How Well Do You Know México?
Understandably, we transplants may be more familiar with our countries of origin than with our adopted home, México. To broaden our knowledge of this wonderful country, below are some fun and interesting facts about our home SOB:
México’s . . .
Official Name: Estados Únidos Mexicanos (United Mexican States)
National motto: La Patria Es Primero (The Homeland is First)
National anthem: Mexicanos, al grito de guerra (Mexicans, at the cry of war) Be forewarned! It is illegal to play the national anthem incorrectly.
National Animal: Golden eagle
National Flower: Dahlia
México is the 13th largest country in the world, covering a total area of 761,606 square miles (1,972,550 square kilometers).
Most of us use this every day: color TV. In 1940, Mexican electrical engineer Guillermo González Camarena invented a color-wheel type of color television. It was patented in 1942, with improvements up until 1958.
The meteorite that was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs landed in México. Near the town of Chicxulub, in the Yucatan peninsula, you will find the remains of a massive crater, 150 km in diameter, that was formed when an asteroid collided with our planet some 66 million years ago.
It is widely accepted that this event affected the climate to such an extent that over 75% of the plant and animal life on earth went extinct.
When it comes to pyramids, most of us think of the Great Pyramid of Giza. But the Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl, is actually larger. Cholula is a complex located in Puebla, and is the largest archaeological site of a pyramid in the New World and the largest by volume known to exist in the world. The structure measures 400 by 400 meters and has a total volume of 4.45 million cubic meters, almost twice that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is 177 feet tall and its base covers 45 acres, making it the largest monument ever constructed by any civilization on the planet.
The majority of Earth’s volcanoes and earthquakes take place along the Ring of Fire, the name given to the path along the Pacific Ocean, the most seismically active region of the planet. A whopping 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 75% of its volcanoes occur in the Ring of Fire, with México having 42 active volcanoes and thousands of inactive ones. Included among México’s volcanoes is the world’s smallest in recorded history: the Cuexcomate volcano, in Puebla. It stands at a meager 43 feet tall. By comparison, the largest volcano, Mauna Loa, in Hawaii, is 13,678 feet tall.
Wall or no wall, the border between México and USA is the busiest and most frequently crossed international border in the world. It is estimated that over 350 million people make this border crossing each year.
México City is the oldest city in the Americas, with a history spanning over 700 years. Today, with a population of 21.2 million, it is the most populous metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere and the 7th largest in the world. It is also an important financial center and the 8th wealthiest city in the world. With 151 officially recognized museums and over 200 without official recognition, the city has the largest number of museums in the Americas and the second highest number in the world. Only London has a highernumber of museums. México City is sinking at a rate of six to eight inches each year. In the last century, it sank over 33 feet. So why is it sinking?It islocated on a lake, and the residents draw their water from beneath, draining the water table and causing it to subside.
With over 100,000 taxis operating daily, México City has the largest taxi fleet in the world and is the most traffic-congested city in the world, according to a major global navigation company. Clearly, that navigation company has never seen our Walmart/Libramiento/Carretera intersection.
The National University of México was founded by Charles V of Spain in 1551, making it the oldest university in North America. Today, it is considered one of the best universities in the world, and is also the largest, with over 170 hectares and over 300,000 students.
With a total of 1,714, México has the third highest number of airports in the world.
México is the hardest working country in the world. It has the highest average annual hoursworked, with the average citizen working over 43 hours a week.
The Mexican flag, adopted in the year 1968, is full of national symbolism. It is made up of three vertical stripes. The left stripe in green represents hope, joy, and love. The center stripe in white is a symbol of purity, peace, and honesty, while the red stripe stands for bravery, courage, and the blood of the people who died fighting for México’s independence.
We can thank México for giving the world wonderful foods, chocolate topping the list. It would have earned our undying gratitude for this exquisite specialty alone, but the list of foods introduced by México goes on and on. Mexicans were the first to use tomatoes as a food. They also gave the world vanilla, chilies, and that versatile perennial favorite, corn. Forget Orville Redenbacher. Popcorn was first domesticated 9,000 years ago in México.
And that brings us to beverages. México is the world’s biggest consumer of Coca Cola, with the highest consumption per capita. Each year, 118 million locals drink over 160 liters of Coca Cola each, equaling about half a liter every day. México is also the largest consumer of bottled water in the world. And what about cerveza? The nation houses a $3.8 billion beer industry, making it the largest beer exporter in the world.
Guns in México? There is only one gun store in the entire country. It is located in México City and is operated by the military. While it is possible for citizens to purchase a gun, the procedure for doing so is onerous. But once they are approved, they are allowed to buy a single gun and a single box of bullets. The majority of the guns in México, over 90%, are smuggled in from the U.S.
Art is encouraged and supported in México. As a matter of fact, artists may use their artwork to pay their taxes.
And finally, a bit of NOB vs SOB fun: There is a town called “Calexico” in California near the U.S.-México border, and there is a town called “Mexicali” on the south side of the border in México.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com