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Mexico City is the densely populated, high-altitude, and capital city of Mexico. Mexico City is known for its Templo Mayor – a 13th-century Aztec temple, the baroque Catedral Metropolitana de México of the Spanish conquistadors, and the Palacio Nacional, which houses historic murals by Diego Rivera. All of these are located in and around the Plaza de la Constitución, the massive main square also known as the Zócalo.
See the fact file below for more information on the Mexico City or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Mexico City worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Mexico in Nahuatl languages: México. In Spanish: Ciudad de México, or in full Ciudad de México Distrito Federal.
- Mexico City is the most populous city on the North American continent.
- It is one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas.
- Mexico’s capital is both the oldest capital city in the Americas and one of two founded by Native Americans.
- In 1325, the city was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan, and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards.
- The municipality of Mexico City was established in 1524, known as México Tenochtitlán.
- As of 1585, it was officially known as Ciudad de México or Mexico City.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
- Mexico City is situated in the tropical zone and lies at an altitude of 7,240 feet (2,230 m) above sea level, a high altitude that largely determines the climate of Mexico City.
- The city experiences hot summers and mild winters with an annual average temperature of 64°F (18°C). It has very small seasonal changes.
HISTORY: AZTEC PERIOD
- Aztec period- It is thought that the Aztecs set out from Aztlán, in the 12th century CE and arrived in the Valley of Mexico by the early 14th century where they met a second group made up of nomadic hunter-gatherers, the Mexica.
- Aztec-Mexica depended on gathering, hunting, and fishing to complement their staple diet of corn (maize), beans, squash, and chili peppers from the chinampas. The old Mexica city which is referred to as Tenochtitlan was built in 1325 on an island in the center of the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico. According to legend, the Mexicas’ principal god, Huitzilopochtli, indicated the site where they were to build their home by presenting a golden eagle perched on a prickly pear devouring a rattlesnake.
- Between 1325 and 1521, Tenochtitlan grew in size and strength, eventually dominating the other city-states around Lake Texcoco and in the Valley of Mexico. When the Spaniards arrived, the Aztec Empire had reached much of Mesoamerica, touching both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.
HISTORY: SPANISH CONQUEST
- Spanish conquest – Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan on 8 November 1519 with the aid of many of the other native peoples. They marched along the causeway leading into the city from Iztapalapa. Moctezuma II, the city’s ruler, greeted and believed that the Spaniard was (or was related to) the god Quetzalcóatl, whose return had been prophesied. Moctezuma sent gifts to the Spanish, hoping they would depart and spare his city.
- After enjoying the king’s hospitality for several weeks, Cortés suddenly ordered that the emperor be placed under house arrest, intending to use him to gain leverage with the Aztecs.
- In 1520, Cortés and his troops conquered the Teotihuacán. The Spanish then built Mexico City on the ruins of the once great city.
- During the 16th and 17th centuries, the caste system prevailed in Mexico City, separating the population into complex ethnic divisions including the Mestizos, Criollos, and Coyotes.
- The Catholic Church had great influence in the city, and religious orders like the Franciscans, Marists, and Jesuits established convents and missions throughout Mexico.
- Political power remained in the hands of the Spaniards born in Spain, but by the 18th century, the Criollo class (descendants of the Spanish who were born in the Americas) had grown in number and social power. The struggle for recognition and favor among the various classes drew attention to the country’s political corruption and helped spark the independence movement.
- A catholic priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla made the first public cry for rebellion in Dolores, in 1810. Parishioners who came to hear mass on Sunday, September 16, 1810, instead heard a call to arms.
- Sparked by the energy of the grassroots rebellion, militant revolutionary armies quickly formed under the leadership of men like Guadalupe Victoria and Vicente Guerreroboth.
- The War of Independence lasted 11 years. In 1821, the last Viceroy of New Spain, Juan O’Donoju, signed the Plan of Iguala, which granted Mexico independence.
HISTORY: RECENT MEXICO CITY
- In 1993, it was officially declared that Mexico City and the Distrito Federal were a single entity.
- In 1846, Mexico City was invaded by the United States during the Mexican-American War. Mexico was forced to cede a wide swath of its northern territory to the United States under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
- French took control of the country when Britain and Spain withdrew their forces. Maximiliano de Hamburgo arrived in 1864 to rule Mexico but he soon lost Mexican support and was assassinated on June 19, 1867.
- On November 29, 1876, Porfirio Díaz appointed himself president.
- Díaz maintained power for the next 36 years through violence, election fraud and repression, even assassination, of his opponents.
- On November 20 of that year, Francisco Madero issued the Plan de San Luis Potosí, which declared the Díaz regime illegal and initiated a revolution against the president.
- Forces led by Francisco Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranza supported Madero’s bid for the presidency, and Díaz reluctantly agreed to step aside in 1911.
- Mexico City and the rest of the country ushered in a period of stability that lasted until 2000.
MEXICO CITY TODAY
- Today, the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere, Mexico City is the political, economic and social hub of Mexico.
Mexico City has a $17,696 as nominal gross domestic product per capita, the highest of any city in Latin America.
- However, the distribution of wealth is extremely uneven, and a full 15 percent of the city’s residents live in poverty.
- La Plaza de la Constitución – located north of El Zócalo, is one of the largest cathedrals in the Western Hemisphere.
- Templo Mayor – was the main temple in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán (now Mexico City). Hérnan Cortés destroyed most of the pyramid during his conquest in 1521, but some pieces of the ancient temple have been restored to their former splendor.
- Castle of Chapultepec– is situated in the middle of the city’s Chapultepec Park. The building has served various purposes during its history: military academy; imperial and presidential residence; and
observatory and museum. The only Castle in North America once
occupied by sovereigns, it currently houses the Mexican National
Museum of History.
- Xochimilco – also called as Mexico’s Little Venice, is known for its extended series of canals, all that remains of the ancient Lake Xochimilco. The 1940 film Maria Candelaria established the area’s romantic reputation as a place where people travel in colorful trajineras (Xochimilco boats) covered with flowers.
Mexico City Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Mexico City across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Mexico City worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Mexico City which is the densely populated, high-altitude, and capital city of Mexico. Mexico City is known for its Templo Mayor – a 13th-century Aztec temple, the baroque Catedral Metropolitana de México of the Spanish conquistadors, and the Palacio Nacional, which houses historic murals by Diego Rivera. All of these are located in and around the Plaza de la Constitución, the massive main square also known as the Zócalo.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Mexico City Facts
- Frontline Page
- BFF (Brief Four Facts)
- History of Mexico
- Fill It In
- Important Words
- The Churches
- Mexico’s Attractions
- Attraction Poster
- Making a Difference
- Best Known Mexico
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.