Mexico - geography
Most of Mexico consists of a central plateau surrounded by mountain ranges,
the Sierra Madre Occidental to the west and the Sierra Madre Oriental to the
The plateau houses several drainless basins; some of these have a fertile
soil of volcanic decomposition products, while others are covered with sand and
The southern part of the plateau is characterized by volcanic landscapes from
the Tertiary period. Here are two rows of volcanoes with Mexico's highest
mountain, Citlaltépetl (5700 m). Some volcanoes, Popocatépetl, are still
active. Crater lakes and lava flows are characteristic elements in this area.
South of the volcanoes, the narrow Tehuantepec Seaweed forms a natural
geographical but not constitutional boundary between Mexico and Central
America. The southernmost part of the country is formed to the west by a
highland that geologically connects to the Cordilleras, and to the east by the
low limestone peninsula Yucatán. Large parts of the lowlands along the Gulf of
Mexico consist of swamps and lagoons.
|States and territories
|Baja California Norte
|Baja California Sur
||33,919 th most common
||11,769 th most common
|San Luis Potosí
||San Luis Potosí
The climate in the highlands is predominantly subtropical, while the coastal
signs and the lowlands generally have a tropical climate. Locally, there are
four climate zones: Tierra caliente ('the warm country') is located
between the sea and 750 m, tierra templada ('the temperate country') is
between 750 and 1800 m and covers most of the central plateau with the country's
population, economic and cultural center of gravity, tierra fría ('the
cold country') up to 3600 m with frost in the winter months and finally tierra
helada ('the frozen country') on the highest mountain peaks with a polar
To the north, the weather is characterized by stable high pressures, and
several areas have annual precipitation below 100 mm and desert
vegetation. Across the eastern and southern regions, trade winds blow in from
the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, and here the annual rainfall is up to
3000 mm. In the summer, tropical hurricanes occur here. The central plateau and
lowlands of the Pacific Ocean have summer rains.
From 1970 to 1996, the population doubled. The birth surplus was 3.5%
annually in 1965, but has since fallen to close to 2%, which is still higher
than in most countries in the region. Both the birth and death rates are
declining; this is partly due to migration from agriculture and improvements in
health. State family planning policy has also for many years sought to reduce
the birth rate.
Do you know how many people there are in Mexico? Check this site to see
population pyramid and resident density about this country.
Sharp ethnic boundaries between population groups are difficult to draw, but
approximately 60% are mestizos, 30% Indians and 10% whites. In the past, shifting
governments sought to "Mexicanize" the non-Spanish cultures that were seen as
backward and as barriers to development and national unity. It happened without
much success, and since 1982, the official policy has been "cultural pluralism"
with two-cultural education and greater local self-determination.
Since the 1950's, the originally agricultural-dominated country has been
characterized by migrations from country to city, and today 70% live in the
cities. At the same time, there has been a large emigration to the USA, where 17
million have been registered. Mexicans plus an estimated 3 million. illegal
The employment opportunities in the Mexican cities have not been able to keep
up with the rural-urban migration, so unemployment is high. Both at home and
abroad, the underemployed Mexicans constitute a large labor reserve with low
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song lyrics and singer about this country.
Agriculture. 12% of the area is cultivated, of which about a third
is irrigated. Most of the arable land is found on the central plateau, where the
summer rains are stable and the soil fertile.
Maize, rice, wheat and vegetables are grown for the domestic market and
cotton, coffee, tobacco and bananas for export. As in other Latin American
countries, the distribution of land is skewed and poses a problem.
The unequal distribution was created in colonial times, when the Spaniards
expelled the Indians from the good lands to the more marginal ones. After
independence, the land was privatized, expropriated and sold. Many foreigners,
especially from the north, bought land and established large cattle farms and
plantations with coffee, sugar, sisala gifts, cocoa and cotton.
By the revolution of 1910, 40% of Mexico was subject to large estates, while
96% of the rural population did not own land. One of the results of the
revolution was a land reform, and in 1940 the landless peasants accounted for
36%. Since then, follow-up to the reform has been slow.
The lack of land and the rising poverty were and are the reason for the
migration to the cities; in the 1980's, 700,000 immigrants a year arrived
in Mexico City alone. The continuing unrest in the southern state of Chiapas is
also largely due to the ownership of the land.
Agriculture played a not insignificant role in the country's
industrialization. Agricultural exports provided currency for the country, and
through mechanization, labor was freed up for industry, while the industry was
able to produce cheap food for the growing urban population.
The state invested in irrigation systems and supported the production of
export crops with credits. Together with the Rockefeller Foundation,
high-yielding maize and wheat varieties were developed for what would later
become known as the Green Revolution.
The result was an intensification of the imbalances with, on the one hand,
market-oriented large holdings and, on the other hand, a farming sector with
small farms, mainly on the marginal lands.
Economic development created a growing middle class, and its increased demand
for meat led to a growth in livestock farming, which in many places is in direct
competition with agriculture on the land. Mexico is now an importer of staple
foods such as corn, soy and milk powder. In total, another 28% of the labor
force is in agriculture, but the sector contributes only 8% of GDP.
Mining and oil. Historically, Mexico was known for its colossal
mineral wealth, and many of the mines have been in operation since the Spanish
conquest. Zinc, lead and copper make up 75% of the metal extraction; in
addition, the world's largest silver production in addition to molybdenum,
antimony and mercury.
More important, however, are the oil and natural gas fields, which are mainly
located on the Gulf Coast and offshore. The deposits were nationalized in 1938
and have been an important factor in the country's industrial growth. With
rising oil prices in the 1970's, exploration intensified and large new fields
were found. Since then, Mexico has positioned itself as the world's 5th-6th
largest oil producer.
Oil accelerated development, but it happened for borrowed money, and growth
was uneven. Oil refineries, pipelines and the petrochemical industry were built,
but much of the oil is still exported as crude oil. Much of the export revenue
goes to repayments and interest on loans, and much has disappeared in the
country's extensive corruption.
In 1982, Mexico halted its foreign payments in a major economic collapse with
a foreign debt among the largest in the world. The background was low oil
prices, and the consequences were noticeable for large sections of the
Industry (including the oil sector) employs 11% of the working
population and contributes 29% of GDP. A very large part is located around
Mexico City and to a lesser extent Monterrey.
Important industries are iron and steel, textiles, chemical industry, cement
and food. In 1965, free zones were established along the border with
the United States with offers for foreign investment. Production is
export-oriented, technology and semi-finished products are imported, while the
workforce is Mexican.
The free zones sought to reduce unemployment in the border areas, stop
illegal emigration, initiate decentralization and increase state revenues.
With the crisis of the 1980's, industrial policy changed. Protective tariffs
were abolished and the strategy of building import-substituting companies was
replaced by a focus on the export industry. The establishment of the North
American Common Market, NAFTA, in 1994 was a necessary precondition for this
change in policy.
Tourism, especially from the United States, is a major source of
income. On the coast there are major tourist centers such as Acapulco, Puerto
Vallarta and Cancún, offering sunny climates and beaches. The pre-Columbian
centers in the south of the country hold great cultural treasures and attract an
increasing number of North Americans and Europeans. In addition, there are
several border towns that serve as excursion destinations from California and
Mexico - plant growth
The arid areas, especially in the north and NW, are dominated by cacti and
other succulents such as agave and yucca. In the NE there are grass steppes and
thorny bushes, called mesquite. The mountains in the temperate regions
are for the most part covered with deciduous oak forest and higher up pine
forest; known garden plants such as Dahlia and Zinnia originate
from these areas.
In the warmest and wettest regions, especially on the Yucatán Peninsula,
tropical rainforest with many palm trees, epiphytic ferns, orchids and species
in the pineapple family occurs. In the drier hinterland and towards the Pacific
coast, the vegetation is most often savannah-like.
Mexico - language
Official language is Spanish, which is the mother tongue of over 90% of the
population. In addition, over 100 Native American languages are spoken,
especially in the southern and eastern states. The largest of these languages
is Nahuatl, spoken by approximately 1.4 million in Central Mexico,
followed by the Yucatecan Maya, spoken on the Yucatan Peninsula by
approximately 745,000 (1990). Other Mayan languages include tzotzil and tzeltal. The
mountainous southern state of Oaxaca is one of the most linguistic areas in the
world; here oto-mangue and mixe-zoque languages are spoken in
particular. Uto-Aztec languages are most prevalent in the northern part of the
country. See also Central American languages.
Mexico - religion
In today's Mexico is approximately 90% of the population are Catholics; among
Protestant denominations, Presbyterians and the Pentecostal movement in
particular have gained followers in recent times. The Roman Catholic Church came
to Mexico with the Spanish conquest in the 1500's. and was closely linked to
colonization. In 1917, the state and church were separated, the church was
banned from acquiring land, and the revolution was generally strongly
anti-church, because the church was still associated with the colonizers by
many. In the late 1900-t. it is trying to abolish the anti-religious laws.
In practice, many Mexicans mix forms from the original religion, such as the
spirit and animal beliefs of Mayan culture, with Catholicism. The cult
surrounding the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Latin America, has had
a particularly popular impact.
The pre-Columbian religion is described under Indians
(religion), Aztecs and Mayans.