Tuesday the 13th (Martes Trece), not Friday the 13th, is an unlucky day in Mexico. On Tuesday, August 13, 1521 the Spaniards completed their conquest of the Aztec capital of Tenochitlán. Tuesday the 13th is also an unlucky day in Spain.
There are more pyramids in Mexico than there are in Egypt.
Mexico is one of the world’s top oil producing countries.
The United Mexican States, commonly referred to as Mexico, is a federal republic located in the southern portion of North America. Mexico is a country with rich cultural heritage and an abundance of natural resources. It is home to more Spanish speakers than any country in the world, and is also home to the largest Amerindian population in the world. Mexico’s capital, Mexico City, is the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the largest cities in the world.
Although Mexico has been populated by people for many thousands of years, the Olmec Civilization, which existed from around 1200 B.C. to 400 B.C., is generally regarded as Mexico’s first great civilization. The Mayan, Aztec and other smaller civilizations followed. When the Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortez, arrived in Mexico in 1519, the Aztecs ruled a vast empire from their capital city of Tenochtitlan, located where Mexico City now stands. From 1519-1521, the Spanish and their allies fought the Aztecs. Concurrently, an outbreak of smallpox in 1520 ravaged the indigenous population of Mexico, and left many Native Americans unable to defend themselves. By May 1521, the Aztecs had been defeated by the Spanish, their allies, and disease. It is estimated that as much as eighty percent of the Native American population in Mexico died from Smallpox and other diseases believed to have been brought to the New World by the Europeans.
The territory of Mexico was the crown jewel of Spain’s colonies worldwide until September 16, 1810, when Father Miguel de Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic Priest, declared Mexico’s independence from Spain. Mexico’s war for independence lasted until Spain recognized Mexico’s independence on September 27, 1821. For the next one hundred years, the Mexican people suffered through nearly constant fighting and several different governments. Moreover, a series of battles with separatists and U.S. forces in northern Mexico lead to a loss of much of Mexico’s northern territories. Mexico achieved relative peace after the end of the Mexican Civil War in 1920 and the Christero War in 1929.
Mexican migration and immigration to the United States
The first Mexicans to reside in the United States did not arrive as immigrants, but were instead the inhabitants of regions that had formerly been part of northern New Spain, and later Mexico. Many of these early Mexican Americans suffered the loss of their rights and title to their lands as a result of the transition of the northern Mexican territories to the United States.
During the nineteenth century, tens of thousands of Mexicans immigrated to the United States to work in the California gold fields, on the construction of railroads, in the steel mills, mines and in agriculture. By 1890, it is believed that as many as seventy-five thousand Mexicans had immigrated to the United States. During the Mexican Civil War (1910-1920), more than two hundred thousand Mexican refugees fled Mexico for the United States. From 1926 to 1929, the Catholic peasantry of Mexico fought the Marxist government during the Christero Revolution. The Mexican government killed and imprisoned many of the peasants and priests responsible for the revolution, and forced the migration of others to Mexico’s south and to the United States. Some five hundred thousand Mexicans fled to the United States during the Christero Revolution.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans returned to Mexico. However, domestic labor shortages during World War II led to the creation of the Bracero Program. From 1942 to 1964, the Bracero Program brought many Mexican guest workers to the United States, most to work in agriculture.
Since 1970, immigrants from Mexico account for nearly one-quarter of all immigrants to the U.S. Mexican immigration has increased markedly in recent years. Between 1990 and 2000, the Mexican population increased by 52.9%, and numbered more than 20.6 million in 2000.
Mexico is located in the southern part of North America. Mexico shares land borders with the United States of America, Belize and Guatemala, and has extensive coast lines on the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Mexico is approximately three times the size of Texas, or about one-fifth the size of the United States.
Mexico is home to about 108 million people, which is equivalent to the combined populations of the United States’ five most populous states; California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois.
The Mexican population is overwhelmingly urban and only twenty-four percent of the population lives in rural areas. Mexico’s capital city, Mexico City, is home to nearly one-fifth of Mexico’s population.
Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Almost one-third of the world’s Spanish speakers are Mexicans.
Mexico is the most populous Spanish speaking country and is also one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. Spanish is Mexico’s official language, but the Mexican government also recognizes sixty-six different Amerindian languages, most of which have several dialects. An estimated eight percent of the Mexican population speaks an Amerindian language. Yucatán Maya and the various Nahuatl dialects are the Amerindian languages with the most speakers.
The Mexican people are predominantly Roman Catholics; however, protestant churches have gained popularity in the last forty years. Roman Catholics account for more than seventy-five percent of the Mexican population and Protestants account for more than six percent. Small communities of Jews and Muslims also exist in Mexico.
Indigenous beliefs that existed in pre-Columbian times continue to play an important role in Mexican culture. Most notable is the Día de los Muertos celebration. Before the arrival of the Spanish, Día de los Muertos was a month-long Aztec celebration of death and the continuation of life. The Spaniards sought to eliminate the festival, but when their efforts failed, they chose instead to shorten it to one day by combining it with the Catholic All Soul’s Day holiday on November 2 of each year.
In Mexico, as in Spain and other former Spanish colonies, December 28 is a day of trickery, much like April Fools’ Day is in the United States. It is called Día de los Santos Inocentes (Day of the Innocent Saints).
As of 2005, the United States of America was home to more than 26,784,268 Mexicans, of which 40.5% were foreign born. Mexicans account for nearly sixty-four percent of all Hispanics living in the U.S.
Historically, there have been many waves of Mexican immigration to the United States, as well as several periods of repatriation of Mexicans to Mexico. Much of this has been due to the long period of civil unrest in Mexico and greater economic opportunities in the United States. It is difficult to know the exact number of Mexicans living in the United States before 1970, as the U.S. Census did not specifically ask Hispanic persons their country of origin. However, since 1970, Mexican immigrants account for nearly one-quarter of all immigrants to the U.S. In recent years, Mexican immigration has increased markedly. Between 1990 and 2000, the Mexican population increased by 52.9%.
The extraordinary growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, and particularly in states like California and Texas, has already begun to change the cultural fabric of the United States. The impacts of this growth can be seen in many areas of American culture, including the media, cuisine, the Catholic Church, sports, labor and politics. The future growth of the Hispanic population will undoubtedly bring even greater changes to the United States.
Mexicans live throughout the United States, but the greatest concentrations live in California, the American southwest and the Midwest. As of 2000, 55.3% of the Mexican population lived in the West; 31.7% lived in the South; 10.7% in the Midwest; and 2.3% in the Northeast. 1 Furthermore, California, Texas, Illinois and Arizona were home to the largest Mexican populations, with each state’s population numbering over one million persons.
As of 2000, the three U.S. counties with the largest Mexican populations were Los Angeles County, CA (3,000,000), Harris County, TX (815,000) and Cook County, IL (786,000).
A member of any of the aboriginal peoples of the western hemisphere except often the Eskimos.