The extension of the Pan-American railway across the state, from San Geronimo, on the Tehuantepec National line, to the Guatemalan frontier, is calculated to improve the industrial and social conditions of the people.
The Mexican and Interoceanic lines connect with Vera Cruz, the Mexican Central with Manzanillo, via Guadalajara and Colima, and the Vera Cruz & Pacific (from Cordoba) with the Tehuantepec line and the port of Salina Cruz.
Allied is Sceloporus, with about 34 species, the most characteristic genus of Mexican lizards; only 4 species live in the United States, and only 3 or 4 are found south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and are restricted to Central America.
The surface features consist of an immense elevated plateau with a chain of mountains on its eastern and western margins, which extends from the United States frontier southward to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; a fringe of lowlands (tierras calientes) between the plateau and coast on either side; a detached, roughly mountainous section in the south-east, which belongs to the Central American Plateau, and a low sandy plain covering the greater part of the Isthmus of Yucatan.
Less is definitely known of the elevated regions of Chiapas, on the border of Guatemala, which are separated from the great Mexican Plateau by the low Isthmus of Tehuantepec (718 ft.
Near the 10th parallel the great chain again divides, the eastern part crossing the southern end of the plateau, and the western, or Sierra Madre del Sur, following the shore line closely to Tehuantepec. The Sierra Madre Occidental has but few noteworthy elevations, its culminating points being the Nevado de Colima (14,363 ft.) and Volcan de Colima (12,750 ft.) in the state of Jalisco.
There are two large indentations of the coast - the Gulfs of Tehuantepec and California.
The tierras calientes (hot lands) of Mexico include the two coastal zones, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the states of Tabasco, Campeche, and part of Chiapas, the peninsula of Yucatan and a part of eastern Oaxaca.
The Huavis inhabit four small villages among the lagoons on the southern shore of Tehuantepec and have been classed by Belmar as belonging to the Maya stock.
The principal cities of Mexico, other than the capitals above mentioned, are as follows, the populations being those of 1900 except when otherwise stated: Acapulco (pop. 4932), a famous port on the Pacific coast in Guerrero, which was wrecked by the earthquake of 1909; Carmen, or Laguna de Terminos (about 6000), a thriving commercial town and port on the Gulf coast in Campeche; Celaya (2 5,5 6 5), a railway centre and manufacturing town of Guanajuato; Ciudad Guzman, or Zapotlan (about 17,500), an interesting old town of Jalisco; Cholula (about 9000), an ancient native town of Puebla, widely known for its great pyramid; Comitan (9316), the commercial centre of Chiapas; Cordoba (7974 in 1895), a picturesque Spanish town in the sierras of Vera Cruz; Cuautla (6269), the centre of a rich sugar-producing district of Morelos; Guaymas (8648), a flourishing port of Sonora on the Gulf of California; Leon (62,623), the largest city in Guanajuato and distinguished for its commercial activity, manufactures and wealth; Linares (20,690), the second city of Nuevo Leon in size and importance; Matamoros (8347), a prominent commercial centre and river port of Tamaulipas; Mazatlan (17,852), the foremost Mexican port on the Pacific coast; Orizaba (32,894), a city of Vera Cruz famous for its delightful climate and picturesque surroundings; Parral (14,748), a well-known mining centre of southern Chihuahua; San Cristobal (about 16,00o), once capital of Chiapas and rich in historical associations; Tampico (16,313), a Gulf port and railway terminus of Tamaulipas; Tehuantepec (10,386), the largest town on the Tehuantepec railway in Oaxaca; Vera Cruz (29,164), the oldest and best known Gulf port of Mexico.
Indirectly the capital has a Pacific coast connexion by way of Cordoba and the F.C. Vera Cruz al Pacifico to a junction with the Tehuantepec line.
One of the most important railways in Mexico is the F.C. Nacional Interoceanico de Tehuantepec, also called the Tehuantepec National, and the Mexican Isthmus railway, which is 192 m.
This line crosses the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from Coatzacoalcos (officially Puerto Mexico) on the Gulf coast to Salina Cruz on the Pacific coast, and has been under construction many years.
Among variations from this type may be mentioned higher stature in some districts, and lighter complexion in Tehuantepec and elsewhere.
Approximately its south border ran from a point slightly east of Tehuantepec to the bay of Honduras, and its north limit was that of the modern states of Michoacan and Guanajuato, then cutting across San Luis Potosi to a point just above Tampico.
With the natives south of the latitude of Tampico there was little trouble after the Mixton War (in Guadalajara) in 1540-1562, save for occasional risings in Yucatan, Tehuantepec, and in 1711 in the Nayarit mountain region west of Zacatecas, and Tamaulipas was conquered in 1748; but the wild Indians of Sonora and New Mexico gave constant trouble to the missions and outlying settlers.
On the 12th of December 1859 the M`Lean-Juarez treaty was concluded, which gave the United States a sort of disguised protectorate over Mexico, with certain rights of way for railroads over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and between the Rio Grande and Pacific. The American Senate, however, did not ratify the treaty, and a motion for its reconsideration late in 1860 came to nothing, owing to the approach of the War of Secession.
In 1893 the depreciation of silver necessitated stringent retrenchment; but the budget balanced for the first time during many years, the floating debt was converted, and a loan raised for the completion of the Tehuantepec Railway.
The great drainage scheme which completed the works of the 17th century by taking out the surplus waters of the southern lakes of the valley of Mexico was devised in 1856, begun under Maximilian, proceeded with intermittently till 1885, then taken up with improved plans, practically completed by 1896, and inaugurated in 1900; 2 the harbour of Vera Cruz was finished in 1902; the Tehuantepec railway, likely to prove a formidable rival to any interoceanic canal, was opened on the 24th of January 1906.