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History

history

Modern Mexico was the cradle of many ancient civilizations. In XII -V centuries BC the Olmec culture succeeded there, which had a significant influence on the later classical civilizations of Mexico: Teotihuacan culture on the territory of the present state of Mexico; Zapotec in Oaxaca with the center of Monte Alban and highly developed Mayan civilization formed on Yucatan Peninsula with its capital of Chichen Itza. Indians built stone cities, many of which were abandoned long before the arrival of Europeans.

One of such city was Teotihuacan, where there is one of the largest constructions of pre-Columbian America - the pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. Mayan achievements included the complex religion and mythological system, hieroglyphic writing, majestic architecture, exquisite sculptures and exquisite arts and crafts, vast knowledge of mathematics and astronomy and accurate calendar.

About XII century Mayan civilization became in the firing line of the warlike tribe of Aztecs, who founded their capital of Tenochtitlan located on the islands of Texcoco Lake on the place of the present Mexico City. Through alliances and conquests, they have greatly expanded their holdings, although the so-called Aztec Empire was a union of city-states with freely joined them villages and tribes imposed on taxes. The territory of the ancient Aztec capital was quite big: it covers an area of about 20 km². Tenochtitlan was crossed by the channels chain and connection with land was carried out by means of dikes, equipped with drawbridges. The first Europeans astonished by Tenochtitlan beauty called it Aztecs Venice.

The city was surrounded by lake, or rather, the whole system of man-made reservoirs created by the superhuman efforts of Indians. Three dikes joined the city center with a land. The streets were the channels crossed by bridges. A stone dam protected the city against floodwaters. In XV—XVI centuries Tenochtitlan became one of the most beautiful cities of Western Hemisphere.

Gossips about Mexico riches attracted attention of Spanish conquistadors. The focused research and the conquest of Mexico began in 1517 under the leadership of Cuba governor, Diego Velázquez, who organized three expeditions to Mexico. The third expedition (the last one) was led by Hernán Cortés. In 1519, on the Gulf Coast, he founded the Veracruz settlement which became the base for the conquest of the country. Hernán Cortés refused to submit to the Cuba governor declared himself a captain-general and burned his ships in order to prevent desertion. Cortés reached Tenochtitlan (present Mexico City) and conquered the empire.




Aztec Empire collapse marked a new era in the history of Mexico – the period of 300 years Spanish domination known as New Spain. The New Spain which was created in 1535 and existed until 1821 belonged to the present territories of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Cuba and South-Western states of America (also Florida territory). Moreover, the Philippines and various islands of the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea were in its submission. The capital was in Mexico and the appointed Viceroy submitted to the monarch of Spain.

Anti-colonial war in Mexico started after the occupation of Spain by Napoleon's troops and the beginning of the war for independence in the United States. The revolution began in Dolores settlement on September 16th 1810 and was headed by the priest Miguel Hidalgo. The revolutionists were mostly Indians and mestizos who obeyed Miguel Hidalgo and went to the capital. Ten months later Hidalgo was captured by the Spaniards, defrocked and shot. September 16th in Mexico is an independence day when citizens cherish national hero Hidalgo. In 1821 there was proclaimed independence of Mexico and in 1824 there was published first constitution.

At the beginning of ХХ century Mexico underwent revolutionary changes. The period of benign reforms began in the middle of 20-ies of ХХ century. In 1929 there was formed "Nationally - revolutionary party" renamed into "Institutional Revolutionary Party" (IRP) in 1946 and existed until the year of 2000.

General election held in the year of 2000 radically changed the political situation in the country. IRP for the first time in 70 years lost power in Mexico. The president of the country became Vicente Fox Quesada – the representative of “National Action Party” (NAP) and in 2006 the country was headed by the representative of this party - Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.

On December 1st, 2012 the president of the country Enrique Peña Nieto – the representative of IRP was elected again.