- Bordering the US, Guatemala and Belize, Mexico is technically part of North America. The country covers an area of virtually two million square kilometres – about a quarter the size of the continental US and eight times the size of the UK – and has a population of more than 110 million. Well over 20 million live in the capital and its immediate vicinity in the Valley of México.
- Mexico is a country of tremendous geographical variety. The north is largely arid semi-desert, the south tropical and forested. The volcanic mountains of the centre rise to 5700m.
- The economy is among the most successful in the region, based on free-trade agreements with most countries in the Americas. Chief exports are oil and related products, silver (it’s the world’s largest source) and other metals and minerals, as well as manufactured goods produced using Mexican labour in the border zone.
- Mexico is a federal republic, with a presidential system loosely based on that of the US. A single party, the PRI, governed from the establishment of the modern constitution in 1917 until the conservative opposition party PAN won the presidential election in 2000; they have remained in power since.