Mexico is a popular vacation destination for its sun, beauty, and relative closeness to the U.S. It’s full of a rich interesting culture. The country of Mexico was originally named after its capital Mexico City. Mexico’s official name is the United Mexican States, although we never hear it called that. Mexico city was built to look like a Spanish city, when the Spanish came in and conquered the Aztecs in the 16th century.

We have Mexico to thank for introducing to the rest some pretty delicious food. Chocolate, chilis, and corn all came from Mexico. When chocolate was first discovered it was used to make sweet drinks. (And clearly we still enjoy many versions of that still today.) Interesting the caesar salad was also introduced in Mexico. Rumor says that it was created by an Italian-American restaurant owner at his restaurant location in Tijuana.

The oldest university was started in Mexico in 1551 by a holy Roman emperor. The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (shortened to UNAM) is still known for educating the highest numbers of professionals in the country. The first printing press used in North America was also in Mexico, back in 1539.

Mexico City is actually on a physical descent, as the area is slowly sinking into the lake that it was built on. If the sinking continues at some point it will become a pretty serious problem, since it is currently sinking about ten inches each year. Mexico is in a pretty dangerous area for both earthquakes and volcanos, which has earned the name “Ring of Fire”. Mexico is also home to the world’s smallest volcano, which is only 43 feet tall.

Bullfighting is still popular in Mexico, and the country is home to the world’s largest bullfighting ring in Mexico City. It has the space for over 41,000 people to sit and watch the sport. Bullfighting was first introduced by the Spanish conquerors.

The country takes their national anthem pretty seriously. If someone performs it and messes it up, they can get fired and might even be asked to issue an apology to the country about it. They actually have ten articles in the law that discuss how to perform the anthem properly.

Interestingly while people in the U.S. celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it’s not really that big of a deal in Mexico. It’s not actually their independance day, and is rather a day marking the victory over a victory at the Battle of Puebla. Christmas is also celebrated differently in Mexico than in the U.S. Mexican families do not exchange gifts or open gifts left out by Santa on Christmas day. They actually do more of their celebrating on Three Kings Day which is on January 6th.

While Spanish is by far the most spoken language in Mexico, there is actually an area where Italian is the main language. In the 1800’s some Venetians settled in an area of Puebla where they started farming. There are actually 60 different languages spoken in Mexico, including some indigenous ones.

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