Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and a special federal entity that is also its capital and most populous city.Other metropolises include Guadalajara, León, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, and Tijuana.The suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name. 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".This meaning ("Place at the Center of the Moon") might refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco.After New Spain won independence from Spain, representatives decided to name the new country after its capital, Mexico City.This was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
It is generally considered to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec Triple Alliance as a result, or vice versa.
In recent years the Real Academia Española, which regulates the Spanish language, determined that both variants are acceptable in Spanish but that the normative recommended spelling is México..
The official name of the country has changed as the form of government has changed.
Traditionally, the name Tenochtitlan was thought to come from Nahuatl tetl ("prickly pear") and is often thought to mean "Among the prickly pears [growing among] 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.