These Mexico facts will amaze you: Mexico is officially named Estados Únidos Mexicanos, translating to the United Mexican States. Mexico is the 11th most populous country with nearly 130 million people. Mexico is known for its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and welcoming attitudes, yet is also known for rampant gangs and drug cartels who murder, extort and traffic drugs throughout the country.
Mexico is a fun and exciting country to visit for people of all ages. Here are 20 fun and interesting facts about Mexico for kids.
“Mexico is a mosaic of different realities and beauties.” — Enrique Pena Nieto
Where Is Mexico?
Mexico’s west coast is in the Pacific, including the Gulf of California; and its east coast in the Gulf of Mexico (Caribbean Sea).
The border between Mexico and the United States stretches from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico. With a length of 2,000 miles (3,155 kilometers), it is one of the longest borders in the world.
Mexico has many mountains in the north and east, deserts in the west, and rainforests in the south and east.
The region where Mexico is located is also known as the ‘Ring of Fire,’ because of the prominence of its volcanoes and the relatively frequent earthquakes it suffers.
The country has plains in the coastal areas, high mountains inland and a high tableau that occupies most of the country’s center.
The highest mountain in the county is a volcano known as Volcán Citlaltepetl or Pico de Orizaba. Its height is 18,491 ft (5,636m), which makes it the third highest mountain in North America.
Mexico has a diverse climate. The two extremes are tropical and desert climates.
The Largest Peninsula in the World
The largest Peninsula in the world is Baja California in Mexico. This volcanic part of Northern Mexico is a popular tourist destination, particularly among Americans and Canadians.
One of the main attractions of the Peninsula is the existence of more than 120 different species of cactus.
Mexico is so large a country that it has four-time zones (the same four-time zones as the continental United States). Mexico City is located in the Central Time zone like Chicago in the United States.
The Mexican Flag
The national flag of Mexico has three vertical bands in green, white, and red from left to right. There is an emblem in the middle, on the white band. The emblem shows an eagle holding a snake in its beak and standing on a cactus. Legend has it that when the ancient Aztecs settled in the middle of the country, the saw an eagle eating a snake on a cactus and decided to build the great city of Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City) there. Today, the eagle, the snake, and the cactus are all national symbols in Mexico.
The three colors stand for independence (green), unity (white), and religion (red).
From the Aztec Empire to a Spanish Colony to Independence
“I went to Mexico City to visit, and I fell in love with the city. I went to my house to pick up my stuff. It was the craziest, most impulsive move I’ve ever done. I just felt like I had to stay there.” — Julieta Venegas
Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec empire for Spain in 1521. The place was then renamed Nueva España (New Spain).
Mexico began a revolt against Spain in 1810, which resulted in its Independence.
Parts of the United States that Used to Be Parts of Mexico
Did you know that California, Nevada, Utah, Texas, about half of New Mexico, most of present-day Arizona, and small sections of Colorado, and Wyoming were once part of Mexico? Most of those regions were ceded to the United States in 1848.
Today, Mexico is a federal republic. Its full official name is the United Mexican States.
States of Mexico
Here’s the full list of States in Mexico and the name of their respective capitals:
- Aguascalientes (Aguascalientes)
- Baja California (Mexicali)
- Baja California Sur (La Paz)
- Campeche (San Francisco de Campeche)
- Chiapas (Tuxtla Gutiérrez)
- Mexico City (Federal Capital)
- Chihuahua (Chihuahua)
- Coahuila (Saltillo)
- Colima (Colima)
- Durango (Victoria de Durango)
- Guanajuato (Guanajuato)
- Guerrero (Chilpancingo de los Bravo)
- Hidalgo (Pachuca)
- Jalisco (Guadalajara)
- México (Toluca de Lerdo)
- Michoacán (Morelia)
- Morelos (Cuernavaca)
- Nayarit (Tepic)
- Nuevo León (Monterrey)
- Oaxaca (Oaxaca de Juárez)
- Puebla (Puebla de Zaragoza)
- Querétaro (Santiago de Querétaro)
- Quintana Roo (Chetumal)
- San Luis Potosí (San Luis Potosí)
- Sinaloa (Culiacán)
- Sonora (Hermosillo)
- Tabasco (Villahermosa)
- Tamaulipas (Ciudad Victoria)
- Tlaxcala (Tlaxcala)
- Veracruz (Xalapa)
- Yucatán (Mérida)
- Zacatecas (Zacatecas)
The most widely spoken language in Mexico is Spanish. In fact, Mexico has more Spanish-speakers than any other country in the world. The second country with the largest Spanish-speaking population is the United States followed, in third place, by Spain.
The reason why there are many more Spanish speakers in Mexico than in Spain or any other country in the world is that Mexico is, by far, the largest country in the Spanish-speaking world.
Mexico is, overwhelmingly, a Catholic country. But apart from Catholic traditions, Mexicans have many traditions of their own.
One of the best known is Día de Muertos.
Attractions and Other Landmarks in Mexico
There is a lot to see in Mexico. But some of its landmarks and attractions particularly suited for kids are the following:
- The Mayan pyramid of Chitzen Itza
- The beach city of Acapulco on the Pacific Ocean
- Mexico City: one of the largest and more fascinating cities in the world
- The Aztec pyramids of Teotihuacan
- The Monte Alban ruins in Oaxaca
The main trading partner of Mexico is the United States. Most Mexican products are exported to the United States.
China and Japan are the main importers in Mexico.
Pumas, jaguars, whales, manatees, iguanas, and more than 700 different species of reptiles make Mexico one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.
Even if you have never visited Mexico, you are likely to know at least a handful of its celebrities, such as the movie star Selma Hayek, the Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, the actor Gael García Bernal, or the soccer player Guillermo Ochoa, or the guitarist Carlos Santana.
“I grew up with a lot of exiles from Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia – I grew up with them, and I gained a family; I gained friends.” — Gael Garcia Bernal
Mexican art is fascinating. The best-known Mexican artist is Frida Khalo.
Mexican food is popular in the United States, but nothing can beat the real thing. Chili con carne, quesadillas, enchiladas, guacamole, and nachos are some delicious examples of Mexican food.
Did you know that chocolate was a Mexican invention? Thank you, Mexico!
The ancient Aztecs used to drink hot chocolate, which they considered to be a sacred drink.
Other food ingredients that come from Mexico originally include corn and chilies.