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Mexican History

Mexican history is very exiting, dynamic and interesting filled with intrigue, mystique, rises and falls of the empires and entire civilizations.

Where Did Mexicans Come From

Some scholars believe that the American continent was populated by the Asian people that migrated from Asia in prehistoric time.

Therefore, if this hypothesis would be true that would mean that Mexicans have some Asian blood as well as the European.

The roots of the Mexican civilization, as we know it today, are in the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. These ancient Mesoamerican civilizations had great influence on the traditional Mexican culture, and Mexicans are very proud of this fact.

One of the proofs of how proud the Mexicans are of their Aztec origin is the popularity of the Aztec tattoos. In fact, the Mexican Aztec tattoos are called the Mexican pride tattoos and are one of the most popular tattoos among Mexicans as well as the Mexican Americans.

The answer to the question: Where did Mexicans come from, is not complete without analyzing the European role in the making of the Mexican ethnicity.

Another culture that had great influence on the traditional Mexican culture is the Spanish culture. Spain colonized the Southern part of North American's continent, in the early 16th century when the Conquistadors concurred and defeated the Aztec empire.

The Spanish colonization resulted in the massive migration of the Spanish people, as well as some other European nations, to the Mexico. These people mixed with the Mexican Indians and this is how the Mexican ethnicity originated.

Great majority of Mexicans speak Spanish and are Christians. However there are also 62 indigenous Amerindian languages that are recognized as national languages and many religions, other than Christian, that are practiced by Mexican people. Some of these religions are: Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.

As you can see it is not easy to pinpoint the origin of the Mexican people. However we can conclude that the greatest influence on the Mexican culture and Mexican people had the Spanish, Aztec and Mayan civilizations.


Mexican History


Pre-Columbian Mexico

For thousands of years complex civilizations of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica (Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Toltec, Aztec and other) flourished. These cultures were very developed for that time (2000 B.C - 1519 A.D).

They were very good in mathematics, geometry and engineering. The testimonies of this are Maya's and Aztec's pyramids that are still standing tall in present Mexico. These civilizations built entire cities and in fact the capitol of Aztec's empire (present Mexico City) was the largest city in the world at that time.

Aztecs had good and advanced military which helped them rule the Mesoamerica. They were also very religious and worshiped many gods to whom they were offering human sacrifice very often and at times in very large numbers.

Unfortunately for Aztecs their military was no mach for Spanish army and even more importantly their strong religious beliefs caused them to have many enemies among indigenous Indians who joined Spanish Conquistadores against the Aztecs. Important thing to know is that without the support of the other Nahuatl nations Spanish would have had little chance to concur the Aztec empire.

However, little did those other Nahuatl nations know that by joining the Spanish and destroying the biggest military power of Mesoamerica, which Aztec Empire was, they sentenced themselves to death, slavery and nearly extermination by their very allies - the Spanish.

New Spain

Colonial period lasted from 1521 - 1810 and during that time Mexico was known as "New Spain". The arrival of Spanish is very important turn point in Mexican History.

Most of Indian population was converted to Catholicism; many of them perished due to the diseases and killing, and many Spanish, Portuguese and other European settlers came to Mexico. These events completely changed the demographic image of Mexico which in return caused dramatic changes in all aspects of Mexican culture.


What Started Mexican War of Independence

Mexican war of independence started on September 16th, 1810; and it was an armed conflict between the Mexicans and Spanish colonial forces that lasted for more than 10 years.

The main reason for the war was the whish of the people of Mexico to be free from Spanish rule and to be able to govern its own country.

For many years Mexicans were divided among themselves and were not able to unite and adequately oppose the Spanish colonial forces. However, this didn't stop one man from trying to unite his countrymen and organize them to rebel against the Spanish rule.

On 16 September, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo made a famous speech and among many things said: "My friends and countrymen, neither the king nor tributes exist for us anymore. The moment of our freedom has come and the hour of our liberty has struck. Only a few hours remain before you see me at the head of the men who take pride in being free. Join me, join us and be free for the first time in your lives. Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe! Long live Independence!"

In 1813 on 6 November the Congress signed the Mexican declaration of independence known as the "Solemn Act of the Declaration of Independence of Northern America." However, it would take another seven more years until this dream became reality.

The Mexican war for independence lasted for 10 long years and it clamed more than 15 000 Mexican lives and close to 500 000 wounded. It was a long, exhausting and very challenging decade for Mexican people; but in the end they won their freedom and became an independent nation.

Nowadays the 16 September is celebrated in present Mexico as the Mexican Independence Day and it is a very important national holyday. There is no Mexican that doesn't celebrate this holyday and everybody takes part in this celebration including the president of Mexico.


Independence Day

"Enough is enough, neither the king nor tributes exist for us any longer. I invite you to fight with me for our freedom because the hour of our liberty has struck! Our cause is holy and God will protect it! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe! Long live Independence!"

These are the Father Miguel's words that marked the begging of the 10 year long struggle of Mexican people for their independence. The day of the Father Miguel's speech (September 16) is nowadays celebrated across the Mexico as the Mexican Independence Day.

Mexican War of Independence

The Mexican war of independence (1810-1821) was an armed conflict between the Mexicans and the Spanish colonial forces. This ten year long struggle for independence was everything but easy for the Mexican people, and it clamed over 15 000 Mexican lives and nearly half a million wounded.

A very challenging point of the Mexican war of independence was when Father Miguel was captures, trialed for treason and executed. His body was dismembered and his had displayed as a warning for all that support the struggle for independence.

This however didn't discourage Mexicans to fight for their freedom; and it is because of their endurance and courage they won their independence and the Mexican Republic was born in 1823 (after the first Mexican Empire was abolished).

On September 16th 1810 father Miguel Hidalgo declared Mexico's independence from Spain which was the beginning of the Mexican war for independence that lasted for over 10 years.

In 1821 Spain officially recognized Mexico's independence and the first Mexican Empire was created under the rule of Agustin de Iturbide who was the former Spanish general that switched sides and to fight for Mexicans.

This first Mexican Empire and the rule of a self-proclaimed emperor didn't last. Mexican rebelled against him and in the 1823 and the first Mexican Republic was established.

How do Mexicans Celebrate Independence Day

In order to fully understand the significance and the beauty of the celebration of the Mexican Independence Day you should be in Mexico during this major Mexican holiday.

Every Mexican city and town looks like a Christmas tree. Cars, houses, buildings and streets in all Mexican cities, towns and villages are decorated with the Mexican Flags, balloons, ribbons in Mexican traditional colors, flowers and of course the lighted decorations .

Traditional Mexican costumes are everywhere to be seen, especially the sombreros (traditional Mexican hats with large brim). Mariachi music bands are playing traditional Mexican music and there is no person that doesn't dance, sing or just shout.

The euphoria that takes place in the entire Mexico during the Mexican Independence Day is truly contagious. This is why if you find yourself in the middle of this amazing way of celebrating you would not be able not to dance and enjoy it as if it was your day of independence.

Of course the traditional Mexican foods are an important part of this celebration because, if nothing else, you need energy if you want to dance all daylong.

The taste of traditional Mexican food made in Mexico, especially during the festivities, cannot be described by wards. This is why you need to try it in order to find out how great it is.

These festivities are also a good chance to enjoy Mexican beer and the most famous Mexican drink - tequila. Often during the independence celebration very good and expensive tequila bottles are opened and if you are lucky enough you may try some.

A side from delicious Mexican food, traditional Mexican beer, tequila, Mexican music, Mexican dances and great atmosphere there is a unique experience of sense of unity and happiness. All this adds up to an unforgettable event that is called Mexican Independence Day.

There is no better way to celebrate freedom and independence and to commemorate the heroes of the independence war than the way Mexicans do it.


Mexican American War

One of the biggest mistakes of Mexican Government in the entire Mexican history is the decision to go to war against the United Stated over the boundaries disagreements. Mexican American war lasted for 2 years (1846 to 1848); Mexico lost the war and more than a half of its territory.

The territories that Mexico lost are present Texas, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Oklahoma, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. Now you can comprehend how significant mistake was made my Mexican Government to declare war to the United States.

U.S. - Mexican War was an armed conflict between the Mexico and United States in the wake of the U.S. annexation of Texas.

Texas was part of Mexico until the 1836 when it declared independence from Mexico and was recognized as an independent Republic of Texas by Britain, France and United States.

After the declaration of independence most Texans were in favor of annexation by the U.S. however Andrew Jackson (U.S. president at the time) rejected it. The main reason for Jackson's rejection was the Mexican warning that the U.S. annexation of Texas would mean war.

The reason for this was that Mexico considered Texas as a rebellious territory that will always be part of Mexico and that will be retaken in the future, peacefully or by the military intervention.

In 1845 when Texas was offered admission to the union as a 28th American state the American people and the American political establishment were divided on this very important issue. Some years later it turned out that that very issue was a key part of the origins of the American Civil War.

Some of the prominent American politicians and public figures that were against the U.S. annexation of Texas and Mexican American War were Joshua Giddings, Robert Toombs, Henry David Thoreau and Abraham Lincoln, to name a few.

"Murdering Mexicans upon their own soil or robbing them of their own country are the crimes I will not participate in. Therefore I vote against supplying soldiers and weapons" Joshua Giddings

Even thought Mexican American war divided the Unites States and the American politicians publicly called the U.S - Mexican War an unholy and unjust aggression, the war did take place and it caused many victims, a lot of suffering, pain, and great territory loss for Mexico.

Mexico lost the war it fought to prevent the loss of Texas and the Mexican representatives signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The terms of this treaty were devastating for Mexico but Mexicans had no other choice but to sign it because Americans occupied most of Mexico, including its capitol - Mexico City, and were not leaving until the treaty was signed.

The treaty guarantied to United States the undisputed control of Texas but it also ceded to the U.S. another 55% of Mexican national territory including the present-day states of California, Utah, Nevada, and parts of Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

After signing the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo a leading U.S. newspaper, the Whig Intelligencer concluded: "We take nothing by conquest.. Thank God".+


Mexican Cession

Mexican Cession


The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical term that refers to the American annexation of the Mexican territories after the two year long Mexican American war.

The Mexican territories that Mexico was forced to give up to the United States in 1848 included the entire present-day states of California, Nevada and Utah and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming.

As one U.S. paper concluded :We take nothing by conquest: Thank God".

The American major goal of the war was the cession of 55% of the Mexican territories (including Texas) however that wasn't easy to accomplish because Mexico was unwilling to give up its territories easily.

Even though by the 1847 the American regular army and volunteers (who were famous for their cruelty) conquered the present-day states of California, Nevada and Utah as well as the parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming, the Mexican government refused to give up the Mexican territories that American government demanded in order to end the war.

Therefore in 1847 the American Senate ordered the American army and volunteers to invade Mexico and occupy the Mexican capitol of Mexico City.

Even though Mexico was invaded and the Mexican government was held at the gunpoint in the Mexico City Americans were unable to make the Mexican government sign off the Mexican territories.

It is than that some American politicians (Eastern Democrats) advocated for the complete annexation of Mexico however that was not in the agenda of the Southern politicians who wanted the additional territories for the white Southerners and their black slaves but not the large Mexican population of the Central Mexico.

Eventually Mexican government did sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which was the peace treaty dictated by the American Government that ended the Mexican American war.


Second Mexican Empire

In the 1860 only 12 years after the American occupation of Mexico ended, the Mexican Republic was occupied by France. French abolished Mexican Republic and established Second Mexican Empire under the rule of Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.

The second Mexican Empire lasted longer than the first one but in the 1867 Maximilian was captured and executed which marked an end to the Second Mexican Empire, the restoration of the Mexican Republic and many political and social reforms.

The Mexican Revolution

The period of Mexican revolution (1910 - 1921) was one of the most turbulent periods in Mexican history. During Mexican revolution the dictator Diaz was overthrown; many prominent and passionate leaders emerged such as presidents Francisco I Madero and Venustiano Carranza, revolutionary leaders Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Vila and others.

Unfortunately they were all assassinated between 1913 and 1923. However they didn't die in vain because Mexico would never be the same after the revolution. Great example of this is the Mexican Constitution of 1917 that brought many positive changes to Mexican people.

A Big Mess

The "Revolucion Mexicana" started in 1910 and it lasted way too long, until the 1920 when it was officially over, however unofficially it ended few years later.

This multi-sided-brutal civil war clamed between 1, 000, 000 and 2, 000, 000 lives and it caused a lot of suffering to tens of million of people. The Mexican economy suffered a lot and billions of dollars were lost.

The revolution started as armed revolt against the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz under the leadership of Francisco I Madero. However, when Madero overthrew General Diaz and became the Mexican president himself in 1911 the revolution was far from over.

Madero was a good politician but he wasn't a good dictator and he gave too much democracy to his people too soon. He was not capable of creating the stability and he was executed by the orders of the contra revolutionary General Victoriano Huerta.

General Huerta was a very "good" dictator and he gave no democracy to his people what so ever. However, that wasn't the solution either because the 1913 was the beginning of the most violent period of revolution.

Huerta was a Mexican president for less than a year and in 1914 he was exiled.

Venustiano Carranza was a new Mexican president and was desperately trying to bring some order and stability. However that was very difficult to achieve at the time, due to the popularity of the revolutionary leaders such as Emilio Zapata and Pancho Vila and their armies.

Carranza was a great politician and true patriot however his reward for that was a betrayal by his own men the he trusted with his life. On May 21, 1920 he was executed by the forces of General Radolfo Hererro.

Now you can understand why we say that Mexican revolution was a big mess and that in fact it was everything but a revolution.