* Mexico is the site of several advanced Amerindian civilizations including the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec. Mexico was conquered and colonized by Spain in the early 16th century. Administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain for three centuries, it achieved its independence early in the 19th century. * The global financial crisis beginning in late 2008 caused a massive economic downturn the following year, although growth returned quickly in 2010. Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely indigenous population. * The elections in 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that an opposition candidate, Vicente FOX of the National Action Party defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Another National Action Party candidate, Felipe CALDERON, succeeded him in 2006 but the Institutional Revolutionary Party regained the presidency in 2012.
Mexico is located in North America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
Geography * The center of Mexico is a great, high plateau, open to the north, with mountain chains on the east and west and with ocean-front lowlands lying outside of them. * The terrain and climate vary from rocky deserts in the north to tropical rain forest in the south. Mexico's major rivers include the Río Bravo del Norte (Rio Grande) and the Usumacinta on its northern and southern borders, respectively, together with the Grijalva, Balsas, Pánuco, and Yaqui in the interior.
Major Cities * MEXICO CITY (capital) 19.319 million * Guadalajara 4.338 million * Monterrey 3.838 million * Puebla 2.278 million * Tijuana 1.629 million (2009)
Ethnic Groups * Mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60% * Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30% * White 9% * Other 1%
* Mexico is the country where the greatest number of U.S citizens live outside the United States. This may be due to the growing economic and business interdependence of the two countries under NAFTA, and also that Mexico is considered an excellent choice for retirees.
* Spanish only 92.7% * Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7% * Indigenous only 0.8% * Unspecified 0.8%
* Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.
* 116,220,947 (July 2013 est.) * Country comparison to the world: 11
Population Growth Rate * 1.07% (2013 est.)
Natural Resources * petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber
Government Type: * Federal Republic
Legal Sysytem: * civil law system with US constitutional law theory influence; judicial review of legislative acts
Executive Branch * Chief of state: President Enrique PENA NIETO (since 1 December 2012); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government * Head of government: President Enrique PENA NIETO (since 1 December 2012) * Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; note - appointment of attorney general, the head of the Bank of Mexico, and senior treasury officials require consent of the Senate
Judicial Branch * Supreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion International Law Organization and Preparation
Key Regional Groups * The Contadora Group * established in 1983 with Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela * Mexico advocated a negotiated settlement of the Central American conflict and called for the withdrawal of foreign influence, including that of the United States and the Soviet Union, from the region. * Founding member of the Cartagena Group (1984) * an informal Latin American forum established to deal collectively with issues concerning foreign debt * Established the San José