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Mexico in full United Mexican States Spanish Estados Unidos Mexicanos federal republic in North America bounded on the north by the United States on the east by the United States the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea on the south by Belize and Guatemala and on the west by the Pacific Ocean Mexican federal jurisdiction extends in addition to Mexico proper over a number of offshore islands The area of the country is 1958201 sq km 756066 sq mi The capital and largest city is Mexico City The Land Most of Mexico is an immense elevated plateau flanked by mountain ranges that fall sharply off to narrow coastal plains in the west and east The two mountain chains the Sierra Madre Occidental to the west and the Sierra Madre Oriental in the east meet in a region called La Junta in the southeast At La Junta the two ranges form the Sierra Madre del Sur a maze of volcanic mountains containing the highest peaks in Mexico see Sierra Madre The Sierra Madre del Sur leads into the Isthmus of Tehuantepec which lies between the Bay of Campeche and the Gulf of Tehuantepec The prominent topographical feature of the country is the central plateau a continuation of the plains of the southwestern United States Comprising more than half the total area of Mexico the plateau slopes downward from the west to the east and from the south where the elevation varies from about 1830 to 2440 m about 6000 to 8000 ft above sea level to the north with an elevation of about 1070 to 1220 m about 3500 to 4000 ft Two large valleys form notable depressions in the plateau the Bolsn de Mapim in the north and the Valley of Mexico or Anhuac in central Mexico The coastal plains are generally low flat and sandy although the Pacific coast is occasionally broken by mountain spurs Baja California a long narrow
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