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México, Mexico City and El DF

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For clarity, we’ve referred to Mexico’s capital as Mexico City throughout this site, though Mexicans frequently refer to it simply as México, in the same way that Americans refer to New York City as New York. It’s a source of infinite confusion to visitors, but the country took its name from the city, so “México” can mean either, and in conversation it most often means the latter. To avoid misunderstandings, the nation may be referred to as La República Mexicana, or occasionally in speeches as La Patria, while Mexico City may be referred to as El DF (“El Day Effay”), short for “Distrito Federal”, the administrative zone that coincides with the city boundaries and contains most of the urban area. The title Ciudad de México is used much less commonly, usually in an official context.

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