History of Mexico

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The history of Mexico, a country located in the southern portion of North America, covers a period of more than two millennia. First populated more than 13,000 years ago,[1] the country produced complex indigenous civilizations before being conquered by the Spanish in the 16th Century.

Since the Spanish Conquest, Mexico has fused its long-established native civilizations with European culture. Perhaps nothing better represents this hybrid background than Mexico's languages: the country is both the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and home to the largest number of Native American language speakers on the continent.

In 1519, the first Spaniards arrived and absorbed the native peoples into Spain's vast colonial empire. For three centuries, Mexico was a colony, during which time its indigenous population fell by more than half. After a protracted struggle, formal independence from Spain was recognized in 1821. In 1846, the Mexican American War broke out, ending two years later with Mexico ceding almost half of its territory to the United States. Later in the 19th century, France invaded Mexico (1861) and set Maximilian I on the Mexican throne, which lasted until 1867.[2] The Mexican Revolution (1910–1929) resulted in the death of 10 percent of the nation's population, but brought to an end the system of large landholdings that had originated with the Spanish Conquest.

Beginning in the 1990s, the one-party political system established during the Mexican Revolution has given way to a nascent democracy.


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