Cortés conquered the Aztecs in 1521, and for the next 300 years, Mexico was ruled by Spain.
In 1810, a priest named Hidalgo put the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe put a banner and led thousands of poor peasants against the Spanish elites.
Hidalgo, considered the Father of the Nation of Mexico, was executed, but his movement led to Mexico’s independence.
From 1821 to 1857, fifty different governments ruled Mexico.
There were many revolutions which usually began with class-warfare of the poor being organized to overthrow the rich, but ended with power-grabs by revolutionary leaders who often became dictators themselves.
Agustín de Iturbide first fought against Hidalgo, but then switched to fight Spain.
Iturbide made himself Emperor of Mexico, placing the crown on his own head.
Antonio López de Santa Anna, Vicente Guerrero and others conspired against him and he fled to Britain. Upon his return he was executed.
Mexico was then ruled by a Supreme Executive Power, followed by its first President, Guadalupe Victoria, the only president who completed his full term in more than 30 years of an independent Mexico.
Manuel Gómez Pedraza won the second election, but Vicente Guerrero and Antonio López de Santa Anna staged a coup d’état, bombarding the palace.
Vicente Guerrero became President but was deposed and executed by his Vice-President Bustamante, who himself was deposed twice and exiled to Europe.
Between 1833 and 1855 the Mexican presidency changed hands at least thirty-six times, and Antonio López de Santa Anna ruled eleven of those.
Antonio López de Santa Anna eventually laid aside the Constitution, dissolved the Congress, and made himself dictator.
Earlier, in 1823, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua had declared their independence from Mexico.
In 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico, as there was no longer a Constitutional government.
Ten years later was the Mexican-American War, which ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe (more below).
In 1853, Benito Juarez was exiled for objecting to Santa Anna’s dictatorship, but he returned and helped lead the Revolution of Ayutla, 1854, which ousted Santa Anna.
In the resulting power vacuum, and the 1856 War of Reform against the church, Benito Juarez became President.
The French invaded Mexico, but suffered an unexpected defeated at the Battle of Puebla, on Cinco de Mayo, 1862.
Juarez executed Maximilian I of France in 1867.
As Benito Juarez consolidated power to ensure his re-election, a revolt was led by Porfirio Diaz.
Juarez put down the revolt, but died of a heart attack and was succeeded by Lerdo de Tejada.
Lerdo de Tejada was overthrown by Porfirio Diaz, who was President for most of 1876 to 1911.
Porfirio Diaz was ousted 1911 by Francisco Madero.
In the next decade of fighting nearly a million died.
Francisco Madero was murdered in a coup d’Etat in 1913 by Victoriano Huerta, which started a civil war.
Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Álvaro Obregón forced Victoriano Huerta to resign.
Venustiano Carranza gained power, but was assassinated in 1920, succeeded by Adolfo de la Huerta.
Adolfo de la Huerta was succeeded by revolutionary Álvaro Obregón, who ordered the death of every rebel officers and most likely Pancho Villa.
De la Huerta started a revolt against Álvaro Obregón, but it was crushed.
Obregón was succeeded by Plutarco Elías Calles.
Though Obregón won re-election, he was assassinated.
Calles started Mexico’s PRI party
But going back to 1848…
The Mexican-American War ended on FEBRUARY 2, with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo signed at the altar of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Villa Hidalgo, in present day Mexico City.
For $15 million dollars, coincidentally the same amount paid to France for the Louisiana Purchase, the United States was transferred the territories of:
California, Nevada, Utah,
and parts of:
Arizona, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.
The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo began:
“In the Name of Almighty God-the United States and the United Mexican States animated by a sincere desire to put an end to the calamities of the war….
have, under the protection of Almighty God, the Author of Peace, arranged, agreed upon, and signed the following Treaty of Peace…
If…God forbid…war should unhappily break out between the two republics, they…solemnly pledge…the following rules…
All churches, hospitals, schools, colleges, libraries, and other establishments for charitable and beneficent purposes, shall be respected,
and all persons connected with the same protected in the discharge of their duties, and the pursuit of their vocations…
Done at the city of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the 2ND DAY OF FEBRUARY, in the year of the Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight.”
William J. Federer is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author, and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage.
To learn more about the author please visit William Federer
Featured image: General Scott’s Entrance into Mexico, Carl Nebel, c. 1851