beginning of state name: The nation name comes from words in the language the the native Náhuatl people: metztli (moon), xictli (center), and co (place).

Capital: Mexico City

cloak of Arms: The national coat of arms is an eagle through a line in that beak, perched top top a cactus.

Holidays: Año Nuevo (New Year's Day—January 1); Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day—February 5); Benito Juárez's date of birth (March 21); Primero de mei (Labor Day—May 1); revolution Day, 1910 (November 20); and also Navidad (Christmas—December 25).

Flag: The national flag is a tricolor of green, white, and also red vertical stripes; at the facility of the white strip is the nationwide coat that arms.

Time: 6 am = noon Greenwich typical Time (GMT).

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1 Location and also Size

positioned south of the United says on the north American continent, Mexico has an area of 1,972,550 square kilometers (761,606 square miles), including numerous uninhabited islands turn off the east and west coasts, which have actually a combined area the 5,073 square kilometers (1,959 square miles). Mexico is slightly much less than three times the size of the united state state of Texas, consisting of the small peninsula the Baja. Mexico has actually a complete boundary length of 13,683 kilometers (8,501 miles). The funding city, Mexico City, is located in the south-central part of the country.

Mexico's leading geographic attribute is the great highland central plateau, i m sorry occupies most of the broad of the country, extending from the us border to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (an isthmus is a narrow strip of land that connects two larger areas, in this situation the just of Campeche on the north and the Gulf that Tehuantepec ~ above the south) . The plateau is attached by two high cordilleras (mountain chains), the Sierra Madre oriental on the east and also the Sierra Madre Occidental top top the west, every separated native the shore by lowland plains. The arrays rise to over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), and also some volcano peaks exceed 5,000 meter (16,400 feet). Pico de Orizaba, or Citlaltépetl (5,700 meters/18,702 feet ), is the highest point in the country. The Laguna Salada is the lowest suggest of the country (10 meters/33 feet listed below sea level).

The Río Bravo del Norte (known as the Río Grande in the joined States) is a river the extends for about 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles) that the boundary through the joined States. The Papaloapan river is an important source that waterpower. The largest lake in Mexico is Lake Chapala (in the state of Jalisco), which covers around 1,686 square kilometers (651 square miles).

2 Climate

The climate different according to altitude and rainfall. The coastal plains, Yucatán Peninsula, and also lower locations of southern Mexico have a average temperature of 25° c to 27° c (77° f come 81° f ). The warm zone (tierra templada) has actually a average temperature of 21° c (70° f ). Mexico City and most various other important population centers are in the cool ar (tierra fria), through a mean annual temperature the 17° c (63° f ). The greatest mountain peaks are always covered v snow.

annual rainfall may exceed 500 centimeters (200 inches) in the Isthmus the Tehuantepec, when in components of Baja California over there is virtually no rainfall. Precipitation is enough in main Mexico, when in the northern states desert-like problems prevail.

3 Plants and Animals

Plant and animal life differs sharply v Mexico's varied climate and topography. The seaside plains are covered v a dry rain forest, i beg your pardon merges into subtropical and also temperate expansion as the plateau rises. In the dry northern states, there space fewer trees and vegetation, with desert plants covering much of the area. Oaks and also conifers are discovered in mixed woodland regions follow me the hill slopes. The Yucatán Peninsula has scrubby veg-etation.

amongst the wild animals are the armadillo, tapir, jaguar, bear, and also several varieties of monkey, deer, and also boar. Poison snakes and harmful insects additionally are found. In the seaside marshes malarial mosquitoes pose a problem. The only remaining elephant seals in the people are top top Guadalupe Island west the Baja California.

4 environmental Protection

Mexico loser its forest at a price of around 0.9% annually due to farming and commercial expansion. Mexico City has actually chronic smog, aggravated by the pres ence of thousands of factories, by more than two million engine vehicles, and also by open up burning of rubbish by plenty of citizens. Cities along the US-Mexican border likewise suffer from major air pollution. Transport vehicles room responsible because that 76% the the air pollution. Water contamination results from the combined affect of industrial, agricultural, and public waste. In the north, fresh water resources are scarce and also polluted. In the central-southeast region, water is typically inaccessible and also of bad quality.

Mexico has the fourth most substantial mangrove (a dry evergreen) area in the world. In 2001, sixty-four of the nation's mammal varieties and thirty-six bird types were endangered, including the mexico grizzly bear (possibly extinct), the southerly bald eagle, the ridge-nosed rattlesnake, and also two types of crocodile. At the very least thirty



5 Population, country Groups, languages

In 2003, the population of Mexico was approximated by the United countries at 103.4 million. That is projected to total 119.6 million by 2015. In 2002, the population density average 52 persons every square kilometer (135 persons every square mile). In 2003, roughly 33% the the population was under fifteen year of age. About 74% that the populace lived in urban areas in 2001.

In 1990, the us Census Bureau approximated that 13.5 million persons of Mexican ancestry were life in the united States. Likewise, the largest neighborhood of us citizens living outside the United claims is discovered in Mexico.

The civilization of Mexico are largely Mestizos, a mixture of native Amerindian and also Spanish heritage. There are little numbers of persons of various other European heritage. At last estimates, 60% the the populace was Mestizo, 30% was pure Amerindian, 9% was white, and 1% to be something other. Amerindian affect on mexico cultural, economic, and political life is really strong.

Spanish is the main language and also is spoken by almost the whole population. This provides Mexico the world's largest Spanish-speaking community, since more Mexicans speak Spanish than execute Spaniards. Just a small number of inhabitants, about 1% the the population according come the last estimate, speak only native Amerindian language or dialects. A larger percentage, some 7.5% at critical estimate, speak an Amerindian language and Spanish. There space at the very least thirty-one different Amerindian language groups, the primary languages gift Nahuatl, Maya, Zapotec, Otomi, and also Mixtec.

6 faiths

follow to the 2000 census, about 88% the the Mexican population is affiliated v the roman Catholic Church and about 6% is Protestant. Over there are little Greek and Russian Orthodox communities. There space also tiny numbers that Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, Buddhists, and also Muslims. If professing the roman inn Catholic faith, a number of indigenous people include strong pre-Hispanic Mayan elements in your religion.

Veneration of the patron saints plays vital role in mexico life, and also the calendar is complete of feast days (fiestas). These mainly Roman Catholic celebrations encompass many ancient Amerindian rites and also customs and, invariably, bands that mariachi musicians playing Mexican folk songs.

7 transportation

In 2002, the nation had about 323,977 kilometers (201,319 miles) of roads and 18,000 kilometers (11,185 miles) the railroads. In 2000, there were end 8.7 million registered vehicles, consisting of 5.5 million passenger cars and 3.2 million commercial vehicles. Mexico has actually 2,900 kilometers (1,802 miles) the inland waterways and also lakes, but these are not as important to transport as are ocean and seaside shipping areas. There space 102 s ports, the most crucial being Tampico and also Veracruz, on the Gulf the Mexico; Mazatlán and Manzanillo top top the Pacific coast; and also Guayamas on the Gulf that California.

In 2001, there were an estimated 1,852 airports and airfields. Principal airports incorporate Juan N. Alvarez at Acapulco, Cancún international at Cancún, and also Benito Juárez in ~ Mexico City. Mexico commercial aircraft carried twenty million passengers on scheduled domestic and also international flights in 2001. The main airline agency is Aeroméxico.

8 background

The soil now known as Mexico was lived in by many of the most progressed Amerindian societies of the ancient Americas. The Mayan world in the Yucatán Peninsula began about 2500 B . C ., flourished about 300 to 900 A . D ., and also then declined until its conquest by the Spanish.

The Mayas were skillful in the building and construction of rock buildings and the carving of stone monuments. Lock built great cities at Chichen-Itzá and many other sites. In the early on 10th century the Toltecs founded their capital of Tollan (now Tula), and also made the Nahua culture, of i beg your pardon they were a part, primary in the valley of Mexico until the beforehand 13th century. At the time, the Aztecs, an additional Nahua tribe, acquired control.


© Peter Langer/EPD image
The Kukulcán Pyramid at Chichén Itzá was planned so the the setup sun would actors a zero of a serpent writhing under the measures of the pyramid during the vernal equinox (longest day of the year).

The Aztecs were professional in architecture, engineering, mathematics, weaving, and metalworking. They had actually a powerful priesthood and also a complex religion dominated by the sunlight god and war god Huitzilopochtli, to whom prisoners recorded from other tribes were sacrificed.

The realm was in ~ its height in 1519, when the Spanish, under Hernán Cortés (1485–1547), landing at present-day Veracruz. With premium weapons and also the participation of neighborhood chieftains, the Spaniards conquered Mexico by 1521. First, Cortés imprisoned the Aztec emperor Montezuma II (1466–1520). Then Montezuma's nephew, Cuauhtémoc (or Guatimotzin, c. 1495–1522), drive the Spanish native Tenochtitlán (ancient name of Mexico City) on June 30, 1520. This is now referred to as "la noche triste" ("the sad night"), throughout which Montezuma died, probably at the hands of the Spaniards. Cortés later on returned to Tenochtitlán and defeated Cuauhtémoc.

The Spaniards carried Roman Catholicism come Mexico, enforced their legal and also economic mechanism on the country, and enslaved countless of the inhabitants. The mix of Spanish oppression and also the conditions the conquistadors (Spanish conquerors) lugged with them decreased the Amerindian population from an approximated 5 million in 1500 come 3.5 million a century later.

Spain ruled Mexico together the viceroyalty of brand-new Spain for 3 centuries. Ongoing political abuses and also Amerindian enslavement, linked with the political suspicion that followed French emperor Napoleon's (1769–1821) invasion of Spain in 1807, created a Mexican freedom movement. Between 1810 and 1815, numerous unsuccessful revolts took place. In 1821, freedom was lastly proclaimed and also secured. Agustín de Iturbide (1783–1824) proclaimed himself emperor the Mexico in 1822 yet was deposed in 1823, once a republic was established.

over the next twenty-five years, there were at least thirty changes of government. General Antonio López de Santa Anna (1794–1876) became the dominant figure in the 1830s and 1840s to attempt to centralize the brand-new government. Texas got its freedom from Mexico in 1836 together a result of the loss of Santa Anna at mountain Jacinto. It join the United says in 1845 ~ a brief duration as a republic. Mexico shed the succeeding war through the United states (1846–48), which began over a dispute around the border the Texas. Under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico known the Rio Grande together the border of Texas and ceded fifty percent its territory (much the the present western joined States) in return because that $45 million.

A reform federal government was developed in 1855 after a revolt against Santa Anna, and also a new liberal constitution was adopted in 1857. In 1861, French troops under Emperor Napoleon III (1808–1873) intervened in Mexico, supposedly because Mexico had not payment its debts. They installed Archduke Maximilian of Austria (1832–1867) together emperor. The French withdrew in 1866. Maximilian to be executed and the republic was revitalized in 1867.

Porfirio Díaz (1830–1915) seized power in 1867 and assumed the presidency. He held this position almost continuously till 1911. Under his dictatorship, Mexico modernized by opened its doors to international investors and also managers. In ~ the exact same time, all dissent was suppressed, and there to be a complete lack of issue with improving the lives of mexican peasants. An elite corps of an installed police, the Rurales, held the rural locations in check. Resentment amongst the center classes and the peasantry continued to grow.

after ~ Díaz was when again reelected come the presidency in 1910, the Mexican transformation erupted. This change had claimed perhaps one million resides by 1917. It was, ~ above the one hand, a protest by middle-class politics liberals against the opening Díaz regime and, top top the various other hand, a huge popular rebellion that peasants that demanded the best to own land. The understanding of these two teams sometimes coincided but much more often clashed. Riots in Mexico City required Díaz come resign and also leave the nation in 1911. Liberal politician Francisco Indalecio Madero (1873–1913) was elected president that year. Meanwhile, famous revolts led through Emiliano Zapata (1879–1919) and Francisco "Pancho" Villa (1878–1923), that refused to send to Madero's authority, led the nation into chaos. Madero to be ousted and also murdered in 1913 by basic Victoriano Huerta (1854–1916).

once Huerta, a corruption dictator, was driven from strength in July 1914, a full-scale civil war damaged out. This phase of the transformation ended in February 1917 when a brand-new constitution was proclaimed. This document was thought about by part to it is in the world's


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A young girl celebrates during a festival honoring the Michoacan's ancient Purépecha empire and the indigenous Purépacha people.
an initial socialist constitution. It embodied the principle of the one-term presidency in stimulate to stop the recurrence the a Díaz-type dictatorship.

Venustiano Carranza (1859–1920) was elected president in 1917, but for the next decade Mexico to be still beset by political instability and also fighting between various revolutionary groups. Most of the revolutionary leader met v violent deaths. Zapata, still related to by numerous as a revolutionary hero, to be assassinated in 1920.

Political security at last pertained to Mexico through the formation in 1929 of an official government party that incorporated most of the social teams that had participated in the revolution. It has actually been known since 1945 as the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional—PRI). Although started to assistance the understand of peasants, workers, and other disadvantaged groups, that has additionally been carefully allied through business because the 1940s. Considered to be one of the most outstanding political leaders of the post-1929 era, Lázaro Cárdenas (1895–1970), who was president from 1934 come 1940, sought through some success to establish the social purposes of the revolution. His reforms consisted of massive floor redistribution, facility of solid labor unions, extension of education to remote areas of the country, and in 1938, the take on of international petroleum holdings, mostly US-owned.

The years because World war II (1939–45) have been significant by political stability, financial expansion, and the climb of the center class, but likewise by general neglect of the poorest segment of the population. An economic boom during the so late 1970s, brought around by substantial oil fiddle earnings, services a tiny percentage the the people. Still, countless peasants ongoing to be only slightly better off 보다 in 1910. Declining civilization oil price in 1981 brought about a major financial dilemm in 1982. Mexico's brand-new president, Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, put economic austerity measures right into place. He additionally promised a crackdown top top corruption, which has long been a difficulty in Mexico. In October 1987, the PRI named Carlos Salinas de Gortari together its candidate come succeed chairman de la Madrid in December 1988. Salinas' legitimacy was doubted as there to be a complete shutdown that the computer systems the were calculating the votes that brought him right into office. Salinas advocated the privatization of state markets and free trade agreements. In September 1993, transforms in federal electoral were designed to make elections cost-free from corruption.

Mexico City was ruined by a major earthquake in September 1985. The official death toll was 7 thousand, although unofficial approximates were as high together twenty thousand. In addition, 300,000 were left homeless. There was prevalent protest over the truth that plenty of of the structures destroyed had been built in violation of construction regulations and claims that international emergency aid had to be mishandled by the government.

In august 1992, formal negotiations about the phibìc American free Trade covenant (NAFTA) were concluded, by which Mexico would join the unified States and also Canada in the remove of profession barriers, the promotion of fair competition, and also increased investment opportunities. NAFTA walk into result on January 1, 1994.

In January 1994, a mainly Amerindian team calling itself the Zapatista army of national Liberation resorted to an equipped uprising against the government. The team initially took manage of four municipalities in Chiapas come protest what it pertained to as federal government failure to efficiently deal with regional social and also economic problems. 2 months after the Zapatista uprising, the country witnessed its first high-level political assassination in over sixty years when PRI presidential candidate louis Donaldo Colosio to be murdered in Tijuana, in Baja California. His replacement, Ernesto Zedillo, was elected at the finish of the year in a very closely monitored campaign.

In December 1994 the mexican peso to be devalued. The economic climate went into its worst recession in an ext than fifty years. Over a million Mexicans lost their jobs. The United claims responded to its neighbor's distress with a multimillion-dollar bailout that maintained the economic climate from getting worse.

the public discontent through the economic crisis, poverty, crime, corruption, and also political instability, led in 1997 to a denial of Mexico's virtually seventy-year-old mechanism of one-party rule. In June of the year, the PRI shed its bulk in the lower house of the nationwide Congress come the an unified power of the leftist Party the the Democratic revolution (PRD) and the conservative National activity Party (PAN).

In December 2000, Vicente Fox Quesada of the conservative PAN Party became president, the first non-PRI leader in more than seventy years. By mid-2003, Fox had actually lost popularity after his two most symbolic legislative efforts failed to happen the divided congress. The president failed to resolve the native revolt in Chiapas. A taxation reform aimed in ~ increasing government revenues to beef up society spending was additionally significantly scaled back. President Fox's legislative and government agendas moved slowly and also many Mexicans then looked come the PRI together a government alternative.