Mexicans today are proud of their rich heritage and their beautiful land, but they also recognize that their nation has many problems, including widespread poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and drug-related violence. Many of Mexico's ongoing problems - such as illegal immigration, environmental issues, and drug trafficking - also affect its northern neighbor, the United States. Mexican Facts and Figures is an overview that will tell you about Mexico's past and its present, while also providing statistical information about the country's 31 states and its federal district.
Like people everywhere, Mexicans have experienced governments that have been beneficial to the people, and those that have treated people harshly. The history of government in the land known as Mexico is long and complex, beginning more than 3,000 years ago with the various Amerindian civilizations that lived in the region. Once the Spanish conquered the native people during the 16th century, they imposed their own forms of government that persisted until the early decades of the 19th century. Since Mexico gained its independence in 1821, the people have experienced many periods of unrest and turmoil, as various groups have attempted to create an effective government. With the election of Enrique Peña Nieto as president in 2012, many Mexicans hope that their government is headed in the right direction to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The history of Mexican government, and hopes for the future, are traced in Meeting Future Challenges: The Government of Mexico.
Northern Mexico is a vast desert region bordering the United States. This region an important center for manufacturing, mining, and other industries due to its proximity to the U.S., and many maquiladoras (small factories) are located along the border. It also has many sights that attract tourists, such as the world-famous Copper Canyon. In Mexico's Northern States, you will learn about the geography and climate, history, economy, culture, and the major communities of seven Mexican states: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas.
The southernmost states along Mexico's Pacific coast are rich in both history and natural resources. These states have been shaken by natural phenomena, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, and plagued at times by rebellions and violence. Yet these states attract millions of tourists each year, drawn to the beautiful beaches of Acapulco, Huatulco, and other resorts, or to major archaeological sites such as Monte Albán and Palenque. In Mexico's Pacific South States, you will learn about the geography and climate, history, economy, culture, and the major communities of four Mexican states: Colima, Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca.
The central states of Mexico are the geographic and economic heart of the nation. This region has been the site of many events that shaped Mexico's history, and includes the federal district that is home to the national government. The fertile farmland of central Mexico provides food. In Mexico's Central States, you will learn about the geography and climate, history, economy, culture, and the major communities of 11 Mexican states: Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico State, Mexico City (Federal District), Michoacn, Morelos, Puebla, Quertaro, and Tlaxcala.
The Mexican states located on the Gulf of Mexico are known for their ancient ruins, crystal-clear waters, and friendly people. This region was home to some of Mexico's earliest Amerindian civilizations, and was the first part of Mexico that Europeans explored during the early 16th century. Today, this region is among the safest and most stable parts of Mexico. In Mexico's Gulf States, you will learn about the geography and climate, history, economy, culture, and the major communities of five Mexican states: Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, and Yucatán.
The states of Mexico's Pacific North region feature a wide range of terrains, from dry desert to beautiful coastal beaches and fertile valleys. Numerous archaeological sites can be found in the regions rugged mountains, and tourists enjoy beach resorts such as Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and the Sonoran Desert. Unfortunately, this region is also the base for one of Mexico's most powerful drug cartels, so in recent years drug-related violence has been a constant problem. In Mexico's Pacific North States, you will learn about the geography and climate, history, economy, culture, and the major communities of five Mexican states: Baja California, Baja California Sur, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Sonora.