Important history of Mexico
Around 1200 BC, the first Mesoamerican society of Mexico, the Olmecs, arrived. The Olmec culture is seen as the first main culture of all Mesoamerican cultures. The Olmecs, today, are mainly known for their great stone head statues, which you can still visit in Mexico. Around the beginning of the calendar, the Olmec civilisation disappeared by being partly integrated into the Maya culture, which came from the south of Mexico.
The Maya civilisation had its peak between 250 and 800 AD, with powerfully organised states. The Maya are mainly known for their precise calendar, which is still a topic of discussion. After 800 AD, the Maya civilization fell into decay and the big cities were deserted. The Maya culture has continued, however, especially on the borders of where the ancient civilisation was located, in the current states Yucatán and Chiapas. Even today the culture is visible in these areas as can be seen, for example, in how the Catholic religion and Maya rituals are being mixed.
Around 600 BC, in the current state of Oaxaca, the Zapotecs built the religious city of Monte Albán. The Zapotecs had great abilities in making gold jewellry, pyramids, temples, and tombs. The Zapotecs are the oldest Mesoamerican civilisation with a written language. During the peak of Monte Albán, between 500 and 700 AD, around 30.000 people were living in the city. Later, the Zapotecs lost their ruler ship and their political independence to the Mixtecs. The Mixtecs were seen as the main enemy of the Zapotecs as they were living in the same lands. The Zapotec culture continued existing and is still being honoured in the state of Oaxaca.
Around the beginning of the calendar, a huge city emerged in the Central Plateau of Mexico, which later got the name Teotihuacán, which means ´the place where men become gods´. It is not known who were the first inhabitants of this city, but it is known that the city was powerful in political and religious aspects. People think that Teotihuacán was the religious center for the cult of the god Tlaloc and the Feathered Snake. Around 750 AD the city was deserted because of unknown reasons.
Around 1200 AD the Aztecs flourished in central Mexico and they gave the city the name Tenochtitlán.
The capital of the Aztecs was the city Tenochtitlán, which is now known as Mexico City. The Aztecs were known for human sacrifices and were often at war. Soon the Aztecs took the lands around Tenochtitlán and at the end of the 15th century they conquered the Mixtecs at Monte Albán. At the peak of the Aztec’s power their empire stretched as far as Guatemala. Their empire consisted of many different civilisations each with their own culture.
In 1521 the Spaniards, led by Hernán Cortés, conquered this powerful empire, and all Aztec civilisations fell under the regime of the Spaniards. The Indian population declined by 75% as a result of the diseases brought by the Spaniards. The colonial society was controlled by status and based on origin, i.e., the best jobs were for the Spaniards. In 1810, the first war for independence started headed by the priest Miguel Hidalgo. He was captured and executed by the Spaniards; however, he was the first of many independence warriors and in 1821 independence was reached. Today, the best jobs are still mainly for the ´white Mexicans´ and, even though the difference is getting smaller, white and rich are still linked with each other.