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Cancun, Mexico

North America

The United Mexican States or Mexico (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos or Mexico; regarding the use of the variant spelling Mejico, see section The name below) is a country located in North America, bordered by the United States to the north, and Belize and Guatemala to the southeast. It is the northernmost and westernmost country in Latin America, and also the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.
Background Information
On September 16, 1810, independence from Spain was declared by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest in the small town of Dolores, causing a long war that eventually led to independence in 1821 and the creation of the First Mexican Empire.

After independence, Spanish possessions in Central America which also proclaimed independence were all incorporated into Mexico from 1822 to 1823, with the exception of Chiapas.

Soon after achieving its independence from Spain, the Mexican government, in an effort to populate its sparsely-settled hinterlands, awarded land grants in a remote area of the northernmost state of Coahuila y Tejas to hundreds of immigrant families from the United States, on the condition that the settlers convert to Catholicism and assume Mexican citizenship. It also forbade the importation of slaves, a condition that, like the others, was largely ignored.

The Empire soon fell to rogue republican forces led by Antonio López de Santa Anna. The first Republic was formed with Guadalupe Victoria as its first president, followed in office by Santa Anna. As president, in 1834 Santa Anna abrogated the federal constitution, causing insurgencies in the southern state of Yucatán and the northernmost portion of the northern state of Coahuila y Tejas. Both areas sought independence from the Mexican government. While negotiations eventually brought Yucatán to again recognize Mexican sovereignty, Santa Anna's army turned to the northern rebellion. The inhabitants of Tejas, calling themselves Texans and led mainly by relatively recently-arrived English-speaking settlers, declared independence from Mexico at Washington-on-the-Brazos, giving birth to the Republic of Texas. Texas won its independence in 1836, further reducing the territory of the fledgling republic. In 1845, voters in Texas approved to be annexed by the United States, and was passed by Congress and signed into law by President John Tyler. Mexico responded by declaring war on the United States resulting in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Mexico was defeated by the United States, resulting in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildalgo, where the United States purchased the remaining disputed territories for $15 Million Dollars, from which were formed the modern states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and most of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado (see Mexican-American War).

In the 1860s, the country again suffered a military occupation, this time by France, seeking to establish the Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria as Emperor of Mexico, with support from the Roman Catholic clergy and conservative criolloss. The Second Mexican Empire was then overthrown by the Zapotec Benito Juárez, with diplomatic and logistical support from the United States and the military expertise of General Porfirio Díaz. General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French Army (arguably the most powerful in the world at the time) at the city of Puebla on May 5, 1862, celebrated as Cinco de Mayo ever since. However, after his death, the city was lost in early 1863, following a renewed French attack which penetrated as far as Mexico City, forcing Juárez to organize an itinerant government. Napoleon III of France, Emperor of France, returned Maximillian as Emperor of Mexico from 1864 to 1867. In mid-1867, following repeated losses in battle to the Republican Army, Maximilian was captured and murdered by Juárez's soldiers, along with his last loyal generals, in Querétaro. From then on, Juárez remained in office until his death in 1872.

After Juárez's death, Mexico experienced economic growth under the conservative and pro-European rule of Porfirio Díaz. Foreign investment allowed the development of the oil industry and the construction of a railroad system across the country. This period of relative peace and prosperity is known as the "Porfiriato". His mandate, however, was mostly undemocratic and benefited the middle and upper classes, while the Amerindian indigenous population continued to live in precarious conditions. Growing social inequalities, restricted freedom of the press, and his insistence to be reelected for a fifth term led to massive protests. His fraudulent victory in the 1910 elections sparked the Mexican Revolution. Revolutionary forces defeated the federal army, but were left with internal struggles, leaving the country in conflict for two more decades. The creation of the National Revolutionary Party (which later became the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI), in 1929 ended the struggles, uniting all generals and combatants of the revolution.

During the next four decades, Mexico experienced impressive economic growth, and historians call this period "El Milagro Mexicano", the Mexican Miracle. This was in spite of falling foreign confidence in investment, first through the assumption of mineral rights and subsequent nationalisation of the oil industry into Pemex during the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas del Río. However the management of the economy collapsed several times afterwards. Accused many times of fraud, the PRI's candidates held almost all public offices until the end of the 20th century. It was not until the 1980s that the PRI lost the first state governorship, an event that marked the beginning of the party's loss of hegemony. Through the electoral reforms started by president Carlos Salinas de Gortari and consolidated by president Ernesto Zedillo, by the mid 1990s the PRI had lost its majority in Congress. In 2000, after seventy years, the PRI lost a presidential elections to a candidate of the National Action Party (PAN), Vicente Fox.

On September 19, 1985, an earthquake measuring approximately 8.0 on the Richter scale struck Michoacán and inflicted severe damage on Mexico City. Estimates of the number of dead range from 6,500 to 30,000.

On January 1, 1994, Mexico became a full member of the North American Free Trade Agreement, joining the United States of America and Canada in a large economic bloc with two counties vastly more prosperous. On March 23, 2005, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America was signed by the elected leaders of those countries.
Mexico's climate is less variable and warmer than it's neighbors to the north. The main factors in Mexico's climate variation is that of its topography and its position between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of the country is mountainous. Mexico's mountain ranges include the Sierra Madre Occidental in the east, the Sierra Madre Oriental in the west, and the Sierra Volcanica Transversal which lies to the south of Mexico City.

Bordering the Gulf of Mexico are lowlands characterized by hotter, more humid climate than the higher elevations of the country.
National Cathedra, Mexico City
Interior of Palacio Postal, Mexico City
Map of Mexico