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Facts About Mexico

Updated on March 26, 2015

Mexico is a very popular destination for foreign travelers. It boasts warm weather, beautiful natural sights and friendly people. It also has a storied past full of intrigue, innovation and bloodshed.

Mexican Dancers
Mexican Dancers | Source

Location of Mexico

Mexico is located immediately to the south of the continental United States. The two countries share a 2000 mile border from the Pacific coast of California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. Mexico also borders the states of Arizona and New Mexico. It lies between the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. Mexico borders Guatemala and Belize to its south.

Geography of Mexico

The center of Mexico is on a high plateau. The northern part of the country has a desert environment while the southern part of the country has mountains and jungles. Mexico covers an area of about 758 thousand square miles making it about three times the size of Texas.

Mexico City Sightseeing Tour
Mexico City Sightseeing Tour | Source

Cities of Mexico

The capital of Mexico is Mexico City. It is also the largest and most populous city in the country. 25 million people live in the Mexico City metropolitan area making it one of the biggest cities in the world. Mexico has nine other cities with populations over one million. They include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez.

Dressed As Mayan Warriors
Dressed As Mayan Warriors | Source

People of Mexico

As of 2008, the population of Mexico was about 110 million people. A majority of the people living in Mexico are descendants of both Spanish settlers and native Indian tribes. This mixed culture is called Mestizo and makes up about 60% of Mexico's population.

About 30% are indigenous Indians. About 9% is Caucasion. The life expectancy for men is 73 years old. For women is it nearly 79 years. About 92 percent of the population is literate.

Languages of Mexico

Spanish is the most common language spoken in Mexico. About 93% of the population speaks only Spanish.

In fact, there are more Spanish speakers in Mexico than in any other country in the world. There are 62 Indian languages, including Mayan and Nahuatl, spoken by small groups of people in Mexico. Most of these groups are located in the southeastern part of Mexico.

Religions of Mexico

Mexico is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation. About 77% of the population is Roman Catholic. Protestants make up 6% of the population.

Economy of Mexico

The economy of Mexico is closely linked to the economy of the United States. Mexico sends much of its oil and gas exports to the United States which in turn exports foodstuffs and manufactured products to Mexico.

Many American companies own large manufacturing plants in cities on the Mexican side of the border. They take advantage of lower labor costs in Mexico. Unemployment is a problem in Mexico.

Many Mexican workers illegally cross the border into the United States to work. There are an estimated 5 million undocumented Mexican workers in the US. Many of these workers send money back to Mexico, contributing to the Mexican economy.

The North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, removed barriers to trade with Mexico. Whether it did more harm or good for the economies of both countries is a matter of heated debate.

Mexico's economy also benefits from significant deposits of silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc and timber. Mexico's agriculture consists mainly of corn, wheat, soybeans and rice. The Gross Domestic Product per capita is $8900.

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City | Source

History of Mexico

Mexico was the home of many famous ancient civilizations including the Maya, the the Toltec and the Aztec.

In 1519, the Spanish invaded the Aztec Empire and within two years conquered it.

Spain ruled Mexico as a colony until Mexico gained its independence on September 16, 1810. In 1846, war broke out between Mexico and the United States over the American annexation of Texas. The United States won. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed two years later, gave the US more than two thirds of Mexico's territory. This included Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, and large parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

In 1910, a dispute over a fixed presidential election led to the Mexican Revolution. It was led by Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. This was a very turbulent time in Mexican history. There were armed conflicts on and off for nearly 20 years until the National Mexican Party was formed in 1929. It later became known as the Partido Revolucionario Institucional.

The PRI ruled Mexico until 2000 when opposition candidate Vicente Fox of the National Action Party won the presidency. Another member of PAN, Felipe Calderon was elected president in 2006.

Flag of Mexico
Flag of Mexico

The Flag of Mexico

The Mexican flag has three vertical stripes in green, white and red. In the middle of the white stripe is the coat of arms of Mexico.

It is an eagle standing on cactus with a snake in its beak. It comes from an ancient Aztec legend. The god Huitzilopochtli told the Aztecs to build a city on the spot where they saw this. That city later became Mexico City.

The green in the Mexican flag stands for hope and victory. The white signifies the purity of Mexican ideals. The red is for the blood spilled by the heroes of Mexico.

Government of Mexico

Mexico is a Federal Republic with executive, legislative and judicial branches. It has a president as head of state who serves a single 6 year term.

There are 31 states and a federal district around the capital of Mexico City. The states are: Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Colima, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan de Ocampo, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro de Arteaga, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz-Llave, Yucatan, and Zacatecas.

Holidays in Mexico

  • February 24 - Flag Day (for the Mexican flag)
  • May 1 - Primero de Mayo (Mexican Labor Day)
  • May 5 - Cinco de Mayo (celebrating the victory over the French at the battle of Puebla de los Angeles)
  • September 16 - Mexican Independence Day

Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan | Source

Tourism In Mexico

Mexico has a thriving tourist industry. Most tourist sites are concentrated along the coasts at beach resorts.

Mexico has stunning beaches and attracts tourists from all over the world with world class facilities and relatively cheap prices.

Tourists also visit Mexico's archeological treasures. There are many well preserved Mayan and Aztec pyramids.

The most impressive are at Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan. Mexico also boasts a rich and vibrant culture. It has its own unique music, style of dance and cuisine.

Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza | Source

Other Facts About Mexico

The currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso. The country dialing code is 52. Electric current runs at 127V 60Hz.

Beach in Tulum
Beach in Tulum | Source

© 2015 Discover the World

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