The Mexican history stretches across centuries. Ever since the land attracted the early settlers, the natives have had to cope with outside forces attracted to the region to partake in the agricultural revolution and territorial expansion.
It continues to retain the identities of multiple, complex civilizations, but not without the scars of recorded conflicts with the Spaniards between 1519 and 1821; the U.S. in 1848 and then again in the early twentieth century; France, between 1861 and 1867, and the 1862 Battle of Puebla.
Pre-Columbian and Post-Classic
Mexico has an indigenous heritage that has consistently appealed to colonial masters as the ideal modern cultural model.
Pre-Columbian history and that of the Post-Classic period is full of escapades of people's struggle with conquests amongst inhabiting Mesoamerican civilizations like Toltec, Olmec, Izapa, Maya, Teotihuacan, Mixtec, Zapotec, Huastec, Aztec, and Tarascan.
This was before its exposure to European settlers, who made the terrain their home in the quest for fertile land, submissive natives for territorial expansion, and the abundant investment in military might.
The result was a power-driven formation of many independent city-states and empires, that consistently competed for prestige. In time, the people united beyond political fragments to reach across and beyond Mexican boundaries.
This history is copious with a number of political and economic alliances and many wars. Ambition and military skill led the wars of liberation and cunning political maneuvers. This paved the rostrum for westward expansion ― a system of taxation and elaborate bureaucracy.
1519 - 1821
In 1519, Mexico faced Spanish invasion. The people rallied their forces to oust the foreigners from the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan in 1521. This period of struggle also led to territorial expansion between 1517 and 1518, beyond the shores of South Mexico.
Between 1519 and 1521, the natives were a part of attacks, rebellions, and a number of wars. This phase also witnessed the natives battling another type of struggle for independence. This twist was ushered in the form of religious belief, that only human sacrifice could appease the gods and usher in peace.
Thus, during this time, they not only dealt with outside forces, but also fought for independence from superstitions and wanton shedding of blood. The era between 1519 and 1521 witnessed them braving European warfare and the rallying of indigenous allies.
1521 - 1848
The struggle with the Spaniards for independence ushered in a new combat, that of the natives and colonization. Adventurous seafaring brought to the shores of Mexico, the colonial masters in the form of the British and the French.
The need for land to assist the raw material requirement during the industrial revolution, and the rush for territorial expansion, brought European settlers to Mexico.
Along with their tryst with unjust taxes, forced labor, and military might, they witnessed the makeover from ingenious religious beliefs to Catholicism, Pre-Hispanic cultures to socio-religious traditions, and the existing feudal system to the encomienda, and later to debt-based labor inscriptions.
The organization of revitalization movements and revolution, resulted in the formation of 'la Nueva España' or New Spain between 1521 and 1810. During this time, the territory extended across the Spanish Caribbean Islands, Central America, Costa Rica, Southwestern United States, and the Philippines.
The primary interest of the Spaniards and thereafter that of the French settlers, remained additional labor and military force, treasure-laden terrain, and a strategically located frontier.
It was officially recognized as 'independent from Spain' in 1821. Thereafter, a number of adjacent Spanish possessions were incorporated into it between 1822 and 1823. In the 1820s, they were exposed to U.S. influence, which culminated in the Mexican-American War of Independence.
Once again, the pillaged nation was desolate in the wake of impoverishment and political and social fragmentation. Imperial expansion and immigration, sparked their struggle for independence.
The revolution between 1830 and 1832, and the U.S.-Mexican War between 1846 and 1848, resulted in the sale of the northern territories of Mexico to the US, as a measure for peace for US$15 million.
1855 - 1921
Its defeat by the U.S. forces due to lack of unity and organization and the 1855 Revolution of Ayutla, culminated in the adoption of the Constitution of 1857. Between 1857 and 1861, the War of Reform polarized the politics, ending in a Liberal victory.
The country's struggle with the French, culminated in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Between 1910 and 1921, it lost over 900,000 civilian and military-pledged lives in a number of internal revolutions and wars with the U.S. forces.