Mexico Geography, Languages, and Politics

By | December 29, 2021

Extension and boundaries. – Including between the United States of America to the north, the republic of Guatemala and British Honduras to the south-east, Mexico faces the American Mediterranean to the east, between the mouth of the Río Grande del Norte (Gulf of Mexico) and the mouth of the Río Hondo (Chetumal Bay in the Antillean Sea), and to the west it is bathed by the Pacific between the San Diego Bay (California) and the mouth of the Río Suchiate. The border with the United States, defined by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo of February 2, 1848, at the end of the disastrous war in which Mexico lost almost half of its ancient territory, and by the treaty of December 30, 1853, was traced on the ground by an international commission based on the conventions of 1882 and 1889. Starting from the mouth of the Río Grande del Norte, the dividing line goes up the river as far as Ciudad Juárez, then runs west in part along the parallel 31 ° 47 ‘and in part along the 31 ° 20’ N. up to Nogales on the 111th meridian; after Nogales the border towards ONO. it reaches the Río Colorado by going up its course until the confluence of the Gila, from which it runs to the Pacific coast which immediately reaches noon of San Diego Bay.

Even more arbitrary is the border with the Central American republic of Guatemala, established by the Treaty of Mexico of 27 September 1882 and the subsequent one of 1895. Starting from the Pacific coast, the dividing line climbs the Río Suchiate, then follows the direction indicated by the peaks. del Tacaná, Buenavista and Ixbul, and along the parallel of the latter it meets the course of the Río Chixoy, to descend along the Chixoy and the Río Usumacinta up to the latitude of 17 ° 49 ‘. The border with British Honduras, established by the Treaty of Mexico of 8 July 1893, is marked by the Río Hondo, which flows into the Bay of Chetumal, and by its tributary Arroyo Azul, whence at 17 ° 49 ′ N. it joins the border of Guatemala.

Astronomically, Mexico extends from 14 ° 30 ′ 42 ″ (mouth of Suchiate) to 32 ° 42 ′ (confluence of Río Gila with Colorado) of lat. N. and between 86 ° 46 ′ 8 ″ (Mujeres island) and 117 ° 7 ′ 6 ″ (San Diego Bay) of long. O. The greatest length between the two extreme points is 2994 km. and the greatest width of 1226 km. between the mouth of the Río Grande del Norte and the mouth of the Río Fuerte. According to the official calculation of the Dirección de estudios geográficos y climatológicos (1924), the area amounts, as already mentioned, to 1,969,365 sq km.

Exploration. – Completed towards the middle of the century. XVI the conquest of the Mexican territory (see below) and thus completed the knowledge not only of the current territory of Mexico, but also of the regions of Central America and the United States that were part of the kingdom of New Spain until the century. XIX, it can be said that the exploratory activity did not make notable progress during the long Spanish rule. The era of scientific explorations began in 1803 when Alexander of Humboldt arrived in Mexico, who with his surveys and rigorous observations brought a completely new light on the country; the profound knowledge acquired in his exploratory voyages allowed him not only to elaborate the famous Political Essay, but also to give the first scientific illustration of Mexico and to draw a general map of great value. Many other European scientists worked in his footsteps including HJ Burkart (1825-1834) who devoted himself in particular to the study of geology, the Muhlenpfordt (1837), CB Heller (1845-48), the Nebel (1830-32), I. Stephens (1829-40), etc. The activity of European scholars was flanked by that of numerous Mexicans who proved to be worthy emulators of the former: in 1839 the Sociedad de geografía y de estadística was founded in Mexico, whose works led to the publication of the great Atlas…. de la República nejicana, edited by A. García Cubas (1856), to whom we also owe a description of the Mexican states (1889), while Orozco y Berra published a Diccionario universal de historia y de geografía sobre la República Mexicana(Mexico 1853-56). In the second half of the century. XIX took place the travels of De Saussure (1861) and of A. Dolfuss and E. Montserrat (1862), who studied the volcanoes of Mexico and the morphology and geology of the region, as well as the research of French scientists of the Commission scientifique du Mexico, formed in Paris on the occasion of the 1865-67 expedition. Very important then were the explorations of F. Ratzel (1871-75), of K. Sapper (1888-900 and also following years), of A. Heilprin (1889-90), of Deckert (1884-88-89), of the two Seler (1887-95-902), of Merrill and Eisen, who explored Baja California in 1883-84, of Millspaug (1895) and Mercer (1893), who studied Yucatán, etc. The activity of the Mexicans and geological researches and memories also continued indefatigably,

The activity of the archaeologists, researchers and illustrators of the pre-Columbian monuments of Mexico should also be mentioned, but suffice it to say that all these scholars have contributed to the knowledge of often still unexplored regions and localities, such as Chiapas and Quintana Roo.

Languages. – The indigenous languages ​​spoken in Mexico belong to numerous families. The main nucleus is made up of about twenty languages ​​of the great Uto-Aztec family, starting from Pima, in the north of Sonora in the north, up to Pipil, which also extends into El Salvador, in the south; then followed by languages ​​belonging to very different families: Maya, with about twenty other languages, almost all in Mexican territory; Yuma, with two dialects in Baja California; the Yuma reunites with the namesake of northern California and is classified in the Hoka family (v. XVIII, p. 535); Waicuri, which included two now extinct dialects at the northern tip of Baja California; Seri, in Sonora, on the Gulf of California, another branch of the great Hoka family; two important languages ​​Apache and Toboso, belonging to the Athabaska family (v. V, p. 199); we will then list the Otomí family, which includes a large number of dialects in central Mexico; the Zapoteca family, which includes several varieties in and around the state of Oaxaca; the Mixe-Zoque family, which goes south even beyond the borders of Mexico; the Tequistlateco, spoken near the isthmus of Tehuantepec and also belonging to the Hoka family; the Totonaca family, which includes several dialects spoken on the east coast and a few other families of lesser importance. which goes south even beyond the borders of Mexico; the Tequistlateco, spoken near the isthmus of Tehuantepec and also belonging to the Hoka family; the Totonaca family, which includes several dialects spoken on the east coast and a few other families of lesser importance. which goes south even beyond the borders of Mexico; the Tequistlateco, spoken near the isthmus of Tehuantepec and also belonging to the Hoka family; the Totonaca family, which includes several dialects spoken on the east coast and a few other families of lesser importance.

Political and administrative divisions. – The current political and administrative division of Mexico is based on the constitutions of 1857 and 1917, but at least in part derives from the old administrative division of the viceroyalty of New Spain, whose stewardship (12) and provinces (3) with the federal constitution on 4 October 1824 they were elevated to state units of the new political system. Later some territories detached from the major provinces formed new states. This led to the current division into 28 states, a federal district and three territories, which constitute as many largely autonomous political and administrative units within their own territory. The states present very great differences both in the surface and in the population, a result of the historical events from which they originated; we pass by the very small Tlaxcala. For Mexico democracy and rights, please check

And the population is equally varied, from just over 10,000 residents lost in the Quintana Roo area, to the 205,000 living in small Tlaxcala, to a million and a quarter in Veracruz and Jalisco. As a rule, it can be noted that the units of the southern plateau hosting the densest population are less extensive, while the peripheral states of both the northern plateau and the Pacific coast and transistmic Mexico are larger, where, however, the greater extension of the territory almost always corresponds to a much lower population density.

Each state is then divided into a certain number of municipalities which, in turn being the result of ancient administrative divisions of the colonial era, are very different in area and population. The municipalities, in 1921, in the whole territory of the republic amounted to 2135, including 62,981 villages or smaller centers.

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