Craig White's Literature Courses

Historical Backgrounds

History of Mexico

Pre-Columbian Central America: (i.e., before Columbus)

Post-Columbian or post-contact:

1517 Spanish arrive in Yucatan peninsula

1519-1521 Spanish forces led by Hernan Cortes capture Aztec emperor Cuauhtemoc (Montezuma) and capital of Aztec Empire (modern-day Mexico City)

1524 Aztec Empire integrated into "New Spain"

1500s-1600s Spanish Conquest completed throughout current Mexico


1810-21 Mexican War of Independence from Spain


1835 Texas Revolution

1836 Republic of Texas gains independence


1846-1848 Mexican American War  (Mexico loses half its territory to the USA.)


1861 France invades Mexico, installs Maximilian I as King (deposed with American help and executed, 1867)


1910-1920s: Mexican Revolution (comparable to Civil War in USA to settle problems unresolved by Independence)


1917 Constitution restores some property rights to state, recognizes labor unions, limits power of clergy


1940s-60s "The Mexican Miracle" (postwar economic growth)


1976, 1982: economic crises devalue peso


1980s "La Decada Perdida" (The Lost Decade)


1980s-90s: Neoliberal reforms to economy, deregulation of business, suppression of church lifted


1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)