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Southern Mexico has a tropical or subtropical climate and some rain forest.It is characterized by a strong indigenous heritage and is also the poorest part of the country.Certain words from the principal Indian language (Nahuatl) are incorporated into Mexican Spanish, especially in the domains of food and household.Some of these words have also been incorporated into other languages such as the English 'chocolate' from the Nahuatl 'chocolatl'.The national territory measures more than 750,000 square miles (nearly two million square kilometers) and contains a wide range of physical environments and natural resources.Two huge mountain chains—the Western Sierra Madre and the Eastern Sierra Madre—run from north to south and meet in central Mexico.
The extensive and desertlike north was only sparsely populated until the middle of the twentieth century, except for some important cities such as Monterrey.Strong regional and local identities have given rise to the idea that there exist "many Mexicos." Nevertheless, even though Mexican culture is diverse, there is also a strong identification with the nation-state; nationalism is vigorous. Mexico is situated in North America, although culturally, it is identified more closely with Central and South American countries.It borders the United States in the north, Guatemala and Belize in the south, the Pacific Ocean in the west, and the Gulf of Mexico in the east.Another relevant cultural division is that between the central template highlands (the altiplano) and the much more humid mountainous regions (the sierras) and coastal plains.In many parts of Mexico this division parallels the relative presence of indigenous populations, with the sierra regions being the most indigenous.