1,953,162 sq km (754,120 sq miles).
51.4 per sq km.
Mexico City. Population: 115,296,767 (2012).
Mexico is at the southern extremity of North America and is bounded to the north by the USA, northwest by the Gulf of California, west by the Pacific, south by Guatemala and Belize, and east by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Mexico’s geographical features range from swamp to desert, and from tropical lowland jungle to high alpine vegetation. Over half the country has an altitude above 1000m (3300ft). The central land mass is a plateau flanked by ranges of mountains to the east and west that lie roughly parallel to the coast. The northern area of this plateau is arid and thinly populated, and occupies 40 per cent of the total area of Mexico. The southern area is crossed by a range of volcanic mountains running from Cape Corrientes in the west through the Valley of Mexico to Veracruz in the east, and includes the magnificent volcanoes of Orizaba, Popocatépetl, Ixtaccíhuatl, Nevado de Toluca, Matlalcueyetl and Cofre de Perote. This is the heart of Mexico and where almost half of the population lives. To the south, the land falls away to the sparsely populated Isthmus of Tehuantepec whose slopes and flatlands support both commercial and subsistence agriculture. In the east the Gulf Coast and the Yucatán peninsula are flat and receive over 75 per cent of Mexico’s rain. The most productive agricultural region in Mexico is the northwest, while the Gulf Coast produces most of Mexico’s oil and sulphur. Along the northwest coast, opposite the peninsula of Baja California, and to the southeast along the coast of Bahía de Campeche and the Yucatán peninsula, the lowlands are swampy with coastal lagoons.
Republic since 1917. Gained independence from Spain in 1821. Head of State and Government: President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Spanish is the official language. English is widely spoken.
90 per cent Roman Catholic.
Mexico spans three different time zones:
South, Central and Eastern Mexico: GMT – 6 (Central Standard Time). (GMT – 5 from first Sunday in April to Saturday before last Sunday in October.)
Nayarit, Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California Sur: GMT – 7 (Mountain Time). (GMT – 6 from first Sunday in April to Saturday before last Sunday in October.)
Baja California Norte (Pacific Time): GMT – 8 (GMT – 7 from first Sunday in April to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
110 volts AC, 60Hz. US 2-pin (flat) plugs are usual.