Mexico's nearly 4,000 years of cultural history have seen huge shifts in the country's government, language and culture. The past few decades have seen Mexico grow economically and expand its international reach, so that today, it has a very promising future. The depth of its past combines with the excitement of Mexico's present and future to make it a fascinating place to learn about.
A closer look 說古論今
Although the main language of Mexico today is Spanish, the pre-Spanish part of Mexican history is much longer. There have been several different civilizations in Mexico since about 1800BC, which means that the culture of the Mexican people is almost 4,000 years old. These civilizations had their own gods, their own religions and their own types of food, music and art. They also made a very important gift to the modern world: chocolate. In ancient Mexico, the beans used to make chocolate were so important that they were even used as money sometimes.
In 1519, soldiers from Spain arrived in Mexico. By 1521, they had taken over the capital of the Aztecs, which was then called Tenochlitlan, and is known today as Mexico City. The Spanish killed many of Mexico's original population. By 1600, the number of native people in Mexico dropped from 8 million to 2 million. The soldiers killed many of the people in battles to conquer the rest of the country, which continued over the next 200 years. However, most of the people were killed by diseases brought over from Europe. Today, 99 percent of the people who live in Mexico are either Spanish, native Mexican or some combination of the two (60 percent). Native cultures are no longer the majority in Mexico, but they are important to the people. Altogether, there are 62 different languages spoken in Mexico. Some of the non-Spanish languages, like Mayan, have over 1.5 million speakers. Some of the languages, like Lacadon, have less than 100.
Size: 1,964,375km2 about 55 times the size of Taiwan
Location: North America
Border countries: US, Belize, Guatemala
Capital: Mexico City
Government: Federal republic
Currency: One Mexican peso is about NT$3
今日墨西哥的主要語言雖是西班牙語，但西班牙語進入前的歷史更長遠。自西元前約一千八百年，墨西哥境內就有不同的文明，顯示其文明約有四千年的歷史。這些文明有自己的神祇、宗教、飲食、音樂和藝術，並且賜給今日世界一件非常重要的禮物 -- 巧克力。製作巧克力的豆子在墨西哥古代極為重要，有時甚至還作為金錢使用。
西元一五一九年，西班牙軍隊抵達墨西哥，於西元一五二一年佔領阿玆提克首都（後來稱為「Tenochlitlan」，也就是今日的墨西哥城）。西班牙人屠殺許多墨西哥原住民，到西元一六○○年，墨西哥原住民人口從八百萬人驟降至兩百萬人，往後兩百年內，西班牙軍隊為征服其餘國土，在戰爭中屠殺許多民眾，不過多數人是死於歐洲傳入的疾病。墨西哥今日 99% 的居民，不是西班牙人，就是墨西哥原住民，或是兩者的混血（約佔 60%）。本土文化不再是墨西哥的文化主流，但對人民仍然重要。墨西哥境內共有六十二種語言，除了西班牙語外，超過一百五十萬人會說馬雅語，卻不到一百人會說萊卡頓語。 （翻譯：鄭湘儀）