Mexican president wants to change his country's name ... to Mexico

MEXICO CITY Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:48am IST

Mexico's President Felipe Calderon (L) and his wife and Mexico's first lady Margarita Zavala, wave to the crowd after presiding for the last time over a military parade in celebration of the 102nd anniversary of the Mexican Revolution on Zocalo Square in Mexico City November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Bernardo Montoya

Mexico's President Felipe Calderon (L) and his wife and Mexico's first lady Margarita Zavala, wave to the crowd after presiding for the last time over a military parade in celebration of the 102nd anniversary of the Mexican Revolution on Zocalo Square in Mexico City November 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bernardo Montoya

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Felipe Calderon has one non-urgent item pending on his agenda in the dying days of his presidency - he wants to change his country's name.

Calderon sent a bill to Congress on Thursday to change the constitution to tweak his nation's official name from Estados Unidos Mexicanos, or United States of Mexico, to plain old Mexico - as the country is already known the world over.

Mexico was given its name of Estados Unidos Mexicanos in the 19th century, when the country's post-revolutionary founders harked to the United States of America as an example of democracy and freedom to follow.

"The name of our country no longer needs to emulate that of other nations," Calderon said. "Forgive me for the expression, but Mexico's name is Mexico."

The country's name is derived from the nomadic Mexica tribe that in 1325 settled present-day Mexico City, which later grew into the imperial Aztec capital before succumbing to Spanish conquerors two centuries later.

Calderon staked his presidency on the much larger issue of fighting the country's drug cartels, and about 60,000 people have died in drug violence during his term. The bloodshed hurt his National Action Party's candidate in a presidential election in July.

He hands Mexico's reins to president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party on December 1.„ (Reporting by Miguel Gutierrez; writing by Simon Gardner; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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