You know a lot about the USA, but what about the USM? Learn all about the United Mexican States, which is the official name of Mexico, with these fun facts about Mexico.
Basic Facts About Mexico
Mexico is a large country in North America that covers over 750,000 square miles. It borders the United States, Guatemala, and Belize.
Mexico has 32 states, and its national capital is Mexico City.
Mexico’s population is over 126 million. Although most people speak Spanish, there are also 68 regional languages.
Mexico’s government is a democratic republic (similar to the USA’s government); they elect a president.
The Mexican flag has vertical bars of green, white, and red. The emblem at the center is an eagle perched atop a cactus.
Let’s move on to some fun facts about Mexico!
1. You Can Eat Tacos for Breakfast
No fun facts about Mexico would be complete without mentioning delicious Mexican food. In Mexico, tacos work for every meal.
Breakfast tacos often include pork or eggs. Lunchtime tacos may include seafood. Meats of every kind work as filling for dinner tacos.
2. Antibiotics Were Invented in Mexico
Forget the discovery of penicillin in the 1920s!
The ancient civilization of the Aztecs grew fungus on tortillas and then used that fungus as medicine.
This fungus was actually a natural antibiotic.
3. You Can Find an Ancient Pyramid Designed After Astronomy
The Egyptians weren’t the only ones to build pyramids! Chichen Itza is an ancient city of the Mayan people.
In Chichen Itza, A Mayan temple pyramid called El Castillo has four faces with 91 stairs on each face.
If you count the center stair at the top, the number equals 365 stairs, the same as the number of days in the year.
This proves that the Maya were an ancient people who used their observations of the night skies to find out truth.
4. Mexico City Is Sinking
Mexico City is built on a lake, and because of that, it sinks 12 cm per year. That’s way more than Venice!
The city is the site of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec civilization.
Legend has it that the Aztecs were told by a god to build their city where they saw an eagle perching atop a cactus and eating a snake.
They saw the eagle (whose picture is now on the Mexican flag) sitting on a cactus on a tiny island in the middle of a lake. So they built their city on a lake!
The Spanish decided to build Mexico City atop the Aztec ruins.
5. Mexicans Really, Really Like Coca-Cola
Picture a large 2-liter bottle of Coke. On average, each person in Mexico drinks over 160 liters of Coke a year (that’s the equivalent of over 80 large bottles).
The government has tried to reduce the amount of soda people drink by placing a tax on sugary drinks (the equivalent of 5 cents/bottle).
6. Harvard Is Not the Oldest College in North America
Although Harvard has bragging rights about being the oldest college in the US, it doesn’t come close to the National University of Mexico.
The college was founded in 1551 by King Charles V of Spain.
7. You Don’t Get Presents at Christmas
Although Mexican Christians do celebrate Christmas, they do not exchange presents on that day. Don’t worry! They do get gifts.
They wait until the Day of the Three Kings, when the wise men gave gifts to baby Jesus. That day falls on January 6.
8. “Mexico” May Mean the “Bellybutton of Moon Lake”
No one is quite sure where the word “Mexico” came from. It could be from the name of the Aztec god Mexihtli, although the pronunciation is different from what you would expect.
The other idea is that it comes from Metztli Lake, or Moon Lake, which is the site where the Aztecs saw the eagle sitting atop the cactus. The eagle was sitting on a tiny island called the belly button of the lake.
9. Two World Famous Artists Were Mexican
Diego Rivera was a famous muralist who painted bright and symbolic murals in the US and Mexico.
He is so famous that his face is on Mexican money!
Another famous Mexican artist is Frida Kahlo, whose surreal artwork made her one of the most famous artists of the Americas.
10. Cinco de Mayo Is Not Mexican Independence Day
Most Mexicans don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Battle of Puebla, where local inhabitants fought off the French.
The people of Puebla are the only Mexicans who celebrate Cinco de Mayo (The 5th of May).
Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16th, and it is a big deal in all of Mexico.
The day is marked by celebrations, ceremonies, and fireworks. It commemorates when the Mexicans proclaimed their independence from Spain.
Read More About Mexico
If you are intrigued by these fun facts about Mexico, you can read more about the country.
A Kid’s Guide to Mexico
This book features photos and facts related to Mexico’s history, culture, wildlife, and geography. It is targeted at kids 9-12.
The Great Book of Mexico
This book of trivia and fun facts will delight upper elementary and middle school students.
Mexico – Culture Smart!
This book is best for high school students and adults who want to learn more about Mexican culture.