Mexico Brief History

Mexico Brief History

According to Computerannals, Mexico, Central America, has a lot to offer its visitors; historic sites, an interesting people’s life, beautiful mountain ranges, snow-capped volcanoes, tropical beaches and the world’s largest city, the capital Mexico City with more than 20 million inhabitants. In Mexico you can stay a long time and still not have time for all the interesting things to experience.

My almost four-week tour of southern Mexico offered many interesting and fascinating experiences.

The trip took me via the capital Mexico City to the old colonial mountain town of Oaxaca and on to Puerto Escondido on the Pacific Ocean, I visited the dramatic Canon del Sumidero with its exciting bird and animal life and the old town of San Cristobal de las Casas. I had the opportunity to visit the small village of Oventic and meet some of the Zapatistas who, under the leadership of Subcomandante Marcos, are fighting to improve the conditions of the poor Native American population. I was fascinated by the colorful markets with many colorfully dressed Native American peoples and I came to the small town of Chamula with its beautiful church in which visitors sit and belch to get rid of evil spirits. I visited historical sites such as Teotihuacan, Monte Alban, Palenque, Chichen Itza, Tonina and Tulum.

Mexico history in brief

Mexico’s history is long, interesting and often bloody. Here, several different Native American high cultures have developed. Aztec culture reached its peak when the country was conquered by the Spaniards under the leadership of Hernán Cortés in 1521 AD. The Spanish conquest became a disaster for the indigenous people, who were oppressed and severely affected by the diseases brought by the Europeans.

The indigenous people did not live a happy life before the arrival of the Europeans either. War and the capture of people were part of everyday life. Most of the prisoners were later sacrificed to the gods, who could only be appeased with the help of human hearts torn directly from the body while the victim was still alive! The Spaniards forced the Indians to stop their human sacrifices and so far some got better than before their arrival.

In 1821, the country becomes independent. The radical constitution that was introduced in 1917, and which largely still applies today, has affected the country’s development since then.

Mexico history, older


25,000 – 20,000

The first settlers, hunters and gatherers, arrive in the Mexico Valley where they settle in caves. They belong to the group of migrants who immigrated to the North American continent from Asia via the passage we today call the Bering Strait.


At that time, people lived in primitive settlements and farmed, rather than anywhere else on the American continent. The Indians grew corn, beans, peppers and squash. Crops that later spread around the world.

1 500

The first Olmec settlements are established and thus the first high culture of Mesoamerica (Mexico) is founded. This then becomes the basis of all other high cultures that develop in the country

900 The Olmec city of San Lorenzo is destroyed


The first major Mayan communities began to be built along the border between Mexico and Guatemala


The first settlers come to Monte Albán, which is developing into the largest of the Zapotecs’ cities. Monte Albán has a maximum population of 25,000


The city of Teotihuacán is founded, which came to dominate the region for more than 500 years. At most 125,000 people lived here

100 The Maya settle in Palenque, which develops into an important center of power

Mexico history, older

615 – 683 The Mayan king Pakal reigns in Palenque

650 Teotihuacán falls and is abandoned. The city may have been destroyed by its own inhabitants

799 The city of Palenque is destroyed

900 A Toltec state is formed with Tula as its capital

1100 Tula, the capital of the Toltecs, falls


The mighty Mayan city of Chichen Itza falls. The city had at most 35,000 inhabitants


The Aztecs founded the city of Tenochtitlán, which will develop into today’s capital Mexico City

1426 -1440

The Aztecs become the ruling ethnic group in the Mexico Valley. Their empire, which expands due to conquests and the oppression of other ethnic groups, becomes the last great empire of Mesoamerica.

16th century, beginning

The Aztecs wage war against the Tlaxcala people, who later become the Spaniards’ ally

1502 Montezuma II becomes the last emperor of the Aztecs


The Spaniards occupy Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztecs, and the Aztec empire falls

1546 Large silver deposits are made in Zapateca

1571 The Spanish Inquisition arrives in Mexico


Mexico City is hit by a major flood. It takes a full five years before the water recedes

1692 Revolt in Mexico City due to food shortages and ethnic differences

1765 Spain strengthens its grip on the country

1767 The Jesuits are expelled from Mexico


Miguel Hidlago starts a revolt against the Spanish government on 16 September. The uprising is put down and Hidalgo is imprisoned. He was executed in 1811


José Maria Morales makes a second attempt at rebellion against the Spanish government. This too is suppressed and Morales is executed in 1815

Mexico history, modern

1821 Mexico’s independence is proclaimed

1824 The Federal Republic of Mexico is formed

1836 Texas rebels against Mexican rule and wants to join the United States

1840 – 1846 Mayarevolt on the Yucatan Peninsula

1846 – 1848 War between Mexico and the United States


The peace treaty between Mexico and the United States leads to Mexico losing almost half of its land area

1857 A liberal democratic constitution is introduced

1864 – 1867

French occupation of the country. The occupation is supported by conservative forces. Emperor Maximilliam of Habsburg is installed as Emperor of Mexico


Emperor Maximilliam, who becomes the country’s last monarch, is executed. Republic is re-established under Benito Juarez

1876 ​​Porfirio Diaz seizes power and becomes President of Mexico

1894 The railway connecting the Gulf of Mexico with the Pacific Ocean is inaugurated


Francisco I. Madero starts a revolt in the country because Porfirio Diaz has been re-elected as President of Mexico seven times. Madero considered that the election was conducted in a dishonest manner

1911 Francisco I. Madero is elected president

1913 Madero is assassinated by the military in February


Introduces the liberal, revolutionary constitution, which, by and large, still applies. The abolished serfdom, state takeover of the large estates and distribution of the land to the small farmers, cuts the power of the Catholic Church, the inhabitants of the country were given the right to organize and strike, etc.

1913 – 1915 Civil War. Famous revolt leaders are Emilio Zapata and Pancho Villa

1919 Assassinated revolt leader Emilio Zapata

1920 A military revolt is carried out. President Carranza is deposed and executed

1923 Murder of the revolt leader Pancho Villa


Formed Partido Nacional Revolucinario (PNR) which becomes the forerunner of the party (PRI) that has ruled the country since then

1934 Lázaro Cárdenas is elected President of Mexico

1938 The country’s oil industry is nationalized

1940 The Russian revolutionary Lev Trotsky, who fled Russia, is assassinated in Mexico City


Torre Latinoamericana is being built, which at 182 meters is one of Mexico City’s tallest buildings

1968 The Olympic Games are held in Mexico City

1983 The opposition wins significant success in the municipal elections


Mexico City is hit by an earthquake, over 20,000 people die and over
300,000 become homeless


The fall in oil prices forced a shift in economic policy, during which protectionism was exchanged for free trade, and parts of the large state-owned industrial sector were sold to private owners.


Carlos Salinas becomes the country’s new president and implemented several neoliberal reforms. PRI loses power

1991 PRI regains power in congressional and gubernatorial elections


Presidential election won by Ernesto Zedillo
Thousands of zapatistas invade the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas in the state of Chiapas and demand land reform, democracy and social improvements for the poor. During the ensuing twelve-day battle, 145 people were killed

Five months before the presidential election, the PRI party’s presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated, and a few weeks after the election, the PRI’s secretary general José Francisco Ruiz Massieu was assassinated. It was assumed that they fell victim to conspiracies within the party leadership. The presidential election was won by Ernesto Zedillo, PRI’s candidate

In December, Mexico is hit by an acute currency crisis in the country, among other things due to the Chiapas uprising, various acts of violence and that foreign investors have been discouraged

1995 US grants Mexico billion-dollar credit to halt so-called “tequila crisis”


The economy began to recover and Mexico was able to repay large parts of the crisis loans fairly quickly


The PRI loses many seats in the parliamentary elections and thus loses for the first time its absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies
2,000 The presidential election was won by Vicente Fox, leader of the opposition PAN party. In Congress, the PRI remained the largest party, albeit with a narrow margin
President Vicente Fox swear the oath of office on 1 December and therefore is the first president elected in free and fair elections in the country’s history

Mexico Brief History

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