MEXICAN HISTORY

Olmec Sculpture in Parque la Venta, Villahermosa © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

1400-300 B.C. Olmecs, the first great civilization to establish itself along the eastern coast of Mexico

Monte Albán, Oaxaca © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

600 B.C.-800 A.D. The Zapotec civilization established great cities in southern Mexico and developed the first writing system in the Americas.

Tajín @ CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

 0-900 A.D. The construction of large urban centers began. During this period hieroglyphic writing, markets, palaces, armies and public administration, along with religion and the arts, flourished throughout Mesoamerica. The Mayan and Teotihuacan culture are two of the most representative of this period.Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes led the expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile. New Spain comprised a vast territory that went from Utah to Panama. When Cortes arrived, the Aztecs believed he was their returning god, Quetzalcoatl, and offered him the drink of the gods: hot chocolate.

Pyramid of Kukulkán in Chichen Itzá @ CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

700-900 A.D. The classic world collapsed. Teotihuacan was abandoned and Mayan cities were swallowed by the jungle.

From the Florentine Codex Mexico c.1570 (Credit: The Art Archive/Antochiw Collection Mexico/Mireille Vautier)

1300 Aztecs or Mexican settled in Mexico when they saw an eagle (representing the sun) standing on a cactus (a symbol of the heart) and clutching a snake (a symbol of the earth or Quetzalcoatl)—an image that is now depicted on the Mexican flag.

Cortez and the Aztecs at Veracruz (Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress)

1519-1521 Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes led the expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile. New Spain comprised a vast territory that went from Utah to Panama. When Cortes arrived, the Aztecs believed he was their returning god, Quetzalcoatl, and offered him the drink of the gods: hot chocolate.

Facade of the Library at the University, Mexico City © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

1551 The National University of Mexico was founded by Charles V of Spain and exists today as the oldest university in North America. It is known now as the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Casa Imprenta, Site of the First Printing Press in the Americas, Mexico City | Credit: Wikipedia

1539 The first printing press in North America was used in Mexico City.

Biblioteca Palafoxiana © CPTM / Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

1646 The Biblioteca Palafoxiana was the first public library in North America and was established by Bishop Juan de Palafox. It is listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

Ángel de la Independencia, Mexico City © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

1810-1821 Mexico remained under Spanish control for nearly 300 years until the Mexican people, led by a priest named Miguel Hidalgo, rose up against the Spanish. Hidalgo is widely considered the father of modern Mexico. Mexican Independence is celebrated on September 15-16 each year.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (cover), 1848 © Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

1848 U. S. declares war on Mexico. Formal peace is reached in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. By its terms Mexico gave the United States the Rio Grande as a boundary for Texas, and ownership of California and the area comprising New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. Over 90% of Mexicans in those areas chose to become U. S. citizens.

Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa – reo

1910 The Mexican Revolution started as a political movement against the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz and later turned into a social movement with the participation of the Mexican people.  By 1917 the Constitution that actually rules the country was launched, and when Álvaro Obregón assumed the presidency in 1920, the country became much of what it is today.