History of Mexico City

Brief history of Mexico City

A brief review of the history of Mexico City, in this summary.

Early history

Mexico City is located in a valley that was inhabited by various indigenous groups between 100 and 900 AD

These tribes were related to the Toltecs, who established Tula approximately in the year 850 AD in the current state of Hidalgo. When the Toltecs declined in power and influence, the Acolhula, Chichimeca, and Tepenaca cultures rose in their place.

Teotihuacán was founded in 1325 AD by the Mexicas. Its development fulfilled one of its ancient prophecies: The Mexica believed that their god would show them where to build a great city by providing them with a sign, an eagle eating a snake while perched on a cactus.

When the Mexicas (later known as the Aztecs) saw the vision come true on an island in Lake Texcoco, they decided to build a city there.

The Aztecs were fierce warriors who eventually overpowered other tribes throughout the region. They took what was once a small natural island in Lake Texcoco and expanded it by hand to create their home and fortress, beautiful Tenochtitlan.

His civilization, like his city, eventually became the largest and most powerful in pre-Columbian America.

Middle history

Skilled warriors, the Aztecs dominated all of Mesoamerica during this time, making some allies but even more enemies.

When Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés made it clear in 1519 that he intended to conquer the area, many local chieftains took the opportunity to free themselves from Aztec rule and join his army, and when Cortés and his allies arrived in the area, Moctezuma II believed that the Spaniard was (or related to) the god Quetzalcoatl, whose return had been prophesied.

Moctezuma sent gifts to the Spanish, hoping that they would depart and spare their city. Undaunted, Cortés marched his army toward the city and entered it. Not wanting to offend a god, Moctezuma welcomed Cortés and his soldiers to the city and extended every courtesy.

After enjoying the king’s hospitality for several weeks, Cortes suddenly ordered the emperor to be placed under house arrest, intending to use him to gain influence with the Aztecs. For months, Moctezuma continued to appease his captors, losing the respect of most of his subjects in the process.

In 1520, Cortés and his troops conquered Teotihuacán. The Spanish then built Mexico City on the ruins of the once great city.

During the colonial period (1535-1821), Mexico City was one of the most important cities in the Americas. Although the native Indians needed work permits to enter the Spanish-dominated city, the population inevitably intermingled and created the mestizo class, mestizo citizens who over time became a political force.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the caste system prevailed in Mexico City, separating the population into complex ethnic divisions, including mestizos, criollos, and coyotes.

The Catholic Church had great influence in the city, and religious orders such as the Franciscans, Marists, and Jesuits established convents and missions throughout Mexico.

The power of the Spanish Crown depended on the support and loyalty of the aristocracy of New Spain. Political power remained in the hands of Spaniards born in Spain, but by the 18th century, the Creole class (descendants of Spaniards born in the Americas) had grown in number and social power.

The struggle for recognition and favor between the different classes drew attention to the country’s political corruption and helped spark the independence movement.

The catalyst for Mexico’s independence was a Catholic priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who made the first public cry of rebellion in Dolores, Hidalgo, in 1810.

Hidalgo had begun attending meetings of educated criollos who were agitating for a large-scale uprising of mestizos and indigenous peasants. Discontent with the Spanish government was rapidly spreading throughout the country.

When rumors of military intervention by the Spanish began, the priest decided it was time to act. Parishioners who came to hear mass on Sunday, September 16, 1810, instead heard a call to arms.

With the energy of popular rebellion, militant revolutionary armies were quickly formed under the leadership of men like Guadalupe Victoria and Vicente Guerreroboth. The War of Independence lasted 11 years. In 1821, the last Viceroy of New Spain, Juan O’Donoju, signed the Plan of Iguala, which granted independence to Mexico.

Recent history

When the Federal District of Mexico was created in 1824, it originally encompassed Mexico City and several other municipalities. As Mexico City grew, it became a large urban area.

In 1928, all other municipalities within the Federal District were abolished except for Mexico City, making it by default the Federal District of the country. In 1993, article 44 of the Mexican Constitution officially declared Mexico City and the Federal District as a single entity.

In 1846, after two decades of peace, Mexico City was invaded by the United States during the Mexican-American War. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the war in 1848, Mexico was forced to cede a large swath of its northern territory to the United States.

Today, that territory is made up of the states of New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, California, and parts of Utah and Wyoming. Mexico was also forced to recognize the independence of Texas.

On July 17, 1861, Mexican President Benito Juárez suspended all interest payments to Spain, France, and Great Britain, who launched a combined attack on Veracruz in January 1862.

When Great Britain and Spain withdrew their forces, the French took control of the country. Supported by Mexican conservatives and by the French Emperor Napoleon III, Maximilian of Hamburg arrived in 1864 to rule Mexico.

His policies were more liberal than expected, but he soon lost the support of Mexico and was assassinated on June 19, 1867, when the liberal government of Benito Juárez regained Mexico’s leadership in the country.

On November 29, 1876, Porfirio Díaz appointed himself president. He served one term and gave way to his successor, Manuel González, whose presidency was marked by corruption and official incompetence. Díaz was re-elected and ensured that the constitution was amended to allow two terms in office with unlimited re-elections.

A cunning and manipulative politician, Díaz held power for the next 36 years through violence, electoral fraud, and repression, even murder, of his opponents.

By 1910, the citizenry had lost patience with Díaz’s egotistical leadership and unwillingness to recognize minority rights. On November 20 of that year, Francisco Madero issued the Plan of San Luis Potosí, which declared the Díaz regime illegal and started a revolution against the president.

Forces led by Francisco Villa, Emiliano Zapata, and Venustiano Carranza supported Madero’s candidacy for the presidency, and Díaz reluctantly agreed to stand down in 1911.

Political turmoil and power exchanges continued for more than a decade, ending with the establishment of the National Revolutionary Party (today PRI), which ushered in a period of stability for Mexico City and the rest of the country that lasted until the year 2000.

Mexico City today

Today, Mexico City is the political, economic and social center of Mexico and the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere.

The city’s nominal gross domestic product per capita is US$17,696, the highest of any city in Latin America. However, the distribution of wealth is extremely unequal, and 15 percent of the city’s residents live in poverty.

The unions of taxi drivers, telephone operators and electricians are very strong in Mexico City. Many of these unions are linked to the PRI political party, but recently, some unions have begun to switch their allegiance to the Party of the Democratic Revolution, which has ruled the city since 1997.

Some of the best known neighborhoods in Mexico City are the artistic Coyoacán (home of the Frida Kahlo Museum), the exclusive Santa Fe (including the area of ​​Bosques de las Lomas), the old Xochimilco (the Little Venice of Mexico) and the elegant Polanco.

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