|1.||Official name: United Mexican States, Spanish name: Méjico a republic in North America, on the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific: early Mexican history includes the Maya, Toltec, and Aztec civilizations; conquered by the Spanish between 1519 and 1525 and achieved independence in 1821; lost Texas to the US in 1836 and California and New Mexico in 1848. It is generally mountainous with three ranges of the Sierra Madre (east, west, and south) and a large central plateau. Official language: Spanish. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: peso. Capital: Mexico City. Pop: 104 931 000 (2004 est). Area: 1 967 183 sq km (761 530 sq miles)|
|2.||a state of Mexico, on the central plateau surrounding Mexico City, which is not administratively part of the state. Capital: Toluca. Pop: 13 096 686 (2000). Area: 21 460 sq km (8287 sq miles)|
|3.||Gulf of Mexico an arm of the Atlantic, bordered by the US, Cuba, and Mexico: linked with the Atlantic by the Straits of Florida and with the Caribbean by the Yucatán Channel. Area: about 1 600 000 sq km (618 000 sq miles)|
Republic in southern North America, bordered by the United States to the north, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Belize and Guatemala to the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the south and west. Its capital and largest city is Mexico City.
Note: The world's most populous Spanish-speaking country.
Note: Mexico has a significantly high foreign debt. Its land is rich, but much of it is difficult to cultivate. Despite the prosperity of its oil industry, Mexico's economic troubles are severe.
Note: Many Mexicans cross the Mexican-American border illegally in hopes of finding work in the United States.
Note: Mexico's proximity to the United States has led to serious territorial disputes; the immediate cause of the Mexican War of the 1840s was the annexation of Texas by the United States.
Note: Mexico became independent from Spain in 1821.
Note: Before the arrival of the Spanish in the early sixteenth century, great Native American civilizations, such as the Mayas and the Aztecs, thrived.
Note: In 1994, Mexico joined the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Note: From 1929 until the late 1990s, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) dominated Mexican politics, winning most elections by a combination of popular appeal, corruption, and the liberal distribution of public jobs. In 2000, for the first time, a candidate of a rival party won Mexico's presidency.