A map of Mexico Two mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre Oriental in the east and the Sierra Madre Occidental in the west, run down either side of Mexico. Most people live on the wide central plateau that lies between them and where the climate is mild and the land fertile. Along the Gulf Coast in the east, coastal plains merge with the Yucatán Peninsula. Farther south, this swampy region gives way to low-lying tropical forest. The northern part of Mexico and the long Baja California peninsula consists of hot, dry scrublands.
Most Mexicans are mestizos, descended both from the Native Americans and Spanish settlers who came to live here from the 16th century onwards. Spanish is still the country’s main language, but many people still speak local languages, especially in the countryside. The ancient Aztec language of Nahuatl is spoken by around 1.5 million people.
With over 110 million Spanish speakers, Mexico is the world’s most populous Spanish-speaking country.
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