This article is about the country Mexico. For other meanings, see Mexico (disambiguation)

The United Mexican States or Mexico (Spanish: México: the alternate spelling Méjico is sometimes used in Spain but is strongly deprecated in the rest of the Spanish-speaking world) is a country located in North America, bordered to the north by the United States to the south-east by Guatemala and Belize, to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Estados Unidos Mexicanos
(Flag of Mexico) (Coat of Arms)
National motto: None
Official language Spanish
Capital Mexico City
Largest City Mexico City
PresidentVicente Fox
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 13th
1,972,550 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 11th
 - Declared
 - Recognised
From Spain
September 16, 1810
December 28, 1836
Currency Mexican peso (MXP)
Time zone UTC -6 to -8
National anthem Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
Calling Code52

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 States
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External links


Main article: History of Mexico

Mexico was the site of several advanced Native American civilisations, of the Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Maya and the Aztecs. The arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century and their defeat of the Aztecs in 1521 marked the beginning of the colonial period of Mexico as a part of New Spain.

In 1810, independence from Spain was declared, causing a long war that eventually led to independence in 1821. After independence, Mexico's territory slowly decreased in size, with land lost and sold to the United States (see Mexican-American War) and the secession of Central America. In the 1860s the country suffered a military occupation by France, fought off by Mexican patriot Benito Juárez.

The long, undemocratic regime of Porfirio Díaz led 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 Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) controlled the country until the end of the 20th century.


Main article: Politics of Mexico

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 federal congress or Congreso de la Unión.

The Congress 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:


Main article:
Geography of Mexico

Mexico borders two major bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean (with the Sea of Cortes 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 Bravo (known in the US as the Rio Grande), the Grijalva, the Balsas and the Yaqui.


Main article: Economy of Mexico

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 León 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.


Main article: Demographics of Mexico

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 is unaffiliated.


Main article: Culture of Mexico

DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
January 1New Year's DayAño nuevoFirst day of the year.
February 5Constitution DayDía de la ConstituciónCelebrates the ratification of the Constitution of 1917, adopted after the Mexican Civil War.
March 21Benito Juárez's BirthdayNatalicio de Benito JuárezPresident Benito Juárez's Birthday, popularly regarded as an exemplary politician who stood against the French invasion (see Batalla de Puebla)
May 1Labour DayDía del TrabajoMourns the Haymarket Riot of (1886).
May 5Cinco de MayoBatalla de PueblaCelebrates the victory against French forces in the city of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. It is also widely celebrated in the United States among Mexican-Americans.
September 16Independence DayDía de la IndependenciaCelebrates the Grito de Dolores, an event that marked the start of the independence war against Spain on the eve of September 16, 1810. See also Fiestas Patrias.
November 20Revolution DayDía de la RevoluciónCelebrates the begining of the Mexican civil war of 1910 (see also Fiestas Patrias).
December 25ChristmasNavidadCelebrates the nativity of Jesus Christ, also celebrated as secular winter holiday.

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Countries of the world  |  North America