Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to examine objectively and concisely the dominant historical, social, economic, political, and military aspects of contemporary Mexico. Sources of information included scholarly books, journals, monographs, official reports of governments and international organizations, and numerous periodicals. To the extent possible, place-names follow the system adopted by the United States Board on Geographic Names. Measurements are given in the metric system.
Although there are numerous variations, Spanish surnames for men and unmarried women usually consist of two parts: the patrilineal name followed by the matrilineal. In the instance of Luis Echeverría Álvarez, for example, Echeverría is his father's name; Álvarez, his mother's maiden name. In informal use, the matrilineal name is often dropped. When a woman marries, she generally drops her matrilineal name and replaces it with her husband's patrilineal name preceded by a "de." Thus, when Cristina García Rodríguez marries Antonio Pérez Cevallos, she becomes Cristina García de Pérez. In informal use, a married woman's patrilineal name is dropped (Cristina Pérez is the informal usage). Some individuals use only the patrilineal name in formal as well as informal use. The patrilineal for men and unmarried women and the husband's patrilineal for married women are used for indexing and bibliographic purposes.
The body of the text reflects information available as of May 1996. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography lists sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.
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