Mexico is a North American country. If we take into account criteria related to the origin of the population and the language, Mexico is also part of Latin America. It is bordered by the United States of America to the north, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Belize and Guatemala to the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the south and west. With an area of 1 972 550 km 2, is the third largest country in Latin America and the second most populous on the American continent. The most important cities are Mexico City, the capital, with 8 705 100 residents (2004) and, in the metropolitan area, 21 503 700, Guadalajara (1 672 000 residents), Ciudad Netzahualcóyotl (1 259 100 residents), Monterrey (1,142,900 residents), Puebla (1,370,800 residents), Ciudad Juárez (1,330,800 residents), León (1,084,400 residents), Tijuana (1,313,800 residents), Mérida (698,400 residents) hab.) and Chihuahua (698 500 hab.).
The country is crossed, in a north-south direction, by a mountain range known as “Sierra Madre” that establishes the connection between the Rocky Mountains, in North America, and the Andes, in South America. On the Pacific coast and on the Atlantic coast, plains develop to the south. To attest to the relatively recent origin of the territory and its tectonic instability, the presence of numerous volcanoes, of which the best known is the Popocatapetle, near the city of Acapulco.
The climate is tropical on the coastal fringes and in the lower areas, presenting a temperate climate with increasing altitude.
Mexico’s economy is based on trade, industry, agriculture and mining. The dominant crops are sugar cane, corn, wheat, sorghum, orange, banana, mango, avocado, beans, tomatoes, lemon, melons, potatoes, barley, coffee, soy, rice, pineapple, strawberry, cotton and walnut. The expansion of agriculture and cattle raising (30 million head of sheep) had a huge impact on forest areas that, in the 1981-90 period, disappeared at the rate of 6.8% each year. The extractive industry includes oil, iron, zinc, copper, lead, manganese, mercury, silver, gold, salt, plaster stone, sulfur and barite. Industrial products are transport equipment, food products, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, metallic products, mineral products, paper products and textiles. Mexico’s main trading partners are the United States of America, Germany, Canada and Japan.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita (metric tons, 1999), is 3.9.
The Mexican population is about 107 449 525 residents (2006), which corresponds to a density of 53.84 residents/km 2 . The birth and death rates are, respectively, 20.69% and 4.74%. Average life expectancy is 75.41 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.800 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.790 (2001). It is estimated that, in 2025, the population will be 133 835 000 residents. The largest ethnic groups are mestizo, with 60%, Amerindian (30%) and white (9%). The religion with the greatest expression is Catholic (90%). The official language is Castilian.
Mexico was one of the regions of the New World where many civilizations developed, such as the Maya and the Aztec. But with the Spanish conquest, the indigenous population was reduced from 21 million in 1519 to 1 million in 1607. In 1810 the first movements against oppressive colonialism and in favor of independence began. The independence movement quickly became a guerrilla war. In 1823, a military rebellion forced the colonizers to leave the country and the Republic of Mexico was proclaimed. In 1824 the Constitution was adopted, based on the North American model. In that year Manuel Félix Fernández, better known by Guadalupe Victoria, was elected the first president of the country but, in 1833, a liberal revolt put Antonio López de Santa Anna in power. In 1845 the USA voted to annex Texas, originating the Mexican War. Santa Anna’s troops were defeated and Mexico City was taken over by American forces. In 1948 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo granted the USA the territory that currently corresponds to Arizona, western Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Texas, California and New Mexico. For Mexico democracy and rights, please check localbusinessexplorer.
In 1857, the new Constitution was promulgated, which allowed to permanently abolish the remains of colonization. A year later, disagreements between conservatives, who opposed the constitution, and liberals started the civil war. In 1861 the war ended with the victory of the liberals. The country came to be ruled by Benito Juárez. In 1876 a new rebellion brought Porfirio Díaz to power, which he governed until he was overthrown in 1910. In that year the revolutionary Francisco Madero occupied the presidency. A series of coups d’état followed, until the creation of the National Revolutionary Party (PNR), which governed Mexico until 1938, when it became known as the Mexican Revolutionary Party (PRM). From 1946 it became the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). In the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the PRI carried out a series of social and economic reforms. After the Second World War, the Government gave priority to economic growth. During the 1970s, under the presidency of José Lopez Portillo, the country became one of the largest oil producers in the world. At the end of Portillo’s rule, Mexico had accumulated a huge foreign debt. With the global drop in oil prices in the mid-1980s, the country was faced with a severe financial crisis.
The 1985 elections gave the PRI a new victory, but problems were compounded by the earthquake that affected Mexico City and caused thousands of deaths and displaced people. The biggest challenge for the PRI came during the 1988 elections. After suspicions of fraud in the elections were raised, the electoral college gave victory to the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Salinas’ presidency was marked by the campaigns he spearheaded against corruption and drug traffickers and by negotiations with the US president on reducing foreign debt. In 1994, the PRI again won the general election. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León became president of Mexico and remained so until 2000.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Mexico, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Mexico. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Mexico
Browse a collection of city, shaded relief and political maps of this country, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Check out the map of Nuevo Laredo.
Cancun, Mexico – Caribbean Travel Map
Travel resource offers a view of the island and marks its key cities, beaches and landmarks.
Maps of Mexico
Explore Mexico using this resource that boasts more than 250 maps and 450 panoramic photos of various regions. An interactive map highlights points of interest.
Provides maps of major Mexican cities and states. Get hotel info by region, and make reservations.
Mexico – Falling Rain Genomics
Browse an extensive alphabetized index for satellite maps of more than 63,000 towns and cities in Mexico. Also includes weather and coordinates.
Mexico – Infoplease Map
Peruse a medium-sized, well-detailed map of Mexico. Easily locate towns and cities throughout the country, whether by the sea or on the inland.
Mexico – Locations of Languages
Find out where Otomi, Nahua, Totonac, Tepehua and Spanish are spoken throughout the eastern sierra of Hidalgo.
Mexico – Map Art
Explore maps of Mexico in five different styles. Learn about the country’s topography, roads and cities.
Mexico – Map of Coahuila
Take a closer look at this region with a map that presents rivers, lakes, cities and major roads.
Mexico – MapQuest
Peruse a high-quality graphic map of Mexico, featuring towns and cities throughout the country. Plus, land characteristics and a brief overview.
Mexico – Mexico Travel Information Map
Click on a highlighted region of this large country in order to read more about it.
Mexico – MyTravelGuide.com
Black and white graphical map of Mexico, with key cities and land features highlighted.
Mexico – National Geographic Map Machine
See how satellite imagery and map-editing combine to create this detailed, interactive map. Peruse zoom and map moving features.
Mexico – National Geographic Xpeditions
View and print a map of Mexico, complete with state borders. Includes an option to explore detailed state maps.
Mexico – World Sites Atlas
Presents a simple, physical map of Mexico and nearby countries, with marked points of key cities.
MSN Encarta Maps – Mexico
Features a finely-detailed political map of the country that also highlights the landscape. Click on a city or town for more information.