Mexico City is the capital of Mexico

November 27, 2012 9:13 am

Mexico City is the capital of Mexico. It’s Mexico’s cultural, political, and economic center. About 14 million people live in Mexico City, and about 18 million live in the Mexico City area. That makes it one of the biggest in the world. Hundreds of years ago, it was the site of the world’s largest Native American city.
The World’s Largest Cities
City
Country
2003 population*
1
Tokyo
Japan
35,000,000
2
Mexico City
Mexico
18,700,000
3
São Paulo
Brazil
17,900,000
4
New York
United States
18,300,000
5
Mumbai (Bombay)
India
17,400,000
6
Los Angeles
United States
12,000,000
7
Kolkata (Calcutta)
India
13,100,000
8
Shanghai
China
12,800,000
9
Dhaka
Bangladesh
11,600,000
10
Delhi
India
14,100,000
*Population figures are for metropolitan areas.
Source: Population Division of the United Nations.
AN AZTEC PAST
Mexico City sits on the ruins of the capital of the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs were Native Americans who once ruled most of Mexico. They called their capital Tenochtitlán.
The Aztecs built Tenochtitlán in the 1300s on an island in Lake Texcoco. The city had a royal palace, canals, and tall pyramid-shaped temples. Probably about 200,000 people lived there.
SPANISH CONQUEST
Spanish conquistador (conqueror and explorer) Hernán Cortés invaded Tenochtitlán in 1521. For 85 days, Spanish troops besieged the city. Over 150,000 Aztecs died. The Spanish invaders destroyed the palace and temples. They built Mexico City on the Aztec ruins. Mexico became a Spanish colony.
The Spanish built canals. They drained the lake in which the Aztec city sat. Mexico City became the most important city in Spain’s empire in North America.
Mexico won independence from Spain in the 1820s. Mexico City then became the new nation’s capital.
MEXICO CITY TODAY
The past is very much present in Mexico City today. The center of the city is a plaza called the Zócalo. The Aztecs had a palace and temple here. Cortés built his palace here. Today, Mexico’s government meets in the National Palace on the Zócalo. A cathedral also stands on the Zócalo.
A few blocks west of the Zócalo is the Alameda, a park with tree-lined walks. It dates back to the late 1500s. The Alameda is in the heart of Mexico City’s business and shopping district. The Palace of Fine Arts, on one side of the Alameda, houses art galleries and theaters.
Just beyond the Alameda is the Paseo de la Reforma. This wide, tree-lined boulevard goes by embassies, office buildings, and some of Mexico City’s most elegant shops. The Paseo de la Reforma leads to Chapultepec Park. This park has a zoo, lakes for boating, and several museums.
Soccer and bullfighting are popular sports in Mexico City. Soccer matches take place in the city’s Aztec Stadium. Its bullfighting arena is one of the largest in the world.
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