Mexico

MEXICO

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This article is about the country in North America. For other uses, see Mexico (disambiguation).
United Mexican States
  • Estados Unidos Mexicanos  (Spanish)
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: None[unreliable source?]
Anthem: Himno Nacional Mexicano
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National seal:
Seal of the Government of Mexico.svg
Sello de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos  (Spanish)


Seal of the United Mexican States
Capital


and largest city
Mexico City


19°26′N 99°08′W / 19.433°N 99.133°W / 19.433; -99.133
National languagesSpanish (98.8%), 68 native language groups are also legally recognized.
DemonymMexican
GovernmentFederal presidential


constitutional republic
 - PresidentEnrique Peña Nieto (PRI)
 - President of the SenateErnesto Cordero Arroyo (PAN)
 - President of the Chamber of DeputiesRicardo Anaya Cortés (PAN)
 - Supreme Court PresidentJuan Silva Meza
 - Secretary of the InteriorMiguel Ángel Osorio Chong (PRI)
LegislatureCongress
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseChamber of Deputies
Independence from Spain
 - DeclaredSeptember 16, 1810 
 - ConsummatedSeptember 27, 1821 
 - RecognizedDecember 28, 1836 
 - First constitutionOctober 4, 1824 
 - Second constitutionFebruary 5, 1857 
 - Current constitutionFebruary 5, 1917 
Area
 - Total1,972,550 km2 (14th)


761,606 sq mi
 - Water (%)2.5
Population
 - 2013 estimate118,395,054 (11th)
 - Density57/km2 (142nd)


142/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2014 estimate
 - Total$1.927 trillion (10th)
 - Per capita$16,111 (65th)
GDP (nominal)2014 estimate
 - Total$1.288 trillion (15th)
 - Per capita$10,767 (65th)
Gini (2010)47.2


high
HDI (2012)Increase 0.775


high · 61st
CurrencyPeso (MXN)
Time zoneSee Time in Mexico (UTC−8 to −6)
 - Summer (DST)varies (UTC−7 to −5)
Drives on theright
Calling code+52
ISO 3166 codeMX
Internet TLD.mx
a.Article 4.° of the General Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Peoples.
Mexico (Listeni/ˈmɛksɨkoʊ/; Spanish: México [ˈmexiko] ( listen)), officially the United Mexican States (Spanish: About this sound Estados Unidos Mexicanos (help·info)), is a federal republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost two million square kilometres (over 760,000 sq mi), Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent nation in the world. With an estimated population of over 113 million, it is the eleventh most populous and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the second most populous country in Latin America. Mexico is a federation comprising thirty-one states and a Federal District, the capital city.

In pre-Columbian Mexico many cultures matured into advanced civilizations such as the Olmec, the Toltec, the Teotihuacan, the Zapotec, the Maya and the Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, which was administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain. This territory would eventually become Mexico following recognition of the colony's independence in 1821. The post-independence period was characterized by economic instability, the Mexican-American War that led to the territorial cession to the United States, the Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires and a domestic dictatorship. The latter led to the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country's current political system. In March 1938, through the Mexican oil expropriation private U.S. and Anglo-Dutch oil companies were nationalized to create the state-owned Pemex oil company.

Mexico has one of the world's largest economies, it is the tenth largest oil producer in the world, the largest silver producer in the world and is considered both a regional power and middle power. In addition, Mexico was the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD (since 1994), and considered an upper-middle income country by the World Bank. Mexico is considered a newly industrialized country and an emerging power. It has the fifteenth largest nominal GDP and the tenth largest GDP by purchasing power parity. The economy is strongly linked to those of its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, especially the United States of America. Mexico ranks sixth in the world and first in the Americas by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites with 32, and in 2010 was the tenth most visited country in the world with 22.5 million international arrivals per year. According to Goldman Sachs, by 2050 Mexico is expected to become the world's fifth largest economy. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimated in January 2013 that by 2050 Mexico could be the world's seventh largest economy. Mexico has membership in prominent institutions such as the UN, the WTO, the G20 and the Uniting for Consensus.

Contents

                  Etymology

                  Main article: Name of Mexico



                  Image of Mexico-Tenochtitlan from the Codex Mendoza
                  After New Spain won independence from Spain, it was decided that the new country would be named after its capital, Mexico City, which was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Aztec capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. The name comes from the Nahuatl language, but its meaning is unknown.

                  Mēxihco was the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely, the Valley of Mexico, and its people, the Mexica, and surrounding territories which became the future State of Mexico as a division of New Spain prior to independence (compare Latium). It is generally considered to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec Triple Alliance as a result, or vice versa.

                  The suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name. Beyond that, the etymology is uncertain. It has been suggested that it is derived from Mextli or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war and patron of the Aztecs, Huitzilopochtli, in which case Mēxihco means "Place where Huitzilopochtli lives". Another hypothesis suggests that Mēxihco derives from a portmanteau of the Nahuatl words for "Moon" (Mētztli) and navel (xīctli). This meaning ("Place at the Center of the Moon") might then refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco. The system of interconnected lakes, of which Texcoco formed the center, had the form of a rabbit, which the Mesoamericans pareidolically associated with the Moon. Still another hypothesis suggests that it is derived from Mēctli, the goddess of maguey.

                  The name of the city-state was transliterated to Spanish as México with the phonetic value of the letter <x> in Medieval Spanish, which represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative [ʃ]. This sound, as well as the voiced postalveolar fricative [ʒ], represented by a <j>, evolved into a voiceless velar fricative [x] during the 16th century. This led to the use of the variant Méjico in many publications in Spanish, most notably in Spain, whereas in Mexico and most other Spanish–speaking countries México was the preferred spelling. In recent years the Real Academia Española, which regulates the Spanish language, determined that both variants are acceptable in Spanish but that the normative recommended spelling is México. The majority of publications in all Spanish-speaking countries now adhere to the new norm, even though the alternative variant is still occasionally used.[citation needed] In English, the <x> in Mexico represents neither the original nor the current sound, but the consonant cluster [ks].

                  The official name of the country has changed as the form of government has changed. On two occasions (1821–1823 and 1863–1867), the country was known as Imperio Mexicano (Mexican Empire). All three federal constitutions (1824, 1857 and 1917, the current constitution) used the name Estados Unidos Mexicanos—or the variant Estados-Unidos Mexicanos, all of which have been translated as "United Mexican States". The phrase República Mexicana, "Mexican Republic", was used in the 1836 Constitutional Laws. On 22 November 2012, president Felipe Calderón sent to the Mexican Congress a piece of legislation to change the country's name officially to simply Mexico. To go into effect, the bill would need to be passed by both houses of Congress, as well as a majority of Mexico's 31 State legislatures. As this legislation was proposed just a week before Calderón turned power over to Enrique Peña Nieto, Calderón's critics saw this as a symbolic gesture.

                  History

                  Main article: History of Mexico



                  Chichen Itza



                  View of the Pyramid of the Moon in Teotihuacan, a large pre-Columbian city, which had as many as 150,000 inhabitants at its height in the 5th century



                  An Aztec jade mask from the 14th century depicting the god Xipe Totec

                  Ancient cultures

                  Main article: Pre-Columbian Mexico
                  Archaic period

                  The earliest human remains in Mexico are chips of stone tools found near campfire remains in the Valley of Mexico and radiocarbon-dated to circa 23,000 years ago. Mexico is the site of the domestication of maize and beans which caused a transition from paleo-Indian hunter-gatherers to sedentary agricultural villages beginning around 7000 BCE.

                  Classic periods (1500 BC–700 AD)

                  In the subsequent formative eras, maize cultivation and cultural traits such as a complex mythological and religious complex, a vigesimal numeric system, were diffused from the Mexican cultures to the rest of the Mesoamerican culture area. In this period villages began to become socially stratified and develop into chiefdoms, and large ceremonial centers developed.

                  Among the earliest complex civilizations in Mexico was the Olmec culture which flourished on the Gulf Coast from around 1500 BCE. Olmec cultural traits diffused through Mexico into other formative-era cultures in Chiapas, Oaxaca and the Valley of Mexico. The formative period saw the spread of distinct religious and symbolic traditions, as well as artistic and architectural complexes.

                  In the subsequent pre-classical period, the Maya and Zapotec civilizations developed complex centers at Calakmul and Monte Albán respectively. During this period the first true Mesoamerican writing systems were developed in the Epi-Olmec and the Zapotec cultures, and the Mesoamerican writing tradition reached its height in the Classic Maya Hieroglyphic script.

                  In Central Mexico, the height of the classic period saw the ascendancy of Teotihuacan, which formed a military and commercial empire whose political influence stretched south into the Maya area as well as north. At its peak, Teotihuacan contained some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas, and had a population of more than 150,000 people. After the collapse of Teotihuacán around 600 CE, competition ensued between several important political centers in central Mexico such as Xochicalco and Cholula. At this time, during the Epi-Classic, Nahua peoples began moving south into Mesoamerica from the North, and became politically and culturally dominant in central Mexico, as they displaced speakers of Oto-Manguean languages.

                  Post-classic period (700–1519 AD)

                  During the early post-classic Central Mexico was dominated by the Toltec culture, Oaxaca by the Mixtec and the lowland Maya area had important centers at Chichén Itzá and Mayapán. Towards the end of the post-Classic period the Aztecs of Central Mexico built a tributary empire covering most of central Mexico. The Aztecs were noted for practicing human sacrifice on a large scale. The distinct Mesoamerican cultural tradition ended with the Spanish conquest in the 16th century, and over the next centuries Mexican indigenous cultures were gradually subjected to Spanish colonial rule.

                  Conquest (1519)




                  Hernán Cortés and La Malinche meet Moctezuma II
                  The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire began in February 1519 when Hernán Cortés arrived at the port in Veracruz with ca. 500 conquistadores, and later moved on to the Aztec capital. On his search for gold and other riches, Cortés decided to invade and conquer the Aztec empire.

                  The ruler of the Aztec empire upon the arrival of the Spaniards was Moctezuma II, who was later killed; his successor and brother Cuitláhuac took control of the Aztec empire, but was among the first to fall from the smallpox epidemic a short time later. Unintentionally introduced by Spanish conquerors, smallpox ravaged Mesoamerica in the 1520s, killing more than 3 million Aztecs. Other sources, however, mentioned that the death toll of the Aztecs might have reached up to 15 million (out of a population of less than 30 million). Severely weakened, the Aztec empire was easily defeated by Cortés and his forces on his second return.

                  Smallpox was a devastating and selective disease—it generally killed Aztecs but not Spaniards, who as Europeans had already been exposed to it for centuries and were therefore much more immune to it. The deaths caused by smallpox are believed to have triggered a rapid growth of Christianity in Mexico and the Americas. At first, the Aztecs believed the epidemic was a punishment from an angry god, but they later accepted their fate and no longer resisted the Spanish rule. Many of the surviving Aztecs blamed the cause of smallpox to the superiority of the Christian god, which resulted in the acceptance of Catholicism and yielding to the Spanish rule throughout Mexico.

                  The territory became part of the Spanish Empire under the name of New Spain. Mexico City was systematically rebuilt by Cortés following the Fall of Tenochtitlan in 1521. Much of the identity, traditions and architecture of Mexico were created during the colonial period.

                  Colonial period (1519–1821)

                  The capture of Tenochtitlan marked the beginning of a 300-year-long colonial period, during which Mexico was known as "New Spain".

                  Period of the conquest (1521–1650)



                  Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral



                  Taxco
                  Contrary to a widespread misconception, Spain did not conquer all of the Aztec Empire when Cortes took Tenochtitlan. It required another two centuries to complete the conquest: rebellions broke out within the old Empire and wars continued with other native peoples.

                  After the fall of Tenochtitlan, it took decades of sporadic warfare to subdue the rest of Mesoamerica. Particularly fierce was the Chichimeca War (1576–1606) in the north.

                  Economics. The Council of Indies and the mendicant establishments, which arose in Mesoamerica as early as 1524, labored to generate capital for the crown of Spain and convert the Indian populations to Catholicism. During this period and the following Colonial periods the sponsorship of mendicant friars and a process of religious syncretism combined the Pre-Hispanic cultures with Spanish socio-religious tradition.



                  Equestrian statue of Charles IV in Mexico City, the king was the maximum authority of the Viceroyalty of New Spain
                  The resulting hodgepodge of culture was a pluriethnic State that relied on the "repartimiento", a system of peasant "Republic of Indians" labor that carried out any necessary work. Thus, the existing feudal system of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican culture was replaced by the encomienda feudal-style system of Spain, probably adapted to the pre-Hispanic tradition. This in turn was finally replaced by a debt-based inscription of labor that led to widespread revitalization movements and prompted the revolution that ended colonial New Spain.

                  Evolution of the Race. During the three centuries of colonial rule, less than 700,000 Spaniards, most of them men, settled in Mexico. The settlers intermarried with indigenous women, fathering the mixed race (mestizo) descendents who today constitute the majority of Mexico's population.

                  The colonial period (1650–1821)



                  Puebla Cathedral, completed in 1690
                  During this period, Mexico was part of the much larger Viceroyalty of New Spain, which included Cuba, Puerto Rico, Central America as far south as Costa Rica, Florida, the southwestern United States and the Philippines. Spain during the 16th century focused its energies on areas with dense populations that had produced Pre-Columbian civilizations, since these areas could provide the settlers with a disciplined labor force and a population to catechize.

                  Territories populated by nomadic peoples were harder to conquer, and though the Spanish did explore a good part of North America, seeking the fabled "El Dorado", they made no concerted effort to settle the northern desert regions in what is now the United States until the end of 16th century (Santa Fe, 1598).

                  Colonial law with Spanish roots but native originalities was introduced, creating a balance between local jurisdiction (the Cabildos) and the Crown's, whereby upper administrative offices were closed to the natives, even those of pure Spanish blood. Administration was based on the racial separation of the population between the Republics of Spaniards, Indians and Mestizos, autonomous and directly dependent on the king himself.

                  From an economic point of view, New Spain was administered principally for the benefit of the Empire and its military and defensive efforts (Mexico provided more than half of the Empire taxes and supported the administration of all North and Central America). Competition with the metropolis was discouraged, and for instance the cultivation of grapes and olives, introduced by Cortez himself, was banned out of fear that these crops would compete with Spain's.



                  A portrait of Juana Ines de la Cruz during her youth in 1666
                  In order to protect the country from the attacks of English, French and Dutch pirates, as well as the Crown's revenue, only two ports were open to foreign trade—Veracruz on the Atlantic and Acapulco on the Pacific. The pirates attacked, plundered and ravaged several cities like Campeche (1557), Veracruz (1568) and Alvarado (1667).

                  Education was encouraged by the Crown from the very beginning, and Mexico boasts the first primary school (Texcoco, 1523), first university (1551) and the first printing house (1524) of the Americas. Indigenous languages were studied mainly by the religious orders during the first centuries, and became official languages in the so-called Republic of Indians, only to be outlawed and ignored after independence by the prevailing Spanish-speaking creoles.

                  Mexico produced important cultural achievements during the colonial period, like the literature of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Ruiz de Alarcón, as well as cathedrals, civil monuments, forts and colonial cities such as Puebla, Mexico City, Querétaro, Zacatecas and others, today part of Unesco's World Heritage.

                  The syncretism between indigenous and Spanish cultures in New Spain gave birth to many of today's Mexican cultural traits like tequila (first distilled in the 16th century), mariachi (18th), jarabe (17th), charros (17th) and Mexican cuisine - a mixture of European and indigenous ingredients and techniques.

                  Independence from Spain (1821)
                  Main article: Mexican War of Independence



                  The Territorial evolution of Mexico after independence, noting losses to the US (red, white and orange), Chiapas annexed from Guatemala (blue), the annexation of the Republic of Yucatan (red) and the secession of Central America (purple)
                  On September 16, 1810, a "loyalist revolt" against the ruling Junta was declared by priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in the small town of Dolores, Guanajuato. The first insurgent group was formed by Hidalgo, the Spanish viceregal army captain Ignacio Allende, the militia captain Juan Aldama and "La Corregidora" Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez. Hidalgo and some of his soldiers were captured and executed by firing squad in Chihuahua, on July 31, 1811. Following his death, the leadership was assumed by priest José María Morelos, who occupied key southern cities.

                  In 1813 the Congress of Chilpancingo was convened and, on November 6, signed the "Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America". Morelos was captured and executed on December 22, 1815.

                  In subsequent years, the insurgency was near collapse, but in 1820 Viceroy Juan Ruiz de Apodaca sent an army under the criollo general Agustín de Iturbide against the troops of Vicente Guerrero. Instead, Iturbide approached Guerrero to join forces, and on August 24, 1821 representatives of the Spanish Crown and Iturbide signed the "Treaty of Córdoba" and the "Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire", which recognized the independence of Mexico under the terms of the "Plan of Iguala".

                  Birth of the country

                  Territorial losses and Juárez reforms



                  Emperor Agustin I



                  President Benito Juárez
                  Agustín de Iturbide immediately proclaimed himself emperor of the First Mexican Empire. A revolt against him in 1823 established the United Mexican States. In 1824, a Republican Constitution was drafted and Guadalupe Victoria became the first president of the newly born country. In 1829 president Guerrero abolished slavery. The first decades of the post-independence period were marked by economic instability, which led to the Pastry War in 1836, and a constant strife between liberales, supporters of a federal form of government, and conservadores, proposals of a hierarchical form of government.[citation needed]

                  General Antonio López de Santa Anna, a centralist and two-time dictator, approved the Siete Leyes in 1836, a radical amendment that institutionalized the centralized form of government. When he suspended the 1824 Constitution, civil war spread across the country, and three new governments declared independence: the Republic of Texas, the Republic of the Rio Grande and the Republic of Yucatán.

                  Texas successfully achieved independence and joined the United States. A border dispute led to the Mexican-American War, which began in 1846 and lasted for two years; the War was settled via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which forced Mexico to give up over half of its land to the U.S., including Alta California, New Mexico, and the disputed parts of Texas. A much smaller transfer of territory in what is today southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico — the Gadsden Purchase — occurred in 1854. The Caste War of Yucatán, the Mayan uprising that began in 1847, was one of the most successful modern Native American revolts. Maya rebels, or Cruzob, maintained relatively independent enclaves until the 1930s.[citation needed]

                  Dissatisfaction with Santa Anna's return to power led to the liberal "Plan of Ayutla", initiating an era known as La Reforma, after which a new Constitution was drafted in 1857 that established a secular state, federalism as the form of government, and several freedoms. As the conservadores refused to recognize it, the Reform War began in 1858, during which both groups had their own governments. The war ended in 1861 with victory by the Liberals, led by the Amerindian president Benito Juárez. In the 1860s Mexico underwent a military occupation by France, which established the Second Mexican Empire under the rule of the Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria with support from the Roman Catholic clergy and the conservadores, who later switched sides and joined the liberales. Maximilian surrendered, was tried on June 14 and was executed on June 19, 1867.

                  Porfiriato (1876–1910)

                  Porfirio Díaz, a republican general during the French intervention, ruled Mexico from 1876 to 1880 and then from 1884 to 1911 in five consecutive reelections, period known as the Porfiriato, characterized by remarkable economic achievements, investments in the arts and sciences, but also of economic inequality and political repression.[citation needed]

                  Mexican Revolution (1910–1929)



                  Francisco I. Madero with Emiliano Zapata, in Cuernavaca during the Mexican revolution
                  An alleged electoral fraud that led to Diaz' fifth re-election sparked the 1910 Mexican Revolution, initially led by Francisco I. Madero.

                  Díaz resigned in 1911 and Madero was elected president but overthrown and murdered in a coup d'état two years later directed by conservative general Victoriano Huerta. That event re-ignited the civil war, involving figures such as Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata, who formed their own forces. A third force, the constitutional army led by Venustiano Carranza managed to bring an end to the war, and radically amended the 1857 Constitution to include many of the social premises and demands of the revolutionaries into what was eventually called the 1917 Constitution. It is estimated that the war killed 900,000 of the 1910 population of 15 million. Assassinated in 1920, Carranza was succeeded by another revolutionary hero, Álvaro Obregón, who in turn was succeeded by Plutarco Elías Calles. Obregón was reelected in 1928 but assassinated before he could assume power.

                  One-party rule (1929–2000)



                  NAFTA signing ceremony, October 1992. From left to right: (standing) president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, president George H. W. Bush (USA) and prime minister Brian Mulroney (Canada); (seated) Jaime Serra Puche, Carla Hills (USA) and Michael Wilson (Canada)
                  In 1929, Calles founded the National Revolutionary Party (PNR), later renamed the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and started a period known as the Maximato, which ended with the election of Lázaro Cárdenas, who implemented many economic and social reforms. This included the Mexican oil expropriation in March 1938, which nationalized the U.S. and Anglo-Dutch oil company known as the Mexican Eagle Petroleum Company. This movement would result in the creation of the state-owned Mexican oil company known as Pemex. This sparked a diplomatic crisis with the countries whose citizens had lost businesses by Cárdenas' radical measure, but since then the company has played an important role in the economic development of Mexico.

                  Between 1940 and 1980, Mexico remained a poor country but experienced substantial economic growth that some historians call the "Mexican miracle". Although the economy continued to flourish, social inequality remained a factor of discontent. Moreover, the PRI rule became increasingly authoritarian and at times oppressive (see the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, which claimed the life of around 30–800 protesters).

                  Electoral reforms and high oil prices followed the administration of Luis Echeverría, mismanagement of these revenues led to inflation and exacerbated the 1982 Crisis. That year, oil prices plunged, interest rates soared, and the government defaulted on its debt. President Miguel de la Madrid resorted to currency devaluations which in turn sparked inflation.

                  In the 1980s the first cracks emerged in PRI's monopolistic position. In Baja California, Ernesto Ruffo Appel was elected as governor. In 1988, alleged electoral fraud prevented the leftist candidate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas from winning the national presidential elections, giving Carlos Salinas de Gortari the presidency and leading to massive protests in Mexico City.

                  Salinas embarked on a program of neoliberal reforms which fixed the exchange rate, controlled inflation and culminated with the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into effect on January 1, 1994. The same day, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) started a two-week-long armed rebellion against the federal government, and has continued as a non-violent opposition movement against neoliberalism and globalization.

                  End of one-party rule (2000–)

                  In December 1994, a month after Salinas was succeeded by Ernesto Zedillo, the Mexican economy collapsed, with a rapid rescue package authorized by the U.S. President, Bill Clinton, and major macroeconomic reforms started by President Zedillo, the economy rapidly recovered and growth peaked at almost 7% by the end of 1999.

                  In 2000, after 71 years, the PRI lost a presidential election to Vicente Fox of the opposition National Action Party (PAN). In the 2006 presidential election, Felipe Calderón from the PAN was declared the winner, with a very narrow margin over leftist politician Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). López Obrador, however, contested the election and pledged to create an "alternative government".

                  Administrative divisions

                  Main articles: Political divisions of Mexico and List of Mexican states by population
                  The United Mexican States are a federation of 31 free and sovereign states, which form a union that exercises a degree of jurisdiction over the Federal District and other territories.

                  Each state has its own constitution, congress, and a judiciary, and its citizens elect by direct voting a governor for a six-year term, and representatives to their respective unicameral state congresses for three-year terms.

                  The Federal District is a special political division that belongs to the federation as a whole and not to a particular state, and as such, has more limited local rule than the nation's states.

                  The states are divided into municipalities, the smallest administrative political entity in the country, governed by a mayor or municipal president (presidente municipal), elected by its residents by plurality.
                  Gulf of


                  Mexico
                  Pacific


                  Ocean
                  Central


                  America
                  United States
                  Federal


                  District
                  AG
                  Baja


                  California
                  Baja


                  California


                  Sur
                  Campeche
                  Chiapas
                  Chihuahua
                  Coahuila
                  Colima
                  Durango
                  Guanajuato
                  Guerrero
                  HD
                  Jalisco
                  EM
                  Michoacán
                  MO
                  Nayarit
                  Nuevo


                  León
                  Oaxaca
                  PB
                  QU
                  Quintana


                  Roo
                  SLP
                  Sinaloa
                  Sonora
                  Tabasco
                  Tamaulipas
                  TL
                  Veracruz
                  Yucatán
                  Zacatecas

                  •  Federal District
                  •  Aguascalientes
                  •  Baja California
                  •  Baja California Sur
                  •  Campeche
                  •  Chiapas
                  •  Chihuahua
                  •  Coahuila
                  •  Colima
                  •  Durango
                  •  Guanajuato
                  •  Guerrero
                  •  Hidalgo
                  •  Jalisco
                  •  México
                  •  Michoacán
                  •  Morelos
                  •  Nayarit
                  •  Nuevo León
                  •  Oaxaca
                  •  Puebla
                  •  Querétaro
                  •  Quintana Roo
                  •  San Luis Potosí
                  •  Sinaloa
                  •  Sonora
                  •  Tabasco
                  •  Tamaulipas
                  •  Tlaxcala
                  •  Veracruz
                  •  Yucatán
                  •  Zacatecas

                  Government and politics

                  Government

                  Main articles: Federal government of Mexico and State governments of Mexico



                  Enrique Peña Nieto, current President of Mexico
                  The United Mexican States are a federation whose government is representative, democratic and republican based on a presidential system according to the 1917 Constitution. The constitution establishes three levels of government: the federal Union, the state governments and the municipal governments. According to the constitution, all constituent states of the federation must have a republican form of government composed of three branches: the executive, represented by a governor and an appointed cabinet, the legislative branch constituted by a unicameral congress and the judiciary, which will include called state Supreme Court of Justice. They also have their own civil and judicial codes.



                  The Chamber of Deputies
                  The bicameral Congress, composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies, makes federal law, declares war, imposes taxes, approves the national budget and international treaties, and ratifies diplomatic appointments. Seats to federal and state legislatures are elected by a system of parallel voting that includes plurality and proportional representation.

                  The Chamber of Deputies of the Congress of the Union is conformed by 300 deputies elected by plurality and 200 deputies by proportional representation with closed party lists for which the country is divided into 5 electoral constituencies or circumscriptions. The Senate is conformed by a total of 128 senators: 64 senators, two for each state and two for the Federal District, elected by plurality in pairs; 32 senators assigned to the first minority or first-runner up (one for each state and one for the Federal District), and 32 are assigned by proportional representation with closed party lists for which the country conforms a single electoral constituency.



                  Senate building in Mexico City
                  The Executive, is the President of the United Mexican States, who is the head of state and government, as well as the commander-in-chief of the Mexican military forces. The President also appoints the Cabinet and other officers. The President is responsible for executing and enforcing the law, and has the authority of vetoing bills.



                  Site of the Supreme Court of Justice
                  The Judiciary branch of government is the Supreme Court of Justice, comprising eleven judges appointed by the President with Senate approval, who interpret laws and judge cases of federal competency. Other institutions of the judiciary are the Electoral Tribunal, collegiate, unitary and district tribunals, and the Council of the Federal Judiciary.

                  Politics

                  Main articles: Politics of Mexico and Elections in Mexico
                  Three parties have historically been the dominant parties in Mexican politics: the National Action Party: a right-wing conservative party founded in 1939 and belonging to the Christian Democrat Organization of America; the Institutional Revolutionary Party, a center-left party and member of Socialist International that was founded in 1929 to unite all the factions of the Mexican Revolution and held an almost hegemonic power in Mexican politics since then; the Party of the Democratic Revolution: a left-wing party, founded in 1989 as the successor of the coalition of socialists and liberal parties.

                  Law enforcement

                  Main article: Law enforcement in Mexico
                  See also: Law of Mexico



                  Federal Police headquarters in Mexico City
                  Public security is enacted at the three levels of government, each of which has different prerogatives and responsibilities. Local and state police departments are primarily in charge of law enforcement, whereas the Mexican Federal Police are in charge of specialized duties. All levels report to the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (Secretary of Public Security). The General Attorney's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) is the executive power's agency in charge of investigating and prosecuting crimes at the federal level, mainly those related to drug and arms trafficking, espionage, and bank robberies. The PGR operates the Federal Investigations Agency (Agencia Federal de Investigación, AFI) an investigative and preventive agency.

                  While the government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, serious abuses of power have been reported in security operations in the southern part of the country and in indigenous communities and poor urban neighborhoods. The National Human Rights Commission has had little impact in reversing this trend, engaging mostly in documentation but failing to use its powers to issue public condemnations to the officials who ignore its recommendations. By law, all defendants have the rights that assure them fair trials and human treatment; however, the system is overburdened and overwhelmed with several problems.

                  Despite the efforts of the authorities to fight crime and fraud, few Mexicans have strong confidence in the police or the judicial system, and therefore, few crimes are actually reported by the citizens. The Global Integrity Index which measures the existence and effectiveness of national anti-corruption mechanisms rated Mexico 31st behind Kenya, Thailand, and Russia. In 2008, president Calderón proposed a major reform of the judicial system, which was approved by the Congress of the Union, which included oral trials, the presumption of innocence for defendants, the authority of local police to investigate crime—until then a prerogative of special police units—and several other changes intended to speed up trials.

                  Crime
                  Main articles: Crime in Mexico and Mexican Drug War
                  According to an OECD study in 2012, 15% of Mexicans report having been a victim of crime in the past year, a figure which among OECD countries is only higher in South Africa. In 2010[update] Mexico's homicide rate was 18 per 100,000 inhabitants; the world average is 6.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. Drug-traffic and narco-related activities are a major concern in Mexico. Mexico's drug war has left over 60,000 dead and perhaps another 20,000 missing. The Mexican drug cartels have as many as 100,000 members.

                  President Felipe Calderón made abating organized crime one of the top priorities of his administration by deploying military personnel to cities where drug cartels operate. This move was criticized by the opposition parties and the National Human Rights Commission for escalating the violence, but its effects have been positively evaluated by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs as having obtained "unprecedented results" with "many important successes".

                  Since President Felipe Calderón launched a crackdown against cartels in 2006, more than 28,000 alleged criminals have been killed. Of the total drug-related violence 4% are innocent people, mostly by-passers and people trapped in between shootings; 90% accounts for criminals and 6% for military personnel and police officers. In October 2007, President Calderón and US president George W. Bush announced the Mérida Initiative, a plan of law enforcement cooperation between the two countries.

                  Foreign relations




                  Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Presidents Barack Obama and Felipe Calderón at the 2009 North American Leaders' Summit in Guadalajara
                  Main article: Foreign relations of Mexico
                  The foreign relations of Mexico are directed by the President of Mexico and managed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The principles of the foreign policy are constitutionally recognized in the Article 89, Section 10, which include: respect for international law and legal equality of states, their sovereignty and independence, non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and promotion of collective security through active participation in international organizations. Since the 1930s, the Estrada Doctrine has served as a crucial complement to these principles.

                  Mexico is one of the founding members of several international organizations, most notably the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the OPANAL and the Rio Group. In 2008, Mexico contributed over 40 million dollars to the United Nations regular budget. In addition, it was the only Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development since it joined in 1994 until Chile gained full membership in 2010.

                  Mexico is considered as a regional power hence its presence in major economic groups such as the G8+5 and the G-20. In addition, since the 1990s Mexico has sought a reform of the United Nations Security Council and its working methods with the support of Canada, Italy, Pakistan and other nine countries, which form a group informally called the Coffee Club.

                  After the War of Independence, the relations of Mexico were focused primarily on the United States, its northern neighbor, largest trading partner, and the most powerful actor in hemispheric and world affairs. Mexico supported the Cuban government since its establishment in the early 1960s, the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua during the late 1970s, and leftist revolutionary groups in El Salvador during the 1980s. Felipe Calderón's administration put a greater emphasis on relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.

                  Military

                  Main article: Mexican Armed Forces



                  Mexican Navy Eurocopter
                  The Mexican Armed Forces have two branches: the Mexican Army (which includes the Mexican Air Force), and the Mexican Navy. The Mexican Armed Forces maintain significant infrastructure, including facilities for design, research, and testing of weapons, vehicles, aircraft, naval vessels, defense systems and electronics; military industry manufacturing centers for building such systems, and advanced naval dockyards that build heavy military vessels and advanced missile technologies.

                  In recent years, Mexico has improved its training techniques, military command and information structures and has taken steps to becoming more self-reliant in supplying its military by designing as well as manufacturing its own arms, missiles, aircraft, vehicles, heavy weaponry, electronics, defense systems, armor, heavy military industrial equipment and heavy naval vessels. Since the 1990s, when the military escalated its role in the war on drugs, increasing importance has been placed on acquiring airborne surveillance platforms, aircraft, helicopters, digital war-fighting technologies, urban warfare equipment and rapid troop transport.

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