Native American civilizations
It is estimated that hunters and gatherers began to colonize the Mexican highlands 20,000 years before the beginning of the Christian era (from about 5500 BC also agriculture). From 1200 BC The first advanced civilizations emerged with cities (including Tlatilco, Monte Alb¨¢n, Teotihuac¨¢n) that traded with each other. The Maya empire developed on the Yucat¨¢n peninsula and in the north of what is now Guatemala, its heyday between AD 300 and 900. lay. The Mayans had a hieroglyphic script and a calendar system.
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In the 8th century AD lived in the area of today’s Mexico in addition to the Mayans, among others, Olmec, Zapotec, Mixtec, Toltec, Chichimeken and Tepaneken. Presumably there were over 100 political and religious centers in what is now Mexico, with the Maya culture dominating on the Yucat¨¢n peninsula and southern Mexico, while the Teotihuac¨¢n empire developed in central Mexico from the 2nd century AD. crystallized into the leading power. Both cultures were later overlaid by the Toltec.
In the 14th century the Aztecs, who were called “Mexika” (and thus gave their names to today’s Mexico) settled on the site of today’s capital on an island in Lake Texco and in the coming decades rose to become the leading power in central Mexico on. In the 15th century, King Montezuma I enlarged the territory, which at the beginning of the 16th century stretched from the Gulf to the Pacific coast. The center was the city of Tenochtitl¨¢n, which had more than 200,000 residents.
After Christopher Columbus discovered the South American continent, he explored the entire east coast of Central America until 1504. Believing that he had found the western route to India, he simply called the indigenous people “Indians”. In 1519 the Spanish envoy Hern¨¢n Cort¨¦s founded the first settlement on the mainland (Veracruz) on behalf of Spain, with around 500 soldiers he began to conquer the hinterland. In 1521 the Spaniards stood at the gates of Tenochtitl¨¢n. After a siege, the city was conquered and destroyed. According to AbbreviationFinder, the Aztecs had outnumbered the Spanish soldiers in numbers, but an ingenious Cort¨¦s alliance with hostile Indian tribes and the firearms of the Conquistadors led to the rapid victory of the small Spanish army. Two years later, the west and southwest of today’s Mexico were in the hands of the Spaniards. Christianization of the population by monks and the introduction of forced labor in mines and in the fields began. By 1580, an estimated 12 million Indians had died from diseases brought in by the Spaniards or from the consequences of forced labor and ill-treatment.This mass extinction reduced the population of the Indians from the original around 20 million to three million by the beginning of the 19th century.
In 1535 the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain was proclaimed (which covered far more areas than that of today’s Mexico). The existing gold and silver mines made Mexico the most important Spanish colony in the new world. The center was the city of M¨¦xico (now Mexico City), built on the ruins of Tenochtitl¨¢n. Around 1600 the entire area of today’s Mexico up to the Rio Bravo del Norte (which today forms the border with the USA) was in Spanish hands. From Mexico, the Spaniards pushed further north and founded several cities in the area of what is now the USA (such as Santa Fe in what is now the US state of New Mexico).
Independence and political turmoil
At the beginning of the 19th century, the first uprisings against the conquistadors and the emerging white leadership of the creoles (as descendants of the conquerors) began. At this point in time, around 90% of the population consisted of indigenous people and mestizos, that is to say hybrids of white people and indios. Equally, there was tension between the Creoles, who were born in Mexico, and the Spanish mother country, which had fallen to France in 1808 as part of the Napoleonic Wars.
Several uprisings were put down (in 1810 under the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, in 1815 under Jos¨¦ Mar¨ªa Morelos y Pav¨®n). In 1821 the Creole general Agust¨ªn de Iturbide allied himself with the rebellious Indians and liberated the country from Spanish rule. A year later, the general was declared Emperor of Mexico by the military as Agust¨ªn I. A period of political unrest and turmoil began: in 1823 the emperor was overthrown and executed, in 1824 the Republic of Mexico was proclaimed. Tensions between conservative and liberal forces have repeatedly led to civil war-like conditions and 34 changes of government within 20 years. In 1836, the later state of Texas separated from Mexico, which led to the war between the two countries (Mexican War 1846-48). Mexico City was captured by US troops in 1847, and only a peace treaty brought an end to the fighting. The inferior Mexico had to forego all areas north of the R¨ªo Grande.
The liberal Mexican President Benito Juarez Garc¨ªa initiated the separation of state and church in 1858. In 1861 he announced Mexico’s impending state bankruptcy. The creditor states Spain, Great Britain and France then intervened. French troops occupied Mexico City in 1863 and proclaimed the monarchy. The Austrian archduke Maximilian was employed as emperor, but was overthrown and shot shortly afterwards. The Republicans under Benito Ju¨¢rez Garc¨ªa defeated the French troops, Ju¨¢rez again became Mexican head of state.
Under President Porfirio D¨ªaz, Mexico was granted a period of domestic calm despite its authoritarian leadership style. Under D¨ªaz the country began with oil production (supported by the USA) and modernization (expansion of infrastructure, schools, hospitals).
In 1911 D¨ªaz was forced to resign: a social revolution carried out by large sections of the population (including Francisco “Pancho” Villa and Emiliano Zapata) against large estates and the supremacy of the Catholic Church led to a change of government. Another period of rapid political changes in power and domestic unrest began: D¨ªaz ‘successor Madero was murdered after two years, his successor General Victoriano Huerta was overthrown a little later.
In 1917, the country received a new constitution under President Venustiano Carranza, which is essentially still valid today. In addition to land reform and restrictions on church privileges, the constitution included provisions for expanding education and social services, for the eight-hour day and for minimum wages. The President’s term of office was also limited to four years. Carranza was overthrown and murdered in 1920. Only his successor Alvaro Obereg¨®n managed to end the civil war-like conditions in the country.
The rapidly progressing industrialization of the country began under President L¨¢zaro C¨¢rdenas in the 1930s. The political reform forces rallied in the National Revolutionary Party (PNR), founded in 1929, which represented the presidents of Mexico until the late 1990s (renamed Party of the Institutionalized Revolution, PRI in 1946). C¨¢rdenas nationalized the oil companies, which were largely in British and US hands. After the Second World War, in which Mexico joined the Allies in 1942, the improvement of the infrastructure and the expansion of industry continued. In the 1970s, the discovery of new oil deposits led to extensive investments based on foreign loans.
A rigorous austerity program, partially dictated by the outside world, was unable to solve the country’s economic problems. Over half of the Mexican population lived in poor conditions, and countless Mexicans repeatedly tried to illegally cross the US border in order to find work there.
Conflict with the Zapatistas
In 1994 there was an uprising in the Mexican state of Chiapa by left-wing Indians (Zapatista Liberation Front EZLN, or Zapatista for short), which called for social improvements and legal equality for the Native Americans. The government suppressed the uprising by force of arms, but the conflict continued to smolder. A constitutional amendment in 1996 enshrined the Indians’ right to self-determination and the recognition of their languages, which resulted in a ceasefire agreement between the Chiapas insurgents and the government. In 1997 the conflict broke out again when government-friendly paramilitary associations launched a massacre among indigenous people. Despite the fact that those responsible were brought to justice, the unrest never ended. The government refused to
In July 1997, the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional), which had ruled almost continuously since the 1930s, lost the majority of votes in the parliamentary elections for the first time. In December 2000, Vicente Fox Quesada became the country’s new president from the National Action Conservative Party (PAN). His first official acts included withdrawing government troops from Chiapas Province and striving for peace with the Zapatistas. In March 2001, the peace negotiations that had been broken off in 1996 were officially resumed. In April 2001, Parliament approved a charter that would give Indians more rights. According to the Zapatistas, the promises and guarantees for the indigenous people in this law do not go far enough. A further reform was then discussed but not implemented. The Zapatistas have founded “autonomous communities” in Chiapas that are beyond state control. In the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca, various small guerrilla groups appear again and again. In mid-2007 there was another riot in Oaxaca; The trigger was dissatisfaction with the local governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (PRI).
Quesada’s successor, Felipe Calder¨®n Hinojosa, took office in December 2006 and is also a member of the PAN. Because of the increasingly brutal drug war, he made his fight against drug cartels and crime his priority. Mexico, like other Central American countries, receives support from the United States (“Merida Initiative”). The congress also approved reforms in the area of pensions (pension system for state employees), the right to vote, taxes (uniform sales tax) and the judiciary and police. Calder¨®n responded to demonstrations of the sharp rise in food prices by freezing prices for numerous staple foods until the end of 2008.
The drug war in Mexico, which had been going on since December 2006, had killed over 47,500 people by the end of 2011. Overall, the government has had very little success in the fight against drug trafficking in recent years, but it remains assured of US financial and logistical support in this regard. Drug trafficking is the third most important economic factor behind the oil and automotive industries. About 450,000 people earn a living in Mexico from trading and growing drugs (especially in the north of the country). The security situation is extremely tense due to the ongoing drug war.
Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) has been President of the country since December 2012. After twelve years of the PAN presidency, another candidate from the former state party took over.