Mexico (Spanish: México [ˈmexiko] ; Nahuan languages: Mēxihco), officially the United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos; EUM [esˈtaðos uˈniðoz mexiˈkanos] , lit. 'Mexican United States'), 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), making it the world's 13th-largest country by area; with approximately 126,014,024 inhabitants, it is the 10th-most-populous country and has the most Spanish-speakers. Mexico is organized as a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, its capital 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 the six cradles of civilization; it was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, most notably the Maya and the Aztecs. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the region from its base in Mexico City, establishing the colony of New Spain. The Catholic Church played an important role in spreading Christianity and the Spanish language, while also preserving some indigenous elements. Native populations were subjugated and heavily exploited to mine rich deposits of precious metals, which contributed to Spain's status as a major world power for the next three centuries, and to a massive influx of wealth and a price revolution in Western Europe. Over time, a distinct Mexican identity formed, based on a fusion of European and indigenous customs; this contributed to the successful Mexican War of Independence against Spain in 1821.Mexico's early history as a nation state was marked by political and socioeconomic upheaval. The Texas Revolution and the Mexican–American War in the mid 19th century led to huge territorial losses to the United States.
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