Mérida (pronounced: [ˈmeɾiða]) is the capital of the Mexican State of Yucatán and largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is located in the northwest part of the state, about 35 km (22 mi) from the Gulf of Mexico coast. The city is also the municipal seat of the Municipality of Mérida, which includes the city and the areas around it.
According to the 2010 census, the population of Mérida was 970,377, ranking 12th among the most populous Mexican metropolitan areas. The municipality’s area is 858.41 km2 (331.43 sq mi). The metropolitan area includes the municipalities of Mérida, Umán andKanasín and had a population of 1,035,238 in the same 2010 census.
The city, like much of the state, has heavy Mayan, French, British and to a lesser extent Dutch influences. Mérida has the highest percentage of indigenous persons of any large city in Mexico with approximately 60% of all inhabitants being of the Maya ethnicity.
Climate– Merida features a tropical wet and dry climate. The city lies in the trade wind belt close to the Tropic of Cancer, with the prevailing wind from the east. Mérida’s climate is hot an its humidity is moderate to high, depending on the time of year. The average annual high temperature is 33 °C (91 °F), ranging from 28 °C (82 °F) in January to 36 °C (97 °F) in May, but temperatures often rise above 38 °C (100 °F) in the afternoon in this time. Low temperatures range between 18 °C (64 °F) in January to 23 °C (73 °F) in May and June. It is most often a few degrees hotter in Mérida than in coastal areas due to its inland location and low elevation. The rainy season runs from June through October, associated with the Mexican monsoon which draws warm, moist air landward. Easterly waves and tropical storms also affect the area during this season.
Language and Accent- The Spanish spoken in the Yucatán is readily identifiable as different, even to non-native ears. It is heavily influenced by the Spanish accent and Yucatec Maya language, which is spoken by a third of the population of the State of Yucatán. The Mayan language is melodic, filled with explosive consonants (p’, k’ and t’) and “sh” sounds (represented by the letter “x” in the Mayan language).
Being enclosed by the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, and with poor land communication with the rest of Mexico, Yucatecan Spanish has also preserved many words that are no longer used in many other Spanish speaking areas of the world. However, with the improvement in transportation and especially with the overwhelming presence of radio, internet and TV, their isolation has eroded, and many elements of the culture and language of the rest of Mexico are now slowly but consistently permeating the culture.
Apart from the Mayan language, which is still the mother-tongue of many Yucatecans, students now choose to learn a foreign language like English, which is taught in most schools.