Mexico is a federal constitutional republic in North America, bordered by the United States, the Pacific Ocean, Belize, Guatemala, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. It is the 11th most populous country in the world. Mexico is officially known as the United Mexican States, which is a federation of 31 states and a federal district, Mexico City.
Before the Europeans came to America, Mexico was inhabited by various civilizations including the Teotihuacan, the Maya and the Aztec. It is estimated that there were between 6 million and 25 million people in Mexico before the Spanish conquered the land. Millions of these people were killed by smallpox, which was unintentionally brought over by the Spanish. After HernÃ¡n CortÃ©s gained victory of the Aztec, Mexico was known as New Spain.
Priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla declared the land independent from Spain in 1810. He formed the first militia against the Spanish. However, he and some of his soldiers were later captured and executed during the next year. Another priest soon took leadership of the militia. Ten years later, the Spanish Crown recognized Mexico as an independent nation.
In 2005, Mexico was the seventh most popular country for tourists to visit. Attractions that are frequently visited are ruins, colonial cities, and beach resorts. The period between December and mid-summer is the peak tourism season. Beach resorts are popular destination for college students during Easter and Spring Break. Mexico City, the capital, is the site of many ancient artifacts and sites such as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon.
Mexican culture is a blend between the Spanish culture and pre-Hispanic civilizations. During the 1940s and 1950s, Mexico had a film industry that was comparable to what Hollywood was during those years. Today, there are Mexican directors are chosen for Hollywood films and who have gained recognition for their achievements.
As the culture is a mix of Spanish and pre-Hispanic cultures, so is the cuisine. The Mexican dishes that have been introduced and succeeded in other countries include tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos, and tamales.
Drug-trafficking is a major concern for Mexico. Higher drug trafficking also causes the crime rate to rise. It is estimated that there are as many as 100,000 active people in drug cartels. This is also a problem for the United States, which shares a border with it, because of the number of immigrants who come across the board.