Estados Unidos Mexicanos

Mexico's History

Mexico is made up of 31 states and one federal district, and it has lots of history to share. Mexico also has a large population, more than 100 million people, filled up with more Spanish speakers than any other nation.

Around about 1500 BC the Olmec people were living in small villages in Mexico. About 300 years later, the Maya built on the accomplishments of the Olmec. The Maya built large cities in Mexico and Central America, around AD 250 through AD 900. No one really found out exactly why the Maya civilization collapsed sometime after 900. After that, the Aztecs moved to central Mexico from the north. Around 1325 they built their capital and other smaller cities.

Later on Europeans came with a Spanish leader, and they had things the Aztecs had never seen before. The Aztecs were weakened by diseases that the Europeans brought and so they were defeated. In 1521 Hernan Cortes claimed the Aztec land for Spain.

Mexico's Culture

Mexico's culture is highly influenced by its history. For example, most Mexicans speak Spanish because of the Spanish influence in their history. There are also people in Mexico that speak American Indian languages. Their language usually connects with their ethnic group, or people of the same race or cultural background. Some cultures combine components of Spanish and Mexican Indian influences. Like the holiday, Day of the Dead, which is similar to a holiday, All Souls' Day, that Catholic Churches honor. Both of these holidays are about hopes of life after death.

To the left is a picture of sugar skulls that Mexicans make to celebrate Day of the Dead.

Mexico's Government

Mexico has a democratic government. For 71 years the same political party controlled the government. Then in 2000, Mexicans elected a different leader, which represented a different political party. For a long time in Mexico the government controlled a lot of the country's economic activity. Though today the government has less control.

Mexico's Economy

Mexico is a developing country. It has struggles with unemployment, debts to foreign banks, and inflation. In 1994, there was an agreement that made trade easier for Mexico, the United States, and Canada. It is called the North AMerican Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Agriculture is a big part of the Mexican economy, even though just 12 percent of its land can actually grow crops. So Mexicans use the land to grow cash crops, which are sold to the US. ALthough Mexicans do farming, a lot of Mexicans work in the mining, oil, and manufacturing industries.

One other important part of Mexico's economy is tourism. Old colonial cities and Maya and Aztec buildings attract many tourists. Some popular coastal cities that are filled with with tourists are Cancun and Acapulco.