MX History

  • 1200 BCE

    Olmec civilization

    Olmec civilization
    Earliest civilization that flourished in Mesoamerica. This period is marked by the effective cultivation of crops such as corn (maize), beans, chile peppers and cotton; the emergence of pottery, fine art and graphic symbols used to record Olmec history, society and culture.
  • 250

    Maya

    The Mayan civilization, centered in the Yucatán peninsula, becomes one of the most dominant of the area’s regional groups, reaching its peak around the sixth century A.D., during the Classic period of Mesoamerican history. The Mayas excelled at pottery, hieroglyph writing, calendar-making and mathematics, and left an astonishing amount of great architecture; the ruins can still be seen today.
  • 600

    Toltecs

    With Teotihuacán and Mayan dominance beginning to wane, a number of upstart states begin to compete for power. The warlike Toltec, who migrated from north of Teotihuacán, become the most successful, establishing their empire in the central valley of Mexico by the 10th century. The rise of the Toltecs, who used their powerful armies to subjugate neighboring societies, is said to have marked the beginning of militarism in Mesoamerican society.
  • 1325

    Rise of the Aztecs

    Aztecs, arrive in Mexico’s central valley, then called the Valley of Anahuac, after a long migration from their northern homeland. Following the prophecy of one of their gods, Huitzilopochtli, they found a settlement, Tenochtitlán, on the marshy land near Lake Texcoco. By the early 15th century, the Aztecs and their first emperor, Itzcoatl, form a three-way alliance with the city-states of Texcoco and Tlatelóco and establish joint control over the region.
  • 1428

    Aztecs development

    They develop an intricate social, political, religious and commercial organization. Early forms of currency include cacao beans and lengths of woven cloth.Their language, Nahuatl, is the dominant language in central Mexico. Artistic style include feathered tapestries, headdresses; ceramics; gold, silver; and precious stones. In the great cities of the Aztec empire, magnificent temples and palaces and stone statues embody the civilization’s unfailing devotion to its many gods.
  • 1517

    First European in Mexico

    Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, the first European to visit Mexican territory, arrives in the Yucatán from Cuba with three ships and about 100 men. Members of the local native population clash with the Spanish explorers, killing some 50 of them and capturing several more. Córdoba’s reports on his return to Cuba prompt the Spanish governor there, Diego Velásquez, to send a larger force back to Mexico, under the command of Hernán Cortés.
  • 1519

    Arrival of Cortés in Tenochtitlán

    Cortés and his men arrive in Tenochtitlán; they are welcomed as honored guests by Moctezuma and his people due to the Spaniard’s resemblance to Quetzalcoatl, a legendary light-skinned god-king whose return was prophesied in Aztec legend. Taking Moctezuma hostage, Cortés is able to gain control of Tenochtitlán.
  • Aug 13, 1521

    Cortés Conquest

    After a bloody series of conflicts–involving the Aztecs, the Tlascalans and other native allies of the Spaniards, and a Spanish force sent by Velásquez to contain Cortés–Cortés finally defeats the forces of Montezuma’s nephew, Cuauhtémoc to complete his conquest of Tenochtitlán. His victory marks the fall of the once-mighty Aztec empire. Cortés razes the Aztec capital and builds Mexico City on its ruins; it quickly becomes the premier European center in the New World.
  • Miguel Hidalgo

    In the midst of factional struggles within the colonial government, Father Miguel Hidalgo, a priest. El grito de Dolores set off a flurry of revolutionary action by thousands of natives and mestizos, who banded together to capture Guanajuato and other major cities west of Mexico City. Despite its initial success, the Hidalgo rebellion loses steam and is defeated quickly, and the priest is captured and killed at Chihuahua in 1811.
  • Jose Morelos

    Another priest, Jose Morelos, succeeds Hidalgo as leader of Mexico’s independence movement and proclaims a Mexican republic. He is defeated by the royalist forces of the mestizo general Agustín de Iturbide, and the revolutionary banner passes to Vicente Guerrero.
  • Independence

    Iturbide meets with Guerrero and issues the Plan of Iguala, by which Mexico would become an independent country ruled as a limited monarchy, with the Roman Catholic Church as the official state church and equal rights and upper-class status for the Spanish and mestizo populations, which was of Native American or African descent, or mulato (mixed). In August 1821, the last Spanish viceroy is forced to sign the Treaty of Córdoba, marking the official beginning of Mexican independence.
  • Guadalupe Victoria

    Guadalupe Victoria becomes Mexico’s first elected president, and during his tenure Iturbide is executed, and a bitter struggle begins between Centralist, or conservative, and Federalist, or liberal, elements of the Mexican government that will continue for the next several decades.
  • Santa Anna

    Santa Anna becomes president after leading the resistance against Spain’s attempt to recapture Mexico in 1829. His strong Centralist policies encourage the increasing ire of residents of Texas, then still part of Mexico, who declare their independence in 1836. After attempting to quell the rebellion in Texas, Santa Anna’s forces are decisively defeated by those of rebel leader Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto in April 1836. Humbled, he is forced to resign power by 1844.
  • Territory and US

    In the spring of 1847 the U.S. sends forces under General Winfield Scott to capture Mexico City. Scott’s men accomplish this on September 14, and a formal peace is reached in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848. By its terms, the Rio Grande becomes the southern boundary of Texas, and California and New Mexico are ceded to the U.S. The U.S. agrees to pay $15 million as compensation for the seized land, which amounts to half of Mexico’s territory.
  • New Reforms

    Benito Júarez, institute a series of reforms, in 1857 in the form of a new constitution establishing a federal as opposed to centralized form of government and guaranteeing freedom of speech and universal male suffrage, among other civil liberties. Other reforms focus on curtailing the power and wealth of the Catholic Church. Conservative groups bitterly oppose the new constitution, and in 1858 a three-year-long civil war begins that will devastate an already weakened Mexico.
  • Porfirio Díaz

    Porfirio Díaz takes control of Mexico. Except for one four-year stretch from 1880 to 1884, Díaz will rule essentially as a dictator until 1911. During this period, Mexico undergoes tremendous commercial and economic development, based largely on Díaz’s encouragement of foreign investment in the country. By 1910, most of the largest businesses in Mexico are owned by foreign nationals, mostly American or British. The economic system breeds discontent, which will lead to revolution.
  • Mexican Revolution

    The Mexican Revolution begins when Madero issues the Plan of San Luis Potosí, promising democracy, federalism, agrarian reform and worker’s rights and declaring war on the Díaz regime. Popular leaders like Emiliano Zapata in southern Mexico and Pancho Villa in the north emerge as the champions of the peasant and working class, refusing to submit to presidential authority.
  • Cultural Revolution

    Obregón puts into place a serious of agrarian reforms, and gave official sanction to organizations of peasants and laborers. He also institutes a sweeping educational reform led by Jose Vasconcelos, enabling cultural revolution including astonishing work by such artists as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. After stepping down in 1924 to make way for another former general, Plutarco Calles, Obregón is reelected in 1928, but is killed this same year by a religious fanatic.
  • Lazaro Cardenas

    Lázaro Cárdenas, another former revolutionary general, is elected president. He revives the revolutionary-era social revolution and carries out an extensive series of agrarian reforms, distributing nearly twice as much land to peasants as had all of his predecessors combined. In 1938, Cárdenas nationalizes the country’s oil industry, expropriating the extensive properties of foreign-own companies and creating a government agency to administer the oil industry.
  • Miguel Alemán

    Miguel Alemán becomes the first civilian president of Mexico since Francisco Madero in 1911. In the post-World War II years, Mexico undergoes great industrial and economic growth, even as the gap continues to grow between the richest and poorest segments of the population. The ruling government party, founded in 1929, is renamed the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), and will continue its dominance for the next 50 years.
  • Tlatelolco Massacre

    As a symbol of its growing international status, Mexico City is chosen to host the Olympic Games. Over the course of the year, student protesters stage a number of demonstrations in an attempt to draw international attention to what they see as a lack of social justice and democracy in Mexico under the PRI government and its current president, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz. On October 2, Mexican security forces and military troops surround a demonstration at the Tlatelolco Plaza and open fire.
  • Earthquake

    By the mid-1980s, Mexico is in financial crisis. On September 19, 1985, an earthquake in Mexico City kills nearly 10,000 people and causes heavy damage. The displaced residents, dissatisfied with the government’s response to their situation, form human rights and civic action movement during the late 1980s and 1990s. The country’s problems are exacerbated by accusations of electoral fraud against the PRI and the devastation caused in the Yucatán by a massive hurricane in 1988.
  • Carlos Salinas

    Carlos Salinas
    President Carlos Salinas joins George H.W. Bush of the U.S. and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada in signing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which goes into effect January 1, 1994. The agreement calls for a phasing out of the longstanding trade barriers between the three nations. Salinas’ government is plagued by accusations of corruption, and in 1995 the former president is forced into exile.
  • Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León

    Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
  • Vicente Fox Quesada

    Vicente Fox Quesada
    Vicente Fox, of the opposition Partido de Acción Nacional (PAN) wins election to the Mexican presidency. Parliamentary elections also see the PAN emerge victorious, beating the PRI by a slight margin. A former Coca-Cola executive, Fox enters office as a conservative reformer, focusing his early efforts on improving trade relations with the United States, calming civil unrest in areas such as Chiapas and reducing corruption, crime and drug trafficking.
  • Calderón

    Calderón
    The PAN’s Felipe Calderón wins. Calderón moves away from the pro-business, free-trade promises of his campaign, expressing his desire to address some of the issues of poverty and social injustice championed by the PRD.
  • Enrique Peña Nieto

    Enrique Peña Nieto
  • Lopez Obrador

    López Obrador’s election marked the first time in nearly 90 years that the Mexican president had not been elected from either the PRI or the PAN. Although López Obrador had tacked somewhat toward the ideological centre in his campaign, his message remained focused on narrowing his country’s wealth gap, improving the lives of its poorest citizens