Friday, June 02, 2006

10 Things You Didn't Know about Mexico

10 Things You Didn't Know about Mexico by

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(1) The ancient Maya of Mesoamerica calculated the solar year at 365.2422 days and the moon's period at 29.5209 days. Both figures are so accurate that it was only in the 20th century that scientists came up with measurements infinitesimally more exact.

(2) Mexico is one of the few remaining countries in Latin America where bullfighting is still practised. The Plaza Mexico in Mexico City is the biggest bullring in the world, seating 50,000 spectators.

(3) The world-famous resort of Cancun in the Yucatan Peninsula was a government-planned creation. Before 1970 the huge holiday centre was not even marked on maps.

(4) Mexico City's two most famous volcanoes, Popocatupetl (5,452 metres) and Iztaccahuatl (5,286 metres) are affectionately known as Popo and Izta. According to legend, Popo (Nahuatl for "Smoking Mountain") was a warrior in love with Izta ("white lady").

(5) Under Mexican law, at least 51 percent of any tequila must come from the tequila weber agave plant, which grows only in the region around the town of Tequila, to the northwest of Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco.

(6) Papantla is a village near the Port of Veracruz in Mexico. Vanilla is produced in the area. One main tradition in Papantla is the Rito de Los Voladores (Rite of the Flyers).

(7) Mexico City is the largest city in the world. It was built on the site of the ancient city of Tenochtitlán. Tenochtitlán was built in 1325 by the Aztecs. It was destroyed by the Spanish when they conquered Mexico. Hernando Cortez first entered the Valley of Mexico in 1519. With fewer than 200 soldiers and a few horses, he conquered the Aztecs. In 1521 the Spanish destroyed the city of Tenochtitlán.

(8) Corn is the main food crop grown in Mexico. It is grown on half of the cultivated land. The Indians living in what is now central or southern Mexico ate corn from wild plants about 10,000 years ago. About 5000 B. C. the Indians learned how to grow corn themselves. Corn is used to make flat pancakes called tortillas. They are sometimes folded and stuffed with different foods to make tacos.

(9) Mexican children are given both their father's last name and their mother's maiden name. This tradition helps preserve the heritage of both parents. Fathers would often weave a God's eye when their children were born. At each birthday for five years the father would weave another God's eye.

(10) According to the 1995-1999 figures, the "quality of life" in Mexico was as follows:
Population that lives in poverty (1999): 44 to 60%, Houses with electricity (1995): 93.52%, Houses with running water (1995): 87.0%, Houses with sewage (1995): 76.7%, Houses with an earthen floor: 15.40%.

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