Mexico's History

The history of Mexico, like the country itself is both intriguing and elaborate. Historians have written entire manuscripts on ancient Mexican cultures such as the Aztecs and the Mayans. To explore the past of this colourful country in a few words is virtually impossible; this description includes only the most significant events and historical characters - Mexican history in a nutshell if you will.

Mexican culture began in 20 000BC when hunter gatherers from Asia and Africa migrated to the West and settle in an area known as Mesoamerica. Following this, agriculture in Mexico began with the cultivation of corn, beans and vegetables by early civilizations in the southern regions. In the north, tribes continued to exist by gathering desert vegetation.

During the Pre-Classical Period in Mexico, nomadic tribes settled permanently in the country. Agricultural, social and scientific discoveries were made by cultural groups such as the Olmecs and the Teotihuacans. This was followed by the classical period which sees incredible advances in art and architecture taking place. The Teotihuacan city-state of Teotihuacan became the urban centre of the New World and the economy grew from strength to strength.

The Post-Classical period was dominated by influential and powerful groups such as the Toltecs, the Mayans, the Mixtecs and the Aztecs. Certain cities and cultural centres such as Tenochtitlan grew in size and strength and trading and building endeavours increased substantially. The period was brought to an end when Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico and set their sights on conquering Mexico's powerful urban centres.

Tenochtitlan was captured first by the Spanish army under Hernan Cortes, marking the beginning of a period of colonialism in Mexico that was to last three centuries. Mexico was named New Spain and powerful Spanish leaders flocked to the country. Noteworthy developments during this period include the abolishment of slavery, growth of Christianity and establishment of schools, universities and art academies throughout the country.

In the early 19th century, the War of Independence led by Miguel Hidalgo began. After 11 years of fighting the first Independent Mexican government is founded and Agustin de Iterbide became the first emperor of Mexico. The Federal Republic of Mexico was established briefly under President Guadalupe Victoria.

A period of military conflict in Mexico saw the country briefly falling under the rule of the French Emperor Napoleon III . The country later regained independence and once again becoming a Republic under the rule of President Porfirio Diaz. Early in the 20th century.

Opposition to rule of President Diaz sparks off the Mexican Revolution. Factions all over Mexico rage war against Dictator Victoriano Huerta. Huerta is defeated and Venustiano takes up rule. After years of fighting, Mexico gains independence and the new Mexican Constitution is approved, marking a new era in Mexican politics and history. From then on political and social advances transform Mexico from an agricultural region to the economic powerhouse that it is today.

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