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Mexico: Table A. Chronology of Important Events
Country Study > Table A. Chronology of Important Events



ca. 10,000 B.C. - First hunters and gatherers reach area of present-day Mexico.

ca. 1500 B.C. - Villages appear, and inhabitants produce clay products.

ca. 200 B.C.-A.D. 100 - Monte Albán civilization in southern Mexico.

ca. A.D. 1-650 - Teotihuacán civilization in central Mexico.

ca. A.D. 600-900 - Classic Mayan civilization in the Yucatan peninsula.

early 1300s - Aztec arrive in the Valley of Mexico.

1376 - First Aztec king crowned.

1502-20 - Reign of Moctezuma II (Montezuma).


1519-21 - Hernán Cortés and about 700 men conquer the Aztec Empire.

early sixteenth century - Colonial administration established. European settlers pour into colony seeking wealth. Native population decimated by disease and harsh labor practices.

late sixteenth century - Ranching and industry grow, and mining expands.

seventeenth century - Colony stagnates. Society becomes stratified along racial and social lines.

eighteenth century - Reforms by new Bourbon monarchs in Spain revitalize colony. Immigration increases, and economy and trade expand.

late eighteenth century - Pressure for independence builds, especially among criollos.

1808-13 - French occupation of Spain throws colonies into political turmoil.

1810 - Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores) -- Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's call for independence -- on September 16.

1811 - Hidalgo executed. Independence movement led by José María Morelos y Pavón.

1815-20 - Morelos executed. Independence movement degenerates into sporadic guerrilla fighting. Vicente Guerrero most important guerrilla leader.


1821 - Colonization grant given to Moses Austin to settle Texas. Plan of Iguala proclaims Mexican independence. Augustín de Iturbide and Spanish envoy sign Treaty of Córdoba recognizing Mexico's independence; treaty not honored by Spanish government, however.

1822 - Army of the Three Guarantees occupies Mexico City under Iturbide's command. Iturbide becomes emperor of Mexico as Agustín I. Iturbide deposed, and republic proclaimed by Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón.

1823 - Guadelupe Victoria becomes first Mexican president.

1824 - Federal republican government is established under new constitution. Guerrero becomes president.

1828 - Santa Anna repels Spain's attempt to regain control of Mexico. Guerrero abolishes slavery as means of discouraging migration of United States southerners to Texas.

1830 - Political disturbances. Rebellion drives Guerrero from presidency. Immigration to Texas from United States prohibited but not enforced.

1833-34 - Santa Anna elected president in 1833. Dictatorship established in 1834. End of first liberal reforms. Tithes abolished.

1835-36 - Texas pioneers seek independence from Mexico in 1835, achieving it in March 1836. Santa Anna defeated and forced to recognize independence of Texas. Spain and Vatican recognize Mexican republic in 1836.

1837 - Anastasio Bustamante becomes president, initiating a process of centralization.

1841 - Conservative rebellion against Bustamante. Santa Anna's dictatorship.

1842 - Santa Anna retires to his hacienda and leaves government to Nicolás Bravo.

1843 - Santa Anna chosen as president of Mexico.

1844 - Santa Anna forced into exile.

1845 - Santa Anna returns to Mexico. Annexation of Texas by United States.

1846 - Mexico severs diplomatic relations with United States. Beginning of Mexican-American War.

1848 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends Mexican-American War. Texan independence confirmed. United States annexes territories of Upper California and New Mexico.

1853 - Santa Anna returns to Mexico and becomes president. Sells additional territory to United States under Gadsden Purchase.

1854 - Triumph of Plan of Ayutla under leadership of Benito Juárez.

1855 - Santa Anna resigns in August. Juárez Law ends fueros (privileges) enjoyed by military and clergy.

1857 - Constitution of 1857 promulgated.

1858-61 - War of the Reform between conservatives/clericalists and liberals engulfs country in three years of bitter struggle. After liberal victory, Juárez promulgates Reform Laws, establishing nationalization of ecclesiastical properties without compensation, as well as suppression of religious orders.

1861 - Moratorium on foreign debt payments. Tripartite agreement for intervention signed by Britain, France, and Spain.


1862 - French forces march on capital but suffer defeat at Puebla.

1863 - French enter Puebla, then Mexico City. Juárez forced to abandon the city.

1864 - Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph's reign as Maximilian I begins. He confirms Reform Laws, except for those that refer to indigenous communities.

1866 - French troops depart.

1867 - Juárez offensive takes place. Maximilian surrenders at Querétaro and is executed. Juárez moves his government to Mexico City and becomes president.


1872 - Death of Juárez. Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada inaugurated president.

1873 - Reform Laws incorporated into Mexican constitution confirming separation of church and state.

1876 - José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz leads rebellion on platform of "no reelection" and starts his presidential career, which lasts for thirty-four years (except 1880-84), of "order and progress." Finances, trade, industry, and mining sector modernized. Political ideology based on positivism.

1880 - United States railroad companies receive favorable concessions; railroad boom.

1880-84 - Presidency of Manuel González.

1884 - Mining code reformed. Subsoil ownership given to landowners. Reelection of Díaz.

1888 - Constitution changed to allow Díaz to succeed himself.

1904 - Constitution changed to allow for six-year presidential term.

1906 - Proclamation against Díaz issued by the liberals in St. Louis, Missouri.

1908 - Díaz states his intention of not seeking reelection in interview. Francisco I. Madero publishes The Presidential Succession of 1910 .


1910 - Mexico's 100 years of independence celebrated. Seventh reelection of Díaz. Madero's Plan of San Luis Potosí. Rebellion breaks out in north and in Puebla.

1911 - Rebellion spreads throughout Mexico. After attack on Ciudad Juárez, Díaz resigns. Madero returns in triumph to Mexico City and is elected to presidency. Emiliano Zapata publishes Plan of Ayala demanding quick reforms.

1912 - Pascual Orozco rebels against Madero. Victoriano Huerta's troops crush rebellion. Huerta exiled to France. Zapata and Francisco "Pancho" Villa enter Mexico City. Venustiano Carranza establishes constitutional government at Veracruz.

1913 - Madero overthrown by coup d'état staged by Felix Díaz and Huerta. Madero assassinated. Carranza, Villa, and Álvaro Obregón lead northern rebellion

  - while Zapata remains in charge of southern rebel forces. Huerta deposed and Congress dissolved.

1914 - United States troops land at Veracruz. Huerta defeated and forced into exile.

1915 - Obregón turns against Villa. Villa continues to fight and raids United States border towns for next five years. Carranza recognized by United States as chief of government forces.

1916 - General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing's punitive expedition pursues Villa and provokes bitterness between Mexico and United States.

1917 - Constitution of 1917 promulgated. Carranza elected president.


1920 - Obregón rebels. Carranza dies. Obregón elected president.

1923 - United States recognizes Obregón government.

1924 - Plutarco Elías Calles elected president.

1926 - Anticlerical policies spark Cristero Rebellion.

1927 - Constitution of 1917 amended to extend presidential term to six years.

1928 - Calles succeeded by Obregón, who is assassinated before taking office. Calles, who is to remain political strongman through 1935, chooses Emilio Portes Gil as president.

1929 - Cristero Rebellion suppressed. Founding of official political party -- National Revolutionary Party (Partido Nacional Revolucionario -- PNR). Pascual Ortiz Rubio elected president of country, but Calles remains as recognized political boss.

1930 - Portes Gil succeeded by Ortiz Rubio as president.

1932 - Ortiz Rubio resigns; Abelardo Rodríguez chosen to complete term.

1934-40 - Lázaro Cárdenas presidency. Forced exile of Calles (1936). Cárdenas begins socialist policies. Agrarian reform establishes ejidos (see Glossary) and collectivization. Official party renamed Party of the Mexican Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Mexicana -- PRM); includes representatives from all sectors of society. Nationalization of oil industry in 1938.


1940-46 - Manuel Ávila Camacho presidency. Mexico joins Allies in declaring war on Axis powers. PRM reorganized to provide wider representation and renamed Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional -- PRI). Bracero (migrant Mexican worker) agreement established between Mexico and United States.

1946-52 - Miguel Alemán Valdés presidency. Industrialization, public works, and creation of a new campus for the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México -- UNAM).

  - Urban growth at expense of agrarian improvements. Per capita agricultural production reaches prerevolutionary levels. Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance signed in 1947.

1952-58 - Adolfo Ruiz Cortines presidency. Women's suffrage extended to national level. Beginning of political stability through appointment of PRI candidates to presidency.

1958-64 - Adolfo López Mateos presidency. Increased foreign investments in Mexico and control of economy by foreign (mainly United States) interests. Land redistribution policies and increased agricultural production. Greater participation of minority parties in political process.

1964-70 - Gustavo Díaz Ordaz presidency. Termination of bracero p rogram. Foreign firms operate in Mexico on grand scale. Student unrest leads to Tlatelolco Massacre in 1968.

1970-76 - Luis Echeverría Álvarez presidency. Emphasis by Mexico on participation in Third World policies against imperialism and foreign economic control. Oil boom in Chiapas and Tabasco. Economic difficulties.

1976-82 - José López Portillo y Pacheco presidency. Mexico becomes world's fourth largest producer of oil and also one of world's leading debtor countries. Political reform, leading to increase of minority party representation in Chamber of Deputies by proportional representation system. Foreign debt and inflation soar. Government corruption rampant.

1982-88 - Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado presidency. Economy contracts, and standard of living falls. Foreign debt renegotiated. Government adopts economic austerity measures.

1988-94 - Carlos Salinas de Gortari presidency. Continuation of austerity policies leads to upturn in economy. Government takes steps to control corruption. Free-trade measures introduced. Mexico joins North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Measures taken to open governorships to opposition parties. Guerrilla group, Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional -- EZLN) appears in Chiapas. PRI nominee for next sexenio , Donald Luis Colosio Murrieta, assassinated.

1994- - Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León presidency. Devaluation of new peso leads to investor panic and near-economic collapse; massive foreign intervention required to stabilize situation. Military action against Zapatistas results in stalemate. Former President Salinas leaves country in disgrace amid charges of corruption and possible involvement in series of assassinations.

Data as of June 1996

Last Updated: June 1996

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Mexico was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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