Mexico is a federal republic made up of 31 states and 1 Federal District (Mexico City) occupying 756,066 square miles in North America. The country shares a border with the United States of America to the north, Belize and Guatamala to the south, and is bounded on two of its sides by expanses of water – the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west.
Over two thirds of Mexico’s 105 million people live in cities, contrary to the stereotype of peasants and farmers often fostered by the movies. The country’s capital, Mexico City, is inhabited by over 15 million people and is one of the largest cities in the world. Over 95% of the population speak Spanish, which is the official national language. Indians make up almost 25% of the population but less than 10% speak an indian language, of which there are more than 50.
There is no official religion in Mexico but over 95% of the people practice Roman Catholicism. The shrine of the Virgin of Guadeloupe is located in Mexico City and is the site of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands every year.
Mexico is abundant in resources. It is the world’s greatest producer of silver, and also produces zinc, lead, gold, mercury, coal and copper. However, its primary financial asset since the 1970’s has been petroleum. Over 70% of its revenue comes from exporting petroleum to the USA.
Mexico has many different climate zones, plant life and animals, combining species found in North America and many often thought of as more exotic. Monkeys, jaguars, anteater, parrots and tapirs can all be found in the forests of southern Mexico, pumas and coyotes in the more mountainous areas, and snakes, armadillos and rabbits in the deserts.