The Country of Mexico
Submitted 11 months 2 days ago by CultureWhiz.
Mexico occupies the southernmost landmass of North America, connecting with the Central American isthmus. The territorially diverse land ranges from the northern desert of the Baja peninsula and the mainland, through the center and surrounding mountain ranges, to the lush southern jungles. Mexico has coasts against the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Gulf of California.
The country is divided into 31 states plus the federal district. The main regions are, from north to south, the Baja California peninsula, the mainland deserts, the central plateau and coasts, and the southeastern rainforests.
Baja California: The 1,247 km (775 mi) long western peninsula reaches down from the American border to create a protected gulf. Two states fill the northern and southern halves of the peninsula. Tijuana corners up with San Diego, California to form a socioeconomic metroplex. At the opposite end of the barren desert, tourist resorts sit near La Paz.
Northern Deserts: The Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts fill a huge area of the country with hot, dry conditions. Including the states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas, this area historically hosted cowboys akin to their American counterparts. Saguaro cacti dot the landscape. Today, drug traffickers and laborers cross the dangerous border here. The large and Americanized industrial city of Monterrey anchors northern Mexico.
Center: The historical heart of the country includes the capital, as well as colonial states of distinct culture. Mexico City is by far the biggest city in the whole country. It sits in the Federal District, and into the neighboring state of México. Other states in the center of the country include Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, and Morelos.
West: The western side of the mainland has the second largest source of history and culture. Here, the international city of Guadalajara has an artsy flair alongside its traditions, which include cathedrals and foods and drinks. States here include Jalisco (with Guadalajara), Michoacán, Colima, and Nayarit.
East: The eastern side of the mainland has the most conservative elements of the country, including the churches and foods of Puebla. It also has the culturally relevant coast of Veracruz. In addition to those states, there are Hidalgo and Tlaxcala.
South: The vivid and diverse south of Mexico has tropical rainforests, ancient pyramids, and stunning geographic features such as waterfalls. The rapidly developing southeast borders against Central America, while the primarily indigenous southwest has immense natural beauty. Southern states include Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, and Yucatán, on the eastern side, and Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca on the western side.
The Mexican economy has grown considerably, to play a large part in the global economy. Largely through its contact with the US, Mexico supplies a lot of manufacturing capability, as well as food and other resources. Oil has been important the Mexico's history, going back to the government's forceful creation of the Pemex monopoly, although currently there are plans to privatize the industry. The country overall is fairly wealthy by comparison with much of Latin America, although much less so than the United States.
Mexico features a mix of indigenous huts and dwellings, with ornate colonial building, and modern skyscrapers in the cities. Northern Mexico features a lot of simple concrete structures. In more central areas, the stonework of the Spanish attracts international visitors. The most stunning architecture of Mexico comes in the precolonial villages that served a mix of economic, religious, and astronomical functions. Pyramids with ornate snake designs, multiple tiers, and responding to the evolving celestial objects, make these wonders as relevant as they are beautiful.
Mexican roads are the worst maintained in North America. However, they are heavily trafficked, by cars and trucks and an armada of buses that crisscross the country. The passenger train system has essentially been deprecated, although industrial transportation continues to use rail. With its huge coastline, Mexico does engage in boating and shipping, although far less so than the neighboring USA.
Bicycles remain a common way to get around within the community. Also, in some rural areas, horses and donkeys and mules see some use.
The first peoples to settle Mexico came from Asia around ten millennia ago. A tapestry of civilizations spread across the area now called Mexico, including notably the "Mexica" (Aztec) and the Maya. When the Spaniards came by sea, two vastly different civilizations encountered each other. Disease killed many of the American people, and the Europeans defeated the pre-Colombian populations militarily, establishing the colony of New Spain. Mexico rebelled in the early twentieth century, declaring independence and fighting victoriously. A series of wars yielded today's borders. Mexico and America now trade heavily, with many joint cities along the border.