Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a federal republic divided into 31 states and 1 federal district. The territory was conquered by Spain in 1519 and became part of the Spanish Empire under the name of New Spain. Much of the traditions and architecture of Mexico developed during the 300-year colonial period prior to independence from Spain in 1821. The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso. Approximately 90% of the population are Roman Catholic. Mexico is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.
Mexico ranks first in the Americas and sixth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is one of the 17 megadiverse countries of the world, with over 200,000 different species. Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country's history through the blending of indigenous cultures and the culture of Spain and is most commonly identified by its literature, music and dance, cinema, cuisine. Mexican food varies by region and is influenced by local climate and geography and ethnic differences among the indigenous inhabitants. The most notable tourist attractions are the Meso-American ruins, cultural festivals, colonial cities, nature reserves and beach resorts.