The Temple of Warriors at Chichen Itza, Mexico
The Temple of Warriors at Chichen Itza, Mexico

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Mexico (Spanish: México [ˈmexiko] (About this soundlisten); Nahuan languages: Mēxihco), officially the United Mexican States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos; EUM [esˈtaðos uˈniðoz mexiˈkanos] (About this soundlisten)), is a country 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. Mexico covers 1,972,550 square kilometers (761,610 sq mi), making it the world's 13th-largest country by area; with approximately 126,014,024 inhabitants, it is the 10th-most-populous country and has the most Spanish-speakers. Mexico is organized as a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, its capital and largest metropolis. Other major urban areas include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and León.

Pre-Columbian Mexico traces its origins to 8,000 BC and is identified as one of six cradles of civilization; it was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations, most notably the Maya and the Aztecs. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the region from its base in Mexico City, establishing the colony of New Spain. The Catholic Church played an important role in spreading Christianity and the Spanish language, while also preserving some indigenous cultures. Native populations were heavily exploited to mine rich deposits of precious metals, which contributed to Spain's status as a major world power for the next three centuries. Over time, a distinct Mexican identity formed, based on a fusion of indigenous and European customs; this contributed to the successful Mexican War of Independence against Spain in 1821. (Full article...)

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The Convention of 1833 (April 1–13, 1833), a political gathering of settlers of Mexican Texas, was a successor to the Convention of 1832, whose requests had not been addressed by the Mexican government. Despite the political uncertainty succeeding from a recently concluded civil war, 56 delegates met in San Felipe de Austin to draft a series of petitions to the Alamo The volatile William H. Wharton presided over the meeting. Although the convention's agenda largely mirrored that of the Convention of 1832, delegates also agreed to pursue independent statehood for the province, which was at the time part of the state of Coahuila y Tejas. Under the guidance of Sam Houston, former governor of the US state of Tennessee, a committee drafted a state constitution to submit to the Mexican Congress. The proposed constitution was largely patterned on US political principles, yet retained several Spanish customs. Delegates also requested customs exemptions and asked that a ban on immigration into Texas be lifted.

Some residents complained that this convention, like its predecessor, was illegal. Nevertheless, Stephen F. Austin journeyed to Mexico City to present the petitions to the government. Frustrated with the lack of progress, in October Austin wrote a letter encouraging Texans to form their own state government. This letter was forwarded to the Mexican government and Austin was imprisoned in early 1834. During his imprisonment, the federal and state legislatures later passed a series of measures to placate the colonists, including the introduction of trial by jury. Austin acknowledged that "[e]very evil complained of has been remedied." (Full article...)

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Declaratoria Oficial de Patrimonio Mundial del Archipiélago de Revillagigedo.jpg

The Revillagigedo Islands (Spanish: Islas Revillagigedo, IPA: [reˈβiʝa xiˈxeðo]) or Revillagigedo Archipelago are a group of four volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean, known for their unique ecosystem. They lie approximately 285 miles (458 km) from Socorro Island south and southwest of Cabo San Lucas, the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, and 698 to 1,092 kilometres (434 to 679 mi) west of Manzanillo. They are located around . Technically part of the Mexican state of Colima, the islands are under Mexican federal jurisdiction.

In July 2016, the Revillagigedo Archipelago were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2017 they were declared to be a marine reserve and a national park of Mexico. Some of the volcanoes are active, with the last eruption of Volcán Bárcena in 1953, and Socorro in 1993. (Full article...)

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Huichol string art sun.jpg
Huichol yarn painting
image credit: Jebulon

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Black and white photograph of a group of men wearing sombreros surrounding a stone building. Dated 5/15/1911.
Mexican forces outside the Casino de la Laguna

The Torreón massacre (Spanish: Matanza de chinos de Torreón) was a racially motivated massacre that took place on 13–15 May 1911 in the Mexican city of Torreón, Coahuila. Over 300 Asian Mexicans were killed by a local mob and the revolutionary forces of Francisco I. Madero, mostly Cantonese Mexicans and some Japanese Mexicans. A large number of Cantonese homes and shops were looted and destroyed.

Torreón was the last major city to be taken by the Maderistas during the Mexican Revolution. When the government forces withdrew, the rebels entered the city in the early morning and, along with the local population, began a ten-hour massacre of the Cantonese community. The event touched off a diplomatic crisis between Qing China and Mexico, with the former demanding 30 million pesos in reparation. At one point it was rumored that Qing China had even dispatched a warship to Mexican waters (the cruiser Hai Chi, which was anchored in Cuba at the time). An investigation into the massacre concluded that it was an unprovoked act of racism. (Full article...)

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Porfirio Diaz in uniform.jpg

José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori (/ˈdəs/ or /ˈdæz/; Spanish: [poɾˈfiɾjo ði.as]; 15 September 1830 – 2 July 1915) was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from 28 November 1876 to 6 December 1876, 17 February 1877 to 1 December 1880 and from 1 December 1884 to 25 May 1911. The entire period from 1876 to 1911 is often referred to as the Porfiriato.

A veteran of the War of the Reform (1858–1860) and the French intervention in Mexico (1862–1867), Díaz rose to the rank of general, leading republican troops against the French-imposed rule of Emperor Maximilian. He subsequently revolted against presidents Benito Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, on the principle of no re-election to the presidency. Díaz succeeded in seizing power, ousting Lerdo in a coup in 1876, with the help of his political supporters, and was elected in 1877. In 1880, he stepped down and his political ally Manuel González was elected president, serving from 1880 to 1884. In 1884 Díaz abandoned the idea of no re-election and held office continuously until 1911. (Full article...)

In the news

21 June 2021 – Foreign relations of Nicaragua
The Argentinian and Mexican foreign ministries announce in a joint statement that they are withdrawing their respective ambassadors from Nicaragua for consultations in response to President Daniel Ortega's increasing crackdown on dissidents, including the arrest of five potential presidential candidates this month. (Al Jazeera)
14 June 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic
Phase III clinical trials for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine candidate conclude in the U.S. and Mexico, showing an efficacy rating of 90.4%, down from the initial estimate of 96.4% efficacy reported in March. Additionally, the vaccine candidate was also found to be 86.3% effective against the Lineage B.1.1.7 Alpha variant that originated in the United Kingdom. (CNN International)
11 June 2021 – Discoveries of exoplanets
A group of scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of New Mexico announces that water clouds are discovered on TOI-1231 b, a Neptune-like exoplanet that is located 90 light-years away from Earth. (CBS News)
7 June 2021 – U.S.-Mexico border crisis
In Guatemala, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announces several steps to address the migration crisis at the Northern Triangle during a joint conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei. She also urged migrants not to flee to the Mexico–United States border. (NBC News)
7 June 2021 – 2021 Mexican legislative election
The National Electoral Institute reports that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's coalition Juntos Hacemos Historia is projected to win between 265 and 292 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, retaining its majority but without the two-thirds majority that it previously had. His party National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) saw losses in Mexico City, previously a MORENA stronghold. López Obrador subsequently vows to do more to help the poor. (Reuters)
6 June 2021 – 2021 Mexican legislative election
Mexican voters head to the polls to elect a new session to the Chamber of Deputies. Analysts predict that while President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's party National Regeneration Movement will lose seats, his coalition will retain an overall majority. The lead-up to the election saw considerable violence, with at least 89 politicians, including 35 candidates, killed in the past 200 days. (Al Jazeera English)

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A sugar skull, a common gift for children and decoration for the Day of the Dead.

A calavera [plural: calaveras] (Spanishpronounced [kalaˈβeɾa] for "skull") is a representation of a human skull. The term is most often applied to edible or decorative skulls made (usually by hand) from either sugar (called Alfeñiques) or clay that are used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) and the Roman Catholic holiday All Souls' Day. Calavera can also refer to any artistic representations of skulls, such as the lithographs of José Guadalupe Posada. The most widely known calaveras are created with cane sugar and are decorated with items such as colored foil, icing, beads, and feathers. They range in multiple colors.

Traditional methods for producing calaveras have been in use since the 1630s. The skulls are created either for children or as offerings to be placed on altars known as ofrendas for the Día de Muertos, which has roots in the Aztec, Mayan, and Toltec cultural celebration of the Day of the Dead. (Full article...)

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