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Mexico - Introduction

Mexico is located in the southern portion of North America, bordering the southwestern United States from California to Texas. The southernmost Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, and Chiapas define the northern border of the isthmus of Central America. Mexico has an area of 1,964,375 square kilometers - making it the third largest nation in Latin America (after Brazil and Argentina). There is also an Exclusive Economic Zone of territorial sea comprising 3,149,920 sq. km., meaning that the total area of the country is 5,114,295 sq. km.

Mexico has 4,301 kilometers of international land borders: 3,152 kilometers with the United States, 956 kilometers with Guatemala, and 193 kilometers with Belize. The frontier with the United States of America, from Monument 258 in the northeast of Tijuana to the mouth of the Rio Grande in the Gulf of Mexico, is 3,152 km long. Border states in the north of the country include Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Nuevo Len. Mexico shares a 956-km border with Guatemala and a 193-km frontier with Guatemala (excluding the 85,266-km maritime border in Chetumal Bay. The border states in the south and southeast of the country are: Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche and Quintana Roo.

Mexico has no outstanding international territorial disputes. Mexico has a 10,143-kilometer coastline: 7,338 kilometers on the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California and 2,805 kilometers on the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Mexico claims a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles, a contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles, an exclusive economic zone that extends 200 nautical miles off each coast and covers approximately 2.7 million square kilometers, and a continental shelf of 200 nautical miles or to the edge of the continental margin.

Most of Mexico, including Mexico City, is in the Central Time zone (Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)/Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) -6 hours). The state of Northern Baja California is on Pacific Time (UTC/GMT -8 hours). The states of Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, and Nayarit are on Mountain Time (UTC/GMT -7 hours). In Mexico, however, Mountain Time is usually referred to as "Pacific Time" because most of these states border the Pacific Ocean. The state of Quintana Roo is on Eastern Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours). Mexico uses daylight saving time (DST). During 2008 DST was scheduled for April 6 to October 26.

Mexico is a federal republic with 31 states and a Federal District encompassing Mexico City and its immediate environs. Approximately 2,000 municipalities are legally recognized.



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