POPULATION114,975,406 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA$14,800 (2011 est.)
RELIGIONSRoman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 5.2% (Pentecostal 1.4%, other 3.8%), Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1% (2000 census)
ALSO IN LATIN AMERICAArgentina
AT THE CENTER
Contemporary Mexico is shaped by a variety of influences, including its deeply rooted Roman Catholicism and the secular ideals of the Mexican Revolution (1910-21). Catholicism arrived in the territory of modern-day Mexico with the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. The Church was a powerful social and political force during Spanish rule (1519-1821), but the 19th century saw constant struggles between anti-clerical Liberals and pro-clerical Conservatives. The 1910 revolution strengthened secularists, and their influence is clear in the 1917 Constitution, which stripped the Church of any legal status and denied many civil rights to members of the clergy. These restrictions sparked the Cristero War (1926-29), a violent, Church-supported rebellion against the government. As a result, the government ceased enforcing these provision, and in 1992 the most restrictive of these articles were formally amended. Freedom of religion is protected, but explicit limits are placed on Church property, the Church is barred from political action, and secular education is mandatory.