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The United States of Mexico or Mexico (Spanish: México or, rarely, Méjico)
for short is a country located in North America, bordered to the north by
the United States to the south by Guatemala and Belize, to the west by the
Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
National motto: None
Official language Spanish
Capital Mexico City
President Vicente Fox
History Area Ranked 13th
- Total 1,972,550
- % water km²
Mexico was the site of several advanced Population Ranked 11th
Indian civilisations, such as the Maya - Total (2000) 103,400,165
and the Aztecs. The arrival of the - Density 54/km²
Spanish in the early 16th century and From Spain
their defeat of the Aztecs in 1521 Independence September 16,
marked the beginning of the colonial - Declared 1810
period of Mexico as a part of New Spain. - Recognised September 27,
In 1810, independence from Spain was Currency Mexican Peso
declared, causing a long war eventually
leading to independence in 1821. After Time zone UTC -6 to -8
independence, Mexican territory slowly
decreased in size, losing and selling National anthem Mexicanos, al
grito de guerra
ground to the invading United States
(see Mexican-American War). In the 1860s Internet TLD .MX
the country suffered a military Calling Code 52
occupation by France, fought off by
Mexican patriot Benito Juarez.
The long, undemocratic regime of Porfirio Diaz lead to the Mexican
Revolution in 1910. Revolutionary forces defeated the federal army, but were
left with internal struggles, leaving the country in conflict for two more
decades. At the end of the revolution the P.R.I. (Institutional
Revolutionary Party) controlled the country until the end of the 20th century.
The 1917 constitution provides for the federal republic with powers
separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
Historically, the executive is the dominant branch, with power vested in the
president, who promulgates and executes the laws of the parliament, the
National Congress or Congreso de la Unión.
The parliament has played an increasingly important role since 1997 when
opposition parties first made major gains. The president also legislates by
executive decree in certain economic and financial fields, using powers
delegated from the Congress. The president is elected by universal adult
suffrage for a 6-year term and may not hold office a second time. There is
no vice president; in the event of the removal or death of the president, a
provisional president is elected by the Congress.
The bicameral National Congress is composed of a Senate (Cámara de
Senadores) and a Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados). Consecutive
re-election is prohibited. Senators are elected to 6-year terms, and
deputies serve 3-year terms. The Senate's 128 seats are filled by a mixture
of direct-election and proportional representation. In the lower Chamber of
Deputies, 300 of the total 500 deputies are directly elected to represent
single-member districts, and the remaining 200 are selected by a modified
form of proportional representation from five electoral regions. The 200
proportional representation seats were created to help smaller parties gain
access to the Chamber.
Main article States of Mexico
Mexico is divided into 31 states (estados) and the Mexican Federal District
(Distrito Federal), which contains the capital, Mexico City:
* Aguascalientes * Durango * Nayarit * Sinaloa
* Baja California * Federal * Nuevo Leon * Sonora
* Baja California Sur District * Oaxaca * Tabasco
* Campeche * Guanajuato * Puebla * Tamaulipas
* Chiapas * Guerrero * Querétaro * Tlaxcala
* Chihuahua * Hidalgo * Quintana * Veracruz
* Coahuila * Jalisco Roo * Yucatán
* Colima * México * San Luis * Zacatecas
Mexico borders two major bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean (with the Sea of
Cortez in between the mainland and the Baja California peninsula) to the
west and on the east the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea that lead to
the Atlantic Ocean. Here are found coastal plains, whereas central Mexico
consists of high plateaus and rugged mountains, including volcanoes, the
highest of which is the Pico de Orizaba at 5,700 m.
The terrain and climate vary from deserts in the north to tropical rain
forest in the south. Mexico's major rivers include the Rio Grande (known as
the Rio Bravo), the Grijalva, the Balsas and the Yaqui.
Mexico has a free-market economy with a mixture of modern and outmoded
industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. The
number of state-owned enterprises in Mexico has fallen from more than 1,000
in 1982 to fewer than 200 in 1999. The administration of President Ernesto
Zedillo Ponce de Leon continued a policy of privatizing and expanding
competition in sea ports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity,
natural gas distribution, and airports which was initiated by his
predecessors Miguel de la Madrid and Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
A strong export sector helped to cushion the economy's decline in 1995 and
led the recovery in 1996-1999. Private consumption became the leading driver
of growth, accompanied by increased employment and higher wages. Mexico
still needs to overcome many structural problems as it strives to modernize
its economy and raise living standards. Income distribution is very unequal,
with the top 20% of income earners accounting for 55% of income.
Following 6.9% growth in 2000, real GDP fell 0.3% in 2001, with the US
slowdown the principal cause. Positive developments in 2001 included a drop
in inflation to 6.5%, a sharp fall in interest rates, and a strong peso that
appreciated 5% against the US dollar. Trade with the US and Canada has
tripled since NAFTA was implemented in 1994. Mexico is pursuing additional
trade agreements with most countries in Latin America and has signed a free
trade deal with the European Union, putting more than 90% of trade under
free trade agreements and lessening its dependence on the US.
Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the
second most-populous country in Latin America after Portuguese-speaking
Brazil. Some 60% of the population is of a mixed ethnicity known as mestizo,
with 30% being Amerindian and some 9% of European descent. The country is
predominantly Roman Catholic (89%), with some 6% adhering to various
Protestant faiths and the remaining 5% either to other smaller religions or
Main article: Culture of Mexico
Date English Name Local Name Remarks
May 5 Cinco de Mayo Victory against French
forces in 1862
Independence from Spain,
September 16Independence Day Dieciseis de 1810
* List of Famous Mexicans
* Mexican food