Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country, the southernmost nation of the West Indies in the Caribbean. It is situated 130 kilometres south of Grenada off the northern edge of the South American mainland, 11 kilometres off the coast of northeastern Venezuela, it shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, Venezuela to the south and west. The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 until Spanish governor Don José María Chacón surrendered the island to a British fleet under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1797. During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands among Spanish, French and Courlander colonisers more times than any other island in the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago were ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens as separate states and unified in 1889. Trinidad and Tobago obtained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.
As of 2015, the sovereign state of Trinidad and Tobago had the third highest GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity in the Americas after the United States and Canada. It is recognised by the World Bank as a high-income economy. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, the economy is industrial with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals. Trinidad and Tobago is known for its Carnival and Diwali celebrations and as the birthplace of steelpan, the limbo, music styles such as calypso, soca and chutney. Historian E. L. Joseph claimed that Trinidad's Amerindian name was Cairi or "Land of the Humming Bird", derived from the Arawak name for hummingbird, ierèttê or yerettê. However, other authors dispute this etymology with some claiming that cairi does not mean hummingbird and some claiming that kairi, or iere means island. Christopher Columbus renamed it "La Isla de la Trinidad", fulfilling a vow made before setting out on his third voyage of exploration. Tobago's cigar-like shape may have given it its Spanish name and some of its other Amerindian names, such as Aloubaéra and Urupaina, although the English pronunciation is /təˈbeɪɡoʊ/, rhyming with lumbago, "may go".
Trinidad and Tobago are islands situated between 10° 2' and 11° 12' N latitude and 60° 30' and 61° 56' W longitude. At the closest point, Trinidad is just 11 kilometres from Venezuelan territory. Covering an area of 5,128 km2, the country consists of the two main islands and Tobago, numerous smaller landforms, including Chacachacare, Huevos, Gaspar Grande, Little Tobago, St. Giles Island. Trinidad is 4,768 km2 in area with an average length of 80 kilometres and an average width of 59 kilometres. Tobago has an area of about 300 km2, or 5.8% of the country's area, is 41 km long and 12 km at its greatest width. Trinidad and Tobago lie on the continental shelf of South America, are thus geologically considered to lie in South America; the terrain of the islands is a mixture of plains. The highest point in the country is found on the Northern Range at El Cerro del Aripo, 940 metres above sea level; as the majority of the population lives on the island of Trinidad, this is the location of most major towns and cities.
There are four major municipalities in Trinidad: Port of Spain, the capital, San Fernando and Chaguanas. The main town in Tobago is Scarborough. Trinidad is made up of a variety of soil types, the majority being heavy clays; the alluvial valleys of the Northern Range and the soils of the East–West Corridor are the most fertile. The Northern Range consists of Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous metamorphic rocks; the Northern Lowlands consist of younger shallow marine clastic sediments. South of this, the Central Range fold and thrust belt consists of Cretaceous and Eocene sedimentary rocks, with Miocene formations along the southern and eastern flanks; the Naparima Plains and the Nariva Swamp form the southern shoulder of this uplift. The Southern Lowlands consist of Miocene and Pliocene sands and gravels; these overlie oil and natural gas deposits north of the Los Bajos Fault. The Southern Range forms the third anticlinal uplift, it consists of several chains of hills, most famous being the Trinity Hills.
The rocks consist of sandstones, shales and clays formed in the Miocene and uplifted in the Pleistocene. Oil sands and mud volcanoes are common in this area; the climate is tropical. There are two seasons annually: the dry season for the first five months of the year, the rainy season in the remaining seven of the year. Winds are dominated by the northeast trade winds. Unlike most of the other Caribbean islands, both Trinidad and Tobago have escaped the wrath of major devastating hurricanes, including Hurricane Ivan, the most powerful storm to have passed close to the islands in recent history, in September 2004. In the Northern Range, the climate is different in contrast to the sweltering heat of the plains below. With constant cloud and mist cover, heavy rains in the mountains, the temperature is much cooler. Record temperatures for Trinidad and Tobago are 39 °C for the high in Port of Spain, a low of 12 °C; because Trinidad and Tobago lies
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
Singapore the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%; the country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founder Lee Kuan Yew. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles founded colonial Singapore as a trading post of the British East India Company. After the company's collapse in 1858, the islands were ceded to the British Raj as a crown colony. During the Second World War, Singapore was occupied by Japan, it gained independence from the British Empire in 1963 by joining Malaysia along with other former British territories, but separated two years over ideological differences, becoming a sovereign nation in 1965.
After early years of turbulence and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation developed as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its workforce. Singapore is a global hub for education, finance, human capital, logistics, technology, tourism and transport; the city ranks in numerous international rankings, has been recognised as the most "technology-ready" nation, top International-meetings city, city with "best investment potential", world's smartest city, world's safest country, second-most competitive country, third least-corrupt country, third-largest foreign exchange market, third-largest financial centre, third-largest oil refining and trading centre, fifth-most innovative country, the second-busiest container port. The Economist has ranked Singapore as the most expensive city to live in, since 2013, it is identified as a tax haven. Singapore is the only country in Asia with an AAA sovereign rating from all major rating agencies, one of 11 worldwide. Globally, the Port of Singapore and Changi Airport have held the titles of leading "Maritime Capital" and "Best Airport" for consecutive years, while Singapore Airlines is the 2018 "World's Best Airline".
Singapore ranks 9th on the UN Human Development Index with the 3rd highest GDP per capita. It is placed in key social indicators: education, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety and housing. Although income inequality is high, 90% of homes are owner-occupied. According to the Democracy Index, the country is described as a "flawed democracy"; the city-state is home to 5.6 million residents, 39% of whom are foreign nationals, including permanent residents. There are four official languages: English, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, its cultural diversity is reflected in major festivals. Pew Research has found. Multiracialism has been enshrined in its constitution since independence, continues to shape national policies in education, politics, among others. Singapore is a unitary parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government; the People's Action Party has won every election since self-government began in 1959. As one of the five founding members of ASEAN, Singapore is the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat and Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Secretariat, as well as many international conferences and events.
It is a member of the East Asia Summit, Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth of Nations. The English name of Singapore is an anglicisation of the native Malay name for the country, in turn derived from Sanskrit, hence the customary reference to the nation as the Lion City, its inclusion in many of the nation's symbols. However, it is unlikely that lions lived on the island. There are however other suggestions for the origin of the name and scholars do not believe that the origin of the name is established; the central island has been called Pulau Ujong as far back as the third century CE "island at the end" in Malay. Singapore is referred to as the Garden City for its tree-lined streets and greening efforts since independence, the Little Red Dot for how the island-nation is depicted on many maps of the world and Asia, as a red dot. Singapore is referred to as the "Switzerland of Asia" in 2017 due to its neutrality on international and regional issues; the Greco-Roman astronomer Ptolemy identified a place called Sabana in the general area in the second century, the earliest written record of Singapore occurs in a Chinese account from the third century, describing the island of Pu Luo Chung.
This was itself a transliteration from the Malay name "Pulau Ujong", or "island at the end". The Nagarakretagama, a Javanese epic poem written in 1365, referred to a settlement on the island called Tumasik. In 1299, according to the Malay Annals, the Kingdom of Singapura was founded on the island by Sang Nila Utama. Although the historicity
New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and 1,000 kilometres south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia and Tonga; because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal and plant life; the country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington. Sometime between 1250 and 1300, Polynesians settled in the islands that were named New Zealand and developed a distinctive Māori culture. In 1642, Dutch explorer Abel Tasman became the first European to sight New Zealand. In 1840, representatives of the United Kingdom and Māori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which declared British sovereignty over the islands.
In 1841, New Zealand became a colony within the British Empire and in 1907 it became a dominion. Today, the majority of New Zealand's population of 4.9 million is of European descent. Reflecting this, New Zealand's culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers, with recent broadening arising from increased immigration; the official languages are English, Māori, NZ Sign Language, with English being dominant. A developed country, New Zealand ranks in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic freedom. New Zealand underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist to a liberalised free-trade economy; the service sector dominates the national economy, followed by the industrial sector, agriculture. Nationally, legislative authority is vested in an elected, unicameral Parliament, while executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Queen Elizabeth II is the country's monarch and is represented by a governor-general Dame Patsy Reddy. In addition, New Zealand is organised into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; the Realm of New Zealand includes Tokelau. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ASEAN Plus Six, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum. Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand in 1642 and named it Staten Land "in honour of the States General", he wrote, "it is possible that this land joins to the Staten Land but it is uncertain", referring to a landmass of the same name at the southern tip of South America, discovered by Jacob Le Maire in 1616. In 1645, Dutch cartographers renamed the land Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland. British explorer James Cook subsequently anglicised the name to New Zealand. Aotearoa is the current Māori name for New Zealand.
It is unknown whether Māori had a name for the whole country before the arrival of Europeans, with Aotearoa referring to just the North Island. Māori had several traditional names for the two main islands, including Te Ika-a-Māui for the North Island and Te Waipounamu or Te Waka o Aoraki for the South Island. Early European maps labelled the islands North and South. In 1830, maps began to use North and South to distinguish the two largest islands and by 1907 this was the accepted norm; the New Zealand Geographic Board discovered in 2009 that the names of the North Island and South Island had never been formalised, names and alternative names were formalised in 2013. This set the names as North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, South Island or Te Waipounamu. For each island, either its English or Māori name can be used. New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. Radiocarbon dating, evidence of deforestation and mitochondrial DNA variability within Māori populations suggest New Zealand was first settled by Eastern Polynesians between 1250 and 1300, concluding a long series of voyages through the southern Pacific islands.
Over the centuries that followed, these settlers developed a distinct culture now known as Māori. The population was divided into iwi and hapū who would sometimes cooperate, sometimes compete and sometimes fight against each other. At some point a group of Māori migrated to Rēkohu, now known as the Chatham Islands, where they developed their distinct Moriori culture; the Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862 because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases contributed. In 1862 only 101 survived, the last known full-blooded Moriori died in 1933; the first Europeans known to have reached New Zeala
Ivory Coast or Côte d'Ivoire the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country located on the south coast of West Africa. Ivory Coast's political capital is Yamoussoukro in the centre of the country, while its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan, it borders Guinea and Liberia to the west, Burkina Faso and Mali to the north, Ghana to the east, the Gulf of Guinea to the south. Before its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, Baoulé; the area became a protectorate of France in 1843 and was consolidated as a French colony in 1893 amid the European scramble for Africa. It achieved independence in 1960, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled the country until 1993. Stable by regional standards, Ivory Coast established close political and economic ties with its West African neighbors while at the same time maintaining close relations to the West France. Ivory Coast experienced a coup d'état in 1999 and two religiously-grounded civil wars, first between 2002 and 2007 and again during 2010–2011.
In 2000, the country adopted a new constitution. Ivory Coast is a republic with strong executive power vested in its president. Through the production of coffee and cocoa, the country was an economic powerhouse in West Africa during the 1960s and 1970s, though it went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, contributing to a period of political and social turmoil. Only around 2014 has GDP per capita in the country again reached the level of its peak in the 1970s. In the 21st century, the Ivorian economy is market-based and still relies on agriculture, with smallholder cash-crop production being dominant; the official language is French, with local indigenous languages widely used, including Baoulé, Dan and Cebaara Senufo. In total there are around 78 languages spoken in Ivory Coast. There are large populations of Muslims and various indigenous religions. Portuguese and French merchant-explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries divided the west coast of Africa roughly, into four "coasts" reflecting local economies.
The coast that the French named the Côte d'Ivoire and the Portuguese named the Costa Do Marfim—both mean "Coast of Ivory"—lay between what was known as the Guiné de Cabo Verde, so-called "Upper Guinea" at Cap-Vert, Lower Guinea. There was a Pepper Coast known as the "Grain Coast", a "Gold Coast", a "Slave Coast". Like those, the name "Ivory Coast" reflected the major trade that occurred on that particular stretch of the coast: the export of ivory. Other names included the Côte de Dents "Coast of Teeth", again reflecting the trade in ivory. One can find the name Cote de Dents used in older works, it was used in Duckett's Dictionnaire and by Nicolas Villault de Bellefond, for example, although Antoine François Prévost used Côte d'Ivoire. In the 19th century, usage switched to Côte d'Ivoire; the coastline of the modern state is not quite coterminous with what the 15th- and 16th-century merchants knew as the "Teeth" or "Ivory" coast, considered to stretch from Cape Palmas to Cape Three Points and, thus now divided between the modern states of Ghana and Ivory Coast.
It retained the name through French rule and independence in 1960. The name had long since been translated into other languages, which the post-independence government considered troublesome whenever its international dealings extended beyond the Francophone sphere. Therefore, in April 1986, the government declared that Côte d'Ivoire would be its formal name for the purposes of diplomatic protocol, since officially refuses to recognize or accept any translation from French to another language in its international dealings. Despite the Ivorian government's request, the English translation "Ivory Coast" is still used in English by various media outlets and publications; the first human presence in Ivory Coast has been difficult to determine because human remains have not been well preserved in the country's humid climate. However, newly found weapon and tool fragments have been interpreted as a possible indication of a large human presence during the Upper Paleolithic period, or at the minimum, the Neolithic period.
The earliest known inhabitants of Ivory Coast have left traces scattered throughout the territory. Historians believe that they were all either displaced or absorbed by the ancestors of the present indigenous inhabitants, who migrated south into the area before the 16th century; such groups included the Kotrowou, Zéhiri, Ega and Diès. The first recorded history appears in the chronicles of North African traders, from early Roman times, conducted a caravan trade across the Sahara in salt, slaves and other goods; the southern terminals of the trans-Saharan trade routes were located on the edge of the desert, from there supplemental trade extended as far south as the edge of the rain forest. The more important terminals—Djenné, Timbuctu—grew into major commercial centres around which the great Sudanic empires developed. By controlling the trade routes with their powerful military forces, these empires were able
Mexico the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States. Covering 2,000,000 square kilometres, the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity, the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Puebla, Tijuana and León. Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8000 BC and is identified as one of five cradles of civilization and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its politically powerful base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, administered as the viceroyalty of New Spain.
Three centuries the territory became a nation state following its recognition in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. The post-independence period was tumultuous, characterized by economic inequality and many contrasting political changes; the Mexican–American War led to a territorial cession of the extant northern territories to the United States. The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, the Porfiriato occurred in the 19th century; the Porfiriato was ended by the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country's current political system as a federal, democratic republic. Mexico has the 11th largest by purchasing power parity; the Mexican economy is linked to those of its 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement partners the United States. In 1994, Mexico became the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is classified as an upper-middle income country by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country by several analysts.
The country is considered both a regional power and a middle power, is identified as an emerging global power. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world for number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is an ecologically megadiverse country, ranking fourth in the world for its biodiversity. Mexico receives a huge number of tourists every year: in 2018, it was the sixth most-visited country in the world, with 39 million international arrivals. Mexico is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G8+5, the G20, the Uniting for Consensus group of the UN, the Pacific Alliance trade bloc. Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely the Valley of Mexico and surrounding territories, with its people being known as the Mexica, it is believed to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec Triple Alliance as a result, although it could have been the other way around.
In the colonial era, back when Mexico was called New Spain this territory became the Intendency of Mexico and after New Spain achieved independence from the Spanish Empire it came to be known as the State of Mexico with the new country being named after its capital: the City of Mexico, which itself was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Traditionally, the name Tenochtitlan was thought to come from Nahuatl tetl and nōchtli and is thought to mean "Among the prickly pears rocks". However, one attestation in the late 16th-century manuscript known as "the Bancroft dialogues" suggests the second vowel was short, so that the true etymology remains uncertain; the suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name. Beyond that, the etymology is uncertain, it has been suggested that it is derived from Mextli or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war and patron of the Mexica, Huitzilopochtli, in which case Mēxihco means "place where Huitzilopochtli lives".
Another hypothesis suggests that Mēxihco derives from a portmanteau of the Nahuatl words for "moon" and navel. This meaning might refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco; the system of interconnected lakes, of which Texcoco formed the center, had the form of a rabbit, which the Mesoamericans pareidolically associated with the moon rabbit. Still another hypothesis suggests that the word is derived from Mēctli, the name of the goddess of maguey; the name of the city-state was transliterated to Spanish as México with the phonetic value of the letter x in Medieval Spanish, which represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative. This sound, as well as the voiced postalveolar fricative, represented by a j, evolved into a voiceless velar fricative during the 16th century; this led to the use of the variant Méjico in many publications in Spanish, most notably in Spain, whereas in Mexico and most other Spanish–speaking countries, México was the preferred spelling. In recent years, the Real Academia Española, which regulates the Spanish l
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab