Advanced civilizations like the mayans, aztecs, olmecs, etc. were developed in the territory now known as Mexico. They were the most dominant civilizations in virtually all of the Americas until the first Spanish explorers arrived to the continent. After more than 300 years of colonialism, Mexico started its independence process which would be finished in the year 1821.
According to the World Bank, Mexico has the greatest GDP per capita in Latin America, and has established itself as a middle-high income country. However, the division of the wealth is very extremist, and the gap between rich and poor is enormous. Mexico is the 9th largest economy in the world (measured by the country's GDP). Mexico has several Free Trade Agreements. NAFTA is the most important (with USA and Canada), although the agreements with the European Union and Japan are continiously increasing, as well.
Mexico is the most populous spanish-speaking country in the world and the most populous latinamerican country second to Brazil. The population in 2003 was 104M. It is estimated that 60% of the population can be considered mestizo (mixed european and indigenous ethnicity), around 30% is indigenous and 9% is white. Mexico is mostly Roman Catholic.
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Mexican culture is wide and varies tremendously from region to region. In a study entitled "¿Cuánto vale nuestra cultura?" (How much is our culture?) the mexican government concluded that 6% of Mexico's GDP is generated by cultural industries. Several types of tourism can be found in Mexico, since it has beaches (Cancun and Playa del Carmen being extremely popular among American and European spring-breakers), ancient ruins (Teotihuacán, Chichen-Itzá, etc.), colonial architecture (Guanajuato, Oaxaca), and industrialized, bussiness-oriented cities (Mexico City and Monterrey).
Cold war role
Due to its proximity to the United States, history of territorial conquest, nationalism, corrupt one-party government, and weak economy Mexico presented a potential treat to imperialist domination of Latin America during the cold war.
- INEGI - National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics
- Official Government Website
- EZLN - A indigenous organization
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