32 interesting facts about Mexico
1. The official name of Mexico is Estados Únidos Mexicanos – United Mexican States.
2. Mexican tamales (cornmeal tortilla with filling) called zacahuil has a length of three meters and weighs about 150 pounds.
3. Mexico gave the world chocolate, corn and chili.
4. Mexico is the birthplace of a very rare tailless rabbit (or “volcanic rabbit”) that lives alongside Mexican volcanoes.
5. The largest North American wildcat, jaguar, can be found in the southern Mexican jungle.
6. The first printing press in North America was used in Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, in 1539.
7. Millions of Danaid Monarch butterflies fly to Mexico from the USA and Canada every year, although their distribution areas are sharply reduced due to deforestation.
8. The border between Mexico and the USA is the second longest border in the world (only the border between the USA and Canada is longer than it).
9. In terms of the number of Catholic citizens, Mexico is second only to Brazil.
10. The homeland of the red poinsettia (the Aztecs called it cuetlaxochitl) is Mexico, and it was named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico (1820s).
11. Mexican children do not receive gifts for Christmas. They are presented on January 6th, the day when Mexicans celebrate the Epiphany (the arrival of the Three Magi).
12. Mexico is located in the “Ring of Fire”, in one of the most dangerous volcanic and seismic zones.
13. Mexico City is built on the ruins of a large Aztec city called Tenochtitlan. Since Mexico City is built on a lake, it is submerged at a level of 6-8 inches per year as pumps pump out water for a growing population.
14. The flag of Mexico consists of three vertical stripes. The left green bar represents hope, the middle white represents purity, and the red bar represents the blood of the Mexican people. The image of an eagle that grabs the snake comes from an Aztec legend.
15. Chihuahua – the smallest dog in the world, it is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
16. The area of Mexico is 756,066 square miles, which is about three times the area of Texas.
17. Only ten countries in the world have a larger population than Mexico, where 109,955,400 people live.
18. Mexico City is the oldest city in North America, it is also the city with the highest elevation. In addition, Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world.
19. Mexico ranks 14th in the world among the countries with the largest area.
20. Modern Mexicans are a unique blend of representatives of many ancient civilizations, including the Olmecs, Zapotecs, Toltecs, Mayans, Aztecs, Incas, Africans, French and Spaniards.
21. The Olmec civilization was the first great civilization in Mexico (1400-300 BC), whose representatives built many cities along the eastern coast of Mexico and carved the famous Colossal Heads. They worshiped a mysterious nameless god, half man, half jaguar.
22. Zapotec civilization (600 BC – 800 AD) built huge cities along the southern part of Mexico and developed the first writing system in America.
23. The Maya had an unusual weapon called the “hornet bomb,” which in reality was a nest of hornets dropped on enemies during a battle.
24. In the fourteenth century, a group of Chichimecs (warring nomads) settled in Mexico, called the Aztecs (or Mexicans). Once they saw an eagle (a symbol of the sun) sitting on a cactus (a symbol of the heart) that grabbed a snake (a symbol of the earth or the god Quetzalcoatl) – an image that is now depicted on the flag of Mexico.
25. Snakes are constantly found in Mexican mythology: from the serpent god Kukulkan, whose pyramid can be found in the ancient city of Chichen Itza, to the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl.
26. The Aztecs adopted human sacrifices from earlier cultures (such as the Olmec), they believed that without human blood, the universe would end and the sun would stop its movement. There are many ancient statues of gods with their tongues hanging out, such as Huitzilopochtli, which could be a sacred gesture meaning bloodlust.
27. During the Aztec ceremony of human sacrifice, five priests, sometimes with faces painted in different colors, held the victim by the arms and legs. The heart, called “precious eagle cactus fruit” (precious eagle cactus fruit), was cut from a living person and burned in the temple.
28. The shells and stones on the Aztec ritual blades symbolized the faces of the gods for which the sacrificial hearts were intended. The Aztecs sacrificed from 10,000 to 50,000 people a year. During the reign of Montezuma II, 12,000 people were sacrificed in one day.
29. The Aztecs played a ritual ball game known as the Weasels, the losers in which were often sacrificed to the gods.30. When the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes arrived at the Aztec lands in 1519, the Aztecs took him for the returning god of Quetzalcoatl and offered him a drink of the gods: hot chocolate.
31. The descendants of the Aztecs speak the form of the Aztec language, called Nauatl. Many of the words of this language, especially used to refer to food, have been translated into European languages: for example, tomatoes (tomato), chocolate (chocolatl), and avocado (auacatl).
32. About 60% of the modern Mexican population are mestizos (half Indians and Spaniards), 30% are Indians or mostly Indians, 9% are Caucasians and 1% are other nationalities.