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Economic Development of Central America Econ. 4200 - Spring 2004 – Dr. Taylor - page 48 / 153

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Mexico (United Mexican States)

100,350,000 people.

Size: about three times the size of Texas.

Capital: Mexico City … 8.5 million people.

Ethnic makeup: 60% mestizo, 30% amarindian, 9% white, 1% others.

Much of Mexico's territory is vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic activity. In 1943, for example, a cornfield in one of Mexico's richest agricultural zones sprouted a volcano instead of maize. In 1982, a severe volcanic eruption in the south took several hundred lives, destroyed thousands of head of livestock, and buried crops under tons of ash. Thousands of people died when a series of earthquakes struck Mexico City in 1985.

Mexico is a nation of climatic extremes. Much-needed rains often fall so hard that most of the water runs off before it can be absorbed by the soil. When rains fail to materialize, crops die in the fields. The harsh face of the land, the unavailability of water, and erosion limit the agricultural potential of Mexico. Only 10 to 15 percent of Mexico's land can be planted with crops.

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