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Mexico

A history of Mexico from the Maya civilization onwards

Mexico's first inhabitants were Amerindians...

The great Mexican civilizations and the fall of the Maya

The Olmecs were Mexico's first major civilization, their influence spreading across the country. They were followed by three more pre-Columbian civilizations, that of Teotihuacan, the Zapotecs and the famous Maya. The Maya built hundreds of city-states, their legacy influencing the Toltec civilization, which peaked around the 9th Century. This flourishing civilisation fell in the 12th Century, possibly due to internal disputes.

The fight against the Spanish

The moment they arrived, the Spanish recognised the potential that Mexico offered and they invaded the entire country. In 1810, Miguel Hidalgo led the fight against Spanish rule. It was a long battle, but when, in 1821, the rebels took the must-see Mexico City it heralded the liberation of Mexico.

From growth to recession

Between 1910 and 1929, Mexico was weakened by revolution and civil war. Between 1940 and 1970, the country found its feet and began to grow. Industry flourished, exports increased and foreign investment poured in. In 1970, Mexico was deeply affected by the oil crisis. Inflation and a sharp rise in the public deficit were to the detriment of the entire country.

History of Mexico

From the 90s onwards

Mexico began to emerge from its economic crisis during the 90s. Even so, dissent amongst the Mexican public grew, as the government failed to deal with a disparity between rich and poor. 1997 saw the massacre of 45 native American Indians in Chiapas. It wasn't the first time indigenous groups had been attacked and, during the ensuing enquiry, the involvement of a Mexican government official was called into question. The President, Ernesto Zedillo, subsequently proposed a revision of the civil rights law for indigenous populations.

Mexico from 2000 onwards

In 2000, the election of Vincente Fox of the National Action Party came as a surprise to many. It was the first time in 71 years that the Institutional Revolutionary Party, called the 'perfect dictatorship' by some, lost power. This was followed by the election of a conservative government under Felipe Calderon, whose manifesto was to wipe out the illegal drugs trade. Military intervention led to increased violence and insecurity in numerous parts of Mexico. In 2012, the IRP was re-elected, under the leadership of Enrique Pena Nieto. His current policy is to reduce the level of violence within the country and increase foreign investment.

Tiphaine Leblanc
78 contributions
Updated 29 September 2015

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