Mexico

Mexico

Overview
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 constitutional republic
Constitutional republic
A constitutional republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over all of its citizens...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. It is bordered on the north by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

; on the southeast by Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

, and the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

; and on the east by the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. Covering almost two million square kilometres (over 760,000 sq mi), Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 by total area and the thirteenth largest independent nation in the world.
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Timeline

1519   Hernan Cortes arrives in Mexico in search of the Aztec civilization and their wealth.

1576   The Mexican city of León is founded by order of the viceroy Don Martín Enríquez de Almanza.

1693   Ignacio de Maya founds the Real Santiago de las Sabinas, now known as Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, México.

1811   Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, leader of the Mexican insurgency, is executed by the Spanish in Chihuahua, Mexico.

1821   The Treaty of Córdoba is signed in Córdoba, now in Veracruz, Mexico, concluding the Mexican War of Independence from Spain.

1821   Mexico gains its independence from Spain.

1823   Stephen F. Austin receives a grant of land in Texas from the government of Mexico.

1824   Mexico adopts a new constitution and becomes a federal republic.

1829   Surrender of the expedition led by Isidro Barradas at Tampico, sent by the Spanish crown in order to retake Mexico, This was the final consummation of Mexican independence.

1835   The Texas Revolution begins with the Battle of Gonzales: Mexican soldiers attempt to disarm the people of Gonzales, Texas, but encounter stiff resistance from a hastily assembled militia.

 
Encyclopedia
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 constitutional republic
Constitutional republic
A constitutional republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over all of its citizens...

 in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. It is bordered on the north by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

; on the southeast by Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

, and the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

; and on the east by the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. Covering almost two million square kilometres (over 760,000 sq mi), Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 by total area and the thirteenth largest independent nation in the world. With an estimated population of over 112 million, it is the eleventh most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country. Mexico is a federation comprising thirty-one states and a Federal District
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, the capital city.

In Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica many cultures matured into advanced civilizations such as the Olmec
Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

, the Toltec
Toltec
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology...

, the Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan – also written Teotihuacán, with a Spanish orthographic accent on the last syllable – is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas...

, the Zapotec
Zapotec civilization
The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca of southern Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows their culture goes back at least 2500 years...

, the Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 and the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 before the first contact with Europeans. In 1521, Spain conquered and colonized the territory from its base in México-Tenochtitlan, which was administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

. This territory would eventually become Mexico as the colony's independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 was recognized in 1821. The post-independence period was characterized by economic instability, the Mexican-American War and territorial cession
Territorial evolution of Mexico
Mexico has experienced many changes in territorial organization during its history as an independent state, especially as the territorial boundaries of Mexico were affected by presidential and imperial decrees...

 to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, a civil war
Reform War
The Reform War in Mexico is one of the episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted a federalist government, limiting traditional Catholic Church and military influence in the country...

, two empires
Emperor of Mexico
The Emperor of Mexico was the head of state and ruler of Mexico on two non-consecutive occasions in the 19th century....

 and a domestic dictatorship. The latter led to the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution
Constitution of Mexico
The Political Constitution of the United Mexican States is the current constitution of Mexico. It was drafted in Santiago de Querétaro, in the State of Querétaro, by a constitutional convention, during the Mexican Revolution. It was approved by the Constitutional Congress on February 5, 1917...

 and the emergence of the country's current political system
Politics of Mexico
The politics of Mexico take place in a framework of a federal presidential representative democratic republic whose government is based on a congressional system, whereby the president of Mexico is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system...

. Elections held in July 2000
Mexican general election, 2000
General elections were held in Mexico on 6 July 2000. The presidential elections were won by Vicente Fox of the Alliance for Change, who received 43.4% of the vote, the first time the opposition had won an election since the Mexican Revolution...

 marked the first time that an opposition party won the presidency from the Institutional Revolutionary Party
Institutional Revolutionary Party
The Institutional Revolutionary Party is a Mexican political party that held power in the country—under a succession of names—for more than 70 years. The PRI is a member of the Socialist International, as is the rival Party of the Democratic Revolution , making Mexico one of the few...

.

Mexico has one of the world's largest economies, and is considered both a regional power
Regional power
In international relations, a regional power is a state that has power within a geographic region. States which wield unrivaled power and influence within a region of the world possess regional hegemony.-Characteristics:...

 and middle power
Middle power
Middle power is a term used in the field of international relations to describe states that are not superpowers or great powers, but still have large or moderate influence and international recognition. There is no single specific definition of which countries are middle powers.-Definition:There is...

. In addition, Mexico was the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 OECD (since 1994), and a firmly established upper-middle income country. Mexico is considered a newly industrialized country and an emerging power
Emerging Powers
The term emerging powers is a recognition of the rising, primarily economic, influence of a group of nations who have recently increased their presence in global affairs...

. It has the thirteenth largest nominal GDP and the eleventh largest by purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

. The economy
Economy of Mexico
The economy of Mexico is the 13th largest in the world in nominal terms and the 11th by purchasing power parity, according to the World Bank.Since the 1994 crisis, administrations have improved the country's macroeconomic fundamentals...

 is strongly linked to those of its North American Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

 (NAFTA) partners, especially the United States. Mexico ranks fifth in the world and first in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 by number of UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Sites with 31, and in 2007 was the tenth most visited country in the world with 21.4 million international arrivals per year.

Etymology




After New Spain won independence from Spain, it was decided that the new country would be named after its capital, Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, which was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Aztec capital of México-Tenochtitlan. The name comes from the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 language, but its meaning is not well known.

Mēxihco was the Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely, the Valley of Mexico
Valley of Mexico
The Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly coterminous with the present-day Distrito Federal and the eastern half of the State of Mexico. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, the Valley of Mexico was a centre for several pre-Columbian civilizations, including...

, and its people, the Mexica
Mexica
The Mexica were a pre-Columbian people of central Mexico.Mexica may also refer to:*Mexica , a board game designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling*Mexica , a 2005 novel by Norman Spinrad...

, and surrounding territories which became the future State of Mexico as a division of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 prior to independence (compare Latium
Latium
Lazio is one of the 20 administrative regions of Italy, situated in the central peninsular section of the country. With about 5.7 million residents and a GDP of more than 170 billion euros, Lazio is the third most populated and the second richest region of Italy...

). It is generally considered to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym
Ethnonym
An ethnonym is the name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms or endonyms .As an example, the ethnonym for...

 for the Aztec Triple Alliance
Aztec Triple Alliance
The Aztec Triple Alliance, or Aztec Empire began as an alliance of three Nahua city-states or "altepeme": Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan...

 as a result, or vice versa.

The suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name. Beyond that, the etymology is uncertain. It has been suggested that it is derived from Mextli
Mextli
In Aztec mythology, Mextli was the god of war and storms and was born fully armed as a warrior. He accepted hundreds of sacrifices annually. citation need His name is thought by many to be the source of the name "Mexico".-References:...

 or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war and patron of the Aztecs, Huitzilopochtli
Huitzilopochtli
In Aztec mythology, Huitzilopochtli, also spelled Uitzilopochtli , was a god of war, a sun god, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was also the national god of the Mexicas of Tenochtitlan.- Genealogy :...

, in which case Mēxihco means "Place where Huitzilopochtli lives". Another hypothesis suggests that Mēxihco derives from a portmanteau of the Nahuatl words for "moon" (mētztli) and navel (xīctli). This meaning ("Place at the Center of the Moon") might then refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco
Lake Texcoco
Lake Texcoco was a natural lake formation within the Valley of Mexico. The Aztecs built the city of Tenochtitlan on an island in the lake. The Spaniards built Mexico City over Tenochtitlan...

. The system of interconnected lakes, of which Texcoco formed the center, had the form of a rabbit, which the Mesoamericans pareidolically
Pareidolia
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse...

 associated with the moon
Moon rabbit
The Moon rabbit, also called the Jade Rabbit, in folklore is a rabbit that lives on the moon, based on pareidolia that identifies the markings of the moon as a rabbit. The story exists in many cultures, particularly in East Asian folklore, where it is seen pounding in a mortar and pestle...

. Still another hypothesis suggests that it is derived from Mēctli, the goddess of maguey.

The name of the city-state was transliterated to Spanish as México with the phonetic value of the letter in Medieval Spanish, which represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative
Voiceless postalveolar fricative
The voiceless palato-alveolar fricative or voiceless domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages, including English...

 [ʃ]. This sound, as well as the voiced postalveolar fricative
Voiced postalveolar fricative
The voiced palato-alveolar fricative or voiced domed postalveolar fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is Z. An alternative symbol used in some...

 [ʒ], represented by a , evolved into a voiceless velar fricative
Voiceless velar fricative
The voiceless velar fricative is a type of consonantal sound used in some spoken languages. The sound was part of the consonant inventory of Old English and can still be found in some dialects of English, most notably in Scottish English....

 [x] during the sixteenth century. This led to the use of the variant Méjico in many publications in Spanish, most notably in Spain, whereas in Mexico and most other Spanish–speaking countries México was the preferred spelling. In recent years the Real Academia Española
Real Academia Española
The Royal Spanish Academy is the official royal institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. It is based in Madrid, Spain, but is affiliated with national language academies in twenty-one other hispanophone nations through the Association of Spanish Language Academies...

, which regulates the Spanish language
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, determined that both variants are acceptable in Spanish but that the normative recommended spelling
Spelling
Spelling is the writing of one or more words with letters and diacritics. In addition, the term often, but not always, means an accepted standard spelling or the process of naming the letters...

 is México. The majority of publications in all Spanish-speaking countries now adhere to the new norm, even though the alternative variant is still occasionally used. In English, the in Mexico represents neither the original nor the current sound, but the consonant cluster [ks].

The official name of the country has changed as the form of government
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

 has changed. On two occasions (1821–1823 and 1863–1867), the country was known as Imperio Mexicano (Mexican Empire
Mexican Empire
The Mexican Empire or rarely Gran Mexico was the name of modern Mexico on two brief occasions in the 19th century when it was ruled by an emperor. With the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire from Spain in 1821, Mexico became an independent monarchy, but was soon replaced with the...

). All three federal constitutions (1824, 1857 and 1917, the current constitution) used the name Estados Unidos Mexicanos—or the variants Estados Unidos mexicanos and Estados-Unidos Mexicanos, all of which have been translated as "United Mexican States". The term República Mexicana, "Mexican Republic" was used in the 1836 Constitutional Laws.

History






Archaic period


The earliest human remains in Mexico are chips of stone tool
Stone tool
A stone tool is, in the most general sense, any tool made either partially or entirely out of stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistoric, particularly Stone Age cultures that have become extinct...

s found near campfire remains in the Valley of Mexico and radiocarbon-dated to ca. 21,000 BCE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. Mexico is the site of the domestication of maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 and beans
Phaseolus
Phaseolus is a genus in the family Fabaceae of about fifty plant species, all native to the Americas.At least four of the species have been domesticated since pre-Columbian times for their beans. Most prominent among these is the common bean, P...

 which caused a transition from paleo-indian hunter-gatherers to sedentary agricultural villages beginning around 7000 BCE.

Classic periods


In the subsequent formative areas maize cultivation and cultural traits such as a complex mythological and religious complex, a vigesimal numeric system, were diffused from the Mexican cultures to the rest of the Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

n culture area. In this period villages began to become socially stratified and develop into chiefdom
Chiefdom
A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

s, and the development of large ceremonial centers.

Among the earliest complex civilizations in Mexico was the Olmec
Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

 culture which flourish on the gulf coast from around 1500 BCE. Olmec cultural traits diffused through Mexico into other formative era cultures in Chiapas, Oaxaca and the Valley of Mexico. The formative period saw the spread of distinct religious and symbolic traditions, as well as artistic and architectural complexes. In the subsequent pre-classical period
Mesoamerican chronology
Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian , the Archaic , the Preclassic , the Classic , and the Postclassic...

, complex centers began to develop among the Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 with centers at Calakmul
Calakmul
Calakmul is a Maya archaeological site in the Mexican state of Campeche, deep in the jungles of the greater Petén Basin region. It is from the Guatemalan border. Calakmul was one of the largest and most powerful ancient cities ever uncovered in the Maya lowlands...

 and the Zapotec
Zapotec civilization
The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca of southern Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows their culture goes back at least 2500 years...

 at Monte Albán
Monte Albán
Monte Albán is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site in the Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán Municipality in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca...

. During this period the first true Mesoamerican writing systems
Mesoamerican writing systems
Mesoamerica, like India, Mesopotamia, China, and Egypt, is one of the few places in the world where writing has developed independently. Mesoamerican scripts deciphered to date are logosyllabic, combining the use of logograms with a syllabary, and they are often called hieroglyphic scripts...

 were developed in the Epi-Olmec
Epi-Olmec culture
The Epi-Olmec culture was a cultural area in the central region of the present-day Mexican state of Veracruz, concentrated in the Papaloapan River basin, a culture that existed during the Late Formative period, from roughly 300 BCE to roughly 250 CE. Epi-Olmec was a successor culture to the Olmec,...

 and the Zapotec cultures, and the Mesoamerican writing tradition reached its height in the Classic Maya Hieroglyphic script
Maya script
The Maya script, also known as Maya glyphs or Maya hieroglyphs, is the writing system of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica, presently the only Mesoamerican writing system that has been substantially deciphered...

.

In Central Mexico, the height of the classic period saw the ascendancy of Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan – also written Teotihuacán, with a Spanish orthographic accent on the last syllable – is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas...

 which formed a military and commercial empire whose political influence stretched south into the Maya area and north. At its peak, Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan – also written Teotihuacán, with a Spanish orthographic accent on the last syllable – is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas...

, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas, had a population of more than 150,000 people. At the collapse of Teotihuacán around 600 CE, competition between several important political centers in central Mexico such as Xochicalco
Xochicalco
Xochicalco is a pre-Columbian archaeological site in the Municipality of Miacatlán in the western part of the Mexican state of Morelos. The name Xochicalco may be translated from Nahuatl as "in the house of Flowers". The site is located 38 km southwest of Cuernavaca, about 76 miles by road...

 and Cholula
Cholula
Cholula is a city and district located in the center west of the state of Puebla, next to the city of Puebla de Zaragoza, in central Mexico. Cholula is best known for its Great Pyramid, with the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios sanctuary on top and its numerous churches...

 ensued. At this time during the Epi-Classic Nahua peoples began moving south into Mesoamerica from the North, and became politically and culturally dominant in central Mexico, as they displaced speakers of Oto-Manguean languages
Oto-Manguean languages
Oto-Manguean languages are a large family comprising several families of Native American languages. All of the Oto-Manguean languages that are now spoken are indigenous to Mexico, but the Manguean branch of the family, which is now extinct, was spoken as far south as Nicaragua and Costa Rica.The...

.

Post-classic period


During the early post-classic Central Mexico was dominated by the Toltec
Toltec
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology...

 culture, Oaxaca by the Mixtec and the lowland Maya area had important centers at Chichén Itzá
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula, in the Municipality of Tinúm, Yucatán state, present-day Mexico....

 and Mayapán
Mayapan
Mayapan , is a Pre-Columbian Maya site a couple of kilometers south of the town of Telchaquillo in Municipality of Tecoh, approximately 40 km south-east of Mérida and 100 km west of Chichen Itza; in the state of Yucatán, Mexico...

. Towards the end of the post-Classic period the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

s of Central Mexico built a tributary empire covering most of central Mexico. The distinct Mesoamerican cultural tradition ended with the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, and over the next centuries Mexican indigenous cultures were gradually subjected to Spanish colonial rule.

Conquest


The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire began in February 1519 when Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 arrived on the coast of Veracruz with ca. 500 conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

. Following a strategy of allying with Indigenous city states that were subject to the Aztec empire an supporting them in a rebellion against the Aztecs, Cortés and his men were able to defeat the Aztecs after two years of campaigning on August 13, 1521.

New Spain


In the early 16th century, from the landing of Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

, the Aztec civilization was invaded and conquered by the Spaniards. Unintentionally introduced by Spanish conquerors, smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 ravaged Mesoamerica in the 1520s, killing millions of Aztecs, including the emperor, and was credited with the victory of Hernán Cortés over the Aztec empire. The territory became part of the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 under the name of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

. Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 was systematically rebuilt by Cortés following the Fall of Tenochtitlan in 1521. Much of the identity, traditions and architecture of Mexico were created during the colonial period.

Independence



On September 16, 1810, independence from Spain was declared by priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in the small town of Dolores
Dolores Hidalgo
Dolores Hidalgo Dolores Hidalgo Dolores Hidalgo (in full, Dolores Hidalgo Cuna de la Independencia Nacional is the name of a city and the surrounding municipality in the north-central part of the Mexican state of Guanajuato....

, Guanajuato. The first insurgent group was formed by Hidalgo, the Spanish viceregal army captain Ignacio Allende
Ignacio Allende
Ignacio José de Allende y Unzaga , born Ignacio Allende y Unzaga, was a captain of the Spanish Army in Mexico who came to sympathize with the Mexican independence movement. He attended the secret meetings organized by Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, where the possibility of an independent New Spain was...

, the militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 captain Juan Aldama
Juan Aldama
Juan Aldama was a Mexican revolutionary rebel soldier during the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. He was also the brother of Ignacio Aldama....

 and "La Corregidora" Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez
Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez
María Josefa Cresencia Ortiz y Girón, popularly known as Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez or La Corregidora was an insurgent and supporter of the Mexican War of Independence, which fought for independence against Spain, in the early 19th century...

. Hidalgo and some of his soldiers were captured and executed by firing squad in Chihuahua
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
The city of Chihuahua is the state capital of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has a population of about 825,327. The predominant activity is industry, including domestic heavy, light industries, consumer goods production, and to a smaller extent maquiladoras.-History:It has been said that the...

, on July 31, 1811. Following his death, the leadership was assumed by priest José María Morelos
José María Morelos
José María Teclo Morelos y Pavón was a Mexican Roman Catholic priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1811...

, who occupied key southern cities.

In 1813 the Congress of Chilpancingo
Congress of Chilpancingo
The Congress of Chilpancingo was a meeting held in Chilpancingo, in what is the modern-day Mexican state of Guerrero, from September to November 1813. The result of this meeting was that Mexico formally declared itself to be independent of Spain and what was later to become the first national...

 was convened and, on November 6, signed the "Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America
Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America
The Solemn Act of Northern America's Declaration of Independence is the first Mexican legal historical document which established the separation of Mexico from Spanish rule...

". Morelos was captured and executed on December 22, 1815. In subsequent years, the insurgency was near collapse, but in 1820 Viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 Juan Ruiz de Apodaca sent an army under the criollo
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

 general Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

 against the troops of Vicente Guerrero
Vicente Guerrero
Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña was one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence, who fought against Spain for independence in the early 19th century, and served briefly as President of Mexico...

. Instead, Iturbide approached Guerrero to join forces, and in 1821 representatives of the Spanish Crown and Iturbide signed the "Treaty of Córdoba
Treaty of Córdoba
The Treaty of Córdova established Mexican independence from Spain at the conclusion of the Mexican War of Independence. It was signed on August 24, 1821 in Córdoba, Veracruz, Mexico. The signatories were the head of the Army of the Three Guarantees, Agustín de Iturbide, and acting on behalf of the...

" and the "Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire
Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire
The Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire is the foundational document of the empire, and therefore, of the Mexican nation. The morning after the Army of the Three Guarantees entered Mexico City on September 28, 1821, Agustín de Iturbide ordered the Supreme Provisional Governmental...

", which recognized the independence of Mexico under the terms of the "Plan of Iguala
Plan of Iguala
Plan of Iguala, also known as Plan of the Three Guarantees , was a peace treaty proclaimed on February 24, 1821, in the final stage of Mexican War of Independence from Spain. The plan attempted to establish a constitutional foundation upon which an independent Mexican Empire would be based...

".

Juárez reforms and territorial losses




Agustín de Iturbide immediately proclaimed himself emperor of the First Mexican Empire
First Mexican Empire
The Mexican Empire was the official name of independent Mexico under a monarchical regime from 1821 to 1823. The territory of the Mexican Empire included the continental intendencies and provinces of New Spain proper...

. A revolt against him in 1823 established the United Mexican States. In 1824, a Republican Constitution was drafted and Guadalupe Victoria
Guadalupe Victoria
Guadalupe Victoria born José Miguel Ramón Adaucto Fernández y Félix, was a Mexican politician and military man who fought for independence against the Spanish Empire in the Mexican War of Independence. He was a deputy for Durango and a member of the Supreme Executive Power...

 became the first president of the newly born country. The first decades of the post-independence period were marked by economic instability
Economic history of Mexico
-Independence:Faced with political disruptions, civil wars, unstable currency, and the constant threat of banditry in the countryside, most wealthy Mexicans invested their assets the only stable productive enterprises that remained viable: large agricultural estates...

, which led to the Pastry War
Pastry War
The Pastry War was an invasion of Mexico by French forces in 1838.-Background:The war arose from the widespread civil disorder that plagued the early years of the Mexican republic. In 1828, President Manuel Gómez Pedraza ejected Lorenzo de Zavala from the office of governor of the state of México...

 in 1836, and a constant strife between liberales, supporters of a federal form of government
Federal republic
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

, and conservadores, proposals of a hierarchical form of government
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

.

General Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

, a centralist and two-time dictator
Dictator
A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch. When other states call the head of state of a particular state a dictator, that state is called a dictatorship...

, approved the Siete Leyes
Siete Leyes
The Siete Leyes were a series of constitutional instruments that fundamentally altered the organizational structure of the young first Mexican republic...

 in 1836, a radical amendment that institutionalized the centralized form of government. When he suspended the 1824 Constitution, civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

 spread across the country, and three new governments declared independence: the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

, the Republic of the Rio Grande
Republic of the Rio Grande
The Republic of the Rio Grande was an independent nation that insurgents against the Central Mexican Government sought to establish in northern Mexico. The rebellion lasted from January 17 to November 6, 1840 and the Republic of the Rio Grande was never officially recognized.- Background :After a...

 and the Republic of Yucatán
Republic of Yucatán
The Republic of Yucatan was a nineteenth century sovereign state during two periods of the century. The first Republic of Yucatan, founded May 29, 1823, joined the Mexican federation as the Federated Republic of Yucatán on December 23, 1823, less than seven months later...

.

Texas successfully achieved independence and was annexed by the United States. A border dispute
Territorial dispute
A territorial dispute is a disagreement over the possession/control of land between two or more states or over the possession or control of land by a new state and occupying power after it has conquered the land from a former state no longer currently recognized by the new state.-Context and...

 led to the Mexican-American War, which began in 1846 and lasted for two years; the War was settled via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

, which forced Mexico to give up over half of its land to the U.S., including Alta California
Alta California
Alta California was a province and territory in the Viceroyalty of New Spain and later a territory and department in independent Mexico. The territory was created in 1769 out of the northern part of the former province of Las Californias, and consisted of the modern American states of California,...

, New Mexico
Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

, and the disputed parts of Texas
Coahuila y Tejas
Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.It had two capitals: first Saltillo, and then Monclova...

. A much smaller transfer of territory in what is today southern Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 and southwestern New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 — the Gadsden Purchase
Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase is a region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S...

 — occurred in 1854. The Caste War of Yucatán
Caste War of Yucatán
The Caste War of Yucatán began with the revolt of native Maya people of Yucatán, Mexico against the population of European descent, called Yucatecos, who held political and economic control of the region. A lengthy war ensued between the Yucateco forces in the north-west of the Yucatán and the...

, the Mayan
Maya peoples
The Maya people constitute a diverse range of the Native American people of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term...

 uprising that began in 1847, was one of the most successful modern Native American revolts. Maya rebels, or Cruzob, maintained relatively independent enclaves until the 1930s.

Dissatisfaction with Santa Anna's return to power led to the liberal "Plan of Ayutla
Plan of Ayutla
The Plan of Ayutla was a plan aimed at removing Antonio López de Santa Anna as dictator of Mexico. Initially drafted on February 24, 1854, by Colonel Florencio Villarreal, it was proclaimed on March 1, 1854, in Ayutla, Guerrero...

", initiating an era known as La Reforma
La Reforma
La Reforma was a period halfway through the 19th century in the history of Mexico that was characterized by liberal reforms and the transformation of Mexico into a nation state...

, after which a new Constitution was drafted in 1857 that established a secular state
Secular state
A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential...

, federalism as the form of government
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

, and several freedoms. As the conservadores refused to recognize it, the Reform War
Reform War
The Reform War in Mexico is one of the episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted a federalist government, limiting traditional Catholic Church and military influence in the country...

 began in 1858, during which both groups had their own governments. The war ended in 1861 with victory by the Liberals, led by Amerindian President Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

. In the 1860s Mexico underwent a military occupation by France, which established the Second Mexican Empire
Second Mexican Empire
The Second Mexican Empire was the name of Mexico under the regime established from 1864 to 1867. It was created by Napoleon III of France, who attempted to use the Mexican adventure to recapture some of the grandeur of earlier Napoleonic times...

 under the rule of Habsburg Archduke
Archduke
The title of Archduke denotes a noble rank above Duke and below King, used only by princes of the Houses of Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine....

 Ferdinand Maximilian
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

 of Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 with support from the Roman Catholic clergy and the conservadores, who later switched sides and joined the liberales. Maximilian surrendered, was tried on June 14 and was executed on June 19, 1867.

Porfiriato


Porfirio Díaz
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

, a republican general during the French intervention
French intervention in Mexico
The French intervention in Mexico , also known as The Maximilian Affair, War of the French Intervention, and The Franco-Mexican War, was an invasion of Mexico by an expeditionary force sent by the Second French Empire, supported in the beginning by the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain...

, ruled Mexico from 1876–1880 and then from 1884–1911 in five consecutive reelections, period known as the Porfiriato
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

, characterized by remarkable economic achievements, investments in the arts
The arts
The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and...

 and science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

s, but also of economic inequality
Income distribution
In economics, income distribution is how a nation’s total economy is distributed amongst its population.Income distribution has always been a central concern of economic theory and economic policy...

 and political repression
Political repression
Political repression is the persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take political life of society....

.

Mexican Revolution



A likely electoral fraud that led to Diaz's fifth reelection sparked the 1910 Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, initially led by Francisco I. Madero
Francisco I. Madero
Francisco Ignacio Madero González was a politician, writer and revolutionary who served as President of Mexico from 1911 to 1913. As a respectable upper-class politician, he supplied a center around which opposition to the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz could coalesce...

.
Díaz resigned in 1911 and Madero was elected president but overthrown and murdered in a coup d'état two years later directed by conservative general Victoriano Huerta
Victoriano Huerta
José Victoriano Huerta Márquez was a Mexican military officer and president of Mexico. Huerta's supporters were known as Huertistas during the Mexican Revolution...

. That event re-ignited the civil war, involving figures such as Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against the president Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution...

, who formed their own forces. A third force, the constitutional army led by Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza
Venustiano Carranza de la Garza, was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. He ultimately became President of Mexico following the overthrow of the dictatorial Huerta regime in the summer of 1914 and during his administration the current constitution of Mexico was drafted...

, managed to bring an end to the war, and radically amended the 1857 Constitution to include many of the social premises and demands of the revolutionaries into what was eventually called the 1917 Constitution
Constitution of Mexico
The Political Constitution of the United Mexican States is the current constitution of Mexico. It was drafted in Santiago de Querétaro, in the State of Querétaro, by a constitutional convention, during the Mexican Revolution. It was approved by the Constitutional Congress on February 5, 1917...

. It is estimated that the war killed 900,000 of the 1910 population of 15 million. Assassinated in 1920, Carranza was succeeded by another revolutionary hero, Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón
General Álvaro Obregón Salido was the President of Mexico from 1920 to 1924. He was assassinated in 1928, shortly after winning election to another presidential term....

, who in turn was succeeded by Plutarco Elías Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles
Plutarco Elías Calles was a Mexican general and politician. He was president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928, but he continued to be the de facto ruler from 1928–1935, a period known as the maximato...

. Obregón was reelected in 1928 but assassinated before he could assume power.

PRI rule



In 1929, Calles founded the National Revolutionary Party (PNR), later renamed the Institutional Revolutionary Party
Institutional Revolutionary Party
The Institutional Revolutionary Party is a Mexican political party that held power in the country—under a succession of names—for more than 70 years. The PRI is a member of the Socialist International, as is the rival Party of the Democratic Revolution , making Mexico one of the few...

 (PRI), and started a period known as the Maximato
Maximato
The Maximato was a period in the historical and political development of Mexico ranging from 1928 to 1934. That period was named after Plutarco Elías Calles, who was known as the Jefe Maximo of the Revolution. Elias Calles was president in the period 1924-1928, but in the next six years, there were...

, which ended with the election of Lázaro Cárdenas
Lázaro Cárdenas
Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940.-Early life:Lázaro Cárdenas was born on May 21, 1895 in a lower-middle class family in the village of Jiquilpan, Michoacán. He supported his family from age 16 after the death of his father...

, who implemented many economic and social reforms, and most significantly expropriated the oil industry into Pemex
Pemex
Petróleos Mexicanos or Pemex is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. As of 2010, with a total asset worth of $415.75 billion, it is the second non-publicly listed largest company in the world by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009...

 on March 18, 1938, but sparked a diplomatic crisis with the countries whose citizens had lost businesses by Cárdenas' radical measure.

Between 1940 and 1980, Mexico experienced a substantial economic growth that some historians call the "Mexican miracle
Mexican miracle
The Mexican miracle refers to the country's inward-looking development strategy that produced sustained economic growth of 3 to 4 percent and modest 3 percent inflation annually from the 1940s until the 1970s.-Background:...

". Although the economy continued to flourish, social inequality
Distribution of wealth
The distribution of wealth is a comparison of the wealth of various members or groups in a society. It differs from the distribution of income in that it looks at the distribution of ownership of the assets in a society, rather than the current income of members of that society.-Definition of...

 remained a factor of discontent. Moreover, the PRI rule became increasingly authoritarian and at times oppressive (see the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre
Tlatelolco massacre
The Tlatelolco massacre, also known as The Night of Tlatelolco , was a government massacre of student and civilian protesters and bystanders that took place during the afternoon and night of October 2, 1968, in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco section of Mexico City...

, which claimed the life of around 30–800 protesters).

Electoral reforms and high oil prices followed the administration of Luis Echeverría
Luis Echeverría
Luis Echeverría Álvarez served as President of Mexico from 1970 to 1976.-Early history:Echeverría joined the faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1947 and taught political theory...

, mismanagement of these revenues led to inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 and exacerbated the 1982 Crisis
Latin American debt crisis
The Latin American debt crisis was a financial crisis that occurred in the early 1980s , often known as the "lost decade", when Latin American countries reached a point where their foreign debt exceeded their earning power and they were not able to repay it.-Origins:In the 1960s and 1970s many...

. That year, oil prices plunged
1980s oil glut
The 1980s oil glut was a serious surplus of crude oil caused by falling demand following the 1970s Energy Crisis. The world price of oil, which had peaked in 1980 at over US$35 per barrel , fell in 1986 from $27 to below $10...

, interest rates soared, and the government defaulted on its debt
Debt
A debt is an obligation owed by one party to a second party, the creditor; usually this refers to assets granted by the creditor to the debtor, but the term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value.A debt is created when a...

. President Miguel de la Madrid
Miguel de la Madrid
Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado is a Mexican politician affiliated to the Institutional Revolutionary Party who served as President of Mexico from 1982 to 1988.-Biography:...

 resorted to currency devaluations which in turn sparked inflation.

In the 1980s the first cracks emerged in PRI's monopolistic position. In Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

, Ernesto Ruffo Appel
Ernesto Ruffo Appel
Ernesto Ruffo Appel is an American-born Mexican politician famous for being the first state governor not belonging to the Partido Revolucionario Institucional since its formation in 1929....

 was elected as governor. In 1988, electoral fraud
Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

 prevented leftist candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas
Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas
Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano is a prominent Mexican politician. He was a former Head of Government of the Federal District and a founder of the Party of the Democratic Revolution .-Biography:...

 from winning the national presidential elections, giving Carlos Salinas de Gortari the Presidency and leading to massive protests in Mexico City.

Salinas embarked on a program of neoliberal
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

 reforms which fixed the exchange rate, controlled inflation and culminated with the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

 (NAFTA), which came into effect on January 1, 1994. The same day, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Zapatista Army of National Liberation
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is a revolutionary leftist group based in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico....

 (EZLN) started a two-week-long armed rebellion against the federal government, and has continued as a non-violent opposition movement against neoliberalism
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

 and globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

.

Democratization


In December 1994, a month after Salinas was succeeded by Ernesto Zedillo
Ernesto Zedillo
Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León is a Mexican economist and politician. He served as President of Mexico from December 1, 1994 to November 30, 2000, as the last of the uninterrupted seventy year line of Mexican presidents from the Institutional Revolutionary Party...

, the Mexican economy collapsed
1994 economic crisis in Mexico
The 1994 Economic Crisis in Mexico, widely known as the Mexican peso crisis, was caused by the sudden devaluation of the Mexican peso in December 1994....

, with a rapid rescue packaged authorized by U.S. President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and major macroeconomic reforms started by president Zedillo, the economy rapidly recovered and growth peaked at almost 7% by the end of 1999.

In 2000, after 71 years, the PRI lost a presidential election to Vicente Fox
Vicente Fox
Vicente Fox Quesada is a Mexican former politician who served as President of Mexico from 1 December 2000 to 30 November 2006 and currently serves as co-President of the Centrist Democrat International, an international organization of Christian democratic political parties.Fox was elected...

 of the opposition National Action Party
National Action Party (Mexico)
The National Action Party , is one of the three main political parties in Mexico. The party's political platform is generally considered Centre-Right in the Mexican political spectrum. Since 2000, the President of Mexico has been a member of this party; both houses have PAN pluralities, but the...

 (PAN). In the 2006 presidential elections, Felipe Calderón
Felipe Calderón
Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa is the current President of Mexico. He assumed office on December 1, 2006, and was elected for a single six-year term through 2012...

 from the PAN was declared the winner, with a very narrow margin over leftist politician Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Andrés Manuel López Obrador
Andrés Manuel López Obrador , also known as AMLO or El Peje, is a Mexican politician who held the position of Head of Government of the Federal District from 2000 to 2005, before resigning in July 2005 to contend the 2006 presidential election, representing the unsuccessful Coalition for the Good...

 of the Party of the Democratic Revolution
Party of the Democratic Revolution
The Party of the Democratic Revolution is a democratic socialist party in Mexico and one of 2 Mexican affiliates of the Socialist International...

 (PRD). López Obrador, however, contested the election
Mexican general election 2006 controversies
The Mexican general election of July 2, 2006 was one of the most hotly contested elections in Mexican history and as such, the results were controversial...

 and pledged to create an "alternative government".

Politics



The United Mexican States are a federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 whose government is representative
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

, democratic and republican
Republicanism
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

 based on a presidential system according to the 1917 Constitution. The constitution establishes three levels of government: the federal Union, the state governments and the municipal governments. According to the constitution, all constituent states of the federation must have a republican form of government composed of three branches: the executive, represented by a governor and an appointed cabinet, the legislative branch constituted by a unicameral congress and the judiciary, which will include called state Supreme Court of Justice. They also have their own civil and judicial codes.

The bicameral
Bicameralism
In the government, bicameralism is the practice of having two legislative or parliamentary chambers. Thus, a bicameral parliament or bicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of two chambers or houses....

 Congress of the Union
Congress of Mexico
The Congress of the Union is the legislative branch of the Mexican government...

, composed of a Senate
Senate of Mexico
The Senate of the Republic, constitutionally Chamber of Senators of the Honorable Congress of the Union After a series of reforms during the 1990s, it is now made up of 128 senators:...

 and a Chamber of Deputies, makes federal law
Federal law
Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as states or provinces join together in a federation, surrendering their individual sovereignty and many powers to the central government while...

, declares war, imposes taxes, approves the national budget and international treaties, and ratifies diplomatic appointments. Seats to federal and state legislatures are elected by a system of parallel voting
Parallel voting
Parallel voting describes a mixed voting system where voters in effect participate in two separate elections for a single chamber using different systems, and where the results in one election have little or no impact on the results of the other...

 that includes plurality and proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

. The Chamber of Deputies of the Congress of the Union is conformed by 300 deputies elected by plurality and 200 deputies by proportional representation with closed party lists
Closed list
Closed list describes the variant of party-list proportional representation where voters can only vote for political parties as a whole and thus have no influence on the party-supplied order in which party candidates are elected...

 for which the country is divided into 5 electoral constituencies or circumscriptions. The Senate is conformed by a total of 128 senators: 64 senators, two for each state and two for the Federal District, elected by plurality in pairs; 32 senators assigned to the first minority or first-runner up (one for each state and one for the Federal District), and 32 are assigned by proportional representation with closed party lists for which the country conforms a single electoral constituency.


The Executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

, is the President of the United Mexican States
President of Mexico
The President of the United Mexican States is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces...

, who is the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, as well as the commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Mexican military forces. The President also appoints the Cabinet
Mexican Executive Cabinet
The cabinet of Mexico is the Executive Cabinet and is a part of the executive branch of the Mexican government. It consists of eighteen Secretaries of State, the head of the federal executive legal office and the Attorney General....

 and other officers. The President is responsible for executing and enforcing the law, and has the authority of vetoing bills.

The Judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 branch of government is the Supreme Court of Justice
Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation
The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation is the highest federal court in the United Mexican States. It consists of a President of the Supreme Court and ten Ministers who are confirmed by the Senate from a list proposed by the President of the Republic.Justices of the SCJN serve for fifteen...

, comprised by eleven judges appointed by the President with Senate approval, who interpret laws and judge cases of federal competency. Other institutions of the judiciary are the Electoral Tribunal, collegiate, unitary and district tribunals, and the Council of the Federal Judiciary.

Three parties have historically been the dominant parties in Mexican politics: the National Action Party
National Action Party (Mexico)
The National Action Party , is one of the three main political parties in Mexico. The party's political platform is generally considered Centre-Right in the Mexican political spectrum. Since 2000, the President of Mexico has been a member of this party; both houses have PAN pluralities, but the...

: a right-wing conservative party founded in 1939 and belonging to the Christian Democrat Organization of America
Christian Democrat Organization of America
The Christian Democrat Organization of America is an international organization made up of political parties, groups and associations that share Christian humanist principles...

; the Institutional Revolutionary Party
Institutional Revolutionary Party
The Institutional Revolutionary Party is a Mexican political party that held power in the country—under a succession of names—for more than 70 years. The PRI is a member of the Socialist International, as is the rival Party of the Democratic Revolution , making Mexico one of the few...

, a center-left party and member of Socialist International
Socialist International
The Socialist International is a worldwide organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labour political parties. It was formed in 1951.- History :...

 that was founded in 1929 to unite all the factions of the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 and held an almost hegemonic power in Mexican politics since then; the Party of the Democratic Revolution
Party of the Democratic Revolution
The Party of the Democratic Revolution is a democratic socialist party in Mexico and one of 2 Mexican affiliates of the Socialist International...

: a left-wing party, founded in 1989 as the successor of the coalition of socialists and liberal parties.

Foreign relations


The foreign relations of Mexico are directed by the President of Mexico
President of Mexico
The President of the United Mexican States is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces...

 and managed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The principles of the foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 are constitutionally recognized in the Article 89, Section 10, which include: respect for international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 and legal equality of states
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

, their sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 and independence
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

, non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries, peaceful resolution of conflicts
Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution is the process of resolving disputes between parties.-Methods:Methods of dispute resolution include:* lawsuits * arbitration* collaborative law* mediation* conciliation* many types of negotiation* facilitation...

, and promotion of collective security
International security
International security consists of the measures taken by nations and international organizations, such as the United Nations, to ensure mutual survival and safety. These measures include military action and diplomatic agreements such as treaties and conventions. International and national security...

 through active participation in international organizations. Since the 1930s, the Estrada Doctrine
Estrada Doctrine
The Estrada Doctrine is the name of Mexico's core foreign policy ideal from 1930 to the early 2000s. Its name derives from Genaro Estrada, Secretary of Foreign Affairs during the presidency of Pascual Ortiz Rubio ....

 has served as a crucial complement to these principles.

Mexico is one of the founding members of several international organizations, most notably the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, the Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

, the Organization of Ibero-American States
Organization of Ibero-American States
The Organization of Ibero-American States is an intergovernmental organization, comprising the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking nations of America and Europe, plus Equatorial Guinea in Africa....

, the OPANAL
OPANAL
The OPANAL is an international organization which promotes nuclear disarmament...

 and the Rio Group
Rio Group
- List of Summit meetings :- See also :* Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, possible successor of the Rio Group* Union of South American Nations...

. In 2008, Mexico contributed over 40 million dollars to the United Nations regular budget. In addition, it has been the only Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 since it joined in 1994 though Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 is in the process of gaining full membership. Mexico is considered as a regional power
Regional power
In international relations, a regional power is a state that has power within a geographic region. States which wield unrivaled power and influence within a region of the world possess regional hegemony.-Characteristics:...

 hence its presence in major economic groups such as the G8+5
G8+5
The G8+5 group of leaders consists of the heads of government from the G8 nations , plus the heads of government of the five leading emerging economies .-February 2007 Declaration:On February 16, 2007, The Global Legislators Organisation The G8+5 group of leaders consists of the heads of government...

 and the G-20
G-20 major economies
The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies: 19 countries plus the European Union, which is represented by the President of the European Council and by the European Central Bank...

. In addition, since the 1990s Mexico has sought a reform of the United Nations Security Council and its working methods
Reform of the United Nations Security Council
Reform of the United Nations Security Council encompasses five key issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto held by the five permanent members, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship...

 with the support of Canada, Italy, Pakistan and other nine countries, which form a group informally called the Coffee Club
Coffee Club
Uniting for Consensus is a movement, nicknamed the Coffee Club, that developed in the 1990s in opposition to the possible expansion of the United Nations Security Council...

.

After the War of Independence, the relations of Mexico were focused primarily on the United States, its northern neighbor, largest trading partner
Economy of Mexico
The economy of Mexico is the 13th largest in the world in nominal terms and the 11th by purchasing power parity, according to the World Bank.Since the 1994 crisis, administrations have improved the country's macroeconomic fundamentals...

, and the most powerful actor in hemispheric and world affairs
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

. Mexico supported the Cuban government
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

 since its establishment in the early 1960s, the Sandinista revolution
Sandinista National Liberation Front
The Sandinista National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Nicaragua. Its members are called Sandinistas in both English and Spanish...

 in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 during the late 1970s, and leftist revolutionary groups in El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 during the 1980s. A greater priority to Latin America and the Caribbean has been given in the administration of President Felipe Calderón
Felipe Calderón
Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa is the current President of Mexico. He assumed office on December 1, 2006, and was elected for a single six-year term through 2012...

.

Military


The Mexican Armed Forces have two branches: the Mexican Army
Mexican Army
The Mexican Army is the combined land and air branch and largest of the Mexican Military services; it also is known as the National Defense Army. It is famous for having been the first army to adopt and use an automatic rifle, , in 1899, and the first to issue automatic weapons as standard issue...

 (which includes the Mexican Air Force
Mexican Air Force
The Mexican Air Force is the aviation branch of the Mexican Army and depends on the National Defense Secretariat . Since 2008, its commander is Gen...

), and the Mexican Navy
Mexican Navy
The Mexican Navy is the naval branch of the Mexican military responsible for conducting naval operations. Its stated mission is "to use the naval force of the federation for the exterior defense, and to help with internal order". The Navy consists of about 56,000 men and women plus reserves, over...

. The Mexican Armed Forces maintain significant infrastructure, including facilities for design, research, and testing of weapons, vehicles, aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

, naval vessels, defense systems and electronics; military industry manufacturing centers for building such systems, and advanced naval dockyards that build heavy military vessels and advanced missile technologies.

In recent years, Mexico has improved its training techniques, military command and information structures and has taken steps to becoming more self-reliant in supplying its military by designing as well as manufacturing its own arms, missiles, aircraft, vehicles, heavy weaponry, electronics, defense systems, armor, heavy military industrial equipment and heavy naval vessels. Since the 1990s, when the military escalated its role in the war on drugs
Mexican Drug War
The Mexican Drug War is an ongoing armed conflict taking place among rival drug cartels who fight each other for regional control, and Mexican government forces who seek to combat drug trafficking. However, the government's principal goal has been to put down the drug-related violence that was...

, increasing importance has been placed on acquiring airborne surveillance platforms, aircraft, helicopters, digital war-fighting technologies, urban warfare equipment and rapid troop transport.

Mexico has the capabilities to manufacture nuclear weapons, but forwent this possibility with the Treaty of Tlatelolco
Treaty of Tlatelolco
The Treaty of Tlatelolco is the conventional name given to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean...

 in 1968 and pledged to only use its nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. In 1970 Mexico's national institute for nuclear research successfully refined weapons grade uranium which is used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons but in April 2010, Mexico agreed to turn over its weapons grade uranium to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Historically, Mexico has remained neutral in international conflicts
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

 with the exception of World War II. However, in recent years some political parties have proposed an amendment of the Constitution
Constitution of Mexico
The Political Constitution of the United Mexican States is the current constitution of Mexico. It was drafted in Santiago de Querétaro, in the State of Querétaro, by a constitutional convention, during the Mexican Revolution. It was approved by the Constitutional Congress on February 5, 1917...

 in order to allow the Mexican army
Mexican Army
The Mexican Army is the combined land and air branch and largest of the Mexican Military services; it also is known as the National Defense Army. It is famous for having been the first army to adopt and use an automatic rifle, , in 1899, and the first to issue automatic weapons as standard issue...

, air force
Mexican Air Force
The Mexican Air Force is the aviation branch of the Mexican Army and depends on the National Defense Secretariat . Since 2008, its commander is Gen...

 or navy
Mexican Navy
The Mexican Navy is the naval branch of the Mexican military responsible for conducting naval operations. Its stated mission is "to use the naval force of the federation for the exterior defense, and to help with internal order". The Navy consists of about 56,000 men and women plus reserves, over...

 to collaborate with the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in peacekeeping missions
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

, or to provide military help to countries that officially ask for it.

Administrative divisions


The United Mexican States are a federation of thirty-one free and sovereign states, which form a union that exercises a degree of jurisdiction over the Federal District and other territories.

Each state has its own constitution, congress
Congress
A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different nations, constituent states, independent organizations , or groups....

, and a judiciary, and its citizens elect by direct voting a governor for a six-year term, and representatives to their respective unicameral state congresses for three-year terms.

The Federal District is a special political division that belongs to the federation as a whole and not to a particular state, and as such, has more limited local rule than the nation's states.

The states are divided into municipalities
Municipalities of Mexico
Municipalities are the second-level administrative division in Mexico . There are 2,438 municipalities in Mexico, making the average municipality population 45,616...

, the smallest administrative political entity in the country, governed by a mayor or municipal president
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 (Presidente municipal), elected by its residents by plurality.

Geography


Mexico is located between latitudes 14°
14th parallel north
The 14th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 14 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 33°N
33rd parallel north
The 33rd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 33 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 86°
86th meridian west
The meridian 86° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 119°W
119th meridian west
The meridian 119° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 in the southern portion of North America. Almost all of Mexico lies in the North American Plate
North American Plate
The North American Plate is a tectonic plate covering most of North America, Greenland, Cuba, Bahamas, and parts of Siberia, Japan and Iceland. It extends eastward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and westward to the Chersky Range in eastern Siberia. The plate includes both continental and oceanic crust...

, with small parts of the Baja California peninsula
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California peninsula , is a peninsula in northwestern Mexico. Its land mass separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The Peninsula extends from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south.The total area of the Baja California...

 on the Pacific
Pacific Plate
The Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean. At 103 million square kilometres, it is the largest tectonic plate....

 and Cocos Plate
Cocos Plate
The Cocos Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate beneath the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Central America, named for Cocos Island, which rides upon it.-Geology:...

s. Geophysically
Geophysics
Geophysics is the physics of the Earth and its environment in space; also the study of the Earth using quantitative physical methods. The term geophysics sometimes refers only to the geological applications: Earth's shape; its gravitational and magnetic fields; its internal structure and...

, some geographers include the territory east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
Isthmus of Tehuantepec
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is an isthmus in Mexico. It represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, and prior to the opening of the Panama Canal was a major shipping route known simply as the Tehuantepec Route...

 (around 12% of the total) within Central America. Geopolitically
Geopolitics
Geopolitics, from Greek Γη and Πολιτική in broad terms, is a theory that describes the relation between politics and territory whether on local or international scale....

, however, Mexico is entirely considered part of North America, along with Canada and the United States.

Mexico's total area is 1972550 km² (761,606 sq mi), making it the world's 14th largest country by total area, and includes approximately 6000 km² (2,317 sq mi) of islands in the Pacific Ocean (including the remote Guadalupe Island
Guadalupe Island
Guadalupe Island, or Isla Guadalupe is a volcanic island located 241 kilometers off the west coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula and some 400 kilometers southwest of the city of Ensenada in Baja California state, in the Pacific Ocean...

 and the Revillagigedo Islands
Revillagigedo Islands
The Revillagigedo Islands or Revillagigedo Archipelago are a group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, known for their unique ecosystem...

), Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, Caribbean, and Gulf of California
Gulf of California
The Gulf of California is a body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland...

. From its farthest land points, Mexico is a little over 2000 mi (3,219 km) in length.
On its north, Mexico shares a 3141 km (1,952 mi) border with the United States. The meandering Río Bravo del Norte (known as the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 in the United States) defines the border from Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez , officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez, but abbreviated Juárez and formerly known as El Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez's estimated population is 1.5 million people. The city lies on the Rio Grande...

 east to the Gulf of Mexico. A series of natural and artificial markers delineate the United States-Mexican border west from Ciudad Juárez to the Pacific Ocean. On its south, Mexico shares an 871 km (541 mi) border with Guatemala and a 251 km (156 mi) border with Belize.

Mexico is crossed from north to south by two mountain ranges known as Sierra Madre Oriental
Sierra Madre Oriental
The Sierra Madre Oriental is a mountain range in northeastern Mexico.-Setting:Spanning the Sierra Madre Oriental runs from Coahuila south through Nuevo León, southwest Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, and Hidalgo to northern Puebla, where it joins with the east-west running Eje Volcánico...

 and Sierra Madre Occidental
Sierra Madre Occidental
The Sierra Madre Occidental is a mountain range in western Mexico.-Setting:The range runs north to south, from just south of the Sonora–Arizona border southeast through eastern Sonora, western Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, Nayarit, Jalisco, Aguascalientes to Guanajuato, where it joins...

, which are the extension of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 from northern North America. From east to west at the center, the country is crossed by the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt
Trans-Mexican volcanic belt
The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt also known as the Transvolcanic Belt and locally as the Sierra Nevada , is a volcanic belt that extends 900 km from west to east across central-southern Mexico...

 also known as the Sierra Nevada. A fourth mountain range, the Sierra Madre del Sur
Sierra Madre del Sur
The Sierra Madre del Sur is a mountain range in southern Mexico, extending from southern Michoacán east through Guerrero, to the Istmo de Tehuantepec in eastern Oaxaca.-Geography:...

, runs from Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

 to Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

.

As such, the majority of the Mexican central and northern territories are located at high altitudes, and the highest elevations are found at the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: Pico de Orizaba
Pico de Orizaba
The Pico de Orizaba, or Citlaltépetl , is a stratovolcano, the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America. It rises above sea level in the eastern end of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, on the border between the states of Veracruz and Puebla...

 (5700 m (18,701 ft)), Popocatepetl
Popocatépetl
Popocatépetl also known as "Popochowa" by the local population is an active volcano and, at , the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba...

 (5462 m (17,920 ft)) and Iztaccihuatl
Iztaccíhuatl
Iztaccíhuatl , is the third highest mountain in Mexico, after the Pico de Orizaba, , and Popocatépetl, . Its name is Nahuatl for "White woman"....

 (5286 m (17,343 ft)) and the Nevado de Toluca
Nevado de Toluca
Nevado de Toluca is a large stratovolcano in central Mexico, located about west of Mexico City near the city of Toluca. It is generally cited as the fourth highest of Mexico's peaks, after Pico de Orizaba, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, although by some measurements, Sierra Negra is slightly...

 (4577 m (15,016 ft)). Three major urban agglomerations are located in the valleys between these four elevations: Toluca
Toluca
Toluca, formally known as Toluca de Lerdo, is the state capital of Mexico State as well as the seat of the Municipality of Toluca. It is the center of a rapidly growing urban area, now the fifth largest in Mexico. It is located west-southwest of Mexico City and only about 40 minutes by car to the...

, Greater Mexico City
Greater Mexico City
Greater Mexico City refers to the conurbation around Mexico City, officially called Mexico City Metropolitan Area , constituted by the Federal District—itself composed of 16 boroughs—and 41 adjacent municipalities of the states of Mexico and Hidalgo...

 and Puebla
Puebla, Puebla
The city and municipality of Puebla is the capital of the state of Puebla, and one of the five most important colonial cities in Mexico. Being a planned city, it is located to the east of Mexico City and west of Mexico's main port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two.The city was founded...

.

Climate





The Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Cancer
The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern tropic, is the circle of latitude on the Earth that marks the most northerly position at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its zenith...

 effectively divides the country into temperate and tropical zones. Land north of the twenty-fourth parallel experiences cooler temperatures during the winter months. South of the twenty-fourth parallel, temperatures are fairly constant year round and vary solely as a function of elevation. This gives Mexico one of the world's most diverse weather systems.

Areas south of the twenty-fourth parallel with elevations up to 1000 m (3,281 ft) (the southern parts of both coastal plains as well as the Yucatán Peninsula
Yucatán Peninsula
The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel...

), have a yearly median temperature between 24 to 28 °C (75.2 to 82.4 F). Temperatures here remain high throughout the year, with only a 5 C-change difference between winter and summer median temperatures. Both Mexican coasts, except for the south coast of the Bay of Campeche and northern Baja, are also vulnerable to serious hurricanes
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

 during the summer and fall. Although low-lying areas north of the twentieth-fourth parallel are hot and humid during the summer, they generally have lower yearly temperature averages (from 20 to 24 °C or 68 to 75.2 F) because of more moderate conditions during the winter.

Many large cities in Mexico are located in the Valley of Mexico or in adjacent valleys with altitudes generally above 2000 m (6,562 ft). This gives them a year-round temperate climate with yearly temperature averages (from 16 to 18 °C or 60.8 to 64.4 F) and cool nighttime temperatures throughout the year.

Many parts of Mexico, particularly the north, have a dry climate with sporadic rainfall while parts of the tropical lowlands in the south average more than 2000 mm (78.7 in) of annual precipitation. For example, many cities in the north like Monterrey
Monterrey
Monterrey , is the capital city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the...

, Hermosillo
Hermosillo
Hermosillo is a city and municipality located centrally in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. It is the capital and main economic center for the state and region. It contains almost all of the state's manufacturing and has thirty percent of its population...

, and Mexicali
Mexicali
Mexicali is the capital of the State of Baja California, seat of the Municipality of Mexicali, and 2nd largest city in Baja California. The City of Mexicali has a population of 689,775, according to the 2010 census, while the population of the entire metropolitan area reaches 936,826.The city...

 experience temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) or more in summer. In the Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is one of the largest and hottest...

 temperatures reach 50 °C (122 °F) or more.

Biodiversity



Mexico is one of the 18 megadiverse countries
Megadiverse countries
The megadiverse countries are a group of countries that harbor the majority of the Earth's species and are therefore considered extremely biodiverse...

 of the world. With over 200,000 different species, Mexico is home of 10–12% of the world's biodiversity. Mexico ranks first in biodiversity in reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s with 707 known species, second in mammals with 438 species, fourth in amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s with 290 species, and fourth in flora, with 26,000 different species. Mexico is also considered the second country in the world in ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s and fourth in overall species. Approximately 2,500 species are protected by Mexican legislations.
As of 2002, Mexico had the second fastest rate of deforestation in the world, second only to Brazil. The government has taken another initiative in the late 1990s to expand the people's knowledge, interest and use of the country's esteemed biodiversity, through the Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad
Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad
The National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity is a permanent interdepartmental commission, created in 1992. The President of the commission is the head of the Federal Executive, C. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa. The Technical Secretary is the head of the Secretariat of Environment and...

.

In Mexico, 170000 square kilometres (65,637 sq mi) are considered "Protected Natural Areas." These include 34 reserve biospheres (unaltered ecosystems), 64 national parks, 4 natural monuments (protected in perpetuity for their aesthetic, scientific or historical value), 26 areas of protected flora and fauna, 4 areas for natural resource protection (conservation of soil, hydrological basins and forests) and 17 sanctuaries (zones rich in diverse species).

The discovery of the Americas brought to the rest of the world many widely used food crops
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and edible plants. Some of Mexico's native culinary
Culinary art
Culinary art is the art of preparing and cooking foods. The word "culinary" is defined as something related to, or connected with, cooking. A culinarion is a person working in the culinary arts. A culinarian working in restaurants is commonly known as a cook or a chef. Culinary artists are...

 ingredients include: chocolate
Chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

, avocado
Avocado
The avocado is a tree native to Central Mexico, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel...

, tomato
Tomato
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...

, maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Flat-leaved Vanilla . The word vanilla derives from the Spanish word "", little pod...

, guava
Guava
Guavas are plants in the myrtle family genus Psidium , which contains about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America...

, chayote
Chayote
The chayote , also known as christophene, vegetable pear, mirliton, pear squash, christophine , chouchoute , choko , starprecianté, citrayota, citrayote , chuchu , chow chow , cho cho , sayote ,...

, epazote, camote
Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of...

, jícama
Jícama
Pachyrhizus erosus, commonly known as Jícama , Yam, and Mexican Turnip, is the name of a native Mexican vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant's edible tuberous root. Jícama is one species in the genus Pachyrhizus. Plants in this genus are commonly referred to as yam bean,...

, nopal
Nopal
Nopales are a vegetable made from the young cladode segments of prickly pear, carefully peeled to remove the spines. These fleshy pads are flat and about hand-sized. They can be purple or green...

, zucchini
Zucchini
The zucchini is a summer squash which often grows to nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. It is a hybrid of the cucumber. Along with certain other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. Zucchini can be dark or light green...

, tejocote
Crataegus mexicana
Crataegus mexicana is a species of hawthorn known by the common names tejocote, manzanita, tejocotera and Mexican hawthorn. It is native to the mountains of Mexico and parts of Guatemala, and has been introduced elsewhere in the Andes. The fruit of this species is one of the most useful among...

, huitlacoche
Corn smut
Corn smut is a pathogenic plant fungus that causes smut disease on maize and teosinte...

, sapote
Sapote
Sapote is a term for a soft, edible fruit. The word is incorporated into the common names of several unrelated fruit-bearing plants native to Mexico, Central America and northern parts of South America....

, mamey sapote
Mamey sapote
The mamey sapote is a species of tree native to southern Mexico. Today, the tree is cultivated not only in Mexico, but also in Central America, the Caribbean, and South Florida for its fruit, which is commonly eaten in many Latin American countries...

, many varieties of bean
Bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

s, and an even greater variety of chiles
Chili pepper
Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper.Chili peppers originated in the Americas...

, such as the habanero and the jalapeño
Jalapeño
The jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper that has a warm, burning sensation when eaten. A mature jalapeño fruit is 2–3½ inches long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green, but occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red...

. Most of these names come from indigenous languages like Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

.

Economy



Mexico has the 13th largest nominal GDP and the 11th largest by purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

. GDP annual average growth for the period of 1995–2002 was 5.1%. Foreign debt decreased to less than 20% of GDP. From 2000 to 2004, the population in poverty has decreased from 24.2% to 17.6% in the general population and from 42% to 27.9% in rural areas. Since the late 1990s, the majority of the population has been part of the growing middle class. The Mexican economy is expected to nearly triple by 2020. According to Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

, by 2050 Mexico will have the 5th largest economy in the world.

According to a 2008 UN report the average income in a typical urbanized area of Mexico was $26,654, a rate higher than advanced nations like South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 or Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, while the average income in rural areas just miles away was only $8,403, a rate comparable to developing countries such as Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 or Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. Daily minimum wages are set annually by law and determined by zone; $57.46 Mexican peso
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

s ($5.75 USD
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

) in Zona A (Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

, Federal District
Federal district
Federal districts are a type of administrative division of a federation, under the direct control of a federal government. They exist in various countries and states all over the world.-United States:...

, State of Mexico, and large cities), $55.84 Mexican peso
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

s ($5.59 USD) in Zone B (Sonora
Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

, Nuevo León
Nuevo León
Nuevo León It is located in Northeastern Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Tamaulipas to the north and east, San Luis Potosí to the south, and Coahuila to the west. To the north, Nuevo León has a 15 kilometer stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border adjacent to the U.S...

, Tamaulipas
Tamaulipas
Tamaulipas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tamaulipas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 43 municipalities and its capital city is Ciudad Victoria. The capital city was named after Guadalupe Victoria, the...

, Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

, and Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

), and $54.47 Mexican peso
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

s ($5.45 USD) in Zone C (all other states)

In 2006, trade with the United States and Canada accounted for almost 50% of its exports and 45% of its imports. During the first three quarters of 2010, the United States had a $46.0 billion trade deficit with Mexico. In August 2010 Mexico surpassed France to became the 9th largest holder of US debt. The commercial and financial dependence on the US is a cause for concern. The remittances from Mexican citizens working in the United States account for 0.2% of Mexico's GDP which was equal to US$20 billion dollars per year in 2004 and is the tenth largest source of foreign income after oil, industrial exports, manufactured goods, electronics, heavy industry, automobiles, construction, food, banking and financial services. According to Mexico's central bank, remittances in 2008 amounted to $25bn.

Mexico is the largest North American auto-producing nation, recently surpassing Canada and the U.S. The industry produces technologically complex components and engages in some research and development activities. The "Big Three" (General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, Ford and Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

) have been operating in Mexico since the 1930s, while Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 and Nissan built their plants in the 1960s. In Puebla
Puebla, Puebla
The city and municipality of Puebla is the capital of the state of Puebla, and one of the five most important colonial cities in Mexico. Being a planned city, it is located to the east of Mexico City and west of Mexico's main port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two.The city was founded...

 alone, 70 industrial part-makers cluster around Volkswagen. The relatively small domestic car industry is represented by DINA S.A.
DINA S.A.
DINA is a Mexican automotive producer of heavy duty and specialty trucks, urban buses, armored military vehicles and intercity coaches...

, which has built buses and trucks for almost half a century, and the new Mastretta
Mastretta
Mastrettadesign Tecnoidea SA de CV is a Mexican car maker and design studio established by Mexican industrial designer Daniel Mastretta in Mexico City in 1987. Mastretta under Tecnoidea and Unidiseño brands has previously developed a small number of kit cars, but the 2010 MXT is the first fully...

 company that builds the high performance Mastretta MXT
Mastretta MXT
The Mastretta MXT is the first high performance sport automobile produced by the Mexican car maker Mastretta, and is notable for being both completely produced and designed in Mexico, as well as the first fully Mexican made sports car...

 sports car.

Major players in the broadcasting industry are Televisa
Televisa
Televisa is a Mexican multimedia conglomerate, the largest mass media company in Latin America and in the Spanish-speaking world. It is a major international entertainment business, with much of its programming airing in the United States on Univision, with which it has an exclusive contract...

, the largest Spanish media company in the Spanish-speaking world, and TV Azteca
TV Azteca
Azteca, is the second largest Mexican television entertainment. It was established in 1983 as the state-owned Instituto Mexicano de la Televisión , a holding of the national TV networks channel 13 and 7 and was privatized under its current name in 1993 and now is part of Grupo Salinas...

.

Tourism





Mexico is the twenty-third highest tourism spender in the world, and the highest in Latin America. The vast majority of tourists come to Mexico from the United States and Canada. Many other visitors come from Europe and Asia. A small number of tourists also come from other Latin American countries. In the 2008 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index
Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report was first published in 2007 by the World Economic Forum. The 2007 report covered 124 major and emerging economies. The 2008 report covered 130 countries,, the 2009 report expanded to 133 countries, and the 2011 report to 139 countries...

, fifth among Latin American countries, and the ninth in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

.

Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 is most popular with tourists as an ancient Mesoamerican city and the site of many popular tourist attractions such as the Pyramid of the Sun
Pyramid of the Sun
The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest building in Teotihuacan and one of the largest in Mesoamerica. Found along the Avenue of the Dead, in between the Pyramid of the Moon and the Ciudadela, and in the shadow of the massive mountain Cerro Gordo, the pyramid is part of a large complex in the heart...

 and the Pyramid of the Moon
Pyramid of the Moon
The Pyramid of the Moon is the second largest pyramid in Teotihuacan after the Pyramid of the Sun. It is located in the western part of Teotihuacan and mimics the contours of the mountain Cerro Gordo, just north of the site...

. The city is also home to the Plaza México
Plaza México
The Plaza México, situated in Mexico City, is the world's largest bullring. This 48,000-seat facility is usually dedicated to bullfighting, but many boxing fights have been held there as well, including Julio César Chávez's third bout with Frankie Randall...

 and to the Mexican National Palace
National Palace (Mexico)
The National Palace, or Palacio Nacional in Spanish), was the seat of the federal executive in Mexico. It is located on Mexico City's main square, the Plaza de la Constitución...

, built on the site of Montezuma
Moctezuma II
Moctezuma , also known by a number of variant spellings including Montezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma and referred to in full by early Nahuatl texts as Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan, reigning from 1502 to 1520...

's palace, and the huge Metropolitan Cathedral
Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City is the largest and oldest cathedral in the Americas and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico. It is situated atop the former Aztec sacred precinct near the Templo Mayor on the northern side of the Plaza de la...

, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, built over the even greater Temple of Teocalli.

Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is located in the central region of Jalisco in the western-pacific area of Mexico. With a population of 1,564,514 it is Mexico's second most populous municipality...

, the second-largest city by population in the Republic, is home of some of Mexico's best known traditions, such as tequila
Tequila
Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands of the western Mexican state of Jalisco....

, mariachi
Mariachi
Mariachi is a genre of music that originated in the State of Jalisco, in Mexico. It is an integration of stringed instruments highly influenced by the cultural impacts of the historical development of Western Mexico. Throughout the history of mariachi, musicians have experimented with brass, wind,...

 music and charros, or Mexican cowboys. Its similitude with western European countries mixed with modern architecture and infrastructure makes Guadalajara very attractive to tourists. Along with Mexico City and beach destinations (Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

, Acapulco
Acapulco
Acapulco is a city, municipality and major sea port in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, southwest from Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history...

, etc.), Guadalajara is one of the most visited cities in Mexico. Cultural tourism is the main attraction, the city being home to a large number of museums, art galleries and theatres.

Monterrey
Monterrey
Monterrey , is the capital city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the...

, was founded in the late 16th century. The downtown district is the oldest section in the city, surrounded by newer neighbourhoods. The Museo de Historia Mexicana (Museum of Mexican History), MARCO
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey is one of the leading museums of contemporary art in Mexico. MARCO organizes major exhibitions with regional and international contemporary artists. It is located in the heart of Monterrey next to the Macroplaza and Barrio Antiguo...

 (Monterrey Museum of Contemporary Art), Metropolitan Museum of Monterrey and the Museum of the Palacio de Gobierno, or State House, are some of the better known museums in the city, as well as nationally. The Santa Lucía Riverwalk
Santa Lucia Riverwalk
The Santa Lucia Riverwalk is an artificial river located in the Mexican city of Monterrey, Nuevo León.- History :Construction of the river began in 1996, but for economic reasons was stopped for nine years. In 2005, construction continued and was finished in 2007...

 is a popular tourist site, connecting the Fundidora Park
Fundidora Park
-History and location:This urban sustainable park is geolocated inside the former Monterrey Foundry Property with an area of . The Monterrey Foundry operated from 1900 until its bankruptcy in 1986...

 with the Macroplaza
Macroplaza
The Macroplaza or La Gran Plaza is a town square or plaza located in the heart of the city of Monterrey, Mexico.The Macroplaza was built in the early 1980s during the governorship of Alfonso Martínez Domínguez...

, one of the largest plazas in the world.

Energy



Energy production in Mexico is managed by state-owned companies: the Federal Commission of Electricity
Comisión Federal de Electricidad
The Comisión Federal de Electricidad is the Mexican state-owned electric widely known as CFE. It is the dominant electric company and the second most powerful state-owned company in Mexico after Pemex. The Mexican constitution states that the government is responsible for the control and...

 and Pemex
Pemex
Petróleos Mexicanos or Pemex is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. As of 2010, with a total asset worth of $415.75 billion, it is the second non-publicly listed largest company in the world by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009...

.

Pemex, the public company in charge of exploration, extraction, transportation and marketing of crude oil and natural gas, as well as the refining and distribution of petroleum products and petrochemicals, is one of the largest companies in the world by revenue, making US $86 billion in sales a year. Mexico is the sixth-largest oil producer in the world, with 3.7 million barrels per day. In 1980 oil exports accounted for 61.6% of total exports; by 2000 it was only 7.3%.

The largest hydro plant in Mexico is the 2,400 MW Manuel Moreno Torres Dam
Chicoasén Dam
The Chicoasén Dam is an embankment dam and hydroelectric power station on the Grijalva River near Chicoasén in Chiapas, Mexico. The dam's power plant, known as "Manuel Moreno Torres" contains 5 x 300 MW, 3 x 310 MW Francis turbine-generators. Torres was Comisión Federal de Electricidad's Director...

 in Chicoasén, Chiapas
Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...

, in the Grijalva River
Grijalva River
Grijalva River, formerly known as Tabasco River. is a 480 km long river in southeastern Mexico. It is named after Juan de Grijalva who visited the area in 1518. The river rises in Chiapas highlands and flows from Chiapas to the state of Tabasco through the Sumidero Canyon into the Bay of...

. This is the world's fourth most productive hydroelectric plant.

Transportation




The paved-roadway network extended for 116802 km (72,577.6 mi) in 2005; 10474 km (6,508.3 mi) were multi-lane freeways or expressways
Limited-access road
A limited-access road known by various terms worldwide, including limited-access highway, dual-carriageway and expressway, is a highway or arterial road for high-speed traffic which has many or most characteristics of a controlled-access highway , including limited or no access to adjacent...

, most of which were tollways. Nonetheless, it still cannot meet national needs adequately. Most of the domestic passenger transport needs are served by an extensive bus network.

Mexico was one of the first Latin American countries to promote railway development, and the network covers 30952 km (19,232.7 mi). The Secretary of Communications and Transport
Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico)
The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico is a federal entity that regulates commercial road traffic and broadcasting...

 of Mexico is currently building a high-speed rail link that will transport its passengers from Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 to Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is located in the central region of Jalisco in the western-pacific area of Mexico. With a population of 1,564,514 it is Mexico's second most populous municipality...

, Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

. The train, which travels at 300 kilometers per hour, allows passengers to travel from Mexico City to Guadalajara in just 2 hours. The whole project was projected to cost 240 billion pesos, or about 25 billion dollars and is being paid for jointly by the Mexican government and the local private sector including the wealthiest man in the world, Mexico's billionaire business tycoon Carlos Slim. The government of the state of Yucatán
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

 is also funding the construction of a high speed line connecting the cities of Cozumel
Cozumel
Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel. Cozumel is one of the ten municipalities of the state of Quintana Roo...

 to Mérida
Mérida, Yucatán
Mérida is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Yucatán and the Yucatán Peninsula. It is located in the northwest part of the state, about from the Gulf of Mexico coast...

 and Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization located in the northern center of the Yucatán Peninsula, in the Municipality of Tinúm, Yucatán state, present-day Mexico....

 and Cancún.

In 1999, Mexico had 233 airports with paved runways; of these, 35 carry 97% of the passenger traffic. The Mexico City International Airport
Mexico City International Airport
Benito Juárez International Airport , in Venustiano Carranza, one of the sixteen boroughs into which Mexico's Federal District is divided, is a commercial airport that serves Mexico City, the capital of Mexico...

 remains the largest in Latin America and the 44th largest in the world transporting 21 million passengers a year.

Communications



The telecommunications industry is mostly dominated by Telmex (Teléfonos de México), privatized in 1990. As of 2006, Telmex had expanded its operations to Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and the United States. Other players in the domestic industry are Axtel
Axtel
Axtel , is a Mexican telecommunications company, headquartered in Monterrey, that provides telecommunication products and services in Mexico...

 and Maxcom. Due to Mexican orography
Orography
Orography is the study of the formation and relief of mountains, and can more broadly include hills, and any part of a region's elevated terrain...

, providing landline telephone service at remote mountainous areas is expensive, and the penetration of line-phones per capita is low compared to other Latin American countries, at forty-percent, however 82% of Mexicans over the age of 14 own a mobile phone. Mobile telephony has the advantage of reaching all areas at a lower cost, and the total number of mobile lines is almost two times that of landlines, with an estimation of 63 million lines. The telecommunication industry is regulated by the government through Cofetel (Comisión Federal de Telecomunicaciones).

The Mexican satellite system is domestic and operates 120 earth stations. There is also extensive microwave radio relay network and considerable use of fiber-optic and coaxial cable. Mexican satellites are operated by Satélites Mexicanos (Satmex
Satmex
Satmex is a commercial company from Mexico that operates space satellites that provide services to the Americas.-History:...

), a private company, leader in Latin America and servicing both North and South America. It offers broadcast, telephone and telecommunication services to 37 countries in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, from Canada to Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

. Through business partnerships Satmex provides high-speed connectivity to ISPs and Digital Broadcast Services. Satmex
Satmex
Satmex is a commercial company from Mexico that operates space satellites that provide services to the Americas.-History:...

 maintains its own satellite fleet with most of the fleet being Mexican designed and built.

Usage of radio, television, and Internet in Mexico is prevalent. There are approximately 1,410 radio broadcast stations and 236 television stations (excluding repeaters). Major players in the broadcasting industry are Televisa
Televisa
Televisa is a Mexican multimedia conglomerate, the largest mass media company in Latin America and in the Spanish-speaking world. It is a major international entertainment business, with much of its programming airing in the United States on Univision, with which it has an exclusive contract...

—the largest Spanish media company in the Spanish-speaking world—and TV Azteca
TV Azteca
Azteca, is the second largest Mexican television entertainment. It was established in 1983 as the state-owned Instituto Mexicano de la Televisión , a holding of the national TV networks channel 13 and 7 and was privatized under its current name in 1993 and now is part of Grupo Salinas...

.

Science and technology



The National Autonomous University of Mexico
National Autonomous University of Mexico
The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is a university in Mexico. UNAM was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous...

 was officially established in 1910, and the university become one of the most important institutes of higher learning in Mexico. UNAM provides world class education in science, medicine, and engineering. Many scientific institutes and new institutes of higher learning, such as National Polytechnic Institute
National Polytechnic Institute
The National Polytechnic Institute colloquially known as the Polytechnic is one of the largest public universities in Mexico with 153.027 students at the high school, undergraduate and postgraduate levels...

 (founded in 1936), were established during the first half of the 20th century. Most of the new research institutes were created within UNAM. Twelve institutes were integrated into UNAM from 1929 to 1973. In 1959, the Mexican Academy of Sciences
Mexican Academy of Sciences
The Mexican Academy of Sciences is a non-profit organization comprising over 1800 distinguished Mexican scientists, attached to various institutions in the country, as well as a number of eminent foreign colleagues, including various Nobel Prize winners...

 was created to coordinate scientific efforts between academics.

In 1995 Mexican chemist Mario J. Molina
Mario J. Molina
Mario José Molina-Pasquel Henríquez is a Mexican chemist and one of the most prominent precursors to the discovering of the Antarctic ozone hole. He was a co-recipient Mario José Molina-Pasquel Henríquez (born March 19, 1943 in Mexico City) is a Mexican chemist and one of the most prominent...

 shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature,...

 with Paul J. Crutzen
Paul J. Crutzen
Paul Jozef Crutzen is a Dutch Nobel prize winning atmospheric chemist.Crutzen is best known for his research on ozone depletion. He lists his main research interests as “Stratospheric and tropospheric chemistry, and their role in the biogeochemical cycles and climate”...

, and F. Sherwood Rowland for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone. Molina, an alumnus of UNAM, became the first Mexican citizen to win the Nobel Prize in science.

In recent years, the biggest scientific project being developed in Mexico was the construction of the Large Millimeter Telescope
Large Millimeter Telescope
The Large Millimeter Telescope was inaugurated in Mexico on 22 November 2006. It is the world's largest and most sensitive single-aperture telescope in its frequency range, built for observing radio waves in the wave lengths from approximately 0.85 to 4 mm...

 (Gran Telescopio Milimétrico, GMT), the world's largest and most sensitive single-aperture telescope in its frequency range. It was designed to observe regions of space obscured by stellar dust.

The electronics industry of Mexico has grown enormously within the last decade. In 2007 Mexico surpassed South Korea as the second largest manufacturer of televisions, and in 2008 Mexico surpassed China, South Korea and Taiwan to become the largest producer of smartphones in the world. There are almost half a million (451,000) students enrolled in electronics engineering programs

Demographics


The recently-conducted 2010 Census showed a population of 112,336,538, making it the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.

Mexico is ethnically diverse, the various indigenous peoples and European immigrants are united under a single national identity. The core part of Mexican national identity is formed on the basis of a synthesis of European culture with Indigenous cultures in a process known as mestizaje, alluding to the mixed biological origins of the majority of Mexicans. Mexican politicians and reformers such as José Vasconcelos
José Vasconcelos
José Vasconcelos Calderón was a Mexican writer, philosopher and politician. He is one of the most influential and controversial personalities in the development of modern Mexico. His philosophy of "indigenismo" affected all aspects of Mexican sociocultural, political, and economic...

 and Manuel Gamio
Manuel Gamio
Manuel Gamio was a Mexican anthropologist, archaeologist, sociologist, and a leader of the indigenismo movement. He is often considered as the father of modern anthropological studies in Mexico...

 were instrumental in building a Mexican national identity on the concept of mestizaje. The term mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 often used in literature about Mexican social identities carries a variety of meanings containing both socio-cultural, economic, racial and biological components and for this reason it has been deemed to imprecise to be used for ethnic classification, for which reason it has been abandoned in Mexican censuses.

The category of "indígena" (indigenous) can be defined narrowly according to linguistic criteria including only persons that speak one of Mexicos 62 indigenous languages
Languages of Mexico
The government of Mexico recognizes 68 distinct indigenous Amerindian languages as national languages in addition to Spanish. According to the Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and National Institute of Indigenous Languages [INALI], while 10-14% of the population identifies as...

 or self-identify as having an indigenous cultural background. According with the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples
National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples
The National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples is a decentralized agency of the Mexican Federal Public Administration. It was founded in 2003 as a replacement for the National Indigenist Institute . It has its headquarters in Mexico City and, since 15 December 2006, has been...

 as of 2005, there are 10.1 million Mexicans who speak an indigenous language and claim indigenous heritage, representing 9.8% of the total population.

The word "mestizo" is sometimes used with the meaning of a person with mixed Indigenous and European blood. This usage does not conform to the Mexican social reality where a person of pure indigenous genetic heritage would be considered Mestizo either by rejecting his indigenous culture or by not speaking an indigenous language, and a person with a very low percentage of indigenous genetic heritage would be considered fully indigenous either by speaking an indigenous language or by identifying with a particular indigenous cultural heritage.

Mexico represents the largest source of immigration to the United States
Immigration to the United States
Immigration to the United States has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of the United States. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants,...

. About 9% of the population born in Mexico is now living in the United States. 28.3 million Americans listed their ancestry as Mexican as of 2006. Per the 2000 U.S. Census, a plurality of 47.3% of Mexican American
Mexican American
Mexican Americans are Americans of Mexican descent. As of July 2009, Mexican Americans make up 10.3% of the United States' population with over 31,689,000 Americans listed as of Mexican ancestry. Mexican Americans comprise 66% of all Hispanics and Latinos in the United States...

s self identify as White, closely followed by Mexican Americans who self identify as "Some other race", usually Mestizo (European/Indian) with 45.5%.

Mexico is home to the largest number of U.S. citizens abroad (estimated at one million as of 1999). The Argentine community is considered to be the second largest foreign community in the country (estimated somewhere between 30,000 and 150,000). Mexico also has a large Lebanese
Lebanese people
The Lebanese people are a nation and ethnic group of Levantine people originating in what is today the country of Lebanon, including those who had inhabited Mount Lebanon prior to the creation of the modern Lebanese state....

 community, now numbering around 400,000. In October 2008, Mexico agreed to deport Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

ns using the country as an entry point to the US. Large numbers of Central American migrants who have crossed Guatemala's western border into Mexico are deported every year. Small numbers of illegal immigrants come from Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

.

Population genetics


In 2004, the Mexican government founded the National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN) which launched the Mexican Genome Diversity Project. In May 2009, the Institute issued a report on a major genomic study of 300 mestizos in the Mexican population. Among the findings it was reported that over 80% of the population is mestizo and that the proportions of European and indigenous ancestry are approximately even. A study presented by the American Society of Human Genetics
American Society of Human Genetics
The American Society of Human Genetics , founded in 1948, is the primary professional membership organization for specialists in human genetics worldwide. As of 2009, the organization had approximately 8,000 members...

 has shown (based on genes) that, on average, Mestizo Mexicans are (genetically) 58.96% European, 35.05% "Asian" (Amerindian), and 05.03% African. Sonora shows the highest European contribution (70.63%) and Guerrero the lowest (51.98%) where we also observe the highest Asian contribution (37.17%). African contribution ranges from 2.8% in Sonora to 11.13% in Veracruz. 80% of the Mexican population was classed as mestizo (defined as "being racially mixed in some degree").

Languages



Mexico has no de jure constitutional official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 at the federal level in Mexico, but Spanish is used for all public functions, and the country has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world with almost a third of all Spanish native speakers.

Mexico is home to a large number of indigenous languages, spoken by some 5.4% of the population - 1.2% of the population are monolingual speakers of an indigenous language. The indigenous languages with most speakers are Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

, spoken by approximately 1,45 million people, Yukatek Maya spoken by some 750,000 people and the Mixtec and Zapotec languages  each spoken by more than 400,000 people. The National Institute of Indigenous Languages INALI recognizes 68 linguistic groups and some 364 different specific varieties of indigenous languages. Since the promulgation of the Law of Indigenous Linguistic Rights in 2003, these languages have had status as national languages, with equal validity with Spanish in all the areas and contexts in which they are spoken.

In addition to the indigenous languages other minority languages are spoken by immigrant populations such as the 80,000 German-speaking Mennonites in Mexico. And 5,000 the Chipilo dialect
Chipilo Venetian dialect
Chipilo Venetian or Chipileño is a diaspora language currently spoken by the descendants of some five hundred Venetian 19th century immigrants to Mexico. The Venetians settled in the State of Puebla, founding the city of Chipilo...

 of the Venetian language
Venetian language
Venetian or Venetan is a Romance language spoken as a native language by over two million people, mostly in the Veneto region of Italy, where of five million inhabitants almost all can understand it. It is sometimes spoken and often well understood outside Veneto, in Trentino, Friuli, Venezia...

 spoken in Chipilo
Chipilo
Chipilo is a small city in the state of Puebla, Mexico. It is located twelve kilometers south of the state capital Puebla, Puebla, at a height of 2,150 meters above sea level. Its official name is Chipilo de Francisco Javier Mina...

, Puebla
Puebla
Puebla officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital city is Puebla....

.

Religion


The 2010 census by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía gave Roman Catholicism as the main religion, with 82.7% of the population, while 9.7% (10,924,103) belong to other Christian denominations, including Evangelicals (5.2%); Pentecostals (1.6%); other Protestant or Reformed (0.7%); Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 (1.4%); Seventh-day Adventists
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

 (0.6%); and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (0.3%). 172,891 (or less than 0.2% of the total) belonged to other, non-Christian religions; 4.7% declared having no religion
Irreligion in Mexico
Irreligion in Mexico may refer to atheism, agnosticism, deism, religious skepticism, secular humanism or general secularist attitudes in Mexico. Mexico was born after its independence as a confessional state...

; 2.7% were unspecified.

The 92,924,489 Catholics of Mexico constitute in absolute terms the second largest Catholic community in the world, after Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

's. 47% percent of them attend church services weekly. Most Mexican cities, towns and villages hold a yearly feast day to commemorate their local patron saints. The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe , also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe is a celebrated Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.According to tradition, on December 9, 1531 Juan Diego, a simple indigenous peasant, had a vision of a young woman while he was on a hill in the Tepeyac desert, near Mexico City. The lady...

, the patron saint of Mexico, is celebrated on December 12 and is regarded by many Mexicans as the most important religious holiday of their country.

The 2010 census reported 314,932 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though the church in 2009 claimed to have over one million registered members. About 25% of registered members attend a weekly sacrament service although this can fluctuate up and down.

The presence of Jews in Mexico
History of the Jews in Mexico
Jews have lived in Mexico since the Spanish conquest. Today the community numbers around 68,000, concentrated primarily in Mexico City. Other communities are found in the state of Jalisco, mainly in Guadalajara and surrounding cities, and in Monterrey, Veracruz, Culiacán, and...

 dates back to 1521, when Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztecs, accompanied by several Converso
Converso
A converso and its feminine form conversa was a Jew or Muslim—or a descendant of Jews or Muslims—who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. Mass conversions once took place under significant government pressure...

s. According to the 2010 census, there are 67,476 Jews in Mexico. Islam in Mexico
Islam in Mexico
There is very little information about the origins of Islam in Mexico, but most sources claim it arrived with either Lebanese or Syrian immigrants and some other Middle Easterners like Egyptians, Iranians, and Turks. According to a World Values Survey conducted in 1996 and used by the Pew Forum on...

 is practiced by a small population in the city of Torreón
Torreón
Torreón is a city and seat of the surrounding municipality of the same name in the Mexican state of Coahuila. As of 2010, the city's population was 608,836 with 639,629 in the municipality. The metropolitan population, including Matamoros, Coahuila, and Gómez Palacio and Lerdo in adjacent Durango,...

, Coahuila, and there are an estimated 300 Muslims in the San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristóbal de las Casas also known as it's native Tsotsil name, Jovel is a city and municipality located in the Central Highlands region of the Mexican state of Chiapas...

 area in Chiapas. In the 2010 census 18,185 Mexicans reported belonging to an Eastern religion
Eastern religion
This article is about far east and Indian religions. For other eastern religions see: Eastern_world#Eastern_cultureEastern religions refers to religions originating in the Eastern world —India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia —and thus having dissimilarities with Western religions...

, a category which includes a tiny Buddhist
Buddhism in Mexico
Buddhism in Mexico possesses a minuscule demographic presence in the mostly-Roman Catholic country. Approximately, only 108,701 Buddhists are counted in Mexico.-Tibetan Buddhism:...

 population.

Social equality


The World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, best known for its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland....

 2011 Global Gender Gap Report
Global Gender Gap Report
The Global Gender Gap Report was first published in 2006 by the World Economic Forum. The 2010 report covers 134 major and emerging economies....

 ranked Mexico 89th out of 135 countries for gender parity. Making it one of the least gender balanced countries in the North American region, particularly to the advantage of women. However, some metropolitan areas are less affected by inequality due to the higher rate of education and social awareness.

Metropolitan areas


Metropolitan areas in Mexico have been traditionally defined as the group of municipalities that heavily interact with each other, usually around a core city. In 2004, a joint effort between CONAPO, INEGI and the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL) agreed to define metropolitan areas as either:
  • the group of two or more municipalities in which a city with a population of at least 50,000 is located whose urban area extends over the limit of the municipality that originally contained the core city incorporating either physically or under its area of direct influence other adjacent predominantly urban municipalities all of which have a high degree of social and economic integration or are relevant for urban politics and administration; or
  • a single municipality in which a city of a population of at least one million is located and fully contained, (that is, it does not transcend the limits of a single municipality); or
  • a city with a population of at least 250,000 which forms a conurbation
    Conurbation
    A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

     with other cities in the United States.

Culture




Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country's history
History of Mexico
The history of Mexico, a country located in the southern portion of North America, covers a period of more than two millennia. First populated more than 13,000 years ago, the country produced complex indigenous civilizations before being conquered by the Spanish in the 16th Century.Since the...

 through the blending of indigenous cultures and the culture of Spain
Culture of Spain
The culture of Spain is based on a variety of influences.The Visigothic Kingdom left a sense of a united Christian Hispania that was going to be welded in the Reconquista. Muslim influences were strong during the period of 711 AD to the 15th century, especially linguistically...

, imparted during Spain's 300-year colonization of Mexico. Exogenous cultural elements mainly from the United States have been incorporated into Mexican culture.

The Porfirian era (el Porfiriato
Porfirio Díaz
José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican-American War volunteer and French intervention hero, an accomplished general and the President of Mexico continuously from 1876 to 1911, with the exception of a brief term in 1876 when he left Juan N...

), in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, was marked by economic progress and peace. After four decades of civil unrest and war, Mexico saw the development of philosophy and the arts, promoted by President Díaz himself. Since that time, as accentuated during the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, cultural identity has had its foundation in the mestizaje, of which the indigenous (i.e. Amerindian) element is the core. In light of the various ethnicities that formed the Mexican people, José Vasconcelos
José Vasconcelos
José Vasconcelos Calderón was a Mexican writer, philosopher and politician. He is one of the most influential and controversial personalities in the development of modern Mexico. His philosophy of "indigenismo" affected all aspects of Mexican sociocultural, political, and economic...

 in his publication La Raza Cósmica (The Cosmic Race) (1925) defined Mexico to be the melting pot of all races (thus extending the definition of the mestizo) not only biologically but culturally as well. This exalting of mestizaje was a revolutionary idea that sharply contrasted with the idea of a superior pure race prevalent in Europe at the time.

Literature




The literature of Mexico has its antecedents in the literatures of the indigenous settlements of Mesoamerica. The most well known prehispanic poet is Nezahualcoyotl
Nezahualcoyotl
Nezahualcoyotl was a philosopher, warrior, architect, poet and ruler of the city-state of Texcoco in pre-Columbian Mexico...

. Modern Mexican literature was influenced by the concepts of the Spanish colonialization of Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

. Outstanding colonial writers and poets include Juan Ruiz de Alarcón
Juan Ruiz de Alarcón
Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza , one of the greatest Novohispanic dramatists of the Golden Age, was born in New Spain .-Genealogy:...

 and Juana Inés de la Cruz.

In light of the various ethnicities that formed the Mexican people, José Vasconcelos
José Vasconcelos
José Vasconcelos Calderón was a Mexican writer, philosopher and politician. He is one of the most influential and controversial personalities in the development of modern Mexico. His philosophy of "indigenismo" affected all aspects of Mexican sociocultural, political, and economic...

 in his publication La Raza Cósmica
La Raza Cósmica
Published in 1925, La Raza Cósmica is an essay written by late Mexican philosopher, secretary of education, and 1929 presidential candidate, José Vasconcelos to express the ideology of a future "fifth race" in the Americas; an agglomeration of all the races in the world with no respect to color or...

 (The Cosmic Race) (1925) defined Mexico to be the melting pot of all races, biologically as well as culturally.

Other writers include Alfonso Reyes
Alfonso Reyes
Alfonso Reyes Ochoa was a Mexican writer, philosopher and diplomat.-Early life:Alfonso Reyes parents were Bernardo Reyes and Aurelia Ochoa...

, José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi
José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi
José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi , Mexican writer and political journalist, best known as the author of El Periquillo Sarniento , reputed to be the first novel written in Latin America....

, Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano
Ignacio Manuel Altamirano Basilio was a Mexican writer, journalist, teacher and politician.Altamirano was born in Tixtla, Guerrero, of pure indigenous Nahua heritage. His father was the mayor of Tixtla, this allowed Ignacio to attend school there...

, Carlos Fuentes
Carlos Fuentes
Carlos Fuentes Macías is a Mexican writer and one of the best-known living novelists and essayists in the Spanish-speaking world. He has influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been widely translated into English and other languages.-Biography:Fuentes was born in...

, Octavio Paz
Octavio Paz
Octavio Paz Lozano was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature.-Early life and writings:...

 (Nobel Laureate), Renato Leduc
Renato Leduc
Renato Leduc was a Mexican poet and journalist.- Biography :Leduc, son of a French father and a Mexican mother, served as a signalist in Francisco Villa's División del Norte, and studied law at the Universidad Nacional de México...

, Carlos Monsiváis
Carlos Monsiváis
Carlos Monsiváis Aceves was a Mexican writer, critic, political activist, and journalist. of French decent He also wrote political opinion columns in leading newspapers and was considered to be an opinion leader within the country's progressive sectors. His generation of writers includes Elena...

, Elena Poniatowska
Elena Poniatowska
Elena Poniatowska is a Mexican journalist and author. Her generation of writers include Carlos Fuentes‎, José Emilio Pacheco and Carlos Monsiváis.-Life:Poniatowska was born in Paris to Prince Jean Joseph Evremont Sperry Poniatowski and Paula Amor Yturbe...

, Mariano Azuela
Mariano Azuela
Mariano Azuela González was a Mexican author and physician, best known for his fictional stories of the Mexican Revolution of 1910...

 ("Los de abajo") and Juan Rulfo
Juan Rulfo
Juan Rulfo was a Mexican author and photographer. One of Latin America's most esteemed authors, Rulfo's reputation rests on two slim books, the novel Pedro Páramo , and El Llano en llamas...

 ("Pedro Páramo"). Bruno Traven wrote "Canasta de cuentos mexicanos", "El tesoro de la Sierra Madre."

Visual arts




Post-revolutionary art in Mexico had its expression in the works of renowned artists such as Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits....

, Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

, José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco
José Clemente Orozco was a Mexican social realist painter, who specialized in bold murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and others...

, Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo was a Mexican painter of Zapotec heritage, born in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Tamayo was active in the mid-20th century in Mexico and New York, painting figurative abstraction with surrealist influences....

, Federico Cantú Garza, David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

 and Juan O'Gorman
Juan O'Gorman
Juan O'Gorman was a Mexican painter and architect.-Biography:O'Gorman was born in Coyoacán, then a village to the south of Mexico City and now a borough of the Federal District, to an Irish father, Cecil Crawford O'Gorman and a Mexican mother...

. Diego Rivera, the most well-known figure of Mexican muralism, painted the Man at the Crossroads
Man at the Crossroads
Man at the Crossroads was a mural by Diego Rivera.The Rockefellers wanted to have a mural put on the ground-floor wall of Rockefeller Center. Nelson Rockefeller wanted Henri Matisse or Pablo Picasso to do it because he favored their modern style, but neither was available...

 at the Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering between 48th and 51st streets in New York City, United States. Built by the Rockefeller family, it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, spanning the area between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. It was declared a National...

 in New York City, a huge mural that was destroyed the next year due to the inclusion of a portrait of Russian communist leader Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

. Some of Rivera's murals are displayed at the Mexican National Palace
National Palace (Mexico)
The National Palace, or Palacio Nacional in Spanish), was the seat of the federal executive in Mexico. It is located on Mexico City's main square, the Plaza de la Constitución...

 and the Palace of Fine Arts
Palacio de Bellas Artes
The Palacio de Bellas Artes is the most important cultural center in Mexico City as well as the rest of the country of Mexico...

.

Mesoamerican architecture
Mesoamerican architecture
Mesoamerican architecture is the set of architectural traditions produced by pre-Columbian cultures and civilizations of Mesoamerica, traditions which are best known in the form of public, ceremonial and urban monumental buildings and structures...

 is mostly noted for its pyramids which are the largest such structures outside of Ancient Egypt. Spanish Colonial architecture is marked by the contrast between the simple, solid construction demanded by the new environment and the Baroque ornamentation exported from Spain. Mexico, as the center of New Spain has some of the most renowned buildings built in this style.

Cinema and media


Mexican films from the Golden Age in the 1940s and 1950s are the greatest examples of Latin American cinema, with a huge industry comparable to the Hollywood of those years. Mexican films were exported and exhibited in all of Latin America and Europe. Maria Candelaria
Maria Candelaria
María Candelaria is a 1943 Mexican film directed by Emilio Fernández and starring Dolores del Río and Pedro Armendáriz. It was the first Mexican film to be screened at the Cannes International Film Festival where it won the Grand Prix becoming the first Latin American country to do so...

 (1944) by Emilio Fernández
Emilio Fernández
Emilio "El Indio" Fernández was an actor, screenwriter and director of the cinema of Mexico. He is best known for his work as director of the film Maria Candelaria which won the Grand Prix at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.-Early life:Fernández was born in Mineral del Hondo, Coahuila...

, was one of the first films awarded a Palme d'Or
Palme d'Or
The Palme d'Or is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival and is presented to the director of the best feature film of the official competition. It was introduced in 1955 by the organising committee. From 1939 to 1954, the highest prize was the Grand Prix du Festival International du...

 at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

 in 1946, the first time the event was held after World War II. The famous Spanish-born director Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel
Luis Buñuel Portolés was a Spanish-born filmmaker — later a naturalized citizen of Mexico — who worked in Spain, Mexico, France and the US..-Early years:...

 realized in Mexico, between 1947 to 1965 some of him master pieces like Los Olvidados
Los olvidados
Los Olvidados is a 1950 Mexican film directed by Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel....

 (1949), Viridiana
Viridiana
Viridiana is a 1961 Spanish-Mexican motion picture, directed by Luis Buñuel and produced by Mexican Gustavo Alatriste. It is loosely based on Halma, a novel by Benito Pérez Galdós....

 (1961) and El angel exterminador
El ángel exterminador
The Exterminating Angel , is the second of the Buñuel/Alatriste/Pinal film trilogy, written and directed by Luis Buñuel, starring Silvia Pinal, and produced by her then-husband Gustavo Alatriste....

 (1963). Famous actors and actresses from this period include María Félix
María Félix
María Félix was a Mexican film actress and one of the icons of the golden era of the Cinema of Mexico and also one of the myths of the Spanish language Cinema for her life style and personality...

, Pedro Infante
Pedro Infante
José Pedro Infante Cruz , better known as Pedro Infante, is the most famous actor and singer of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema and is an idol of the Latinamerican people, together with Jorge Negrete and Javier Solís, who were styled the Tres Gallos Mexicanos . He was born in Mazatlán, Sinaloa,...

, Dolores del Río
Dolores del Río
Dolores del Río was a Mexican film actress. She was a star of Hollywood films during the silent era and in the Golden Age of Hollywood...

, Jorge Negrete
Jorge Negrete
Jorge Alberto Negrete Moreno is considered one of the most popular Mexican singers and actors of all time....

 and the comedian Cantinflas
Cantinflas
Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes , was a Mexican comic film actor, producer, and screenwriter known professionally as Cantinflas. He often portrayed impoverished campesinos or a peasant of pelado origin...

.

More recently, films such as Como agua para chocolate
Like Water for Chocolate (film)
Like Water for Chocolate is a 1992 film based on the popular novel, published in 1989 by first-time Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel. It earned all 11 Ariel awards of the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures, including the Ariel Award for Best Picture, and became the highest grossing Spanish-language...

 (1992), Cronos
Cronos (film)
Cronos is a 1993 Mexican horror film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, starring veteran Argentine actor Federico Luppi and American actor Ron Perlman, the first of several films on which del Toro, Luppi and Perlman have collaborated...

 (1993), Amores perros
Amores perros
Amores perros is a 2000 neorealist Mexican film, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Amores Perros is the first movie in Iñárritu's trilogy of death, and was followed by 21 Grams and Babel. It is a triptych; an anthology film, sometimes referred to as the "Mexican Pulp Fiction," containing...

 (2000), Y tu mamá también
Y tu mamá también
Y tu mamá también is a 2001 Mexican comedy-drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, and co-written by Cuarón and his brother Carlos. The film is a coming-of-age story about two teenage boys taking a road trip with a woman in her late twenties; it stars Mexican actors Diego Luna and Gael García...

 (2001), El crimen del Padre Amaro
El crimen del Padre Amaro
El crimen del padre Amaro is a 2002 film directed by Carlos Carrera. It is loosely based on the novel O Crime do Padre Amaro by 19th-century Portuguese writer José Maria de Eça de Queiroz....

 (The Crime of Father Amaro) (2002), Pan's Labyrinth
Pan's Labyrinth
Pan's Labyrinth is a 2006 Spanish Spanish-language dark fantasy film, written and directed by Mexican film-maker Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and distributed by the Mexican film company Esperanto Films...

 (2006) and Babel (2006) have been successful in creating universal stories about contemporary subjects, and were internationally recognised, as in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

. Mexican directors Alejandro González Iñárritu
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Alejandro González Iñárritu is a Mexican film director.González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the DGA of America for Best Director. He is also the first and only Mexican born director to have won the Prix de la mise en scene...

 (Amores perros
Amores perros
Amores perros is a 2000 neorealist Mexican film, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Amores Perros is the first movie in Iñárritu's trilogy of death, and was followed by 21 Grams and Babel. It is a triptych; an anthology film, sometimes referred to as the "Mexican Pulp Fiction," containing...

, Babel), Alfonso Cuarón
Alfonso Cuarón
Alfonso Cuarón Orozco is a Mexican film director, screenwriter and film producer, best known for his films Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Y tu mamá también, and A Little Princess.- Early life :...

 (Children of Men
Children of Men
Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction film loosely adapted from P. D. James's 1992 novel The Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. In 2027, two decades of human infertility have left society on the brink of collapse. Illegal immigrants seek sanctuary in England, where the last...

, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling. The book was published on 8 July 1999. The novel won the 1999 Whitbread Book Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and was short-listed for other...

), Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist and designer. He is mostly known for his acclaimed films, Blade II, Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy film franchise. He is a frequent collaborator with Ron Perlman, Federico Luppi and Doug Jones...

, Carlos Carrera
Carlos Carrera
Carlos Carrera is a Mexican film director and screenwriter. He directed El crimen del Padre Amaro , which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film....

 (The Crime of Father Amaro
El crimen del Padre Amaro
El crimen del padre Amaro is a 2002 film directed by Carlos Carrera. It is loosely based on the novel O Crime do Padre Amaro by 19th-century Portuguese writer José Maria de Eça de Queiroz....

), and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga
Guillermo Arriaga
Guillermo Arriaga Jordán is a Mexican author, screenwriter, director and producer. Self-defined as “a hunter who works as a writer,” he authored Amores Perros, received a BAFTA Best Screenplay nomination for 21 Grams, and received the 2005 Cannes Best Screenplay Award for The Three Burials of...

 are some of the most known present-day film makers.

Two of the major television networks based in Mexico are Televisa
Televisa
Televisa is a Mexican multimedia conglomerate, the largest mass media company in Latin America and in the Spanish-speaking world. It is a major international entertainment business, with much of its programming airing in the United States on Univision, with which it has an exclusive contract...

 and TV Azteca
TV Azteca
Azteca, is the second largest Mexican television entertainment. It was established in 1983 as the state-owned Instituto Mexicano de la Televisión , a holding of the national TV networks channel 13 and 7 and was privatized under its current name in 1993 and now is part of Grupo Salinas...

. Televisa is also the largest producer of Spanish-language content in the world and also the world's largest Spanish-language media network. Grupo Multimedios
Grupo Multimedios
Grupo Multimedios is the largest media conglomerate in Northeastern Mexico. In Monterrey they also operate 15 radio stations, a cable TV system, a newspaper, outdoor billboard advertising and cinemas. Multimedios also produces cable TV programs drawing from the talent in its radio station group...

 is another media conglomerate with Spanish-language broadcasting in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. Soap opera
Soap opera
A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble,...

s (telenovela
Telenovela
A telenovela is a limited-run serial dramatic programming popular in Latin American, Portuguese, and Spanish television programming. The word combines tele, short for televisión or televisão , and novela, a Spanish or Portuguese word for "novel"...

s) are translated to many languages and seen all over the world with renowned names like Verónica Castro
Verónica Castro
Verónica Castro is a Mexican actress, singer and television host. She is the mother of singer Cristian Castro and filmmaker Michelle Sáinz Castro and the sister of actress Beatriz Castro,and telenovela producer José Alberto Castro....

, Lucía Méndez
Lucía Méndez
Lucía Leticia Méndez Pérez is a Mexican telenovela and film actress, top model and singer that has sold over 10 million records world wide.- Early success :...

, Lucero, and Thalía
Thalía
Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda , known simply by the mononym Thalía , is a Mexican singer and actress. She has sold over 40 million albums worldwide...

.

Music



Mexican society enjoys a vast array of music genres, showing the diversity of Mexican culture. Traditional music includes Mariachi
Mariachi
Mariachi is a genre of music that originated in the State of Jalisco, in Mexico. It is an integration of stringed instruments highly influenced by the cultural impacts of the historical development of Western Mexico. Throughout the history of mariachi, musicians have experimented with brass, wind,...

, Banda
Banda music
Banda is a brass-based form of traditional music. Bandas play a wide variety of songs, including rancheras, corridos, cumbias, baladas, and boleros. Bandas are most widely known for their rancheras, but they also play modern Mexican pop, rock, and cumbias...

, Norteño
Norteño (music)
Norteño , also norteña or conjunto, is a genre of Mexican music. The accordion and the bajo sexto are norteño's most characteristic instruments. The norteño genre is popular in both Mexico and the United States, especially among the Mexican community...

, Ranchera
Ranchera
Ranchera is a genre of the traditional music of Mexico originally sung by only one performer with a guitar. It dates to the years of the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century. It later became closely associated with the mariachi groups which evolved in Jalisco. Ranchera today is also played...

 and Corrido
Corrido
The corrido is a popular narrative song and poetry form, a ballad, of Mexico. The songs are often about oppression, history, daily life for peasants, and other socially important information. It is still a popular form today, and was widely popular during the Mexican Revolution and Nicaraguan...

s; on an every-day basis most Mexicans listen to contemporary music such as pop
Mexican pop music
The type of Pop music produced in Mexico is called Mexican pop, is a music genre particularly intended for teenagers and young adults.Mexico is the country that exports the most entertainment in Spanish language...

, rock
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

, etc. in both English and Spanish. Mexico has the largest media industry in Latin America, producing Mexican artists who are famous in Central and South America and parts of Europe, especially Spain. Some well-known Mexican singers are
Thalía
Thalía
Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda , known simply by the mononym Thalía , is a Mexican singer and actress. She has sold over 40 million albums worldwide...

, Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel Gallego Basteri is a Mexican singer. He is widely known only by the name Luis Miguel and is often referred to as "El Sol de México"...

, Alejandro Fernández
Alejandro Fernández
Alejandro Fernández is a Mexican singer. Nicknamed as "El Potrillo" by the media and his fans, he has sold over 20 million albums worldwide. Alejandro is the son of the ranchera singer Vicente Fernández. He originally specialized in traditional, earthy forms of Mexican folk music, such as...

, Julieta Venegas
Julieta Venegas
Julieta Venegas Percevault , known professionally as Julieta Venegas, is a Mexican singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and producer, who sings pop-rock in Spanish. She speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish fluently. She has a twin sister, Yvonne, who is a photographer...

 and Paulina Rubio
Paulina Rubio
Paulina Susana Rubio Rue is a Mexican singer and actress. Rubio achieved international stardom with her fifth studio album, Paulina...

. Mexican singers of traditional music are: Lila Downs
Lila Downs
Lila Downs is a Mexican singer-songwriter. She performs her own compositions as well as tapping into Mexican traditional and popular music...

, Susana Harp
Susana Harp
-Biography:Born in Oaxaca de Juarez, her mother is from Oaxaca and her father Lebanese, from a very small community in Mexico. In her childhood she was a quiet girl, but always showed interest in music as she was influenced by her grandfather Jorge Fernando Iturribarria...

, Jaramar
Jaramar
Jaramar Soto is a leading traditional singer, songwriter and painter.-Biography:From the age of 10 years old Jaramar studied singing with various music teachers, and in 1966 entered the Mexican-American Cultural Exchange Institute in San Antonio, Texas...

, GEO Meneses
GEO Meneses
Georgina Meneses, best known as GEO Meneses , is a Mexican producer and singer of traditional music and world music genre....

 and Alejandra Robles
Alejandra Robles
Alejandra Robles Suastegui is a dancer and singer of traditional music. Her musical style represents her Afro-Mexican roots and that of the indigenous peoples of Latin America, in addition to the regional music of Mexico, Colombia and the Caribbean...

. Popular groups are Café Tacuba, Molotov
Molotov (band)
Molotov is a four-time Latin Grammy Award-winning Mexican rock band formed in Mexico City on September 23, 1995. Their lyrics feature a mixture of Spanish and English, rapped and sung by all members of the group. Musically, Molotov blends heavy basslines with heavy guitar riffs...

 and Maná
Maná
Maná is a pop rock band from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, whose career has spanned more than three decades. They have earned three Grammy Awards, seven Latin Grammy Awards, five MTV Video Music Awards Latin America, five Premios Juventud awards, nine Billboard Latin Music Awards and 13 Premios Lo...

, among others. Since the early 2000s Mexican rock
Mexican rock
Mexican rock music, often referred to in Mexico as rock nacional , originated in the 1950s with covers of standards by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and The Everly Brothers, among others, bands such as Los Rebeldes del Rock, Los Locos del Ritmo, Los Crazy Boys, Los Nómadas, and Javier Bátiz soon arose...

 has seen widespread growth both domesticly and internationally.

According to the Sistema Nacional de Fomento Musical, there are between 120 and 140 youth orchestras affiliated to this federal agency from all federal states. Some states, through their state agencies in charge of culture and the arts—Ministry or Secretary or Institute or Council of Culture, in some cases Secretary of Education or the State University—sponsor the activities of a professional Symphony Orchestra or Philharmonic Orchestra
Orchestra
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage reserved for the Greek chorus...

 so all citizens can have access to this artistic expression from the field of classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

. Mexico City is the most intense hub of this activity hosting 12 professional orchestras sponsored by different agencies such as the National Intitute of Fine Arts, the Secretary of Culture of the Federal District, The National University, the National Polytechnic Institute, a Delegación Política (Coyoacán) and very few are a kind of private ventures.

Cuisine




Mexican cuisine is known for its intense and varied flavors, colorful decoration, and variety of spices. Most of today's Mexican food is based on pre-Columbian traditions, including the Aztecs and Maya, combined with culinary trends introduced by Spanish colonists.

The conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

es eventually combined their imported diet of rice, beef, pork, chicken, wine, garlic and onions with the native pre-Columbian food, including maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, tomato
Tomato
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...

, vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Flat-leaved Vanilla . The word vanilla derives from the Spanish word "", little pod...

, avocado
Avocado
The avocado is a tree native to Central Mexico, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel...

, guava
Guava
Guavas are plants in the myrtle family genus Psidium , which contains about 100 species of tropical shrubs and small trees. They are native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America...

, papaya
Papaya
The papaya , papaw, or pawpaw is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae...

, pineapple
Pineapple
Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries. It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone. The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae...

, chili pepper
Chili pepper
Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper.Chili peppers originated in the Americas...

, bean
Bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

s, squash, sweet potato
Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of...

, peanut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

, and turkey
Turkey (bird)
A turkey is a large bird in the genus Meleagris. One species, Meleagris gallopavo, commonly known as the Wild Turkey, is native to the forests of North America. The domestic turkey is a descendant of this species...

.

Mexican food varies by region, because of local climate and geography and ethnic differences among the indigenous inhabitants and because these different populations were influenced by the Spaniards in varying degrees. The north of Mexico is known for its beef
Beef
Beef is the culinary name for meat from bovines, especially domestic cattle. Beef can be harvested from cows, bulls, heifers or steers. It is one of the principal meats used in the cuisine of the Middle East , Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Europe and the United States, and is also important in...

, goat
Goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

 and ostrich
Ostrich
The Ostrich is one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member of the genus Struthio. Some analyses indicate that the Somali Ostrich may be better considered a full species apart from the Common Ostrich, but most taxonomists consider it to be a...

 production and meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

 dishes, in particular the well-known Arrachera cut.

Central Mexico's cuisine is largely made up of influences from the rest of the country, but also has its authentics, such as barbacoa
Barbacoa
Barbacoa is a form of cooking meat that originated in the Caribbean with the Taíno people, from which the term "barbecue" derives. In contemporary Mexico it generally refers to meats or a whole sheep slow-cooked over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with...

, pozole
Pozole
Pozole is a ritually significant, traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. Pozole was mentioned in Fray Bernardino de Sahagún's "General History of the Things of New Spain" circa 1500 CE. It is made from nixtamalized cacahuazintle corn, with meat, usually pork, chicken, turkey, pork...

, menudo
Menudo (soup)
The soup Menudo is a traditional Mexican dish, made with beef stomach in a clear broth or with a red chili base . Usually, lime, chopped onions, and chopped cilantro are added, as well as crushed oregano and crushed red chili peppers...

, tamales, and carnitas
Carnitas
Carnitas, literally "little meats", is a type of braised or roasted pork in Mexican cuisine.Pork carnitas is traditionally made using the heavily marbled, rich 'boston butt' or 'picnic ham' cuts of pork...

.


Southeastern Mexico, on the other hand, is known for its spicy vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

 and chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

-based dishes. The cuisine of Southeastern Mexico also has quite a bit of Caribbean influence, given its geographical location. Veal
Veal
Veal is the meat of young cattle , as opposed to meat from older cattle. Though veal can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed, most veal comes from male calves of dairy cattle breeds...

 is common in the Yucatan
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

. Seafood is commonly prepared in the states that border the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, the latter having a famous reputation for its fish dishes, in particular à la veracruzana.

In modern times, other cuisines of the world have become very popular in Mexico, thus adopting a Mexican fusion. For example, sushi in Mexico is often made with a variety of sauces based on mango
Mango
The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to India from where it spread all over the world. It is also the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. While...

 or tamarind
Tamarind
Tamarind is a tree in the family Fabaceae. The genus Tamarindus is monotypic .-Origin:...

, and very often served with serrano
Serrano pepper
The serrano pepper is a type of chili pepper that originated in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. The name of the pepper is a reference to the mountains of these regions....

-chili-blended soy sauce, or complemented with vinegar, habanero and chipotle
Chipotle
A chipotle , or chilpotle, which comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoktli meaning "smoked chili pepper" is a smoke-dried jalapeño that tends to be brown and shriveled. It is a chili used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American and Tex-Mex.Varieties of jalapeño...

 peppers

The most internationally recognized dishes include chocolate
Chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

, taco
Taco
A taco is a traditional Mexican dish composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety...

s, quesadilla
Quesadilla
A quesadilla is a flour or corn tortilla filled with a savoury mixture containing cheese and other ingredients, then folded in half to form a half-moon shape. This dish originated in Mexico, and the name is derived from the Spanish word queso ....

s, enchilada
Enchilada
An enchilada is a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili pepper sauce. Enchiladas can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including meat, cheese, beans, potatoes, vegetables, seafood or combinations.-Etymology:...

s, burrito
Burrito
A burrito , or taco de harina, is a type of Mexican food. It consists of a wheat flour tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling. The flour tortilla is usually lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more pliable. In Mexico, refried beans or meat are sometimes the only fillings...

s, tamale
Tamale
A tamale — or more correctly tamal — is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa , which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating...

s and mole
Mole (sauce)
Mole is the generic name for a number of sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces...

 among others. Regional dishes include mole poblano
Mole (sauce)
Mole is the generic name for a number of sauces used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces...

, chiles en nogada
Chiles en nogada
Chiles en nogada is a dish from Mexican cuisine. The name comes from the Spanish word for the walnut tree, nogal. It consists of poblano chiles filled with picadillo topped with a walnut-based cream sauce, called nogada, and pomegranate seeds, giving it the three colors of the Mexican flag: green...

 and chalupa
Chalupa
A chalupa is a tostada platter in Mexican cuisine. It is a specialty of south-central Mexico, including the states of Puebla, Guerrero and Oaxaca. Chalupas are made by pressing a thin layer of masa dough around the outside of a small mold, and deep frying to produce crisp, shallow corn cups...

s from Puebla
Puebla
Puebla officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital city is Puebla....

; cabrito and machaca
Machaca
Machaca is a dish prepared originally most commonly from dried, spiced beef or pork, then rehydrated and pounded to make it tender. The reconstituted meat would then be used to prepare any number of dishes...

 from Monterrey, cochinita pibil
Cochinita pibil
Cochinita pibil is a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Península. Preparation of traditional cochinita or puerco pibil involves marinating the meat in strongly acidic citrus juice, coloring it with annatto seed, and roasting the meat while it is wrapped in banana...

 from Yucatán
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

, Tlayuda
Tlayuda
Tlayuda, sometimes erroneously spelled Clayuda , is a handmade dish part of the traditional Mexican cuisine, consisting of a large and thin crunchy partially fried or toasted tortilla covered with a spread of refried beans, asiento , lettuce or cabbage, avocado, meat , Oaxaca cheese, and salsa.They...

s from Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

, as well as barbacoa
Barbacoa
Barbacoa is a form of cooking meat that originated in the Caribbean with the Taíno people, from which the term "barbecue" derives. In contemporary Mexico it generally refers to meats or a whole sheep slow-cooked over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with...

, chilaquiles
Chilaquiles
Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican dish. Typically, corn tortillas cut in quarters and lightly fried are the basis of the dish. Green, red salsa or mole, is poured over the crisp tortilla triangles, called totopos. The mixture is simmered until the tortilla starts softening. Eggs and pulled...

, milanesa
Milanesa
The milanesa is a common meat dish mostly in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as in other American countries to a lesser extent, where breaded meat fillet preparations are known as a milanesa The milanesa is a common meat...

s, and many others.

Sports




Mexico City hosted the XIX Olympic Games
1968 Summer Olympics
The 1968 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Mexico City, Mexico in October 1968. The 1968 Games were the first Olympic Games hosted by a developing country, and the first Games hosted by a Spanish-speaking country...

 in 1968, making it the first Latin American city to do so. The country has also hosted the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

 twice, in 1970
1970 FIFA World Cup
The 1970 FIFA World Cup, the ninth staging of the World Cup, was held in Mexico, from 31 May to 21 June. The 1970 tournament was the first World Cup hosted in North America, and the first held outside South America and Europe. In a match-up of two-time World Cup champions, the final was won by...

 and 1986
1986 FIFA World Cup
The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June. The tournament was the second to feature a 24-team format. Colombia had been originally chosen to host the competition by FIFA but, largely due to economic reasons, was not able to do so and officially...

.

Mexico's most popular sport is association football (soccer). It is commonly believed that Football was introduced in Mexico by Cornish
Cornish people
The Cornish are a people associated with Cornwall, a county and Duchy in the south-west of the United Kingdom that is seen in some respects as distinct from England, having more in common with the other Celtic parts of the United Kingdom such as Wales, as well as with other Celtic nations in Europe...

 miners at the end of the 19th century. By 1902 a five-team league had emerged with a strong British influence. Mexico's top clubs are Guadalajara with 11 championships, América
Club América
Club América is a Mexican Professional football club based in Mexico City. It competes in the Primera División, the top professional league in the country. The team's nickname is Las Águilas ....

 with 10 and Toluca with 9. Antonio Carbajal
Antonio Carbajal
Antonio Félix "Tota" Carbajal Rodríguez is a Mexican former football goalkeeper. He was also called "El Cinco Copas", in reference to his record of five World Cups played.-Pro career:...

 was the first player to appear in five World Cups, and Hugo Sánchez
Hugo Sánchez
Hugo Sánchez Márquez , popularly nicknamed Pentapichichi, or Hugol, is a Mexican football coach and former striker. He played for four European clubs, including Real Madrid. Sanchez is considered the first highly talented Mexican player. He was also a member of the Mexico national team, and...

 was named best CONCACAF
CONCACAF
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football is the continental governing body for association football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean...

 player of the 20th century by IFFHS.
Baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 has traditionally been more popular than soccer in some regions. The Mexican professional league is named the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol
Liga Mexicana de Beisbol
The Mexican League is a summer minor league baseball league with teams based across Mexico. Along with the International League and the Pacific Coast League, it is one of three leagues playing at the triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball. It is the only Minor League...

. While usually not as strong as the United States, the Caribbean countries and Japan, Mexico has nonetheless achieved several international baseball titles. Mexico has had several players signed by Major League teams, the most famous of them being Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela
Fernando Valenzuela
Fernando Valenzuela Anguamea is a Mexican former left-handed pitcher, most notably with the Los Angeles Dodgers.In 1981, the 20-year-old Valenzuela took Los Angeles by storm, winning his first 8 decisions and leading the Dodgers to the World Championship...

.

Bullfighting
Bullfighting
Bullfighting is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, southern France and some Latin American countries , in which one or more bulls are baited in a bullring for sport and entertainment...

 is a popular sport in the country, and almost all large cities have bullrings. Plaza México
Plaza México
The Plaza México, situated in Mexico City, is the world's largest bullring. This 48,000-seat facility is usually dedicated to bullfighting, but many boxing fights have been held there as well, including Julio César Chávez's third bout with Frankie Randall...

 in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, is the largest bullring in the world, which seats 55,000 people. Professional wrestling (or Lucha libre
Lucha libre
Lucha libre is a term used in Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries, for a form of professional wrestling that has developed within those countries...

 in Spanish) is a major crowd draw with national promotions such as AAA
Asistencia Asesoría y Administración
Asistencia Asesoría y Administración is a lucha libre professional wrestling promotion based in Mexico...

, LLL, CMLL
Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre
Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre is a Lucha Libre-style professional wrestling promotion based in Mexico City while running cards in Guadalajara, Puebla and elsewhere in central and southern Mexico...

 and others.

Mexico is an international power in professional boxing
Professional Boxing
Professional boxing, or prizefighting, emerged in the early twentieth century as boxing gradually attained legitimacy and became a regulated, sanctioned sport. Professional boxing bouts are fought for a purse which is divided among the fighters and promoters as determined by contract...

 (at the amateur level, several Olympic boxing medals have also been won by Mexico). Vicente Saldivar
Vicente Saldivar
Vicente Samuel Saldivar García was a Mexican boxer in the Featherweight division and was a part of the 1960 Mexican Olympic team. He was a former WBC and a two-time WBA Featherweight Champion...

, Rubén Olivares
Rubén Olivares
Rubén Olivares is a former Mexican boxer and current member of the Boxing Hall of Fame. A native of Mexico City, Olivares was a world champion multiple times, and considered by many as the greatest bantamweight champion of all time. He was very popular among Mexicans, many of whom considered him...

, Salvador Sánchez
Salvador Sánchez
Salvador Sánchez Narváez was a Mexican boxer born in the town of Santiago Tianguistenco, Estado de México. Many of his contemporaries as well as boxing writers believe that, had it not been for his premature death, Sanchez could have gone on to become the greatest Featherweight boxer of all time...

, Julio César Chávez
Julio César Chávez
Julio César Chávez is a retired Mexican professional boxer.He is a six-time world champion in three weight divisions, and for several years he was considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world...

, Ricardo Lopez and Erik Morales
Erik Morales
Érik Isaac Morales Elvira is a Mexican professional boxer. He is the first Mexican born boxer in history to win a world title in four weight classes and is the current WBC Light Welterweight Champion...

 are but a few Mexican fighters who have been ranked among the best of all time.

Notable Mexican athletes include golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

er Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa Reyes is a Mexican professional golfer who played on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour from 2003 to 2010, and was the top-ranked female golfer in the world for over three years, from April 2007 to her retirement in May 2010...

, who was ranked first in the LPGA
LPGA
The LPGA, in full the Ladies Professional Golf Association, is an American organization for female professional golfers. The organization, whose headquarters is in Daytona Beach, Florida, is best known for running the LPGA Tour, a series of weekly golf tournaments for elite female golfers from...

 world rankings prior to her retirement, Ana Guevara
Ana Guevara
Ana Gabriela Guevara Espinoza is a now-retired Mexican track and field athlete, specialized in the 400 meters. Her career began in 1996 carrying out diverse tours, participating in her first international competences...

, former world champion of the 400 metres (1,312.3 ft) and Olympic subchampion in Athens 2004, and Fernando Platas
Fernando Platas
Fernando Platas is a Mexican diver. He began diving since he was a young boy. In 1990 he won in Germany two tests of 2 and 10 metres, and in that same year he won three gold medals in the Central American Games which took place in Mexico City.In 1992, he represented Mexico in the 1992 Summer...

, a numerous Olympic medal winning diver.

Health care




Since the early 1990s, Mexico entered a transitional stage in the health of its population and some indicators such as mortality patterns are identical to those found in highly developed countries like Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 or Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. Although all Mexicans are entitled to receive medical care by the state, 50.3 million Mexicans had no medical insurance as of 2002. Efforts to increase the number of people are being made, and the current administration intends to achieve universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

 by 2011.

Mexico's medical infrastructure is highly rated for the most part and is usually excellent in major cities, but rural communities still lack equipment for advanced medical procedures, forcing patients in those locations to travel to the closest urban areas to get specialized medical care.

State-funded institutions such as Mexican Social Security Institute
Mexican Social Security Institute
The Mexican Social Security Institute is a governmental organization that attends to public health, pensions and social security in Mexico operating under Secretaría de Salud .-History:...

 (IMSS) and the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers
Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers
The Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers is a governmental organization in Mexico that administers part of Mexico's health care and social security systems, and provides assistance in cases of disability, old age, risks in labor, and death...

 (ISSSTE) play a major role in health and social security. Private health services are also very important and account for 13% of all medical units in the country.

Medical training is done mostly at public universities with much specializations done in vocational or internship settings. Some public universities in Mexico, such as the University of Guadalajara
University of Guadalajara
University of Guadalajara is a public university in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. It is the second oldest university in Mexico, the fifth oldest in North America and the fourteenth oldest in Latin America...

, have signed agreements with the U.S. to receive and train American students in Medicine. Health care costs in private institutions and prescription drugs in Mexico are on average lower than that of its North American economic partners.

Education


Mexico has one of the highest student-to-teaching staff ratio in the world with 26 students per teacher nationwide, when all levels from pre-kindergarten
Pre-Kindergarten
Pre-kindergarten refers to the first formal academic classroom-based learning environment that a child customarily attends in the United States. It begins between the ages of 3-5 depending on the length of the program...

 through post secondary education are included. According to the OCED, compared to students from the worlds thirty most developed nations, Mexican students came in fourth in problem solving, third in science and technology and eighth in mathematics.
In 2004, the literacy rate was at 97% for youth under the age of 14 and 91% for people over 15, placing Mexico at the 24th place in the world rank accordingly to UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico
National Autonomous University of Mexico
The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México is a university in Mexico. UNAM was founded on 22 September 1910 by Justo Sierra as a liberal alternative to the Roman Catholic-sponsored Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) (National Autonomous...

 ranks 15th place in the Top 200 World University Ranking published by The Times Higher Education Supplement in 2008. One of the most prestigious private universities is Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education
Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education
The Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education commonly shortened as Monterrey Institute of Technology or Monterrey Tech is one of the largest private, nonsectarian and coeducational multi-campus universities in...

 (ITESM). It was ranked by the Wall Street Journal as the 7th top International School worldwide.

Law enforcement


Public security is enacted at the three levels of government, each of which has different prerogatives and responsibilities. Local and state police department are primarily in charge of law enforcement, whereas the Mexican Federal Police is in charge of specialized duties. All levels report to the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (Secretary of Public Security). The General Attorney's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) is the executive power
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

's agency in charge of investigating and prosecuting crimes at the federal level, mainly those related to drug and arms trafficking, espionage, and bank robberies. The PGR operates the Federal Investigations Agency
Federal Investigations Agency
The Federal Investigations Agency was a Mexican federal agency that existed to fight corruption and organized crime, through an executive order by President Vicente Fox Quesada. The AFI replaced an earlier agency, the Federal Judicial Police...

 (Agencia Federal de Investigación, AFI) an investigative and preventive agency.
While the government respects the human rights of most citizens, serious abuses of power have been reported in security operations in indigenous communities and poor urban neighborhoods. The National Human Rights Commission has had little impact in reversing this trend, engaging mostly in documentation but failing to use its powers to issue public condemnations to the officials who ignore its recommendations. By law, all defendants have the rights that assure them fair trials and human treatment; however, the system is overburdened and overwhelmed with several problems.

Despite the efforts of the authorities to fight crime and fraud, few Mexicans have strong confidence in the police or the judicial system, and therefore, few crimes are actually reported by the citizens. The Global Integrity Index which measures the existence and effectiveness of national anti-corruption mechanisms rated Mexico 31st behind Kenya, Thailand, and Russia. In 2008, president Calderón proposed a major reform of the judicial system, which was approved by the Congress of the Union, which included oral trials, the presumption of innocence for defendants, the authority of local police to investigate crime—until then a prerogative of special police units—and several other changes intended to speed up trials.

Crime


Total crimes per capita average 12 per 1,000 people in Mexico, ranking 39th in a survey of 60 countries. As of 2009 Mexico's homicide rate varied from 10~14 per 100,000 inhabitants; the world average is 10.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. Drug-traffic and narco-related activities
Mexican Drug War
The Mexican Drug War is an ongoing armed conflict taking place among rival drug cartels who fight each other for regional control, and Mexican government forces who seek to combat drug trafficking. However, the government's principal goal has been to put down the drug-related violence that was...

 are a major concern in Mexico.

Current president Felipe Calderón made abating drug-trafficking one of the top priorities of his administration. In a very controversial move, Calderón deployed military personnel to cities where drug cartels operate. While this move has been criticized by the opposition parties and the National Human Rights Commission, its effects have been praised by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
__FORCETOC__The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is a part of the Department of State within the United States government that advises the President, Secretary of State, other bureaux within the Department of State, and other departments and agencies within the U.S...

 as having obtained "unprecedented results..." with "many important successes". Since President Felipe Calderón launched a crackdown against cartels in 2006 more than 28,000 alleged criminals have been killed. Of the total drug-related violence 4% are innocent people, mostly by-passers and people trapped in between shootings; 90% accounts for criminals and 6% for military personnel and police officers. In October 2007, the president Calderón and US president George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 announced the Mérida Initiative
Mérida Initiative
The Mérida Initiative is a security cooperation agreement between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America, with the declared aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and money laundering...

 a historic plan of law enforcement cooperation between the two countries.

See also



  • State governments of Mexico
    State governments of Mexico
    State governments of Mexico are those sovereign governments formed in each Mexican state.Structured in accordance with the constitution of each state, state governments in Mexico are modeled on the federal system, with three branches of government — executive, legislative, and judicial, and are...



External links