Mexico (Spanish: México ( listen); Nahuatl languages: Mēxihco), officially the United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos, listen (help·info)) is a federal republic 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. Covering almost two million square kilometers (over 760,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world.
With an estimated population of over 120 million, the country is the eleventh most populous and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world while being the second most populous nation in Latin America. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and a special federal entity that is also its capital and most populous city. Other metropolises include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, and Tijuana.
Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8,000 BC, is identified as one of seven cradles of civilization and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its politically powerful base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, which was administered as the viceroyalty of New Spain. Three centuries later, the territory became the current nation following recognition in 1821 after the colony's Mexican War of Independence. The tumultuous post-independence period was characterized by economic inequality and many politically intensive changes. The Mexican–American War (1846–1848) led to a territorial cession of the extensive northern territories to the United States. The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, and the Porfiriato occurred through the 19th century. The Porfiriato was ended by the Mexican Revolution of 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country's current political system.
Mexico has the fifteenth largest nominal GDP and the eleventh largest by purchasing power parity. The Mexican economy is strongly linked to those of its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, especially the United States. Mexico was the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), joining in 1994. It is classified as an upper-middle income country by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country by several analysts. 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. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is a megadiverse country, ranking fourth in the world by biodiversity. In 2016 it was the eighth most visited country in the world, with 35 million international arrivals. Mexico is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G8+5, the G20, the Uniting for Consensus, and the Pacific Alliance.
Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely, the Valley of Mexico, and its people, the Mexica, and surrounding territories. This became the future State of Mexico as a division of New Spain prior to independence (compare Latium). It is generally considered to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec Triple Alliance as a result, or vice versa. After New Spain won independence from Spain, representatives decided to name the new country after its capital, Mexico City. This was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
Traditionally, the name Tenochtitlan was thought to come from Nahuatl tetl ("rock") and nōchtli ("prickly pear") and is often thought to mean "Among the prickly pears rocks". However, one attestation in the late 16th-century manuscript known as "the Bancroft dialogues" suggests the second vowel was short, so that the true etymology remains uncertain.