Examine the location of Mexico and its physical and climatic features.
Specify some economic challenges facing the three regions of Mexico.
Describe Mexican culture and the groups that have influenced it.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 6: Mexico

Mexico forms part of a land bridge that connects North and South America. It is made up of three mountain ranges, a large central plateau, and coastal lowlands. Earthquakes and volcanic activity affect the land and people of Mexico. Due to differences in latitude and altitude there are a variety of climate zones in Mexico. Landforms and climate combine to create three economic zones.

Mexico's Native American and European heritage shapes the country's culture. The Mayan and Aztec civilizations were the best known of Mexico's early people. A Spanish colony, Mexico won its independence in 1821. Today Mexico's government is a federal republic.

More than 70 percent of Mexicans live in urban areas. Beautiful plazas and important buildings are located in the center of these cities. In the poorer sections, people make houses out of whatever material they can find. Farming is still important in Mexico, but manufacturing, service industries, and oil refining play larger roles in the economy. Mexico must find ways to handle its growing population, pollution, and foreign debt.

     Quick Notes

The Land

Mexico is part of the land bridge connecting North America and South America.
Major landforms in Mexico are deserts, mountains, plateaus, and lowlands.
Much of Mexico's climate is tropical or desert.

The Economy

Central Mexico has the largest cities and the greatest industrial development of Mexico's three economic regions.
Oil is Mexico's most important product.
Coffee, rice, sugarcane, and fruit are grown on large and small farms.
Challenges facing Mexico include encouraging industry, creating jobs, and protecting the environment.

The People

Native Americans were the earliest people to live in Mexico. Spanish explorers and settlers arrived in the 1500s.
The Roman Catholic religion remains an important influence on the people of Mexico.
Mexico is a federal republic. It's 31 states share power with the national government.
The culture of modern Mexico mixes old and new art, music, and literature grown from Native American, Spanish, and Mexican roots.

Hokanson's Social Studies

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