Distrito Federal or D. The city of Mexico- Tenochtitlan was founded by the Mexica people in The old Mexica city that is now simply referred to as Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the center of the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico , which it shared with a smaller city-state called Tlatelolco. Between and , Tenochtitlan grew in size and strength, eventually dominating the other city-states around Lake Texcoco and in the Valley of Mexico.
Tensions increased until, on the night of June 30, — during a struggle known as " La Noche Triste " — the Aztecs rose up against the Spanish intrusion and managed to capture or drive out the Europeans and their Tlaxcalan allies. For three months, the city suffered from the lack of food and water as well as the spread of smallpox brought by the Europeans. The first Spanish viceroy arrived in Mexico City fourteen years later. By that time, the city had again become a city-state , having power that extended far beyond its borders.
Although the Spanish preserved Tenochtitlan's basic layout, they built Catholic churches over the old Aztec temples and claimed the imperial palaces for themselves. The city had been the capital of the Aztec empire and in the colonial era, Mexico City became the capital of New Spain. The existing central place of the Aztecs was effectively and permanently transformed to the ceremonial center and seat of power during the colonial period, and remains to this day in modern Mexico, the central place of the nation.
The rebuilding of the city after the siege of Tenochtitlan was accomplished by the abundant indigenous labor in the surrounding area. Franciscan friar Toribio de Benavente Motolinia , one of the Twelve Apostles of Mexico who arrived in New Spain in , described the rebuilding of the city as one of the afflictions or plagues of the early period:. The seventh plague was the construction of the great City of Mexico, which, during the early years used more people than in the construction of Jerusalem.
The crowds of laborers were so numerous that one could hardly move in the streets and causeways, although they are very wide. Many died from being crushed by beams, or falling from high places, or in tearing down old buildings for new ones. Preconquest Tenochtitlan was built in the center of the inland lake system, with the city reachable by canoe and by wide causeways to the mainland. The causeways were rebuilt under Spanish rule with indigenous labor. Colonial Spanish cities were constructed on a grid pattern, if no geographical obstacle prevented it.
The Spanish lived in the area closest to the main square in what was known as the traza , in orderly, well laid-out streets. Indian residences were outside that exclusive zone and houses were haphazardly located. It was also the site of two major riots in the seventeenth century, one in , the other in The city grew as the population did, coming up against the lake's waters. As the depth of the lake water fluctuated, Mexico City was subject to periodic flooding.
Floods were not only an inconvenience but also a health hazard, since during flood periods human waste polluted the city's streets. By draining the area, the mosquito population dropped as did the frequency of the diseases they spread. However, draining the wetlands also changed the habitat for fish and birds and the areas accessible for Indian cultivation close to the capital.
The 16th century saw a proliferation of churches, many of which can still be seen today in the historic center. Although the Spanish crown tried to completely regulate all commerce in the city, it had only partial success. The concept of nobility flourished in New Spain in a way not seen in other parts of the Americas. Spaniards encountered a society in which the concept of nobility mirrored that of their own. Spaniards respected the indigenous order of nobility and added to it. In the ensuing centuries, possession of a noble title in Mexico did not mean one exercised great political power, for one's power was limited even if the accumulation of wealth was not.
Most of these families proved their worth by making fortunes in New Spain outside of the city itself, then spending the revenues in the capital, building churches, supporting charities and building extravagant palatial homes. The craze to build the most opulent residence possible reached its height in the last half of the 18th century.
Many of these palaces can still be seen today, leading to Mexico City's nickname of "The city of palaces" given by Alexander Von Humboldt. The Battle of Guanajuato, the first major engagement of the insurgency, occurred four days later. After a decade of war, Mexico's independence from Spain was effectively declared in the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire on September 27, The Mexican Federal District was established by the new government and by the signing of their new constitution, where the concept of a federal district was adapted from the United States Constitution.
Texcoco and then Toluca became the capital of the State of Mexico. The Battle for Mexico City was the series of engagements from September 8 to 15, , in the general vicinity of Mexico City during the U. Included are major actions at the battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec , culminating with the fall of Mexico City. Army under Winfield Scott scored a major success that ended the war. Army's 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions.
During this battle, on September 13, the 4th Division, under John A. Quitman , spearheaded the attack against Chapultepec and carried the castle. Future Confederate generals George E. Pickett and James Longstreet participated in the attack. The Mexican forces fell back from Chapultepec and retreated within the city. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in what is now the far north of the city.
During this time the city developed a modern infrastructure, such as roads, schools, transportation systems and communication systems. However the regime concentrated resources and wealth into the city while the rest of the country languished in poverty. He and his government came to the conclusion that they would use Paris as a model, while still containing remnants of Amerindian and Hispanic elements.
This style of Mexican-French fusion architecture became colloquially known as Porfirian Architecture. Porfirian architecture became very influenced by Paris' Haussmannization. During this era of Porfirian rule, the city underwent an extensive modernization. Many Spanish Colonial style buildings were destroyed, replaced by new much larger Porfirian institutions and many outlying rural zones were transformed into urban or industrialized districts with most having electrical, gas and sewage utilities by While the initial focus was on developing modern hospitals, schools, factories and massive public works, perhaps the most long-lasting effects of the Porfirian modernization were creation of the Colonia Roma area and the development of Reforma Avenue.
Many of Mexico City's major attractions and landmarks were built during this era in this style. One of the best examples of this is the Monument to the Mexican Revolution. Originally the monument was to be the main dome of Diaz's new senate hall, but when the revolution erupted only the dome of the senate hall and its supporting pillars were completed, this was subsequently seen as a symbol by many Mexicans that the Porfirian era was over once and for all and as such, it was turned into a monument to victory over Diaz.
The capital escaped the worst of the violence of the ten-year conflict of the Mexican Revolution. Madero staged a successful coup. The center of the city was subjected to artillery attacks from the army stronghold of the ciudadela or citadel, with significant civilian casualties and the undermining of confidence in the Madero government. Victoriano Huerta , chief general of the Federal Army , saw a chance to take power, forcing Madero and Pino Suarez to sign resignations. The two were murdered later while on their way to Lecumberri prison.
Huerta had abandoned the capital and the conquering armies marched in. Venustiano Carranza 's Constitutionalist faction ultimately prevailed in the revolutionary civil war and Carranza took up residence in the presidential palace. The history of the rest of the 20th century to the present focuses on the phenomenal growth of the city and its environmental and political consequences. In , the population of Mexico City was about , In the Metro system was inaugurated.
Between and the city's population more than doubled to nearly 9 million. In half of all the industrial jobs in Mexico were located in Mexico City. Under relentless growth, the Mexico City government could barely keep up with services. Villagers from the countryside who continued to pour into the city to escape poverty only compounded the city's problems. With no housing available, they took over lands surrounding the city, creating huge shantytowns that extended for many miles.
The autocratic government that ruled Mexico City since the Revolution was tolerated, mostly because of the continued economic expansion since World War II. This was the case even though this government could not handle the population and pollution problems adequately. Nevertheless, discontent and protests began in the s leading to the massacre of an unknown number of protesting students in Tlatelolco.
Three years later, a demonstration in the Maestros avenue, organized by former members of the student movement, was violently repressed by a paramilitary group called "Los Halcones", composed of gang members and teenagers from many sports clubs who received training in the U.
On Thursday, September 19, , at 7: Although this earthquake was not as deadly or destructive as many similar events in Asia and other parts of Latin America,  it proved to be a disaster politically for the one-party government. The government was paralyzed by its own bureaucracy and corruption, forcing ordinary citizens to create and direct their own rescue efforts and to reconstruct much of the housing that was lost as well.
However, the last straw may have been the controversial elections of That year, the presidency was set between the P. He resigned in to run for the presidency. This valley is located in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in the high plateaus of south-central Mexico. Drainage was engineered through the use of canals and tunnels starting in the 17th century.
Mexico City primarily rests on what was Lake Texcoco. Although none of the lake waters remain, the city rests on the lake bed's heavily saturated clay. This soft base is collapsing due to the over-extraction of groundwater, called groundwater-related subsidence. Since the beginning of the 20th century the city has sunk as much as nine meters 30 feet in some areas.
This sinking is causing problems with runoff and wastewater management, leading to flooding problems, especially during the rainy season. The lower region of the valley receives less rainfall than the upper regions of the south; the lower boroughs of Iztapalapa , Iztacalco , Venustiano Carranza and the east portion of Gustavo A. Madero are usually drier and warmer than the upper southern boroughs of Tlalpan and Milpa Alta , a mountainous region of pine and oak trees known as the range of Ajusco.
It does not snow in the city only in nearby mountain tops , but in the past this was not the case. Throughout its history, the Central Valley of Mexico used to have several snowfalls per decade including a period between and in which every single year —except — recorded snowfalls  mostly by lake-effect snow , but the draining of Lake Texcoco and also global warming restricted the snowfalls after the snowstorm of February 11, ; following that year snow has only occurred on January 28, , on March 5, , and for the last time on January 12, , coinciding with the operation of Deep Drainage System that resulted in the total draining of what was left of Lake Texcoco.
The region of the Valley of Mexico receives anti-cyclonic systems. The weak winds of these systems do not allow for the dispersion, outside the basin, of the air pollutants which are produced by the 50, industries and 4 million vehicles operating in and around the metropolitan area. The area receives about millimeters The rainy season runs from June to October when winds bring in tropical moisture from the sea, the wettest month being July.
The dry season runs from November to May, when the air is relatively drier, the driest month being December. This dry season is subdivided into a cold period and a warm period. The cold period spans from November to February, when polar air masses push down from the north and keep the air fairly dry. The warm period extends from March to May when tropical winds again dominate but do not yet carry enough moisture for rain to form.
Originally much of the valley laid beneath the waters of Lake Texcoco , a system of interconnected salt and freshwater lakes. The Aztecs built dikes to separate the fresh water used to raise crops in chinampas and to prevent recurrent floods. These dikes were destroyed during the siege of Tenochtitlan, and during colonial times the Spanish regularly drained the lake to prevent floods.
Only a small section of the original lake remains, located outside the Federal District, in the municipality of Atenco , State of Mexico. If approved by the government the project will contribute to the supply of water from natural sources to the Valley of Mexico , the creation of new natural spaces, a great improvement in air quality, and greater population establishment planning.
By the s Mexico City had become infamous as one of the world's most polluted cities; however, the city has become a model for dramatically lowering pollution levels. By carbon monoxide pollution had dropped dramatically, while levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide were nearly three times lower than in The levels of signature pollutants in Mexico City are similar to those of Los Angeles. To clean up pollution, the federal and local governments implemented numerous plans including the constant monitoring and reporting of environmental conditions, such as ozone and nitrogen oxides.
This location would then be appropriated as federal land, with the federal government acting as the local authority. The choice was official on November 18, , and Congress delineated a surface area of two leagues square 8, acres centered on the Zocalo. This area was then separated from the State of Mexico , forcing that state's government to move from the Palace of the Inquisition now Museum of Mexican Medicine in the city to Texcoco. The Mexican—American War had just been fought. By that time, the total number of municipalities within the Federal District was twenty-two.
While the Federal District was ruled by the federal government through an appointed governor, the municipalities within it were autonomous, and this duality of powers created tension between the municipalities and the federal government for more than a century. Eventually, in December , the federal government decided to abolish all the municipalities of the Federal District. In place of the municipalities, the Federal District was divided into one "Central Department" and 13 delegaciones boroughs administered directly by the government of the Federal District.
In , the General Anaya borough was merged to the Central Department, which was then renamed "Mexico City" thus reviving the name, but not the autonomous municipality. From to , the Federal District comprised twelve delegaciones and Mexico City. In , Mexico City was split into four different delegaciones: Since then, the whole Federal District, whose delegaciones had by then almost formed a single urban area, began to be considered de facto a synonym of Mexico City.
The lack of a de jure stipulation left a legal vacuum that led to a number of sterile discussions about whether one concept had engulfed the other or if the latter had ceased to exist altogether. In , the situation was solved by an amendment to the 44th article of the Constitution of Mexico ; Mexico City and the Federal District were stated to be the same entity. The amendment was later introduced into the second article of the Statute of Government of the Federal District. Mexico City, being the seat of the powers of the Union, belongs not to any particular state but to all of them.
Therefore, the president, representing the federation, used to designate the head of government of the Federal District today the head of the government of Mexico City , sometimes called outside Mexico as the "Mayor" of Mexico City. In response to the demands, Mexico City received a greater degree of autonomy, with the elaboration the first Statute of Government Estatuto de Gobierno and the creation of an Assembly of Representatives. He resigned in to run in the presidential elections and designated Rosario Robles to succeed him, who became the first woman, elected or otherwise, to govern Mexico City.
In , Marcelo Ebrard was elected to serve until The city does not have a constitution, unlike the states of the Union, but it has a Statute of Government. As part of the recent changes in autonomy, the budget is administered locally; it is proposed by the head of government and approved by the Legislative Assembly. Nonetheless, it is the Congress of the Union that sets the ceiling to internal and external public debt issued by the city government.
According to the 44th article of the Mexican Constitution, if the powers of the Union move to another city, the Federal District would become a new state, the "State of the Valley of Mexico", with the new limits set by the Congress of the Union. In , elections were held for the post of head of government and the representatives of the Legislative Assembly. Heads of government are elected for a six-year period without the possibility of re-election. Traditionally, the position has been considered as the second most important executive office in the country. The Legislative Assembly of the Federal District is formed, as it is the case for state legislatures in Mexico, by both single-seat and proportional seats, making it a system of parallel voting.
The Federal District is divided into 40 electoral constituencies of similar population which elect one representative by the plurality voting system , locally called "uninominal deputies". The Federal District, as a whole, is a single constituency for the parallel election of 26 representatives, elected by proportional representation , with open-party lists, locally called "plurinominal deputies". Even though proportionality is supposed to prevent a party from being overrepresented, several restrictions apply in the assignation of the seats.
In the elections, the PRD got the absolute majority in the direct uninominal elections, securing 34 of the 40 FPP seats. As such, the PRD was not assigned any plurinominal seat to comply with the law that prevents over-representation. The overall composition of the Legislative Assembly is:. The politics pursued by the administrations of heads of government in Mexico City since the second half of the 20th century have usually been more liberal than those of the rest of the country, whether with the support of the federal government, as was the case with the approval of several comprehensive environmental laws in the s, or by laws that were since approved by the Legislative Assembly.
The Legislative Assembly expanded provisions on abortions, becoming the first federal entity to expand abortion in Mexico beyond cases of rape and economic reasons, to permit it at the choice of the mother before the 12th week of pregnancy. For administrative purposes, the Federal District is divided into 16 "delegaciones", or boroughs. While they are not fully equivalent to municipalities, the boroughs have gained significant autonomy, and since , their heads of government have been elected directly by plurality they had been appointed by the head of government of the Federal District.
Since Mexico City is organized entirely as a Federal District, most of the city services are provided or organized by the Government of the Federal District, not by the boroughs themselves; in the constituent states , such services would be provided by the municipalities. The boroughs of the Federal District with their populations are: The boroughs are composed by hundreds of colonias or neighborhoods , which have no jurisdictional autonomy or representation. Other well-known central neighborhoods include Condesa , known for its Art Deco architecture and its restaurant scene; Colonia Roma , a beaux arts neighborhood and artistic and culinary hot-spot, the Zona Rosa , formerly the center of nightlife and restaurants, now reborn as the center of the LGBT and Korean-Mexican communities; and Tepito and La Lagunilla , known for their local working-class foklore and large flea markets.
Nevertheless, some areas of lower-income colonias are right next to rich neighborhoods, particularly in the case of Santa Fe. Urban sprawl continues further east for many miles into the State of Mexico, including Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl , now increasingly middle-class, but once full of informal settlements. Such slums are still found on the eastern edges of the metropolitan area in the Chalco area. Madero have important industrial centers and neighborhoods that range from established middle-class colonias such as Claveria and Lindavista to huge low-income housing areas that share hillsides with adjacent municipalities in the State of Mexico.
In recent years, much of northern Mexico City's industry has moved to nearby municipalities in the State of Mexico. Mexico City's HDI for the report was of 0. Greater Mexico City is the largest metropolitan area in Mexico and the area with the highest population density. As of [update] , 21,, people live in this urban agglomeration, of which 8,, live in Mexico City proper. The above municipalities are located in the state of Mexico but are part of the Greater Mexico City area.
Greater Mexico City was the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country until the late s. Since then, and through a policy of decentralization in order to reduce the environmental pollutants of the growing conurbation, the annual rate of growth of the agglomeration has decreased, and it is lower than that of the other four largest metropolitan areas namely Greater Guadalajara , Greater Monterrey , Greater Puebla and Greater Toluca even though it is still positive.
The net migration rate of Mexico City proper from to was negative,  which implies that residents are moving to the suburbs of the metropolitan area, or to other states of Mexico. In addition, some inner suburbs are losing population to outer suburbs, indicating the continuing expansion of Greater Mexico City.
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The historic district is also roamed by tourist police, aiming to orient and serve tourists. These horse-mounted agents dress in traditional uniforms. Between and an average of crimes were reported each day in Mexico City; however, the actual crime rate is thought to be much higher "since most people are reluctant to report crime". Some of the policies enacted included the installation of 11, security cameras around the city and a very large expansion of the police force.
Mexico City has one of the world's highest police officer-to-resident ratios, with one uniformed officer per citizens. The World Bank has sponsored a project to curb air pollution through public transport improvements and the Mexican government has started shutting down polluting factories. They have phased out diesel buses and mandated new emission controls on new cars; since all new cars must be fitted with a catalytic converter , which reduces the emissions released.
Trucks must use only liquefied petroleum gas LPG. Also construction of an underground rail system was begun in in order to help curb air pollution problems and alleviate traffic congestion. Fees are kept low to encourage use of the system and during rush hours the crush is so great, that authorities have reserved a special carriage specifically for women.
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By the time of the Mexican—American War, the Comanches had raided and pillaged large portions of northern Mexico, resulting in sustained impoverishment, political fragmentation, and general frustration at the inability—or unwillingness—of the Mexican government to discipline the Comanches. In addition to Comanche raids, the First Republic's northern border was plagued with attacks on its northern border from the Apache people, who were supplied with guns by American merchants. Soon after achieving independence from Spain, the Mexican government, in an effort to populate its northern territories, awarded extensive land grants in Coahuila y Tejas to thousands of families from the United States, on condition that the settlers convert to Catholicism and become Mexican citizens.
The Mexican government also forbade the importation of slaves. These conditions were largely ignored. A key factor in the government decision to allow those settlers was the belief that they would a protect northern Mexico from Comanche attacks and b buffer the northern states against US westward expansion. The policy failed on both counts: The war lasted from October 2, to April 21, However, a war at sea between Mexico and Texas continued into the s.
War began in Texas on October 2, , with the Battle of Gonzales. Early Texian Army successes at La Bahia and San Antonio were soon met with crushing defeat at the same locations a few months later. The end of the war resulted in the creation of the Republic of Texas in In , the U. Congress ratified Texas's petition for statehood. In response to a Mexican massacre of a U. Congress declared war on May 13, ; Mexico followed suit on 23 May. The Mexican—American War took place in two theaters: In March , U.
Polk sent an army of 12, volunteer and regular U.
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Army soldiers under General Winfield Scott to the port of Veracruz. The 70 ships of the invading forces arrived at the city on 7 March and began a naval bombardment. After landing his men, horses, and supplies, Scott began the Siege of Veracruz. The city at that time still walled was defended by Mexican General Juan Morales with 3, men.
Veracruz replied as best it could with artillery to the bombardment from land and sea, but the city walls were reduced. After 12 days, the Mexicans surrendered. Scott marched west with 8, men, while Santa Anna entrenched with artillery and 12, troops on the main road halfway to Mexico City. Scott pushed on to Puebla , Mexico's second largest city, which capitulated without resistance on 1 May—the citizens were hostile to Santa Anna. Many other parts of Mexico were also occupied. Some Mexican units fought with distinction.
One of the justly commemorated units was a group of six young Military College cadets now considered Mexican national heroes , who fought to the death defending their college during the Battle of Chapultepec. Mexico's defeat has been attributed to its problematic internal situation, one of disunity and disorganization.
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After the war, Washington discovered that a much easier railroad route to California lay slightly south of the Gila River, in Mexico. This loss of still more territory provoked considerable outrage among Mexicans, but Santa Anna claimed that he needed money to rebuild the army from the war. In the end, he kept or squandered most of it. La Reforma was a period during the midth century characterized by liberal reforms and the transformation of Mexico into a nation-state.
The younger generation of political leaders were shocked at Mexico's poor fight against the United States in , and saw modernization as a way to strengthen the nation. Their strategy was to sharply limit the traditional privileges and land holdings of the Catholic Church and thereby revitalize the market in land. However, no class of small peasants who identified with the Liberal program emerged.
Many merchants acquired land and control over the associated tenant farmers. Many existing landowners expanded their holdings at peasant expense, and some upwardly mobile ranch owners, often mestizos, acquired land. The moderate Liberal Ignacio Comonfort became president. The Moderados tried to find a middle ground between the nation's liberals and conservatives. There is less consensus about the ending point of the Reforma. Liberalism dominated Mexico as an intellectual force into the 20th century.
Liberals championed reform and supported republicanism , capitalism, and individualism; they fought to reduce the Church's conservative roles in education, land ownership and politics. Colonel Ignacio Comonfort became president in after a revolt based in Ayutla overthrew Santa Anna. Comonfort was a moderate liberal who tried to maintain an uncertain coalition, but the moderate liberals and the radical liberals were unable to resolve their sharp differences.
During his presidency, the Constitution of was drafted creating the Second Federal Republic of Mexico. The new constitution restricted some of the Catholic Church's traditional privileges, land holdings, revenues and control over education. It granted religious freedom, stating only that the Catholic Church was the favored faith. The anti-clerical radicals scored a major victory with the ratification of the constitution, because it weakened the Church and enfranchised illiterate commoners. The constitution was unacceptable to the clergy and the conservatives, and they plotted a revolt.
With the "Plan of Tacubaya" in December , Comonfort tried to regain the popular support from the growing conservative pro-clerical movement. The revolt led to the War of Reform December to January , which grew increasingly bloody as it progressed and polarized the nation's politics. Many Moderates, convinced that the Church's political power had to be curbed, came over to the side of the Liberals. For some time, the Liberals and Conservatives simultaneously administered separate governments, the Conservatives from Mexico City and the Liberals from Veracruz.
They chose a member of the Habsburg dynasty, which had ruled Spain and its overseas possessions until Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria was installed as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico , with support from the Catholic Church, conservative elements of the upper class, and some indigenous communities. Although the French suffered an initial defeat the Battle of Puebla on May 5, , now commemorated as the Cinco de Mayo holiday , the French eventually defeated the Mexican army and set Maximilian on the throne.
The Imperial couple noticed the mistreatment of Mexicans, especially Indians, and wanted to ensure their human rights. By contrast, Napoleon III wanted to exploit the mines in the northwest of the country and to grow cotton. Maximilian was a liberal, a fact that Mexican conservatives seemingly did not know when he was chosen to head the government.
He favored the establishment of a limited monarchy that would share power with a democratically elected congress. This left Maximilian with few enthusiastic allies within Mexico. France never made a profit in Mexico and its Mexican expedition grew increasingly unpopular. Napoleon III quietly complied. In mid, despite repeated Imperial losses in battle to the Republican Army and ever decreasing support from Napoleon III, Maximilian chose to remain in Mexico rather than return to Europe.
He was captured and executed along with two Mexican supporters, immortalized in a famous painting by Eduard Manet. He continued to implement his reforms. In , he was elected a second time, much to the dismay of his opponents within the Liberal party, who considered reelection to be somewhat undemocratic. Part of Juarez's reforms included fully secularizing the country. The Catholic Church was barred from owning property aside from houses of worship and monasteries, and education and marriage were put in the hands of the state. To avoid antagonizing Catholics, he avoided enforcement of anticlerical laws.
The country's infrastructure was greatly improved, thanks to increased foreign investment from Britain and the US, and a strong, stable central government. Increased tax revenue and better administration dramatically improved public safety, public health, railways, mining, industry, foreign trade, and national finances. After a half-century of stagnation, where per capita income was merely a tenth of the developed nations such as Britain and the US, the Mexican economy took off and grew at an annual rate of 2.
Mexico moved from being a target of ridicule to international pride. As traditional ways were under challenge, urban Mexicans debated national identity, the rejection of indigenous cultures, the new passion for French culture once the French were ousted from Mexico, and the challenge of creating a modern nation by means of industrialization and scientific modernization.
Mexico City was poorer per capita in than in Some commentators attribute the slow economic growth to the negative impact of Spanish rule, the concentration of landholding by few families, and the reactionary role of the Catholic Church. Coatsworth rejects those reasons and says the chief obstacles were poor transportation and inefficient economic organization. Under the Porfiriato regime — , economic growth was much faster. He was elected president eight times, turning over power once, from to , to a trusted ally, General Manuel Gonzailez. This period of relative prosperity is known as the Porfiriate.
Diaz remained in power by rigging elections and censoring the press. Possible rivals were destroyed, and popular generals were moved to new areas so they could not build a permanent base of support. Banditry on roads leading to major cities was largely suppressed by the "Rurales" , a new police force controlled by Diaz. Banditry remained a major threat in more remote areas, because the Rurales comprised fewer than men. The Army was reduced in size from 30, to under 20, men, which resulted in a smaller percentage of the national budget being committed to the military.
Nevertheless, the army was modernized, well-trained, and equipped with the latest technology. The Army was top-heavy with 5, officers, many of them elderly, but politically well-connected veterans of the wars of the s. He nevertheless ran for reelection and in a show of U. Moore, a Texas Ranger , discovered a man holding a concealed palm pistol standing at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route. Diaz gave enormous power and prestige to the Superior Health Council, which developed a consistent and assertive strategy using up-to-date international scientific standards.
It took control of disease certification; required prompt reporting of disease; and launched campaigns against tropical disease such as yellow fever. Limantour expanded foreign investment, supported free trade, and balanced the budget for the first time and generated a budget surplus by However, he was unable to halt the rising cost of food, which alienated the poor.
The American Panic of was an economic downturn that caused a sudden drop in demand for Mexican copper, silver, gold, zinc, and other metals. Mexico in turn cut its imports of horses and mules, mining machinery, and railroad supplies. Mexico was vulnerable to external shocks because of its weak banking system. The banking system was controlled by a small oligarchy, which typically made long-term loans to their own directors.
The banks were the financial arms of extended kinship-based business coalitions that used banks to raise additional capital to expand enterprises. Economic growth was largely based on trade with the United States. Mexico had few factories by , but then industrialization took hold in the Northeast, especially in Monterrey. Factories produced machinery, textiles and beer, while smelters processed ores. Convenient rail links with the nearby US gave local entrepreneurs from seven wealthy merchant families a competitive advantage over more distant cities.
New federal laws in and allowed corporations to be more flexible. By the s, American Smelting and Refining Company ASARCO , an American firm controlled by the Guggenheim family, had invested over 20 million pesos and employed nearly 2, workers smelting copper and making wire to meet the demand for electrical wiring in the US and Mexico. The modernizers insisted that schools lead the way, and that science replace superstition. These reforms were consistent with international trends in teaching methods.
In order to break the traditional peasant habits that hindered industrialization and rationalization, reforms emphasized the children's punctuality, assiduity, and health. Cities were rebuilt with modernizing architects favoring the latest European styles, especially the Beaux-Arts style, to symbolize the break with the past.
A highly visible exemplar was the Federal Legislative Palace, built — Tutino examines the impact of the Porfiriato in the highland basins south of Mexico City, which became the Zapatista heartland during the Revolution. Population growth, railways and concentration of land in a few families generated a commercial expansion that undercut the traditional powers of the villagers. Young men felt insecure about the patriarchal roles they had expected to fill.
Initially, this anxiety manifested as violence within families and communities. The young men were radicalized, as they fought for their traditional roles regarding land, community, and patriarchy. The Mexican Revolution is a broad term to describe political and social changes in the early 20th century. Foreign powers had important economic and strategic interests in the outcome of power struggles in Mexico, with United States involvement in the Mexican Revolution playing an especially significant role.
The Revolution grew increasingly broad-based, radical and violent. Revolutionaries sought far-reaching social and economic reforms by strengthening the state and weakening the conservative forces represented by the Church, the rich landowners, and foreign capitalists.
Some scholars consider the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution of as its end point. Land reform in Mexico was enabled by Article Economic nationalism was also enabled by Article 27, restricting ownership of enterprises by foreigners. The Constitution also further restricted the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico ; implementing the restrictions in the late s resulted in major violence in the Cristero War.
A ban on re-election of the president was enshrined in the Constitution and in practice. Political succession was achieved in with the creation of the Partido Nacional Revolucionario PNR , the political party that has dominated Mexico since its creation, now called the Institutional Revolutionary Party. One major effect of the revolution was the disappearance of the Federal Army in , defeated by revolutionary forces of the various factions in the Mexican Revolution. The Mexican Revolution was based on popular participation. At first, it was based on the peasantry who demanded land, water, and a more sympathetic national government.
This set off a spate of political activity by potential candidates, including Francisco I. Madero , a member of one of Mexico's richest families. He created the office of vice president, which could have been a mechanism to ease transition in the presidency. He sent Reyes on a "study mission" to Europe and jailed Madero. This fraud was too blatant, and riots broke out. The rising was set for November 20, Diaz tried to use the army to suppress the revolts, but most of the ranking generals were old men close to his own age and they did not act swiftly or with sufficient energy to stem the violence.
The Federal Army, although defeated by the northern revolutionaries, was kept intact. He campaigned in the presidential elections of October , won decisively, and was inaugurated in November The revolutionary leaders had many different objectives; revolutionary figures varied from liberals such as Madero to radicals such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. As a consequence, it proved impossible to agree about how to organize the government that emerged from the triumphant first phase of the revolution.
This standoff over political principles led quickly to a struggle for control of the government, a violent conflict that lasted more than 20 years. Madero was ousted and killed in February during the Ten Tragic Days. Within a month of the coup, rebellion started spreading in Mexico, most prominently by the governor of the state of Coahuila, Venustiano Carranza along with old revolutionaries demobilized by Madero, such as Pancho Villa.
The northern revolutionaries fought under the name of the Constitutionalist Army , with Carranza as the "First Chief" primer jefe. In the south, Emiliano Zapata continued his rebellion in Morelos under the Plan of Ayala , calling for the expropriation of land and redistribution to peasants. Huerta offered peace to Zapata, who rejected it. Huerta convinced Pascual Orozco , whom he fought while serving the Madero government, to join Huerta's forces. The Federal Army became an arm of the Huerta regime, swelling to some , men, many pressed into service and most ill-trained. The US did not recognize the Huerta government, but from February to August it imposed an arms embargo on exports to Mexico, exempting the Huerta government and thereby favoring the regime against emerging revolutionary forces.
Arms ceased to flow to Huerta's government,  which benefited the revolutionary cause. Although Mexico was engaged in a civil war at the time, the US intervention united Mexican forces in their opposition to the US. Foreign powers helped broker US withdrawal in the Niagara Falls peace conference. The US timed its pullout to throw its support to the Constitutionalist faction under Carranza. Initially, the forces in northern Mexico were united under the Constitutionalist banner, with able revolutionary generals serving the civilian First Chief Carranza.
Pancho Villa began to split from supporting Carranza as Huerta was on his way out. The break was not simply on personalist grounds, but primarily because Carranza was politically too conservative for Villa. In July , Huerta resigned under pressure and went into exile. His resignation marked the end of an era since the Federal Army , a spectacularly ineffective fighting force against the revolutionaries, ceased to exist.
With the exit of Huerta, the revolutionary factions decided to meet and make "a last ditch effort to avert more intense warfare than that which unseated Huerta. The Convention of Aguascalientes did not reconcile the various victorious factions in the Mexican Revolution , but was a brief pause in revolutionary violence. The break between Carranza and Villa became definitive during the Convention.
The convention declared Carranza in rebellion against it and civil war resumed, this time between revolutionary armies that had fought in a united cause to oust Huerta. Villa went into alliance with Zapata to form the Army of the Convention.
History of Mexico
Their forces separately moved on the capital and captured Mexico City in , which Carranza's forces had abandoned. The famous picture of Villa, sitting in the presidential chair in the National Palace, and Zapata is a classic image of the Revolution. Villa is reported to have said to Zapata that the presidential "chair is too big for us.
Zapata returned to his southern stronghold in Morelos, where he continued to engage in guerrilla warfare under the Plan of Ayala. Constitutionalist victory was complete. Carranza emerged in as the political leader of Mexico with a victorious army to keep him in that position. Villa retreated north, seemingly into political oblivion. Carranza and the Constitutionalists consolidated their position as the winning faction, with Zapata remaining a threat until his assassination in Venustiano Carranza promulgated a new constitution on February 5, The Mexican Constitution of , with significant amendments in the s, still governs Mexico.
On 19 January , a secret message the Zimmermann Telegram was sent from the German foreign minister to Mexico proposing joint military action against the United States if war broke out. The offer included material aid to Mexico to reclaim the territory lost during the Mexican—American War , specifically the American states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Carranza's generals told him that Mexico would lose to its much more powerful neighbor.
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However, Zimmermann's message was intercepted and published, and outraged American opinion, leading to a declaration of war in early April. Carranza then formally rejected the offer, and the threat of war with the US eased. Carranza was assassinated in during an internal feud among his former supporters over who would replace him as president. Their life experience in Mexico's northwest, described as a "savage pragmatism"  was in a sparsely settled region, conflict with Indians, secular rather than religious culture, and independent, commercially oriented ranchers and farmers.
This was different from subsistence agriculture of the dense population of the strongly Catholic indigenous and mestizo peasantry of central Mexico. However, all three men were skilled politicians and administrators, who had honed their skills in Sonora. There they had "formed their own professional army, patronized and allied themselves with labor unions, and expanded the government authority to promote economic development. His government managed to accommodate many elements of Mexican society except the most conservative clergy and big land owners. He was not an ideologue, but was a revolutionary nationalist, holding seemingly contradictory views as a socialist, a capitalist, a Jacobin , a spiritualist , and an Americanopphile.
He faced several main tasks in the presidency, mainly political in nature. First was consolidating state power in the central government and curbing regional strongmen caudillos ; second was obtaining diplomatic recognition from the United States; and third was managing the presidential succession in when his term of office ended. With the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution of , the Mexican government was empowered to expropriate natural resources.
The treaty resolved questions about foreign oil interests in Mexico, largely in favor of U. Fifty-four former Obregonistas were shot in the event. Since political opposition parties were essentially banned, the Catholic Church "filled the political void and play the part of a substitute opposition. Candidate Calles embarked on the first populist presidential campaign in the nation's history, as he called for land redistribution and promised equal justice, more education, additional labor rights, and democratic governance.
The Cristero War of to was a counter-revolution against the Calles regime set off by his persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico  and specifically the strict enforcement of the anti-clerical provisions of the Mexican Constitution of and the expansion of further anti-clerical laws. A number of articles of the Constitution were at issue: Finally, Article took away basic civil rights of the clergy: The formal rebellions began early in ,  with the rebels calling themselves Cristeros because they felt they were fighting for Jesus Christ himself.
The laity stepped into the vacuum created by the removal of priests, and in the long run the Church was strengthened. Ambassador, Dwight Whitney Morrow. The conflict claimed about 90, lives: As promised in the diplomatic resolution, the laws considered offensive by the Cristeros remained on the books, but the federal government made no organized attempt to enforce them.
Nonetheless, persecution of Catholic priests continued in several localities, fueled by local officials' interpretation of the law. However, he was assassinated immediately after the July election and there was a power vacuum. Calles could not immediately stand for election, so there needed to be a solution to the crisis. Revolutionary generals and others in the power elite agreed that congress should appoint an interim president and new elections held in In his final address to congress on 1 September , President Calles declared the end of strong man rule, a ban on Mexican presidents serving again in that office, and that Mexico was now entering an age of rule by institutions and laws.
Calles created a more permanent solution to presidential succession with the founding of the National Revolutionary Party PNR in It was a national party that was a permanent rather than a local and emphemeral institution. The party brought together regional caudillos and integrated labor organizations and peasant leagues in a party that was better able to manage the political process. He had convinced most of the remaining revolutionary generals to hand over their personal armies to the Mexican Army; the date of the PRM party's foundation is thus considered by some to be the end of the Revolution.
The party was re-structured again in and renamed the Institutional Revolutionary Party PRI and held power continuously until After its establishment as the ruling party, the PRI monopolized all the political branches: His victory ended the PRI's year hold on the presidency. He nationalized the oil industry on 18 March , the electricity industry, created the National Polytechnic Institute , and started land reform and the distribution of free textbooks to children.
Mexico played a relatively minor role militarily in World War Two in terms of sending troops, but there were other opportunities for Mexico to contribute significantly. Relations between Mexico and the U. Mexico sanctioned businesses and individuals identified by the U. Mexico's biggest contributions to the war effort were in vital war materiel and labor, particularly the Bracero Program , a guest-worker program in the U.
There was heavy demand for its exports, which created a degree of prosperity. Much work had already been accomplished between the U. Following losses of oil ships in the Gulf the Potrero del Llano and Faja de Oro to German submarines U and U respectively the Mexican government declared war on the Axis powers on May 30, This group consisted of more than volunteers, who had trained in the United States to fight against Japan.
Fifth Air Force in the last year of the war. With so many draftees, the U. The Bracero Program gave the opportunity for , Mexicans to work temporarily on American farms, especially in Texas. During the next four decades, Mexico experienced impressive economic growth albeit from a low baseline , an achievement historians call " El Milagro Mexicano ", the Mexican Miracle.
A key component of this phenomenon was the achievement of political stability, which since the founding of the dominant party, has insured stable presidential succession and control of potentially dissident labor and peasant sections through participation in the party structure. It was a popular move, but it did not generate further major expropriations.
This alliance brought significant economic gains to Mexico. By supplying raw and finished war materials to the Allies, Mexico built up significant assets that in the post-war period could be translated into sustained growth and industrialization. Mexico pursued industrial development, through import substitution industrialization and tariffs against foreign imports.
Financing industrialization came from private entrepreneurs, such as the Monterrey group, but the government funded a significant amount through its development bank, Nacional Financiera. Foreign capital through direct investment was another source of funding for industrialization, much of it from the United States.
History of Mexico - Wikipedia
Commercial agriculture expanded with the growth of exports to the U. The Mexico—Guatemala conflict was an armed conflict between the Latin American countries of Mexico and Guatemala , in which civilian fishing boats were fired upon by the Guatemalan Air Force. Although PRI administrations achieved economic growth and relative prosperity for almost three decades after World War II, the party's management of the economy led to several crises.
Political unrest grew in the late s, culminating in the Tlatelolco massacre in