Geography and History
Mexico is a country in southern North America that is officially known as the United Mexican States. The United States borders it on the north; the Pacific Ocean on the south and west; Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea on the southeast; and the Gulf of Mexico on the east. Mexico is the world’s 13th largest country by area, covering 1,972,550 square kilometers. It is the 10th most populous country in the world, with approximately 126,014,024 people, and the most Spanish-speakers.
Mexico is a federation made up of 31 states and Mexico City which is the country’s capital and largest city. Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and León are among the other major cities.
Pre-Columbian Mexico is one of the six cradles of civilization, with its beginnings dating back to 8,000 BC. Many advanced Mesoamerican peoples lived there, including the Maya and Aztecs.
The Spanish Empire invaded and colonized the area in 1521, founding the colony of New Spain from its base in Mexico City. The Catholic Church played a crucial role in the propagation of Christianity and the Spanish language, as well as the preservation of indigenous cultures.
Native peoples were extensively exploited in order to mine rich deposits of precious metals, which helped Spain maintain its position as a major world power for the next three centuries. Over time, a distinct Mexican culture emerged, based on a fusion of indigenous and European customs, which helped Mexico win its war of independence against Spain in 1821.
Political and socioeconomic upheaval characterized Mexico’s early history as a nation state. In the mid-19th century, the Texas Revolution and the Mexican–American War resulted in massive territorial defeats for the United States. The Constitution of 1857 enshrined the recently implemented reforms that provided security to indigenous peoples and limited the control of the military and the church.
This sparked the Reformation War and French invasion, which saw Maximilian Habsburg crowned emperor over republican forces headed by Benito Juárez. The subsequent decades were marked by political instability and the dictatorship of Porfirio Daz, who tried to modernize and restore order in Mexico.
The decade-long Mexican Revolution in 1910 brought an end to the Porfiriato era, and the victorious Constitutionalist faction drafted a new 1917 Constitution, which is still in force today.
The revolutionary generals served as a succession of presidents until Alvaro Obregón’s assassination in 1928, which prompted the establishment of the Institutional Revolutionary Party the following year, making Mexico a de facto one-party state until 2000.
Mexico is a developing country with a Human Development Index of 74, but it has the world’s 15th largest economy by nominal GDP and 11th largest by PPP, with the United States as its largest economic partner. Mexico is a regional and middle force because of its strong economy and population, cultural influence around the world, and steady democratization.
While this country is often referred to as an emerging force, some observers consider it to be a newly industrialized state.
However, social inequality, poverty, and widespread crime continue to plague the country. It has a low ranking on the Global Peace Index, due to continuing violence between the government and drug trafficking syndicates, which has resulted in over 120,000 deaths since 2006.
Mexico has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Americas, and the 7th most in the world. It is also one of the world’s 17 megadiverse nations, with a natural biodiversity ranking of fifth.
Mexico’s diverse climate and geography, as well as its rich cultural and biological heritage, make it a popular tourist destination. With 39 million international visitors in 2018, it was the world’s sixth most visited country.
Mexico had the 15th highest nominal GDP (US$1.15 trillion) and the 11th largest purchasing power parity GDP (US$2.45 trillion) as of April 2018. In 2009, the World Bank announced that the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) was the second highest in Latin America, after Brazil, at US$1,830.392 billion, resulting in the region’s highest per capita income of $15,311.
Mexico has strongly developed itself as a country of the upper middle class. Despite the fact that numerous international organizations identify Mexico as an upper middle income or middle class country, the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) estimates that a large percentage of the Mexican population lives in poverty.
Mexico, after Chile, has the second-highest degree of economic inequality between the extremely poor and the extremely wealthy among OECD nations, despite the fact that it has been decreasing over the last decade, making it one of the few countries with this situation.
Mexico’s budgeted expenses for poverty alleviation and social growth are just around a third of the OECD average, according to the OECD.
According to a UN report in 2008, the average income in a typical Mexican urbanized area was $26,654, while the average income in rural areas only miles away was $8,403. In 2019, the daily minimum wage was set at $102.68 pesos (US$5.40). The Mexican Indigenous population’s social development indexes are all significantly lower than the national average, which is a source of concern for the government.
Mexico’s electronics industry has expanded significantly over the last decade. After China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, Mexico has the world’s sixth largest electronics industry. In 2011, Mexico was the second-largest exporter of electronics to the United States, with $71.4 billion in exports.
Mexico makes more automobiles than any other country in North America. The industry creates technologically advanced components and conducts some research and development. The “Big Three” (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) have operated in Mexico since the 1930s, while Volkswagen and Nissan developed their plants in the 1960s.
DINA S.A., which has been producing buses and trucks since 1962, and the new Mastretta company, which manufactures the high-performance Mastretta MXT sports car, serve the domestic automobile industry. Trade with the United States and Canada accounted for almost half of Mexico’s exports and half of its imports in 2006.
The United States had a $46.0 billion trade deficit with Mexico in the first three quarters of 2010. Mexico surpassed France to become the 9th largest holder of US debt in August 2010. The reliance on the United States in terms of trade and finance is a source of concern.
Regulation of cryptocurrency in Mexico
Mexico’s Law to Regulate Financial Technology Companies, enacted in March 2018, includes a chapter on operations with “virtual assets,” commonly known as cryptocurrencies. This chapter defines virtual assets as representations of value electronically registered and utilized by the public as a means of payment for all types of legal transactions, which may only be transferred electronically.
In addition, Mexico has enacted a law extending the application of its laws regarding money
laundering to virtual assets, thereby requiring financial institutions that provide services relating to such assets to report transactions exceeding certain amounts.
Mexico’s Central Bank is granted broad powers under the Law to regulate virtual assets, including
specifying those virtual assets that financial companies are allowed to operate with in the
country, defining their particular characteristics, and establishing the conditions and restrictions applicable to transactions with such assets; and
authorizing financial companies to perform transactions with virtual assets.
Pertinent regulations applicable to these assets must be issued by Mexico’s Central Bank within a year from the enactment of the Law.
Financial companies that carry out transactions with virtual assets must disclose to their clients the risks applicable to these assets. At a minimum, these companies must inform their clients, in a clear and accessible manner on their respective websites or through the means that they utilize to provide services, of the following:
- A virtual asset is not a legal currency and is not backed by the federal government nor by
Mexico’s Central Bank;
- Once executed, transactions with virtual assets may be irreversible;
- The value of virtual assets is volatile; and
- Technological, cybernetic, and fraud risks are inherent in virtual assets.