Mexico – the land of contrasts
Mexico is more than the land of tequila and cacti with the sleeping Mexicans underneath, but Mexico is also a land of great contrasts: the colorful indigenous market is located next to the Catholic cathedral.
Pre-Columbian culture is mixed with Spanish colonial architecture – both harmoniously alongside modern buildings. The mixing of opposites is also reflected in the population. The vast majority of the residents are mestizos who combine the culture of Spain and that of the indigenous communities.
Mexico is framed between the Caribbean Sea in the east and the Pacificin the West. Since both are “warm” seas, there are more than 10,000 kilometers of beaches in Mexico. The Mexican landscape is extremely contrasting.
In addition to the sandy beaches, the country has the wild Sierra Maestra, which runs through Mexico with its high mountains and volcanoes.
In the north there are huge sand and stone deserts, in the south there is the impenetrable jungle of the state of Chiapas.
The capital of the country is Mexico City (Mexico City). Mérida, on the other hand, attracts visitors because of its well-preserved colonial architecture.
There are around 300 volcanoes in Mexico, but only 14 of them are active.
Note on crime
But it should not be concealed that in Ciudad Juárez (state of Chihuahua), which is close to the border with the USA, up to 1,500 young women have been raped, tortured and brutally murdered since 1993. Some of their bodies were literally disposed of in rubbish dumps. It is believed that the perpetrators are wealthy and influential businessmen, politicians, police, judiciary and military personnel. None of the cases has so far been cleared up, let alone that one of the perpetrators has been brought to justice and convicted. The US film “Bordertown”, which was shown for the first time at the Berlinale in Berlin 2007 in Germany, is also dedicated to this topicwas presented publicly. The film was directed by Gregory Nava and the actors included Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas.
Unfortunately, Mexico is one of the most corrupt and violent countries in the world – with an extremely high crime rate. Journalists, in particular, who report on the machinations of the well-organized drug gangs, who are often “linked” to the police, the military, the judiciary and politics, are in constant mortal danger – many of them are victims of attacks every year.
In January 2009, a Mexican was arrested who had dissolved approx. 600 people in acid near the border town to the USA – Tijuana – on behalf of the drug mafia.
In 2015, around 30,000 people were killed in Mexico as a result of the drug war, many of whom were never found.
The murder of 43 students in 2014 attracted particular attention. The students came to the city of Iguala for a protest at the end of September 2014. On behalf of the local mayor and his wife, the police arrested them and handed them over to the local drug cartel “Guerreros Unidos”. This gang then brought the students to Cocula 20 km away in the city and, with the support of the local police, murdered them in a garbage dump and then burned them.
The remains, burned beyond recognition, were then thrown in garbage bags into a river. The admission of three of the perpetrators brought the Attorney General’s office on this lead.
|Name of the country||Estados Unidos Mexicanos|
|Form of government||presidential Federal Republic|
|Geographical location||Central America|
|National anthem||Mexicanos al grito de guerra|
|National holiday||September 16 (independence since 1821)|
|Population||approx. 129 million (Credit: Countryaah: Mexico Population)|
|Ethnicities||75% mestizos, 15% indigenous peoples (including Maya, Aztecs) and 10% Caucasians|
|Religions||93% are Catholic, with the belief being shaped by ancient Indian beliefs and customs; 3% Protestants and Jews.|
|Languages||The official language is Spanish, although many indigenous languages are still spoken.The Nahuatl and Maya with many regional dialects should be emphasized.|
|Capital||Mexico City with approx. 22 million residents in the metropolitan area|
|Highest mountain||Pico de Orizaba or Citlatélpetl with an altitude of 5,700 m, southeast of Mexico City|
|Longest river||Río Grande or Río Bravo del Norte in the north with a length of 3,030 km, 1,800 km of which is Mexican|
|Largest lake||Lake Chapala with an area of 1,080 km²|
|International license plate||MX|
|National currency||Peso mexicano|
|Time difference to CET||– 6 to – 8 hours|
|International phone code||+52|
|Mains voltage, frequency||120-130 volts, 60 hertz; Adapter for flat plug required.|
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)||.mx|
Before the year 1000
The oldest finds in Mexico date to around 20,000 BC. The natives of Mexico were big game hunters and gatherers. From 6000-5000 BC The residents of that time in central Mexico began farming (pumpkin, cayenne pepper, avocados, and later beans and corn). From 3000 BC The first permanent residential buildings were built and from 1100 BC. The first advanced civilizations developed in central and southern Mexico.
According to Abbreviationfinder website, the origin of the Maya is unknown, the first cult centers arose around 1200 BC. BC on the Yucatán peninsula and in northern Guatemala. In the period between 400 BC. The Mayans developed hieroglyphs and their calendar system. The heyday was in the period between 300 and 900. During this period there were over 100 religious-political centers. The demise of the classical Mayan culture is still not clear. In the 10th century, the Mayan culture was overlaid by the Toltec. The Mayan ruler at the time, Quetzalcóatl, fled to the Yucatán. There he established a system of rule that lasted two hundred years. The center of his empire was the city of Chichén Itzá.
From the 2nd century AD, Teotihuacán developed into the leading spiritual, religious, economic and political center in Central America. The city had a population of 200,000 at the time, and it was a major metropolis with an advanced system of government. The city was destroyed around 700 AD. During this period, peoples immigrated from the north and penetrated into the high valley of Mexico. They determined the development of central Mexico until the 14th century. Between the 8th and 12th centuries it was the Toltecs, and from the end of the 12th to the 15th century it was the Chichimecs.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
The Aztecs, originally a nomadic farming people, founded Tenochtitlán in 1370 (on the site of today’s capital). King Moctezuma I enlarged his empire in the middle of the 15th century, which now stretched from the Gulf to the Pacific coast. Their predominance in central Mexico was unbroken until 1519.
In 1519, the Spaniard Hernán Cortés landed on the Gulf Coast, near the present-day city of Veracruz. From there he and his soldiers advanced inland. Tenochtitán fell in 1512 due to the technical superiority of the Spanish weapons and Cortés’ skillful policy of alliances with tribes hostile to the Aztecs. It was not until 1546 that the Spaniards subjugated the entire country, including the Yucatans. In 1553 a viceroy was installed by Spain and immigrants from all over Europe took possession of the land. The church began with Christianization and built over 10,000 churches during the colonial period, which was to last for 300 years. As early as 1570, no less than 12 million Indians lost their lives, they were exterminated or died of diseases brought in from Europe.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
In 1810 the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla initiated the struggle for independence with demands for decisive social reforms. They were ratified in the first republican-state constitution in 1824. Spain did not recognize them until 1836. In the years that followed, there were repeated unrest and crises.
In 1854 alone there were 34 different governments. In 1846/47 the USA intervened militarily because of unpaid debts. Mexico lost the war and in 1848 had to cede about half of the territory to the USA. Initiated by a group led by Liberal Benito Juárez, a Zapotec, a civil war shook the country in 1861, from which he emerged victorious. He took over the presidency, which he later had to interrupt because of the French occupation of Mexico City.
The French appointed Maximilian von Habsburg as Emperor of Mexico in 1864, but his reign was short-lived. Since France had to withdraw its troops from Mexico under pressure from the USA in 1867, Maximilian could no longer hold out either.
But he refused to leave Mexico and was executed in 1867. Benito Juárez took over the office of president again. His successor Porfirio Díaz came to power in 1876 and ruled for over 30 years. Under his dictatorial rule he opened the country to foreign donors and in this way achieved great economic progress, but the social situation of the population deteriorated visibly.
In the 1910 revolution, Díaz was re-elected. A civil war broke out under the leadership of the impoverished rural population, supported by sections of the liberal intelligentsia. Díaz was overthrown in 1911. The most important figures of this revolution were Emilio Zapata, Pancho Villa and Alvaro Oregon, which ended the Civil War in 1920.
A new, strongly socialist-oriented constitution came into force in 1917, on the basis of which the large estates were expropriated and natural resources were nationalized. In 1938, among other things, the oil industry was nationalized, which was to pay off in the mid-1970s when huge deposits were discovered. This made Mexico one of the leading oil producers in the world.
In the 20th and 21st centuries
From 1929 to 2000 the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) was interrupted in power. From 1946 onwards, industrialization and the expansion of infrastructure were at the center of Mexican politics. However, the rapid upswing was bought at the price of high foreign debt. In 1994, the country was shaken by the bloody uprising of the indigenous people in the state of Chiapas and the assassination of the PRI presidential candidate. From 2000 the PAN (Partido Acción Nacional) was in power under the leadership of President Vicente Fox.
Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa (born August 18, 1962) has been President of Mexico since December 2006. Calderón was declared the winner of the 2006 presidential election against the candidate of the left Andrés Manuel López Obrador (born 1953). However, López Obrador enters the election result and spoke of election fraud. He had demonstrated massively with his supporters for many weeks, especially in Mexico City, and even had himself proclaimed counter-president.