Portal:Mexico
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Portal:Mexico
The Temple of Warriors at Chichen Itza, Mexico
The Temple of Warriors at Chichen Itza, Mexico

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Mexico (Spanish: México ['mexiko] ; Nahuan languages: M?xihco), officially the United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos; EUM [es'taðos u'niðoz mexi'kanos] ), is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico covers 1,972,550 square kilometers (761,610 sq mi) and has approximately 128,649,565 inhabitants, making it the world's 13th-largest country by area, 10th-most populous country, and most populous Spanish-speaking nation. It is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, its capital city and largest metropolis. Other major urban areas include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and León.


Pre-Columbian Mexico traces its origins to 8,000 BC and is identified as one of six cradles of civilization; it was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, most well-known among them the Maya and the Aztecs. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its base in Mexico City, which then became known as New Spain. The Catholic Church played an important role as millions of indigenous inhabitants converted. These populations were heavily exploited to mine rich deposits of precious material, which became a major source of wealth for the Spanish. Mexico became an independent nation state after the successful Mexican War of Independence against Spain in 1821.

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La Venta Monument 1

The Olmec colossal heads are stone representations of human heads sculpted from large basalt boulders. They range in height from 1.17 to 3.4 metres (3.8 to 11.2 ft). The heads date from at least 900 BC and are a distinctive feature of the Olmec civilization of ancient Mesoamerica. All portray mature individuals with fleshy cheeks, flat noses, and slightly crossed eyes; their physical characteristics correspond to a type that is still common among the inhabitants of Tabasco and Veracruz. The backs of the monuments often are flat. The boulders were brought from the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas mountains of Veracruz. Given that the extremely large slabs of stone used in their production were transported over large distances (over 150 kilometres (93 mi)), requiring a great deal of human effort and resources, it is thought that the monuments represent portraits of powerful individual Olmec rulers. Each of the known examples has a distinctive headdress. The heads were variously arranged in lines or groups at major Olmec centres, but the method and logistics used to transport the stone to these sites remain unclear. They all display distinctive headgear and one theory is that these were worn as protective helmets, maybe worn for war or to take part in a ceremonial Mesoamerican ballgame.

The discovery of the first colossal head at Tres Zapotes in 1862 by José María Melgar y Serrano was not well documented nor reported outside of Mexico.

The excavation of the same colossal head by Matthew Stirling in 1938 spurred the first archaeological investigations of Olmec culture. Seventeen confirmed examples are known from four sites within the Olmec heartland on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Most colossal heads were sculpted from spherical boulders but two from San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán were re-carved from massive stone thrones. An additional monument, at Takalik Abaj in Guatemala, is a throne that may have been carved from a colossal head. This is the only known example from outside the Olmec heartland. Read more...

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The Zócalo, the main plaza of Mexico City and the heart of the Historic Center

The historic center of Mexico City (Spanish: Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México), also known as the Centro or Centro Histórico, is the central neighborhood in Mexico City, Mexico, focused on Zócalo or main plaza and extending in all directions for a number of blocks, with its farthest extent being west to the Alameda Central. The Zocalo is the largest plaza in Latin America. It can hold up to nearly 100,000 people.

This section of the capital lies in the municipal borough of Cuauhtémoc, has just over nine square km and occupies 668 blocks. It contains 9,000 buildings, 1,550 of which have been declared of historical importance. Most of these historic buildings were constructed between the 16th and 20th centuries. It is divided into two zones for preservation purposes. Zone A encompasses the pre-Hispanic city and its expansion from the Viceroy period until Independence. Zone B covers the areas all other constructions to the end of the 19th century that are considered indispensable to the preservation of the area's architectural and cultural heritage. Read more...

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Joaquín Clausell - Late Afternoon by the Sea (The Red Wave) - Google Art Project.jpg
Atardecer en el mar [La ola roja] (Late Afternoon by the Sea [The Red Wave]) (circa 1910), by Joaquín Clausell, at the Museo Nacional de Arte
image credit: public domain

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El Ejemplo (The Example) is a studio album by Regional Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte. It was released by Fonovisa Records on May 2, 1995 and includes fourteen tracks written by Teodoro Bello and Enrique Valencia, which span song styles such as ballads, boleros, corridos, cumbias and rancheras.

The album was a commercial success peaking at number eight in the Billboard Top Latin Albums in the United States, where it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. To promote the album, Los Tigres del Norte released four singles, "La Fama de la Pareja", the title track and "Golpes en el Corazón" that reached top ten in the Billboard Hot Latin Songs, while the single "No Puedo Más" peaked at number 15 in the same chart. "Golpes en el Corazón", was later included in the setlist of their live album MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres del Norte and Friends as a duet with Mexican singer Paulina Rubio. Read more...

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circa 1864

Maximilian I (Spanish: Fernando Maximiliano José María de Habsburgo-Lorena; 6 July 1832 - 19 June 1867) was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. He was a younger brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy as its commander, he accepted an offer by Napoleon III of France to rule Mexico, conditional on a national plebiscite in his favour. France, together with Spain and the United Kingdom, had invaded Mexico in the winter of 1861 to pressure the Mexican government into settling its debts with the three powers after Mexico had announced a suspension on debt repayment; the Spanish and British both withdrew the following year after negotiating agreements with Mexico's republican government and realising the true intention of the French, while France sought to conquer the country. Seeking to legitimize French rule, Napoleon III invited Maximilian to establish a new pro-French Mexican monarchy. With the support of the French army and a group of Conservative Party monarchists hostile to the Liberal Party administration of the new Mexican president, Benito Juárez, Maximilian was offered the position of Emperor of Mexico, which he accepted on 10 April 1864.

The Empire managed to gain the diplomatic recognition of several European powers, including Russia, Austria, and Prussia. The United States however, continued to recognize Juárez as the legal president of Mexico. Maximilian never completely defeated the Mexican Republic; Republican forces led by Juárez continued to be active during Maximilian's rule. With the end of the American Civil War in 1865, the United States (which had been too distracted by its own conflict to respond to the Europeans' 1861 invasion in what it considered to be its sphere of influence) began providing more explicit aid to Juárez's forces. Matters worsened for Maximilian after French armies withdrew from Mexico in 1866, in part due to American pressure, in part due to needing to deal with matters closer to home. The Empire collapsed without French aid, and he was captured and executed by the Mexican government, which then restored the Mexican Republic. Read more...

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Store selling various Oaxacan moles
Oaxacan cuisine is a regional cuisine of Mexico, centered on the city of Oaxaca, the capital of the state of the same name located in southern Mexico. Oaxaca is one of Mexico's major gastronomic, historical, and gastro-historical centers whose cuisine is known internationally. Like the rest of Mexican cuisine, Oaxacan food is based on staples such as corn, beans and chile peppers, but there is a great variety of other ingredients and food preparations due to the influence of the state's varied geography and indigenous cultures. Corn and many beans were first cultivated in Oaxaca. Well known features of the cuisine include ingredients such as chocolate (often drunk in a hot preparation with spices and other flavorings), Oaxaca cheese, mezcal and grasshoppers (chapulines) with dishes such as tlayudas, Oaxacan style tamales and seven notable varieties of mole sauce. The cuisine has been praised and promoted by food experts such as Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless and is part of the state's appeal for tourists. Read more...

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