Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country and the second-largest Roman Catholic nation in the world. Ancient Native American civilizations, including those of the Maya, Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Toltec, and Aztec, flourished there for centuries before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Under the Spaniards, Mexico was ruled as a colony for more than 300 years and gained independence on Oct. 4, 1824. War with the United States in 1846 and 1848 caused the loss of what are now Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and California. Although millions of Mexicans still live in poverty, Democratic reforms and economic issues contributed to major changes in 1997. Take a peek at Mexico:[Peek at the World] is a part of our vision here at Urban Peek to enrich our readers background with what our world simply looks like outside the city or country we live in. Putting cultures in contrast with fast previews of different spots around the globe – which can surprisingly vary from one location to another. We think that nothing can deliver this message better than photographs.