Mexico (Spanish: México, pronounced [me.xi.ko]), formally the United Mexican States, is a federal republic in North America’s southern half. It is bounded by the United States to the north; the Pacific Ocean to the south and west; Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea to the southeast; and the Gulf of Mexico to the east. Mexico is the sixth biggest country in the Americas by total size and the thirteenth largest sovereign nation in the world, covering almost two million square kilometers (over 760,000 square miles). It is the tenth most populous nation in the world and the most populous Spanish-speaking country, as well as the second most populous country in Latin America, with an estimated population of about 120 million. Mexico is a federation composed of 31 states and a federal district that serves as the country’s capital and largest metropolis. Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, and León are more metropolises.
Prior to European contact, pre-Columbian Mexico was home to many sophisticated Mesoamerican civilizations, including the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec. In 1521, the Spanish Empire invaded and occupied the area, which was governed as the viceroyalty of New Spain, from its base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Three centuries later, in 1821, after the colony’s Mexican War of Independence, this area became Mexico. Economic instability and many political upheavals typified the turbulent post-independence era. The Mexican–American War (1846–48) resulted in the United States gaining control of Mexico’s vast northern borders, which comprised one-third of its territory. Through the nineteenth century, the Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, and a domestic tyranny happened. The dictatorship was deposed during the Mexican Revolution of 1910, which resulted in the adoption of the 1917 Constitution and the establishment of the country’s present political structure.
Mexico has a nominal GDP of $15 billion and a purchasing power parity GDP of $11 billion. Mexico’s economy is inextricably tied to those of its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, most notably the US. Mexico was the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) first Latin American member, joining in 1994. The World Bank classifies it as an upper-middle income nation, although some experts classify it as a recently industrialized country. Mexico’s economy may grow to be the fifth or seventh biggest in the world by 2050. The nation is seen as a regional power as well as a middle power, and is often referred to as a rising world power. Mexico ranks first in the Americas and eighth in the world in terms of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, owing to its diverse culture and history. With 32.1 million foreign arrivals in 2015, it was the ninth most visited country in the world. Mexico is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the Group of Eight Plus Five, the Group of Twenty, and Uniting for Consensus, and has been an observer of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie since 2014.