One of the largest cites in the world. More than half of Mexico's industrial output is produced in or near Mexico City. Its high altitude assures spring-like temperatures nearly year-round.
Manufactures include textiles, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronic items, steel, and transportation equipment; in addition, a variety of foodstuffs and light consumer goods are produced. Mexico City is the center of an emerging manufacturing belt that stretches from Guadalajara in the west to Veracruz on the Gulf Coast in the east.
Counting with approximately 20 million inhabitants, and according to estimates, it will have 35 million by the year 2,000 is undoubdetly the largest city in the world. Mexico City, called D.F. (for Distrito Federal; Federal District) or simply Mexico, is the capital, seat of government and the center of commerce, finance and the arts.
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Aztec records set the founding date of their city at 1325, when a band of nomads from the north settled on an island in Lake Texcoco. The city, called Tenochtitlán, eventually expanded to a population of more than 250,000, and by the 16th century it had become the seat of the Aztec Empire. The Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés first viewed the city in 1519. In 1521 his forces occupied and systematically leveled the great Aztec metropolis, building their own capital on the ruins. Lake Texcoco was filled in as the city expanded and was rebuilt in the Spanish architectural mode. From this new town, Spanish excursions explored and subdued the Native American inhabitants as far north as the present United States and south into Central America. Mexico City became the capital of all the Spanish provinces in the western hemisphere north of Costa Rica. It was administered by Spain for three centuries before being won in 1821 by a revolutionary band led by Augustín de Iturbide, later named emperor.
For the most part, Mexico City is a low, sprawling mass of gray and brown buildings set along a rectangular pattern of narrow streets. The pattern is broken by several broad boulevards lined with modern high-rise apartment and commercial buildings, by several large open plazas, and by numerous forested parks. The parks are popular with residents, who meet to talk, stroll, and enjoy the city's dry, springlike climate. In 1985 a devastating earthquake caused severe damage, leaving nearly 30,000 homeless and thousands more dead.
Major highways and railroads radiate from the city to all parts of the country. A huge international airport is located east of the city.
Major cities near Mexico City: