March 22, 2016

2395 MEXICO - The map of the country

Bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Belize, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico is the world's 13th largest country by total area, and the 11th most populous. It is a federation comprising 32 states, including Mexico City, its capital and largest city, which is also a state. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and sixth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Mexico is crossed from north to south by two mountain ranges known as Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre Occidental, which are the extension of the Rocky Mountains from northern North America. From east to west at the center, the country is crossed by the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt also known as the Sierra Nevada. A fourth mountain range, the Sierra Madre del Sur, runs from Michoacán to Oaxaca. As such, the majority of the Mexican central and northern territories are located at high altitudes.

Pre-Columbian Mexico was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. Unintentionally introduced by Spanish conquerors, smallpox ravaged Mesoamerica, killing more than 3 million Aztecs as they had no immunity (15 million from other sources). Severely weakened, the Aztec empire was easily defeated by Hernán Cortés and his forces on his second return. The native population declined 90% by 1600 to 1-2.5 million.

The territory became part of the Spanish Empire under the name of New Spain, and Mexico City was systematically rebuilt by Cortés following the Fall of Tenochtitlan in 1521. The Council of Indies and the mendicant establishments, which arose in Mesoamerica as early as 1524, labored to generate capital for the crown of Spain and convert the Indian populations to Catholicism. During this period and the following Colonial periods, the sponsorship of mendicant friars and a process of religious syncretism combined the Pre-Hispanic cultures with Spanish socio-religious tradition.

During the three centuries of colonial rule, fewer than 700,000 Spaniards, most of them men, settled in Mexico. The settlers intermarried with indigenous women, fathering the mixed race (mestizo) descendants who today constitute the great majority of Mexico's population. The syncretism between indigenous and Spanish cultures gave birth to many of today's Mexican cultural traits. In order to protect Mexico from the attacks of English, French and Dutch pirates, only two ports were open to foreign trade: Veracruz on the Atlantic and Acapulco on the Pacific.

In 1810 was triggered a revolt against the ruling Junta, that led to the declaration of independence in 1813. After years of fights, in 1821 representatives of the Spanish Crown and the criollo general Agustín de Iturbide signed the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire. Iturbide proclaimed himself emperor, but a revolt against him in 1823 established the United Mexican States. In 1829 president Guerrero abolished slavery. When General Antonio López de Santa Anna suspended the 1824 Constitution, civil war spread across the country.

In 1836 Texas successfully achieved independence as a republic and joined the United States. A border dispute between the US and Mexico led to the Mexican–American War, which began in 1846 and lasted for two years. Mexico was forced to give up more than one-third of its land to the US. The Caste War of Yucatán began in 1847, and Maya rebels, or Cruzob, maintained relatively independent enclaves in the peninsula until the 1930s. In the 1860s Mexico was occupied by France, which established the Second Mexican Empire, but in 1867 the Emperor Maximilian I was executed.

The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle between 1910 and 1920, that radically transformed Mexican politics and society. In 1929, Calles founded the National Revolutionary Party, later renamed the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and started a period known as the Maximato, which ended with the election of Lázaro Cárdenas, who implemented many economic and social reforms. Between 1940 and 1980, Mexico remained a poor country but experienced substantial economic growth that some historians call the "Mexican miracle".

In December 1994 the Mexican economy collapsed, but with a rapid rescue package authorized by the US, and major macroeconomic reforms, the economy rapidly recovered. In 2000, after 71 years, the PRI lost the presidential election, but in 2012 won again. Now, Mexico has the fifteenth largest nominal GDP and the eleventh largest GDP by purchasing power parity. By 2050, Mexico could become the world's fifth or seventh largest economy. The country is considered both a regional power and middle power, and is often identified as an emerging global power.

About the stamps
The stamp is part of  the series México creación popular (Folk Art Mexico), about which I wrote here.

Mexico - Wikipedia

Sender: Maggie Alonso (direct swap)
Sent from Ecatepec (Mexico / Mexico), on 23.01.2014 
Design: Jorge Escudero de Sybaris

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