Mexican history, common prehistory with other states in Central America. The oldest traces of settlement in the high valley of Mexico are around 20,000 BC. Dated from about 7000 BC. The cultivation of cultivated plants can be proven, especially important the cultivation of the maize. Since around 2000 BC Mexico belonged to the area of the Mesoamerican civilizations.
Hernández de Córdoba was the first Spaniard to land on March 1st, 1517 on the northeastern tip of the Yucatán peninsula, whose north coast was circumnavigated the following year by Juan de Grijalva (* around 1480, † 1527), who also sailed the coast of the Gulf of Mexico (up to in the area of Veracruz) and was the first to report on the Maya culture and the Aztec empire. 1519–21 H. Cortés conquered the Aztec Empire for the crown of Spain. He received military help from Indian peoples who were hostile to the Aztecs, v. a. the Totonaks and Tlaxcalteks.
The Aztec Empire formed the heart of what is now Mexico. According to ehotelat, Mexico is a country in North America. As the viceroyalty of New Spain (Nueva España, since 1536) Mexico was the political, economic and religious-cultural center of Spanish rule in Central and North America. populated the areas of Texas, New Mexico and California. Religious – v. a. Franciscans and Dominicans – evangelized the Indian population. Because of its richness in silver, Mexico was next to Peru the most valuable part of the Spanish colonial empire. During the three centuries of Spanish rule, around 3,000 silver deposits were tapped, accounting for two thirds of the world’s silver production at that time. Economic development began in the northern mining centers of Zacatecas and Guanajuato. In addition to silver, Mexico exported the red dye Cochineal, tobacco, sugar, cocoa and cotton. After the extreme decline in the Indian population in central Mexico caused by epidemics, the population has risen continuously since the 17th century. The population of the colonial era was divided into native Spaniards and their descendants (Creoles), an increasing number of mestizos who fought increasingly hard for their social recognition, and a large number of Indian peoples.
The politics of enlightened absolutism – since the accession of Charles III. of Spain (1759) – with their reforms in the civil and financial administration and the associated suppression of the influence of the Creoles led to an intensification of the antagonism between Mexico and Spain after 1765. In addition, there were regional differences in the interior, especially opposition to the predominance of the capital.
Mexico in the second half of the 20th century
The PRI became the dominant political force after the Second World War. By the late 1980s, all presidents, governors, mayors, senators and MPs were from the party. Far-reaching economic and social change began as early as the 1930s. The infrastructure was further expanded, industrialization advanced and agriculture further mechanized. The great influence of the state on the economy, which combines private entrepreneurship, state capitalism and the form of cooperative organization, remained characteristic. The strong economic growth (until 1970) contrasted with a dramatic increase in population, especially in the capital, and widening income differences. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz (* 1911, † 1979; 1964–70) suspended by the student unrest in Tlatelolco, which was put down on October 2, 1968. President Luis Echeverría Álvarez (* 1922; 1970-76) tried in vain to set new economic accents by means of an expensive infrastructure and distribution-oriented reform policy. In terms of foreign policy, he took a radical “third world position” at times and advocated a distancing of Mexico from the USA. His successor J. López Portillo y Pacheco (1976–82) was able to alleviate Mexico’s deep economic crisis initially through renewed economic growth through the oil business, but mismanagement and corruption led to a new severe crisis, so that Mexico had to declare its insolvency in September 1982. M. de la Madrid Hurtados (1982–88) Although austerity policies were successful, major social sacrifices were required of the population.
In 1988 Carlos Salinas de Gortari (* 1948), again from the PRI, took over the presidency. At about the same time, a gradual shift in the power structure began: In the governor and mayoral elections in 1989, the PRI had to hand over offices to the opposition parties for the first time. Salinas tried to reform the system of amalgamation of state, PRI and economy; an extensive privatization program began under his government and the legal disadvantage of the Catholic Church was largely abolished. With a constitutional reform (1993), the electoral law was designed in such a way that the opposition parties could break the PRI’s monopoly on power.
On January 1st, 1994 armed Indians rose up in Chiapas, who, organized by the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN; German Zapatista National Liberation Army), protested against their suppression and demanded social and political reforms. The uprising could not be suppressed even in repeated military actions; the repeatedly interrupted negotiations led to an agreement in 1996, but this did not eliminate the causes of the uprising and was only inadequately implemented.
The PRI’s candidate for the 1994 presidential election, Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta (* 1950), was attacked in March 1994. In his place, E. Zedillo Ponce de León was elected President in August 1994 with 48.77% of the vote (inauguration December 1st). On December 20th, 1994, a severe economic crisis began with the depreciation of the peso. The crisis was resolved in the course of 1995 through the intervention of the international financial organizations. Zedillo operated the unbundling of the state and the PRI with an electoral reform. Other priorities of the Zedillo governmentwere the regaining of economic stability and the fight against drug-related crime. The elections on July 3rd, 2000 marked the end of the system of “institutionalized revolution”: V. Fox Quesada, the bourgeois Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) candidate, was elected president (in office on December 1st, 2000). The PRI also lost its majority in parliament.