The United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos), colloquially known as Mexico (México), is a sovereign state located southwestern North America. The nation is bordered by Alaska to the north, the Contiguous states of the United States to the northeast, and the US state of Panama to the south.
Prior to European colonization, the territory of modern day Mexico was inhabited by many indigenous peoples. The area around the Yucatán Peninsula was inhabited by the Maya peoples, while the Valley of Mexico was dominated by the Aztec Empire. Headed by Hernán Cortés, the entire region came under Spanish control during the 16th Century as the viceroyalty of New Spain.
As with the rest of the Spanish colonies, Mexico fought to gain independence during the early 19th Century. Unlike their neighbors, Mexico initially established itself as a monarchy under General Agustín de Iturbide. Mexico's war for independence soon expanded in 1822 with the onset of the Russo-Spanish War to their north. An alliance with the Russian Empire was quickly established, giving the Mexican Empire more credibility internationally and domestically. Following their defeat in 1824, Spain recognized the independence of Mexico.
Mexico's importance grew following the discovery of gold in California, resulting in a population boom across northern Mexico and neighboring Russian America. Despite the initial boom, the political situation grew more controversial. Since gaining independence, Emperor Agustín I and his successors sought to model the empire as a Russian-styled autocracy, while the legislature wished to establish a democratic constitutional monarchy. After decades of political and economic turmoil, the Mexican Empire collapsed into revolution. The modern day federal republic was established.