The United Mexican States is a federal republic in the southern portion of North America.
It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico.
Covering almost two million square kilometers (over 760,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world.
Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8,000 BC, is identified as one of seven cradles of civilization, and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec.
Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world by a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mexico is a megadiverse country, ranking fourth in the world by biodiversity.
In 2016 it was the eighth most visited country in the world, with 35 million international arrivals.
Mexico is crossed from north to south by two mountain ranges known as the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Occidental, which are the extension of the Rocky Mountains from northern North America. From east to west at the center, the country is crossed by the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt also known as the Sierra Nevada. A fourth mountain range, the Sierra Madre del Sur, runs from Michoacán to Oaxaca.
As such, the majority of the Mexican central and northern territories are located at high altitudes, and the highest elevations are found at the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt: Pico de Orizaba (5,700 m or 18,701 ft), Popocatépetl (5,462 m or 17,920 ft), and Iztaccihuatl (5,286 m or 17,343 ft) and the Nevado de Toluca (4,577 m or 15,016 ft). Three major urban agglomerations are located in the valleys between these four elevations: Toluca, Greater Mexico City, and Puebla.
The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and tropical zones. Land north of the twenty-fourth parallel experiences cooler temperatures during the winter months. South of the twenty-fourth parallel, temperatures are fairly constant year-round and vary solely as a function of elevation. This gives Mexico one of the world’s most diverse weather systems.
Areas south of the 24th parallel with elevations up to 1,000 m (3,281 ft) (the southern parts of both coastal plains as well as the Yucatán Peninsula), have a yearly median temperature between 24 to 28 °C (75.2 to 82.4 °F). Temperatures here remain high throughout the year, with only a 5 °C (9 °F) difference between winter and summer median temperatures.
Both Mexican coasts, except for the south coast of the Bay of Campeche and northern Baja, are also vulnerable to serious hurricanes during the summer and fall. Although low-lying areas north of the 24th parallel are hot and humid during the summer, they generally have lower yearly temperature averages (from 20 to 24 °C or 68.0 to 75.2 °F) because of more moderate conditions during the winter.
Many large cities in Mexico are located in the Valley of Mexico or in adjacent valleys with altitudes generally above 2,000 m (6,562 ft). This gives them a year-round temperate climate with yearly temperature averages (from 16 to 18 °C or 60.8 to 64.4 °F) and cool nighttime temperatures throughout the year.
Many parts of Mexico, particularly the north, have a dry climate with sporadic rainfall while parts of the tropical lowlands in the south average more than 2,000 mm (78.7 in) of annual precipitation. For example, many cities in the north like Monterrey, Hermosillo, and Mexicali experience temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) or more in summer. In the Sonoran Desert temperatures reach 50 °C (122 °F) or more.
The national language of Mexico is Spanish. The country has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, with almost a third of all Spanish native speakers.
The National Institute of Indigenous Languages recognizes 68 linguistic groups and some 364 different specific varieties of indigenous languages.
Since the promulgation of the Law of Indigenous Linguistic Rights in 2003, these languages have had status as national languages, with equal validity with Spanish in all the areas and contexts in which they are spoken.
In addition to the indigenous languages, other minority languages are spoken by immigrant populations, such as the 80,000 German-speaking Mennonites in Mexico and 5,000 speakers of the Chipilo dialect of the Venetian language spoken in Chipilo, Puebla.
Mexico is divided into 31 states + Mexico City.
Each state is divided into municipalities.
There are 2448 municipalities in Mexico, not including the 16 boroughs of Mexico City.
Mexico City is a special political division that belongs to the federation as a whole and not to a particular state. Before 2016 was known as the Federal District, its autonomy was previously limited relative to that of the states.
Mexico City is divided into 16 boroughs.