Portal:Mexico

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The Temple of Warriors at Chichen Itza, Mexico
The Temple of Warriors at Chichen Itza, Mexico

¡Bienvenido! Welcome to the Mexico portal

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Mexico (Spanish: México [ˈmexiko] (About this soundlisten); Nahuan languages: Mēxihco), officially the United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos; EUM [esˈtaðos uˈniðoz mexiˈkanos] (About this soundlisten)), is a country 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. Mexico covers 1,972,550 square kilometers (761,610 sq mi), making it the world's 13th-largest country by area; with approximately 126,014,024 inhabitants, it is the 10th-most-populous country and has the most Spanish-speakers. Mexico is organized as a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, its capital and largest metropolis. Other major urban areas include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and León.


Pre-Columbian Mexico traces its origins to 8,000 BC and is identified as one of six cradles of civilization; it was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, most notably the Maya and the Aztecs. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the region from its base in Mexico City, establishing the colony of New Spain. The Catholic Church played an important role in spreading Christianity and the Spanish language, while also preserving some indigenous elements. Native populations were subjugated and heavily exploited to mine rich deposits of precious metals, which contributed to Spain's status as a major world power for the next three centuries, and to a massive influx of wealth and a price revolution in Western Europe. Over time, a distinct Mexican identity formed, based on a fusion of European and indigenous customs; this contributed to the successful Mexican War of Independence against Spain in 1821. (Full article...)

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La Venta Monument 1

The Olmec colossal heads are stone representations of human heads sculpted from large basalt boulders. They range in height from 1.17 to 3.4 metres (3.8 to 11.2 ft). The heads date from at least 900 BC and are a distinctive feature of the Olmec civilization of ancient Mesoamerica. All portray mature individuals with fleshy cheeks, flat noses, and slightly crossed eyes; their physical characteristics correspond to a type that is still common among the inhabitants of Tabasco and Veracruz. The backs of the monuments often are flat. The boulders were brought from the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas mountains of Veracruz. Given that the extremely large slabs of stone used in their production were transported over large distances (over 150 kilometres (93 mi)), requiring a great deal of human effort and resources, it is thought that the monuments represent portraits of powerful individual Olmec rulers. Each of the known examples has a distinctive headdress. The heads were variously arranged in lines or groups at major Olmec centres, but the method and logistics used to transport the stone to these sites remain unclear. They all display distinctive headgear and one theory is that these were worn as protective helmets, maybe worn for war or to take part in a ceremonial Mesoamerican ballgame.

The discovery of the first colossal head at Tres Zapotes in 1862 by José María Melgar y Serrano was not well documented nor reported outside of Mexico.

The excavation of the same colossal head by Matthew Stirling in 1938 spurred the first archaeological investigations of Olmec culture. Seventeen confirmed examples are known from four sites within the Olmec heartland on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Most colossal heads were sculpted from spherical boulders but two from San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán were re-carved from massive stone thrones. An additional monument, at Takalik Abaj in Guatemala, is a throne that may have been carved from a colossal head. This is the only known example from outside the Olmec heartland. (Full article...)

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Three varieties of tequila

Tequila (/tɛˈklə/; Spanish: [teˈkila] (About this soundlisten)) is a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila 65 km (40 mi) northwest of Guadalajara, and in the Jaliscan Highlands (Los Altos de Jalisco) of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco.

The red volcanic soils in the region of Tequila are well suited for growing the blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. Agave grows differently depending on the region. Blue agaves grown in the highlands Los Altos region are larger and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the valley region have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavor. Due to its historical and cultural importance, the region near Tequila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006, the Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila. (Full article...)

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Mexican curious monkey.jpg
Curios for sale
image credit: Tomas Castelazo

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Adult perched in a honey mesquite tree

The cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) is a species of wren endemic to the deserts of the southwestern United States and northern and central Mexico. It is the state bird of Arizona, and the largest wren in the United States. Its plumage is brown, with black and white spots as markings. It has a distinctive white eyebrow that sweeps to the nape of the neck. The chest is white, whereas the underparts are cinnamon-buff colored. Both sexes appear similar. The tail, as well as flight feathers, are barred in black and white. Their song is a loud raspy chirrup; akin in the description of some ornithologists to the sound of a car engine that will not start. It is well-adapted to its native desert environment, and the birds can meet their water needs from their diet which consists chiefly of insects, but also of some plant matter. The cactus wren is a poor flier and generally forages for food on the ground. Ornithologists generally recognize seven subspecies, with the exact taxonomy under dispute.

Its common name derives from their frequenting desert cactus plants such as the saguaro and cholla, building nests, roosting, and seeking protection from predators among them. Its bulky and globular nests are constructed of plant material and lined with feathers. They do not migrate; instead, they establish and defend the territories around their nests where they live all year-round. It lives in pairs, or as family groups from late spring through winter. Pairing among cactus wrens is monogamous; in each breeding season, the males chiefly build nests, the females incubate eggs, and both parents feed the young. (Full article...)

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Saint Juan Diego by Miguel Cabrera, 1752

Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, also known as Juan Diego (Spanish pronunciation: [ˌxwanˈdjeɣo]; 1474–1548), was a Chichimec peasant and Marian visionary. He is said to have been granted apparitions of the Virgin Mary on four occasions in December 1531: three at the hill of Tepeyac and a fourth before don Juan de Zumárraga, then bishop of Mexico. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, located at the foot of Tepeyac, houses the cloak (tilmahtli) that is traditionally said to be Juan Diego's, and upon which the image of the Virgin is said to have been miraculously impressed as proof of the authenticity of the apparitions.

Juan Diego's visions and the imparting of the miraculous image, as recounted in oral and written colonial sources such as the Huei tlamahuiçoltica , are together known as the Guadalupe event (Spanish: el acontecimiento Guadalupano), and are the basis of the veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This veneration is ubiquitous in Mexico, prevalent throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas, and increasingly widespread beyond. As a result, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is now one of the world's major Christian pilgrimage destinations, receiving 22 million visitors in 2010. (Full article...)

In the news

22 July 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico
Mexico reports 16,244 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the highest daily total in the country since January. (Reuters)
14 July 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico
Mexico reports its first case of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant in a 65-year-old male patient at a hospital in the state of Morelos. (Anadolu Agency)
2 July 2021 –
A massive fire breaks out at an undersea gas pipeline which connects to the Ku-Maloob-Zaap oil field, off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. The fire took five hours to contain. Mexican state-run oil company Pemex, who is in charge of the oil field's operations, orders an investigation into the cause of the fire. (Reuters)
28 June 2021 –
The Supreme Court of Mexico decriminalizes the recreational use of cannabis for adults. (France24)

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Sopa de fideo with corn and chicken, garnished with avocado and a lime wedge
Sopa de fideo, also referred to as sopita de fideo, is a stock-based noodle soup that is a part of the cuisines of Spain, Mexico, Tex-Mex cuisine, and Cavite, a province in the Philippines. It has been suggested that the dish may have originated in Spain. (Full article...)

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The following are images from various Mexico-related articles on Wikipedia.

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