Mexico is a Constitutional Republic comprised of 31 states and the capital district in North America. It is bordered on the north by the USA, on the south by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by the Gulf of Mexico, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Its area is about 760,000 square miles. It is the 13th biggest, independent country in the world. Many civilizations flourished in pre-Columbian Mexico, the period preceding Christopher Columbus’s voyages in 1492, and they include: the Olemec, the Toltec, the Teotihuacan, the Zapotec, the Maya, and the Aztec. Remains of some great civilizations still remind us of their grandeur, and an example is the remains of some pre-Columbian, large, pyramidal structures located about 30 miles to the northeast of Mexico City. There are some historic landmarks in Mexico which attract tourists from all over the world. Teotihuacan with its Sun Pyramid was built in 100 AD and is the largest pyramid in Mexico.
1. Mario Jose Molina-Pasquel Henriquez
Molina, son of Roberto Molina Pasquel, was born in Mexico City on March 19, 1943. He is the first Mexican chemist to receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery of the Earth’s Ozone Layer of chlorofluorocarbon gases, CFCs. He received his early education in Mexico City and Switzerland. He received his bachelor’s degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1965, his postgraduate degree from Albert Ludwig’s University of Freiburg, West Germany in 1967, and his doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, Berkley. Mario said that his years at Berkley were some of the best ones in his life.
Nezahualcoyotl was born to Lxlilxochitl and Matalcihuatzin as heir to the throne on April 28, 1402 and died on June 4, 1472. He was a warrior, ruler, philosopher, architect, and a poet. He ruled the Acolhua people who settled on the east of Lake Texcoco He was said to know the ‘Unknown, Unknowable Lord.’ In his honor, he built a temple where he banned all sorts of sacrifice rituals, but in other temples he allowed human sacrifice. When he was a 15-year-old prince, Tezozomoc conquered Texcoco and consequently Nezahualcoyotl had to live in exile. He returned to Texcoco once but was forced to flee to exile under life-threatening circumstances.
3. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was born to Don Cristobal Hidalgo y Costilla and Dona Ana Maria Gallaga in Penjamo, Guanajuato a Viceroyalty of New Spain which is now Mexico. He was a born Creole who is of pure Spanish blood but born outside of Spain in some Spanish colony. He died in Chihuahua, Viceroyalty of New Spain, on July 30, 1811 at the age of 58. Having completed his studies at Valladolid, he was appointed as a priest in 1792. Father Miguel Higaldo announced from the pulpit on September 16, 1810 that he was taking up arms against the hated Spanish and urged the others to follow. Starting from a few hundreds, thousands followed him to the gates of Mexico City. The day is remembered as the ‘Cry of Dolores’ and marked as Mexico’s Independence Day. Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is remembered as ‘Padre de la Patria’; the Father of the Nation.
4. Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa, nicknamed Francisco Villa and El Centauro del Norte, was born in La Coyotada, San Juan del Rio, Durango, Mexico on June 5, 1878. He died in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico on July 20, 1923 at the age of 45. He was among the top revolutionary generals. He murdered a government employee who raped his sister and killed many landlords after that. This earned him respect among the farm workers. Like Robin Hood, he was known as the friend of the poor. He became known as a bandit warlord when his army attacked the Mexican town, Columbus. Although he failed to get the money and weapons he aimed at securing, his move added greatly to his reputation. After his retirement he entered politics and was assassinated.
5. Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata was born to Gabriel Zapata and Cleofas Salazar of Zacatepillo in Anencuilco, Morelos, Mexico on August 8, 1879 and died in Chinameca, Morelos, Mexico on April 10, 1919 at the age of 39. He was a prominent revolutionary in the Mexican Revolution of 1910 directed against the President Pofirio Diaz. Emiliano Zapata formed the revolutionary force called the Liberation Army of the South. His followers were known as Zapatistas. He is an honored hero among the masses even today and more so among the farmers.
6. Benito Juarez
Benito Juarez was born to peasant parents Marcelino Juarez and Brigida Garcia in San Pablo, Guelato, Oaxaca on March 21, 1806 and died in Mexico City’s federal district on July 18, 1872 at the age of 66. His birth name was Benito Pablo Juarez Garcia. He belonged to Oxaca and was a famous lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin. Until the age of 12 years, he worked in cornfields and as a shepherd and then left for the city of Oxaca de Juarez to attend school. He was illiterate then and did not speak any language other than Zapotec. With the help of good people he met and by virture of his quest for learning, intellect, and hard work, he ultimately became the head of the state and served as President for five terms. He resisted the French Revolution and overthrew the Second Mexican Empire and restored the Republic and modernized the country.
7. Lopez de Santa Anna
Lopez de Santa Anna, better known as Santa Anna, and sometimes as ‘Napoleon of the West,’ was born in Xalapa, New Spain in February, 1794 and died of a stroke in Mexico City, Mexico on June 21, 1876 at the age of 82. He was a general who held the office of General and President simultaneously. Over a period of 22 years he was the President of Mexico for 11 discontinuous terms.
8. Ninel Conde
Ninel Herrera Conde, better known as Ninel Conde, was born in Toluca, Estado de Mexico in September, 1970, Toluca and Estado de Mexico, Mexico. She is one of the most popular Mexican actresses. She was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for her ‘Latin Songs Album.’ She is popularly known for her role in a TV series as Ugly Betty. She is best known for her role as Alma Rey in Rebelde. She learned acting from Sergio Jimenez and Rene Pereira Acting Studios and the Centro de Arte y Tetaro Emilia Carranza.
9. Pofirio Diaz
Pofirio Diaz was born in Oaxaca, Mexico on September 15, 1830 and died in Paris, France on July 2, 1915 at the age of 84 years. He was a general and President of Mexico from 1876 to 1911 except for a small period with others in office. Although his regime was known as ‘Paz Porfiriana’ on account of the economic growth and modernization, it became unpopular on account of political stagnancy and domination. He imprisoned his electoral rival while declaring himself the winner for his eighth term in office. This prompted the Mexican Revolution causing his downfall.
10. Carlos Slim Helu
Carlos Slim Helu was born in Mexico City, Mexico on January 28, 1940. Belonging to Lebanese ethnicity, he is a Mexican national. He was educated at the Universidad National Autonoma de Mexico. He is Chairman and CEO of Telmex America Movil and Grupo Carso. Carlos Slim Helu is best known as the Wealthiest Person of the World in 2007, 2010, and 2011 with a net worth of U.S. $69 billion in 2012.
Some civilizations sprout like mushroom growth and decay without leaving a sign like the ever-changing wavy impressions on sand dunes. Contrarily, the great civilizations leave their marks like the indelible veins in stones. Chichen Itza is such a permanent Mexican landmark; the most visited tourist destination due to the temple pyramid of El Castillo which has some astronomical importance. Each side of the pyramid has a stairway with 91 steps, and along with the top shared step they add up to 365 days of the year. Oaxca is known for its thousands of years old Dia de Los Muertos festivals. Guanajuato is a city built in 1554 near the rich silver mining area of Mexico.