
The reverse side includes the current version of the Mexican crest consisting of an eagle atop a cactus grasping a snake in its beak and talon, which is centred. The legend ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS (“United Mexican States”) is shown above the crest.
|12.67 g||30 mm||
The coin is meant to circulate alongside the 20-peso banknotes presently in use. For additional information about the banknotes and coins issued by the Banco de Mexico, please visit their website.