Brief History of Mexico (I)
Written by Alfonso Elizondo
For different reasons, all Latin American countries are now going through a process of very profound change and everything suggests that a new historical period will begin all over the world. So I will try to give a very brief summary of the history of Mexico to allow us to foresee its immediate future in an objective and simple way.
The Spaniards entered Mesoamerica through Veracruz, formed alliances with some indigenous peoples and advanced towards Mexico-Tenochitlán, defeating some allies of the Mexicas [Aztecs] on the way. Nevertheless, the king of the Mexicas, Moctezuma Xocoyotzin, received the Spaniards peacefully while the majority of the Mexicas were on a war footing. Cuitláhuac defeated the invaders in 1520 but he died and his successor Cuauhtémoc, who was the last Tenochca tlatoani [Aztec emperor], was captured in 1521 and executed in 1525. Then the Spaniards set out to conquer all of New Spain in a process that lasted almost 300 years. At the same time, the indigenous peoples were Christianised and acculturated.
Hernán Cortés assumed power as captain general of New Spain and in 1527 the Audiencia of Mexico [Mexican Appellate Court] was established. The first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco who was appointed in 1535 and New Spain was governed by 63 viceroys. Spanish domination successfully tackled the indigenous resistance that was sometimes armed, as in the case of the Chichimeca War, the War (1540-1551), the Rebellion of the (1734-1737) and the Mayan Revolt in Cistel (1761 ).
Mining was the basis of New Spain’s economy after gold and silver deposits were discovered in Zacatecas and Guanajuato, and so New Spain reached a high level of economic development in a very short time. This facilitated agricultural growth in the Bajío region and in the valleys of Mexico and Puebla, where a low-level industry began to develop, and the Mexican peso, due to the high quality of its coins, was used in commercial transactions in the Spanish Empire.
Trade in New Spain was conducted through the ports of Veracruz and Acapulco, where the Nao de China [China Ship] docked and from there products were transported to the center of the country, including Puebla where they had great influence.
In fact, the viceroyalty was the basis of social development in Mexico at the time, and the indigenous and European cultures merged to create a varied mix of different ethnic groups. In that period great figures emerged, like in literature, and Manuel Tolsá in architecture. Also noteworthy were Pedro Romero de Terreros, founder of Monte Pío from which microcredit emerged worldwide, and Andrés Manuel del Río, a scientist who discovered vanadium.
Most of the people of New Spain were Catholics, and the Holy Inquisition against heretics and apostates had facilities in Mexico, but fortunately the Indians were exempt from its torture because of their 'lack of a soul,' which made them 'neophytes of the faith'. The prosperity level of the people of New Spain was the highest in the Americas, especially in Mexico City, in Puebla, Veracruz, Acapulco and Zacatecas. Many of the traditions and institutions that evolved and are now part of the characteristics of the Mexican population today emerged during the viceroyalty.
The French invasion of Spain gave rise to several liberation movements in the American colonies and in 1808 there was a serious political crisis in New Spain that ended with the ousting of the Viceroy Iturrigaray in a coup d'etat. There were also conspiracies in other regions of the Spanish viceroyalty but these were violently suppressed. On September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo and Costilla called a meeting of the insurgents in the town of Dolores in Guanajuato, and out of this came the War of Independence. Hidalgo is responsible for the abolition of slavery in Mexico and he was shot in 1811 along with other leaders of the movement
The insurgent movement was strengthened in the center of New Spain under the command of Morelos and Pavón, who was an excellent military strategist. In 1813 he convened the Congress of Chilpancingo which declared the independence of North America, creating the First Constitution promulgated in Apatzingán. However, Morelos was captured and shot in 1815.
Starting in 1815, the insurgents entered a defensive and fragmented war led by Pedro Moreno and Francisco Javier Mina, who advanced from Tamaulipas to central Mexico but were defeated. Then Viceroy Apodaca encouraged the desertion of many insurgents and the new Constitution of 1820 worried the New Spain elite who had agreed on independence with the insurgents. Agustín de Iturbide was supported by Vicente Guerrero and together they promulgated the Plan of Iguala. So when Juan O 'Donojú - the last viceroy - arrived in New Spain he signed the Mexican Declaration of Independence on September 28, 1821.
After the Treaties of a provisional government was installed and it remained in place until the coronation of Iturbide. His position was weak and this was the reason for the promulgation of the Plan of Casa Mata, the idea of which was to form a republic. The republican insurrection triumphed in 1823, Iturbide went into exile and Central America seceded from Mexico.
In 1833, Valentín Gómez introduced liberal reforms to the Constitution and the conservatives reacted by dissolving the federal republic and establishing a centralist republic. In 1835 the promulgation of the Seven Laws sparked separatist movements that were all suppressed, except for the one in Texas that gained its independence in 1836. And in 1841 Yucatán broke away from Mexico and did not re-join until 1848.
As a result of its territorial claims to Texas, the United States invaded Mexico between 1846 and 1848. In the midst of the war, the federalists reinstituted the Constitution of 1824 and after losing the war, the Mexican government was forced to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe -Hidalgo, whereby more than half of the country's territory was handed over to the United States. Confrontations between political factions continued and this led to the last accession to power of Antonio López de Santana who was the eleventh president and whogoverned like a dictator. But then came Juan , who led an insurrection and deposed Santana.