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General Information

Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and is the 13th largest independent nation in the world. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of Mexico.

Flag of Mexico

The flag of Mexico is a vertical tricolor of green, white, and red with the national coat of arms in the center of the white stripe. While the meaning of the colors has changed over time, these three colors were adopted by Mexico following independence from Spain during the country’s War of Independence, and subsequent First Mexican Empire. Red, white, and green are the colors of the national liberation army in Mexico. The central emblem is the Aztec pictogram for Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), the center of their empire.

In 1821 it was decided that the green would represent independence from Spain, white represents the purity of the Catholic faith, and red represents the union between Europe and the Americas. In the mid 1800s, President Juarez brought modernization to the country, and the colors were decided to have a more secular meaning: green for hope, white for unity, and red to represent the blood of the country’s heroes.

Coat of Arms of Mexico

The coat of arms depicts a Mexican Golden Eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus devouring a snake. To the people of Tenochtitlan this would have strong religious connotations, but to the Europeans, it would come to symbolize the triumph of good (the proud eagle) over evil (the snake). The eagle is on a pedestal which emerges from the Aztec symbol for water.

The coat of arms is inspired by an Aztec legend. Huitzilopochtli, God of the Sun and War, was said to have guided the Mexica people by telling them to seek a place where an eagle landed on a prickly-pear cactus, eating a snake. After hundreds of years of wandering, the Mexica found the sign on a small swampy island in the lake of Texcoco. They named their new home Mexico-Tenochtitlan, which means: “In the Moon’s navel – Place of the Prickly Pear Cactus”. In A.D. 1325, they built a city on the site of the island in the lake; this is now the center of Mexico City.

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Sources: Wikipedia, History and Symbolism of Mexico’s Flag, Mexico- Coat of arms
Photo credits: Google Images, Wikipedia

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