Things That Matter

Mexico’s Beautiful And Complex History Will Leave You Wanting To Visit The Country Even More

Mexico makes global headlines every day. Whether news outlets are discussing the new president, the border wall, immigration, their economy, gas shortage, the rise in tourism, it’s truly never ending the multitude of ways Mexico creates a complex and fascinating discussion.

As the 14th largest country in the world, Mexico has been expanding and developing since the first existence of people on the land. While Mexico continues to change and evolve, its culture and people are what truly make the country stand out with vibrancy and beauty.

Here are 20 fascinating ways Mexico has become the country we love today.

1. The first people of Mexico.

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People often talk about the Mayans or Aztecs almost as if they were the first people that inhabited Mexico, but it is the Olmecs who are the first recorded society to settle there. According to History.com, the Olmecs inhabited the area that is now the state of Veracruz. The sculpture above isn’t what they looked like, but rather art they created themselves out of stone.

2. Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire

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In 1521, the Spanish conquered the Aztec empire, which meant that people from Europe now colonized large portions of Mexico. That is why today, Mexicans from all over the country can speak both Spanish and indigenous languages. That is also why Catholicism is the country’s main religion.

3. Mexico gained its independence in 1810.

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Fast forward to the early 1800s, Mexico finally becomes a republic but there’s still a lot of tension between the Spanish elite and the indigenous landless minority.

This chaotic time would soon come in the form of another revolution, but for now, Mexico and other countries including Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica had become their own entity.

4. The meaning behind the colors of the flag.

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The Mexican flag was created in 1821 and embodies both the indigenous people and the Spanish. Green represents hope and victory, white stands for the purity of Mexican ideals and purity of the Catholic faith, and the red stands for the blood shed by the country’s fighters and leaders.

READ: 21 Latin American Flags And The Stories Behind Them

According to amhistory.com, legend has it that “the gods had advised the Aztecs that the place where they should establish their city was to be identified when they saw an eagle, perched on a prickly pear tree, devouring a serpent. They saw this mythical eagle on a marshy lake that is now the main plaza in Mexico City.”

5. Mexican-American War of 1846.

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Initiated by American President James K. Polk, the U.S. and Mexico launched into war over territories in 1846. Unfortunately, a bad deal known as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the exchange for $15 million led Mexico to lose parts of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

 6. Modern-day Mexico.

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As Mexico settled into the shape that we know today, the people of Mexico continued to go to and from the U.S., almost as frequently as they did before. Treaty or no treaty, wall or no wall, Mexicans have been a congruent part of the American culture and its land. Mexico on its own is a spirited country that continues to evolve with each coming year.

7. Citizens of Mexico.

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Since Mexico is made up of people of indigenous and Spanish descent, the mixture of people that are Mexican citizens is noticeably different from any other country. There are people from all over the world that have been migrating to Mexico for centuries, including Asians (primarily Filipino), Canadians, Germans, British, and many more. American citizens are by far the largest population that live in Mexico, second to Mexicans of course.

8. The ebb and flow of Mexico’s economy.

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While Mexico is currently undergoing a gasoline shortage their economy, like most countries in the world, is anything but stable. The country is rich, that is for sure, Carlos Slim Helú, a Mexican citizen, is one of the richest men in the world.  According to the Balance.com, Mexico’s gross domestic product in 2017 was $2.4 trillion.

Mexico’s new president Andrés Manuel López Obrador is also attempting to push that number even further. Despite the economy’s current downturn, the president wants to raise the minimum wage in order to boost the countries economy.

9. Influential Mexicans

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Mexican influencers have always been part of the country’s history, from pioneering leaders like Emiliano Zapata Salazar and Pancho Villa. Some of the most beloved, however, can still be seen in today’s culture including artist Diego Rivera, and, of course, Frida Kahlo. If we get started on all of the incredible talents coming out from Mexico today, well, that would be a whole other story.

READ: 25 Intimate Facts About Frida Kahlo That Will Give You A Better Of A Perspective Of The Artist And Her Life’s Struggle

10. The growth of Mexico.

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As Mexican citizens migrate to other countries, particularly the U.S., the influx of migration into Mexico has grown as well. The recent migration from Central Americans into Mexico is proof of that. While many of the Central Americans are seeking to move to the U.S., the majority of them stay in Mexico, and the new leader of Mexico wants to help with that situation as well.

11. Violence in Mexico

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One tragic element that is part of Mexico’s history, and that continues to be resounding today, has to be its violence. It’s not a safe place for journalists, students, and mainly women. The ongoings of the Mexican cartel and the corruption of the government means that Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

According to Forbes, out of 15 most dangerous countries, Mexico ranked at No. 12. The U.S., for those keeping scores, came in at No. 13.

12. A wonder of the world: Chichen Itza.

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There are many (many) things one should do before they die: live in New York; see the Golden Gate Bridge; see the Great Wall of China. One thing that should definitely be on that list is experiencing the Mayan Ruins known as Chichen Itza located in the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and is considered the last great Maya capital and features more than 4000 structures.

13. Cartels in Mexico

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As we mentioned before, Mexico is a violent country and the cartel is largely a big reason why. Understanding the growth of the cartel is a whole other beast. One may think that El Chapo is the face of the countries drug wars, and while that may be the case, there are others, primarily Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. His story can be seen in Netflix’s “Narcos Mexico.” The cartel culture has influenced not only the government, police officials, the economy, but also art and culture.

14. Famous traditions

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For many Latinos, Mexican culture has been ingrained in our everyday life since day one. For the rest of the world, Mexican customs are only now getting the recognition it deserves. From Day of the Dead to folkorico and mariachi music, everyone is barely catching on to the beauty that Mexico bestows.

15. Mexican food.

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Let’s keep it real for a second. Mexican food is probably one the best things to ever been invented. It is like a creation from God and we are blessed that it came from our people. From tamales to menudo to tacos, you basically find Mexican food in every part of the world. Whether it’s good or not, is another story, but if you want the most legit Mexican food you will have to go to Mexico or Los Angeles.

16. Standout cities.

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One of our favorite things about traveling to Mexico is meeting the different kinds of people, and the food that comes from these places. Standout cities that everyone must visit, and here’s a list in no particular order:

  1. Mexico City
  2. Oaxaca
  3. Veracruz
  4. Queretaro
  5. Guadalajara
  6. Tepic
  7. San Miguel de Allende
  8. Merida
  9. Cancun
  10. Puebla
  11. Puerto Vallarta
  12. Ixtapa
  13. Morelia
  14. Guanajuato City
  15. Cuernavaca

17. Indigenous community.

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Mexico has gone through an insane and poetic transformation. From colonization to migrations, Mexico is still very much indigenous. You can see native people throughout Mexico and indigenous languages are spoken everywhere.

18. The fluctuating migration.

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Mexico’s population has always been diverse, but there is definitely a current migration taking place right now. As tens of thousands of people migrate from Central America many of them remain in Mexico because they can’t gain asylum in the U.S.

According to The Washington Post, many Central Americans have sought Mexican asylum that offers them permission to work in the country, and the new president welcomes that.

19. New leadership.

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On Dec. 1, 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador was sworn in as Mexico’s 64th president. There were mixed thoughts about the 65-year-old politician. His radical policies have stirred the pot, but the majority of Mexicans are welcoming new ideas. His economic views and implementations have certainly made things already a little hectic, but he’s doing many positive things too, including wanting to raise the minimum wage.

20. Mexico vs. the U.S.

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Mexico and the U.S. have always had a love/hate relationship with each other. While both countries are deeply attached to each other, both literally and metaphorically, they are both dependent on each other as well. President Donald Trump has been a defiant foe to the Mexican people, and at times, to its leaders, from the inception of his presidential campaign. It will be interesting to see how the new president interacts with Trump because Mexico’s previous president had a love/hate relationship with him too.

READ: 17 Things That Would Happen If President Trump Has His Way And The Wall Was Built

21. Tourism in Mexico.

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Mexico has always been an exotic destination for tourists, despite its issues with violence and the economy. Trump’s hateful words about Mexicans and Mexico hasn’t deterred that one bit. According to Forbes, the “country is the No. 1 destination for tourists from the U.S. and is receiving record levels of visitors.”

In the last year, it was projected that more than 40 million people visited Mexico, and we’re certain that number will continue to increase year after year.


READ: I Started Yearly Trips To Mexico With My White Husband So We Could Better Understand Each Other

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This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

Things That Matter

This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

Like students around the world, kids in Mexico have been forced to take school online or tune into programming on public TV in order to learn. But that’s just the kids who are lucky enough to have access to Internet or a TV. Many students live in rural areas and lack the adequate resources to continue their studies amid the global pandemic.

But thankfully, there are many good samaritans out there (aka compassionate teachers) who have invented their own ways to bring the classroom to kids wherever they are.

A Mexican teacher was gifted a decked out pickup truck by Nissan.

Since schools were forced to close last year in April, Aguascalientes special education teacher Nallely Esparza Flores, has been driving four hours a day to educate students one-on-one at their homes from her truck bed, outfitted with a small table and chairs.

News of her project spread across social media, eventually reaching the corporate offices of Nissan México. This week, the company surprised Esparza with the gift of a new pickup truck specially outfitted with a small open-air mobile classroom built into the truck’s bed.

“Today I feel like my labors and the help that we give each day to children and their families is unstoppable,” she said on Twitter Wednesday, sharing photos of her new vehicle. “My students no longer have to take classes in the full heat of the sun,” she said.

Nissan representatives said they decided to give Esparza the adapted NP300 model, 4-cylinder truck after hearing her story because she was “an example of perseverance and empathy.”

“When we learned about the incredible work of this teacher, we got together to discuss in what way we could contribute to this noble work,” said Armando Ávila, a vice president of manufacturing.

The mobile classroom is pretty legit and will allow Esparza to continue her good deed.

Esparza inside her new classroom.

The decked out Nissan pickup truck has three walls (the other is a retractable sheeting) and a ceiling made with translucent panels to protect teacher and student from the elements while letting in natural light.

It also has retractable steps for easy access to the classroom, electrical connections, a whiteboard and an easily disinfected acrylic table and benches that are foldable into the wall to provide space. The table also has a built-in plexiglass barrier to allow social distancing.

Access to education in Mexico is highly inequitable.

Esparza, like many teachers across the country, found that not all distance learning was equal. Many of her students in Cavillo were from poor families without internet access. So she used social media networks to keep in touch with such students via cell phones, but even that was not necessarily an available option for all — and not ideal. Finally, she decided to solve the problem by hitting the road in her pickup truck.

According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only 58% of students in Mexico had a home computer – the lowest percentage among all OECD countries. And only about one third (32%) of the school computers in rural schools in Mexico were connected to
the Internet, compared to more than 90% for schools located in urban areas.

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Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

Things That Matter

Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

Sen. Ted Cruz has faced a series of outrages since being accused of helping to incite the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The latest problem plaguing Sen. Cruz is his trip to Mexico while his constituents in Texas freeze during an extreme weather event.

Sen. Ted Cruz was caught boarding a flight to Mexico as Texans are left freezing.

Texas is being slammed with a historic extreme winter weather storm. Hundreds of thousands of Texans are without power for the fifth day in a row while the senator from Texas was heading off to Cancun. Critics are angered that Sen. Cruz would leave the state while his constituents are forced to boil water to survive one of the worst winter storms on record.

Politicians are calling Sen. Cruz out for leaving his constituents during a natural disaster.

The Castro brothers are speaking up as well. Texans are dying from the extreme weather after the power grid was overloaded from sudden demand. The power outages have lasted for multiple days and the death toll continues to climb from the freezing temperatures. So far, 24 people have died from the winter storm.

Part of the problem is that Texas has their own power grid separated from the rest of the nation in an attempt to avoid federal regulations. The decision was made in the 1930s after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed the Federal Power Act. This allowed the federal government to oversee interstate electricity sales. However, Texas utilities did not cross state lines. This created an electricity island.

People are not letting the trip go unnoticed.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is responsible for overseeing the power grid and officials had a grim revelation about the power outages. On Tuesday, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness addressed the media about the power outages.

“We needed to step in and make sure that we were not going to end up with Texas in a blackout, which could keep folks without power — not just some people without power but everyone in our region without power — for much, much longer than we believe this event is going to last, as long and as difficult as this event is right now,” Magness said about the call to cut power to some customers as the icy conditions settled in on the area.

He further explained that some of the power outages could last for an undetermined amount of time.

This is not the first time Texas had weather-induced power outages because of winter weather. The state saw the same situation on a smaller scale play out in 2011. The winter storm in 2011 knocked out power across the state and yet Texas officials did not follow suggestions to prevent the current crisis.

A report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation called on Texas to “winterize” their energy infrastructure. The report highlights how the current infrastructure was not ready to take on the weather it experienced in 2011 and, according to The Texas Tribune, Texas didn’t heed the warning.

On Tuesday, 60 percent of Houston businesses and households remained without power because of the weather.

Sen. Cruz quickly booked a return flight to Houston after the outrage.

Facing mounting anger over his warm escape from Texas, Sen Cruz quickly U-turned back to Houston. He claims to have been accompanying his daughters to Mexico and not going on the vacation himself.

A flurry of tweets about the situation show a growing number of people who are skeptical of the senator’s statement. Ted Cruz was photographed with luggage both in Texas and coming back through the Cancun airport. The luggage has set off a debate about whether or not Sen. Cruz honestly went to Mexico to drop his daughters.

READ: Sen. Joe Manchin Calls On Senate To Expel Sen. Ted Cruz After Insurrection

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