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Mexico has been influenced by a rich mixture of traditions and cultures. These range from the country's own early civilizations, such as the Mayan, Toltec and Aztec, to Spanish and modern American ways of life. Almost 90 per cent of today's population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, which the Spanish introduced in the 1500's. Also Spanish is the country's official language. Mexico city is the capital and largest city of Mexico. It is also the largest city in the world. Mexico's landscape is unusually varied. Within very short distances of one another, there are tropical coastal lowlands, high mountains, volcanoes and parched desert. A great river in the north, the Rio Grande, forms over half the border between Mexico and the USA. Large numbers of Mexican people go to the USA in search of work and cross this river to get there. Mexico is rich in minerals. It is one of the world's leading silver producers. The country also has large deposits of copper, gold, lead, salt and sulphur. Corn is chief food of Mexico. The com is ground into com meal and then shaped into a thin pancake called a tortilla.
Many young people from rural areas have moved to Mexico City to find work. As a result, some villages now stand empty and the capital is growing at a fast pace. Over 21 million people live in and around this city today. It is growing too fast to provide for all of its population. Many people live in slums and have no work. However, a lot of new factories are springing up along Mexico's border with the USA creating jobs for workers in the car and electronics industries.The majority of Mexicans are mestizos (a mixture of Spanish and Native Americans). Many villagers still speak one of the Native American languages. The country's festivals reflect traditions that are 5,000 years old. Most Mexicans, however live in large cities where influences from the USA and Europe are transforming their everyday life.