Mexico. During the year, party leadership elections were
held in Mexico's most important parties. On February 24,
Roberto Madrazo won with almost a majority the presidency of
the PRI (Partido Revolucionário Institucional), the party
that dominated Mexican politics for most of the 20th
century. However, since the party lost the presidential
election in 2000, it has suffered from internal divisions.
Countryaah website, rumors of corruption surrounding the party's launch of its
then-presidential candidate, Francisco Labastida, led to
strong reactions from the oil worker union STPRM, which
threatened to strike if the deal was not investigated.
In the opposition party PRD (Partido de la Revolución
Democratica), the party leadership election, won by Rosario
Robles, was surrounded by allegations of cheating and
corruption, further damaging the party's reputation after
similar accusations three years ago.
On May 31, a massacre of 26 Zapotec Indians was carried
out in the southern state of Oaxaca following a court
decision that gave the Indians justice in an ancient land
dispute. The deed was labeled as the worst since December
1997, when supporters of the Zapatist guerrillas were
murdered in neighboring Chiapas, and it raised the difficult
issue of land reform in Mexico.
In September, the Supreme Court ruled that the original
wording of the Cocoa Peace Commission's proposal for a new
law on Native American rights should be retained. The law
that the Senate had already approved, and against which
Native American movements had protested, was not considered
to be the measure.
With 20,000 years of historical development, including
the last 2 millennia in cities, the residents of present-day
Mexico developed advanced civilizations such as the Olmecs,
Teotihuacans, Mayans and Mexicans. They made great gains in
art, science, engineering and developed complex social and
political forms of organization.
When the Spanish conquerors came to Mexico in the early
16th century, it was ruled by the Aztec ruler, Moctezuma II.
His kingdom was the same size as present-day Italy, and its
capital was Tenochtitlan - the present Ciudad de México. The
conquest was completed in 1521. In large part because of the
ingenuity with which the Spanish adventurer, Hernán Cortés,
understood the contradictions between the Aztecs and the
people who paid tributes (taxes) to them. From then on, a
process of Christianization and the Spaniards of the
indigenous peoples began.
In the 17th century, the new economic structures
crystallized in Nueva España. The hacienda became the basic
unit of agricultural production, and mining became the
central place in the colonial economy, designed to cover the
insatiable thirst of the colonial power for gold and silver.
The original population was exploited and fell drastically
due to the hard work and the diseases. Around 1800 Mexico
was one of the richest countries in the world. A country of
"great wealth and unimaginable poverty".
After nearly 300 years of colonial rule, in 1810 the
struggle for independence began. It was predominantly the
Creole - the descendants of the Spaniards - who led the
fight. Among these are the priests Miguel Hidalgo and José
María Morelos. The independence movement gained popular
support and national outreach when natives and mestizos (the
mix between Spaniards and natives) joined the ranks of the
rebels, but were crushed by the forces of the colonial
power. But the liberal revolution in Spainradically changed
the picture. Several sectors - including the conservative
clergy that feared losing their privileges - joined forces
with the surviving revolutionaries and proclaimed
independence. In 1821, General Iturbide proclaimed emperor,
but he was soon overthrown by General Antonio López de Santa
Mexico was at this time the largest country in America
with 4,600,000 km2, including the Central
American provinces, but at the same time was plagued by
economic, political and social problems. In 1824, a
constitution was drafted, according to which Mexico was a
federal republic consisting of 19 states, 4 regions, and a
federal district (the capital). In 1836, Santa Anna, who had
been elected president 3 years earlier, introduced a new
constitution that removed all traces of federalism. The
Mexican state of Texas, which housed 30,000 North American
citizens, therefore asked for help and protection from the
United States. Santa Anna defeated the Texans at El Alamo at
the head of his army that year, but was subsequently
defeated by North American forces who took him captive and
first let him go for a ransom.