Mexico, America’s southern neighbor, is the most heavily populated Spanish speaking nation in the world. Mexico has a total population of about one hundred and twelve million residents, and covers nearly two million square miles of land. Mexico is home to a number of offshore and inland islands, many of which are popular vacation destinations and residential communities. The early history of Mexico is inextricably linked to some of the earliest civilizations on the planet. During prehistoric times, modern day Mexico was home to Native American groups such as the Zapotec, the Aztec, the Olmec, the Toltec, and the Teotihuacan. The cultural influence of these groups have enjoyed a resurgence as of late, and the monumental ruins which these tribes left on the Mexican mainland continue to be a hot spot of archeological and historical exploration. After the arrival of Spanish conquistadores and settlers in the early sixteenth century, the native inhabitants were gradually subjugated and supplanted by Europeans. Europe maintained control over Mexico, which it called New Spain, until Mexico won its independence in 1821. Although the government has endured several civil conflicts and coups, Mexico has remained a sovereign nation since then.

Mexico’s governmental system is heavily based on the American model, and is broken down into thirty one states and a federal district. Most of the coastal states of Mexico have a few offshore islands, which are often vacation hotspots for college students and other tourists during spring break. Depending on the part of the country, Mexican islands enjoy either a temperate or tropical climate. For the tropical parts of Mexico, the average temperature generally remains in the seventy or eighty degree range. Mexico and its islands have a fantastic range of biodiversity, qualifying as a ‘megadiverse’ nation. There are hundreds of reptiles, mammals, and amphibians in Mexico in addition to a considerable number of plants and birds. Mexico has a relatively well developed and large economy, clocking in at the thirteen largest in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product. Mexico’s economy depends largely on oil production, auto production, manufacturing, industry, and tourism. The Mexican tourist industry is closely linked to the beauty of its islands and other coastal areas.

Mexico welcomes millions of tourists over the course of any given year, mostly from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Mexico’s beaches are one of the best known attractions in the nation, boasting great scenery, white sand, and shimmering water. These destinations are also home to a number of water sports, ranging from swimming and surfing to fishing, boating, and diving. Mexico boasts a huge selection of historic sites and culturally important attractions, including the remains of indigenous cultures and reminders of the nation’s colonial past. Mexico’s culture is both diverse and fascinating, showing the influence of a variety of different ethnicities and nations. Mexico has a unique literary tradition, as well as a variety of musical styles such as Ranchera, Banda, and Mariachi. Mexico’s culinary tradition is one of its primary cultural exports, based on ingredients such as chili peppers, beef, rice, chicken, maize, and papayas. Mexico has a well developed educational system and a number of different sports teams, especially soccer clubs.