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Mexico (English: /ˈmɛksɨk/; Spanish: México; Spanish: [ˈme.xi.ko]), officially the United Mexican States

(), and also referred to as the United States of Mexico (Spanish: Estados Unidos de México), is a federal constitutional 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 México 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 and territorial cession to the United States, 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. Elections held in July 2000 marked the first time that an opposition party won the presidency from the Institutional Revolutionary Party. Since 2006 the country has been in the midst of a drug war which has caused 60,000 deaths.

Mexico has one of the world's largest economies, 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 fourteenth largest nominal GDP and the eleventh 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.

Etymology

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 México-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 in Medieval Spanish, which represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative ʃ. This sound, as well as the voiced postalveolar fricative ʒ, represented by a , 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. In English, the 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 (Mexican Empire). All three federal constitutions (1824, 1857 and 1917, the current constitution) used the name —or the variants Estados Unidos mexicanos and , all of which have been translated as "United Mexican States". The phrase , "Mexican Republic", was used in the 1836 C…

Text taken from Wikipedia - Mexico under the CC-BY-SA-3.0 on September 23, 2013

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