Thursday, August 11, 2022

History Of Mexico

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Pre-Columbian

Among the first complex civilisations in Mexico is the Olmec culture, which flourished on the Gulf Coast around 1500 BC. The Olmec culture spread throughout Mexico in the formative cultures of Chiapas, Oaxaca and the Mexico Valley.

In central Mexico, the heyday of the classical period saw the rise of Teotihuacan, which formed a military and commercial empire. It had the largest pyramid structures built in pre-Columbian America.

In the Early Postclassic period, Mexico was dominated by Toltec culture, and the lowland Maya had significant territories in Calakmul and Chichen Itza. In the Late Postclassic period, the Aztecs established a tributary empire that encompassed most of central Mexico. Mesoamerican cultural traditions came to an end in the 16th century, and in the following centuries Mexico’s indigenous cultures were under Spanish colonial rule. Contrary to popular belief, however, neither the Mayan nor the Aztec cultures ever completely “disappeared” and to this day many Mexicans trace at least part of their heritage back to indigenous roots and languages such as Nahuatl. Many Mayan languages are still spoken by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Mexicans. Indigenous elements are still visible today in the loanwords of Mexican Spanish, traditional dress, Mexican cuisine, architecture and even religious customs (which are “Catholic” to varying degrees). The eagle and snake on a cactus depicted on the Mexican flag, for example, refer to an Aztec legend about the founding of Tenochtitlan, the city that is now Mexico City.

Colonial and early independence

Mexico remained under Spanish colonial rule until 1821, when it declared independence under the terms of the “Iguala Plan”. After the brief Mexican Empire of 1821-1823 (former Spanish general and independence hero Augustine de Iturbide briefly declared himself emperor, but was overthrown after two years), Mexico became a republic with a fragile balance of power between liberals (mainly allied with urban merchants) and conservatives (allied with the church and large landowners). Antonio López de Santa Anna became president several times, but was also overthrown several times by his opponents, leading to eight consecutive, meaningless terms as president and five “permanent” exiles.

Independent Mexico

The first Mexican state was anything but stable, and both Texas (led by American immigrants who wanted to make Texas a slave state of the United States) and Yucatan seceded several times from Mayan rebels who fought both the Yucatan independence movement and the federal government in the “caste war”.

After the de facto independence of Texas, a disagreement over the southern border (the Nueces River as claimed by Mexico, or the Rio Grande as claimed by Texas) led the United States into a brief war, which ended with a devastating defeat for Mexico (the phrase about the “Halles de Montezuma” in the Marines’ song refers to the presidential palace in Mexico City, which was captured by the United States) and the loss of Alta California (now the US state of California), Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and the permanent loss of Texas north of the Rio Grande.

French Intervention and the Second Mexican Empire

When President Benito Juarez (see below) stopped paying the Mexican debt in 1861, France decided to invade the country to recover all or part of the money. This was only possible because the United States, which had declared in its Monroe Doctrine that it would not tolerate European interference in the sovereign states of the Americas, began its civil war that same year. After overthrowing the government (although Mexican resistance to the occupiers never ceased), the French installed a Habsburg prince as Emperor Maximilian I to act as their puppet. Although the Mexican monarchy had some support among conservatives, his days were numbered when French troops withdrew at the end of the American Civil War, and in 1867 Maximilian was executed by firing squad. Cinco de Mayo, often confused in the United States with “Mexican Independence Day”, is celebrated in memory of the Battle of Puebla, which took place during the French occupation and was decisively won by Mexican Republican forces.

Benito Juarez

Benito Juarez was the first president of indigenous origin in all of Latin America and is one of the few figures who is still seen almost exclusively in a positive light in Mexican history. He was president from 1858 to 1864 and then from 1867 until his death in 1872. His saying “el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz” (respect for the rights of others means peace) is still frequently quoted.

Porfirio Diaz

Porfirio Diaz, a general during the French intervention, came to power shortly after Juarez’s death and ruled Mexico from 1876 to 1911. Although initially eager and able to reform and modernise the country, the length of his rule and his corruption caused much discontent with his government, and in 1911 the Mexican Revolution broke out, initially to remove him from power.

Under the PRI

After the dust of the revolution settled, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI [pronounced /pree/] for its Spanish name) became the dominant political force and all presidents before the early 1990s were members of the PRI. However, they did not create a one-party state, and other parties were still legal and participated in elections, but the success of the PRI candidate (especially at the federal level) was almost always guaranteed. The struggles for political power therefore took place mainly within the PRI, with more conservative or left-wing factions gaining the upper hand from time to time. In 1988, during a presidential election that was close for the first time in decades, a computer that counted the votes is said to have crashed, and the words used to announce this “se cayó el sistema” are known for their ambiguity, as they can mean either “the computer broke down” or “the (political) system fell”. Nevertheless, according to the official results (which many still doubt), the PRI candidate won a six-year term and narrowly surpassed the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a second round. In 2000, the PRI finally lost its first presidential election when Vicente Fox of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) won a narrow victory in a three-way race. In 2006, the PAN won again with the election of Felipe Calderon as president, but in 2012 the PRI returned to power with the election of Enrique Peña Nieto, who promised to end the drug war. It remains to be seen whether this is only temporary or whether the PRI has actually regained its former dominant status.

Mexico today

Despite problems such as corruption and the drug war in the north (some regions are de facto controlled by different cartels), Mexico has experienced steady growth in recent years and the political system has seen many democratic multi-party elections with a peaceful transition of power and a fairly stable three-party system, with both the PAN (conservative) and the PRI (centrist, with a hang-up, sometimes left-wing) winning the presidency several times and the PRD (left of the PRI) being a serious contender in almost all elections.

The war on drugs is still ongoing and some parts of the country are still not completely safe, but the situation has improved greatly since the 2000s. In general, the north, with cities like Ciudad Juarez known for their violence, is more dangerous than the south and Yucatan is one of the safest regions in Latin America. To learn more about the impact of the war on drugs, read the Staying Safe section of this article and the articles on the different regions.

How To Travel To Mexico

By plane From the United States and Canada Hundreds of daily flights connect Mexico with cities and towns across North America. These include traditional airlines such as Air Canada, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, etc., as well as low-cost carriers such as JetBlue, Spirit, WestJet, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines....

How To Travel Around Mexico

It is more convenient to travel to Mexico by bus, car or plane. Passenger transport by train is almost non-existent. Except for the Chihuahua del Pacifico train line, which leaves each morning at both ends of the line, one from Los Mochis on the Pacific coast, opposite Baja California,...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Mexico

According to the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores), some foreign nationals who intend to stay in Mexico for less than 180 days for tourism purposes or 30 days for business purposes can fill out a tourist card for $22 at the border or when landing...

Destinations in Mexico

Regions in Mexico Baja California (Baja California, Baja California South)The western peninsula bordering the US state of California...Northern Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas).This includes the vast deserts and mountains of the border states; the "unknown Mexico" mostly ignored by tourists.The Bajío (Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, San Luis...

Weather & Climate in Mexico

Mexico uses the metric system for all measurements. For all weather reports, the temperature is in Celsius (°C). The temperature of the desert regions in the northwest of the country and the temperate zones in the northeast vary, but it must be taken into account that a large part of...

Accommodation & Hotels in Mexico

A number of hotel chains are represented throughout Mexico, including Palace Resorts, Le Blanc Spa Resort, Best Western, Holiday Inn, CityExpress, Fiesta Inn, Fairmont, Hilton, Ritz, Camino Real, Starwood (Sheraton, W, Westin, Four Points) and many others. Prices have risen considerably in recent years, although most are still cheap...

Things To See in Mexico

Mexico has 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than anywhere else in the Americas. Most of them belong to the cultural category and relate either to the pre-Columbian civilisations of the region or to the first cities founded by the Spanish conquistadores and missionaries. Much of Mexico is mountainous,...

Things to do in Mexico

Mexico's warm climate, spectacular nature and long coastline make it ideal for outdoor living, especially water sports. Surfing - Baja California, Vallarta, OaxacaSea Kayaking - Baja CaliforniaSnorkelling - Baja California, Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, etc.Diving - Baja California, Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas etc. and diving in...

Food & Drinks in Mexico

Food in Mexico Mexican cuisine is best described as a collection of different regional cuisines rather than a standard list of dishes for the entire country. Due to climate, geography and ethnic differences, we can divide Mexican cuisine into four broad categories, depending on the region: North - Meat dishes, mainly...

Money & Shopping in Mexico

Currency in Mexico The currency of Mexico is the peso (MXN), which is divided into 100 centavos. Coins are issued in 5, 10 (steel), 20, 50 centavo (brass; the new 50 centavo coins issued from 2011 are steel and smaller) and in 1, 2, 5 (steel ring, brass core), 10, 20,...

Festivals & Holidays in Mexico

Holidays 1 January: New Year's Day6 January: Magi Day, celebrating the arrival of the Magi who see the baby Jesus and bring him gifts (this is not an official holiday).2 February: Candelaria Day ("Day of the Candle"), celebrated in many places in the country (not an official holiday)5 February: Constitution...

Internet & Communications in Mexico

You can make calls from public telephones using prepaid Tarjetas Ladatel phone cards, which you can buy on magazine shelves. The cards can be purchased in denominations of 30, 50 or 100 pesos. The rate for calls to the United States is about US$0.50 per minute. Be careful, these...

Language & Phrasebook in Mexico

There are almost 70 indigenous languages in Mexico, many of which are still in use. However, Spanish is the de facto national language. Spanish is used by almost the entire population and all public communication (signs, documents, media, etc.) is in Spanish. Bilingual signs in Spanish and English may...

Traditions & Customs in Mexico

Mexicans have a somewhat relaxed sense of time, so be patient. It is common to be 15 minutes late. When someone, even a complete stranger, sneezes, you always say "¡salud! ("to your wishes" or, more literally, "to your health"): otherwise it is considered rude. In rural areas, especially in central...

Culture Of Mexico

Mexican culture reflects the complexity of the country's history through the mixture of indigenous cultures and Spanish culture transmitted during the 300 years of Spanish colonisation of Mexico. Exogenous cultural elements were incorporated into Mexican culture over time. The Porfirian era (el Porfiriato), in the last quarter of the nineteenth...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Mexico

Stay Safe in Mexico WARNINGAffected regions : Baja California Norte, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guerrero, Michoacán, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas.Most of those killed in drug-related violence since 2006 have been members of transnational criminal organizations. The Mexican government is making significant efforts to protect visitors to major tourist destinations. Recreational...

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