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Timeline and History Overview
El Castillo Pyramid
- 1400 - The Olmec civilization begins to develop.
- 1000 - The Mayan Civilization starts to form.
- 100 - The Mayans build the first pyramids.
Brief Overview of the History of Mexico
- 1000 - The southern cities of the Mayan culture begin to collapse.
- 1200 - The Aztecs arrive in the Valley of Mexico.
- 1325 - The Aztecs found the city of Tenochtitlan.
- 1440 - Montezuma I becomes leader of the Aztecs and expands the Aztec Empire.
- 1517 - Spanish explorer Hernandez de Cordoba explores the shores of southern Mexico.
- 1519 - Hernan Cortez arrives in Tenochtitlan. Montezuma II is killed.
- 1521 - Cortez defeats the Aztecs and claims the land for Spain. Mexico City will be built on the same spot as Tenochtitlan.
- 1600s - Spain conquers the rest of Mexico and Spanish settlers arrive. Mexico is part of the colony of New Spain.
- 1810 - The Mexican War of Independence begins led by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo.
- 1811 - Miguel Hidalgo is executed by the Spanish.
- 1821 - The War of Independence ends and Mexico declares its independence on September 27th.
- 1822 - Agustin de Iturbide is declared the first Emperor of Mexico.
- 1824 - Guadalupe Victoria takes office as the first President of Mexico. Mexico becomes a republic.
- 1833 - Santa Anna becomes president for the first time.
- 1835 - The Texas Revolution begins.
- 1836 - The Mexican army led by Santa Anna is defeated by the Texans led by Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas declares its independence from Mexico as the Republic of Texas.
- 1846 - The Mexican-American War begins.
- 1847 - The United States Army occupies Mexico City.
- 1848 - The Mexican-American War ends with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The U.S. gains territory including California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
- 1853 - Mexico sells portions of New Mexico and Arizona to the United States as part of the Gasden Purchase.
- 1857 - Santa Anna is exiled from Mexico.
- 1861 - The French invade Mexico and install Maximilian of Austria as president in 1864.
- 1867 - Benito Jaurez expels the French and becomes president.
- 1910 - The Mexican Revolution begins led by Emiliano Zapata.
- 1911 - President Porfirio Diaz, who ruled as dictator for 35 years, is overthrown and replaced with revolutionary Francisco Madero.
- 1917 - The Mexican Constitution is adopted.
- 1923 - Revolutionary hero and military leader Poncho Villa is assassinated.
- 1929 - The National Mexican Party is formed. It will later be named the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The PRI will rule the Mexican government until the year 2000.
- 1930 - Mexico experiences a long period of economic growth.
- 1942 - Mexico joins the Allies in World War II declaring war on Germany and Japan.
- 1968 - The Summer Olympics are held in Mexico City.
- 1985 - A huge 8.1 level earthquake hits Mexico City. Much of the city is destroyed and over 10,000 people are killed.
- 1993 - The North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and the United States is ratified.
- 2000 - Vicente Fox is elected president. He is the first president not from the PRI party in 71 years.
Mexico was the home to many great civilizations including the Olmec, the Maya, the Zapotec, and the Aztec. For over 3000 years before the Europeans arrived these civilizations flourished.
The Olmec civilization lasted from 1400 to 400 BC followed by the rise of the Maya culture. The Maya built many large temples and pyramids. The great ancient city of Teotihuacan was built between 100 BC and 250 AD. It was the largest city in the area and probably had a population of more than 150,000 people. The Aztec Empire was the last great civilization prior to the arrival of the Spanish. They came into power in 1325 and ruled until 1521.
In 1521, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztecs and Mexico became a Spanish colony. For 300 years Spain ruled the land until the early 1800s. At that time the local Mexicans revolted against Spanish rule. Father Miguel Hidalgo declared Mexico's independence with his famous cry of "Viva Mexico". In 1821, Mexico defeated the Spanish and gained full independence. Heroes of the Mexican revolution included General Augustin de Iturbide and General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
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