Mexico is conquered by the Spanish under Cortés, aided by a devastating smallpox epidemic. [1]


Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a radical criollo parish priest, becomes part of a revolutionary group. They are concerned with the rights of all the different groupings in Mexican society, Indians, mestizos, criollos, and peninsulares. [1]

There plans for independence are disclosed to the government and orders for their arrest issued. Hidalgo pushes forward with the revolution, forestalling his arrest. On September 16th he makes a rousing call to the populace of his small town of Dolores. This becomes known as the Grito de Dolores and the date becomes that marking Mexican independence. The uprising began immediately and was initially successful. However, Hidalgo was captured and after a trial executed on July 31 1811. The leadership was taken up by José María Morelos Pavón. He too was captured and executed in 1815. [1]

Victory was finally attained when the leader of the government forces switched sides. The rebels rallied at this turn of events and seeing their inevitable victory, the viceroy resigned. The Treaty if Córdoba was signed on September 27th 1821. [1]


Texas declares independence from Mexico. Mexican forces are defeated. [1]


Texas becomes part of the USA in 1845. A dispute between Mexico and the USA over the border of Texas and the purchase of California leads to a war in which the USA was victorious. [1]


Defeated Mexico is forced to relinquish New Mexico and Upper California as well as accepting the loss of Texas with its border set at Río Bravo del Norte. They pay $15 million for the territories, plus another $3 million to private citizens. These become the present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. Mexico thus loses more than half its territory. This comes under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. [1]


The Mexican president, Santa Anna, sells a further 77,692 square kilometers of land to the USA for $10 million. These form part of New Mexico and Arizona. In the USA this is known as the Gadsden Purchase. [1]


Facing strong opposition Santa Anna resigns and a period of liberal rule, known as the Reform follows. The Reform Laws reduce the influence of the church and provide guarantees of civil liberties for all. [1]


A conservative faction, disgruntaled at the reforms, launches a civil war with the backing of the clergy and the military. After initial conservative success the liberals rally and enter Mexico City victoriously on 1 January 1861. [1]


After the civil war the treasury is depleted and the government halts foreign debt repayment. Spain, Britain and France send forces to the Gulf of Mexico and land at Veracruz to try and force debt repayment. Unable to agree how to enforce this, the Spanish and British leave, but the French remain and in collusion with the conservative faction invade the country. [1]

After initially defeating French forces on May 5 1862 (now a national holiday) at Puebla, the Mexican forces are defeated and the French take Puebla and Mexico City. They install a government in 1863 and give the role of king to Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph von Habsburg of Austria. [1]

Contrary to expectations Emperor Maximilian refuses to rescind the Reform Laws. Mexican liberals appeal to the USA for help against the occupying French forces and receive it after the end of the US Civil War in 1865. France also withdraws its troops to help Napolean III against the Prussians in 1866. Left without allies the conservative forces switch sides and Maximilian surrenders on 15 May 1867. President Juárez orders Maximilian tried and he is found guilty and executed on 19 June. [1]


A period of liberal leadership called the Restoration. President Juárez and then president Lerdo take measures to develop the economy and expand the education system to cover the entire population, but don't achieve this in all rural areas. [1]

Porfirio Díaz mounts a rebellion in 1876, as he had at the last election of 1872. This time he siezes power and rules directly or indirectly for the next 34 years. [1]


Díaz's period of power is known as the Porfiriato. He seeks to improve the economy and infrastructure, and encourages foreign ownership. Most people do not benefit from this. The rural population suffer most from the seizure of their land and loss of livelihoods. The lower classes are repressed and elections are a farce. [1]


Rebellion against Díaz's rule begins with uprisings led by Pascual Orozco, Francisco "Panco" Villa, Emiliano Zapata and Francisco I. Madero. Díaz is forced to resign on 25 May 1911 and goes into exile in France. Madero becomes president in November 1911, but does not bring about the changes the rebels want, particularly for the rural population. The Zapatistas and others revolt against Madero's rule. [1]

The federal commander Victoriano Huerta, seeing an opportunity to seize power, switches sides with the knowledge and aid of US ambassador Henry Lane Wilson in what becomes known as the Pacto of the Embassy. Huerta forces Madero and Vice President Pino Suárez to resign and has himself made president. His presidency however is not recognized by the US government. On 21 February 1913 Madero and Pino Suárez are assassinated while being taken to prison. [1]

Huerta's dictatorship is resisted by forces under Venustiano Carranza, Villa, Álvaro Obregón and Zapata. Huerta uses brutal force to maintain his rule. [1]

Huerta's fall is precipitated when US sailors are arrested at Veracruz for trespass. In response the commander of the US naval forces demands that Mexican personnel salute the US flag. His demand is not met and US troops occupy Veracruz. A number of reprisals are made against US citizens and their flag and faced with this disorder Huerta resigns on 8 July 1914. [1]

After Huerta there is further civil war with four contesting leaders: Carranza, Obregón, Garza and Villa. Carranza is recognized by the United States and ultimately gains the presidency in 1917. A new constitution is also accepted, similar to that of 1857 but giving more power to the executive. Carranza ignores the labour and land issues the constituion made provision for and in 1919 has the revolutionary leader Zapata killed by treachery. [1]

At the end of Caranza's presidential term opposition under Adolfo de la Huerta and Platarco Elías Calles prevents him from installing a puppet successor. Obregón is then elected in 1920. [1]


Under Obregón improvement of education for the rural population is finally begun, with more than 1,000 rural schools and 2,000 libraries being opened. [1]

Agrarian reform is not properly enacted, with only a fraction of the land being redistributed. Obregón fears intervention by the US if he enacts Article 27 of the constituion which limits foreign land ownership. Instead he signs the Bucarelli Agreements with the US which states that foreign companies' holding will not be nationalized as long as they "improve" the land. In the case of oil companies merely installing oil rigs is counted as improvement.... [1]


Calles begins his presidency during which he implements agrarian reform to the extent of redistributing 3.2 million hectares of land. He also has another 2,000 schools built. However, he tries to apply limits to religious practice, which leads to a bloody rebellion lasting from 1926 to 1929. [1]

Defying the principal of no reelection Calles backs Obregón for reelection in 1928. He wins the election but is assassinated before taking office. Calles apoints an interim president then establishes the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (PNR) through which his runs subsequent governments from behind the scenes. These governments become increasingly right wing, halting agrarian reform, suppressing labour movements and allowing the persecution of Jews. Under pressure from more left leaning members of the PNR Calles puts forward the popular Lázaro Cárdenas for election in 1934. [1]

During the Depression in the USA about 2 million people of Mexican ancestry are deported from the USA to Mexico. [57]


Cárdenas is elected and adopts several popular measures, including large scale land reform. Calles opposes Cárdenas and is exiled to the United States in 1936. [1]

In his six year term Cárdenas distributes nearly 18 million hectares of land to two thirds of the Mexican peasantry through the system of communal farms or ejidos. [1]

Cárdenas also improves relations with the church and supports the reorganization of the labour movement. The official Mexican party is also reformed and became the Partido de la Revolución Mexicana (PRM). [1]

In March 1938 Cárdenas nationalizes all foreign oil operations in Mexico. Mexican oil workers had gone on strike for better pay and the goverment demanded that the oil companies shared more of their expertise with Mexicans. The companies refused so Cárdenas had them nationalized. [1]

The nationization sours relations with the USA and much foreign investment is lost. It is however very popular in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. In November 1941, with the US about to enter World War II, they settle their differences over the nationalization. [1]


As president Manuel Ávila Camacho's slows land reform reduces labour power. Emphasis is placed on private ownership and education. [1]

After two Mexican oil tankers are sunk by German submarines in May 1942, Mexico enters World War II, mainly as a supplier of labour and raw materials to the USA. At this time Mexican migrant workers (braceros) are enlisted in the USA to supplement the depleted rural work force there. The program continues until the 1960's and leads to many Mexican labourers subsequently seeking employment in the USA without legal documentation. [1]


Miguel Alemán Valdés is the first president not to have participated in the military compaigns of the Revolution. The Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI formerly the PRM) is now civilian led. [1]

Alemán's presidency is more pro business and less nationalistic than that of Cárdenas. There are major infrastructure improvements and flood control and irrigation projects in the north. A new university campus is also built in Mexico City. [1]

Alemán is less sympathetic than his predecessors to the demands of labour and the rural population of the central and southern regions. He acts to keep wages low whilst subsidising industry. [1]

Alemán's administration is also tolerant of official corruption, leading to public outcry and protests from with the PRI. [1]


President Ruiz Cortines acts to reduce corruption, sacking several officals. Government support of industry continues. Medical services are also expanded. [1]

Years of probusiness programs and reduction of land reform and an emphasis on private farming has resulted in a large population shift to urban areas. Mexico City in particular has many urban shanty towns by 1958. [1]


The government of López Mateos makes positive changes for the rural population, with more land distribution and improved health care. However he resists the growth in power of the organized labour movement. [1]

The government buys several foreign owned utility companies. [1]

In 1961 the Mexican ambassador to the USA rejects JFK's attempt to organize collective action against Cuba, saying that "if we publicly declare that Cuba is a threat to our security, forty million Mexicans will die laughing." [5]

In 1962 the OAS agree to break relations with Cuba and impose an embargo. Mexico alone refuses to take these measures. [1]


Gustavo Díaz Ordaz's government put business interests to the fore again. There are huge anti-government protests headed by the student movement. In August 1968 about 500,000 protesters gather in Mexico City and Ordaz has the army take control of the University and arrest the student leaders. In defiance the students rally again, gathering about 5,000 people on 2nd October. The military are sent in with tanks and helicopters. Flares are dropped into the crowd from the helicopters and shooting begins soon after. It is disputed who started the shooting. The crowd panicks and runs toward the military cordon. The soldiers shoot and bayonet randomly. This is known as the Tlatelolco massacre, anything from several dozen to 400 people are estimated to have been killed. The Olympic games in Mexico City proceed as planned later that month. [1]

Evidence suggests that the government forces instigated the massacre and Luís Echeverría Alvarez, then Minister of the Interior, is indicted on Genocide charges in 2005. The case is thrown out. [99]

The CIA rely on Mexican government officials for information about the massacre. They thus rely on false information and help protect those responsible. [29]


Echeverría heads the new PRI government and returns to investment in the rural communities and makes changes to bring younger people into politics. He continues land distribution to ejidos and increases the number of schools and health clinics in rural areas. The government also borrows heavily to subsidise agriculture, infrastructre and industry. Foreign businesses dislike the government involvement and reduce their investment. At the end of Echeverría's term the country is heavily in debt. [1]

In the mid 1970's Vast oil reserves are discovered under the Bahía de Campeche and in the states of Chiapas and Tabasco. [1]


President López Portillo's term is saved from its inherited economic crisis by the exploitation of the newly found oil reserves. Mexico is the world's fourth largest oil producer by 1981. [1]

Although USA is Mexico's largest oil customer, Mexico refuses to be dictated to by the USA. Mexico refuses to boycott the Moscow Olympic Games, refuses to sell its gas cheaply to the USA and recognizes the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in El Salvador as a legitimate political force. [1]

The wealth from oil production fails to benefit the majority of the population, who continue to live in poverty. The government fails to spend oil revenue on projects establishing sustainable economic growth. Corruption hugely increases and the inflation rate eventually exceeds 100% per annum. The government borrows heavily based on its oil reserves. By 1982 almost 45% of export earnings goes to serving foreign debt. [1]

When oil prices drop Mexico is left with huge debt, a devalued currency and a lack of foreign investment. The government calls on a population already struggling with poverty to accept austerity and sacrifice while López lives in luxury. [1]


President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado inherits a suffering population and a bad economic situation. He imposes further austerity measures pushed for by the IMF and the people suffer as a consequence while the rich grow richer. [1]

To try and ease growing unrest de la Madrid allows more political freedom, but not enough to make a difference. [1]

In 1983 the Contadora group of Mexico, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela begins to meet to try and further peace in Central America. A treaty is drafted that includes in its provisions the removal of all foreign military bases from the countries involved. The USA refuses to agree to this and effectively blocks the treaty. [4]

In 1984 the USA considers sinking a Mexican oil tanker in a Nicaraguan port in order to disuade international trade with Nicaragua. [3]

In 1985 two earthquakes result in the deaths of between 5,000 and 10,000 people and impose further costs on the nation. [1]

The USA makes advanced purchases of oil from Mexico and provides $1 billion in guarantees for commercial bank loans to Mexico. Thus some funds are provided to Mexico at the cost of continued debt. [1]

The USA also becomes increasingly involved in policing of the flow of drugs through and from Mexico. They also pass the Simpson-Rodino bill, making it much harder for migrants to get work in the USA, excaberbating the poverty in Mexico. [1]

In 1986 the USA threatens the Mexican government, saying that if they continue to back the Contadora process, the US government will back the PAN's in the coming Mexican elections. They also tell the PAN's that Reagan will help them if they help the Contras. [4]

At the end of 1987 the USA did effectively write off some of Mexico's debt by issuing zero coupon bonds that would allow Mexico to buy back its debt at a discount. [1]

De la Madrid nominates Carlos Salinas de Gortari as his successor. Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas speaks against the PRI's policies that have done so ill by most of the population. He is expelled from the party and launches a highly successful independant campaign. Apparently fraudulent elections and the unexplained deaths of two of Cárdenas' aids, Xavier Ovando and Román Gil, result in Salinas being declared the winner by a narrow margin. [1] [8]

In 1987 the US DEA run an undercover drugs investigation called "Operation Trifecta" (also known as "Operation Saber"). Top Mexican government officials are shown to be involved, including Colonel Jaime Carranza, grandson of the former president and a bodyguard of the president- elect. The evidence gathered clearly shows that Salinas is planning to open the Mexican border to smuggling once he takes office and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is passed. Further evidence shows that corrupt Mexican officials are involved in training CIA supported Contras. More evidence shows the involvement of corrupt US officials and gives proof that the US paramilitary operation in the Andean Region (Operation Snowcap/Plan Colombia/the Andean Initiative) was a fraud never intended to affect the supply of drugs to the USA. Once top officials in the US government become aware of this DEA undercover operation the CIA step in and the operation is stopped. The drug dealers, money launderers and corrupt officials are all protected from prosecution. [2]


Cárdenas' attempts to have the election results nullified and files criminal charges against the Minister of the Interior who is also head of the Federal Electoral Commission, but to no avail. [1]

At the end of his term de la Madrid imposes a wage and price freeze to bring down inflation and cuts tax for low income workers. [1]

At this point the USA also loans $3.5 billion to Mexico. [1]

Salinas begins his term promising political reform and economic revival. After consolidating his political position he opens up Mexican businesses to foreign investment and privatisation. He then makes loan agreements with the IMF, the US, the World Bank and Japan that in the short term reduce Mexico's debt payments by $8 billion per year. [1]

As usual this debt restructuring benefits only the banks at the expense of ordinary people. [68]

In state elections the PRI historically admit defeat by the PAN in Baja California Norte, but take Cárdenas' home state of Michaocán. These latter results are declared fraudulent by the opposition. [1]

Salinas then enters into a trade agreement with the USA which became known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This lowers trade barriers between the two countries. In reality the more powerful USA would be the beneficiary. NAFTA is approved in 1992 to come into effect on 1st January 1994. [1]

As usual, the economic changes have not helped many of the rural poor. On 1st January 1994 the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), a previously unknown group, takes over several towns in Chiapas. They are driven into the mountains by a huge military response. [1]

Salinas economic changes fail to produce longer term stability and growth. By the end of his term debt is rising again and foreign investors are pulling out. [1]

Even during the short period of economic growth the incomes of most Mexicans are not improved, daily life is not substantially improved and the unequal distribution of income is made more extreme. [3]


Previously nationalized banks are privatised again, but the newly privatised banks are poorly regulated. They issue many risky loans to regain their investments and gain market share. This and other factors related to the opening up of the economy to foreign investment in anticipation of NAFTA coming into force lead to a financial crisis, called by some "the Tequila Crisis". [90]


The PRI candidate Zedillo wins the elections. [1]


January - The Mexican government $50 billion to shore up its' economy. The loans come from the US government, the IMF, the Bank for International Settlements and private banks. [90]

March - The Mexican government anounces stringent austerity measures. This renews investor confidence, but has a devastating affect on the general population with plummeting wages, high inflation and mass unemployment. [89] [90]


February - The San Andres Accords are signed by the Mexican government and the EZLN. They outline programs of land reforms, indigenous autonomy and cultural rights. The government rejects the accords later in the year. [98]


January - It is announced that Mexico has repayed the $12.5 billion it borrowed from the US. Whilst said to reflect economical recovery, the government actually raised the money to repay the loan by selling bonds to foreign investors, thus merely transfering the debt. [89]

December - 45 unarmed people from the Tzotzil community of Acteal in the state of Chiapas are murdered by paramilitaries. Most of those killed are women and children. Special police forces watch, fail to intervene and try to cover up the event. The government denies all involvement, but evidence indicates that the massacre is part of the government's ongoing oppression of indigenous communities and the EZLN. [91] [92]


December - Vincente Fox sworn in as president. [93]


March - The Zapatistas march to Mexico City to highlight the still unresolved issues of the indigenous peoples. [94] [95]


April - Despite election promises Fox fails to respect the San Andrés Accords and fails to release Zapatista political prisoners. Violent oppression continues. [96] [97]


January - The Zapatistas launch the Other Campaign in San Cristobel de Las Casas. It is a political campaign aimed at wresting the control of Mexico from the elite. [6] [21]

March - The US starts Operation Wide Receiver, a gun walking operation that allows hundreds of weapons into Mexico. [54]

May - In an apparent act of political repression under the government of Vicente Fox, in collaboration with the PRI, police make an incursion into San Salvador Atenco, Estado de Mexico. They kill two men and detain 200 others. Many are beaten and tortured. [7]

In Oaxaca teachers protest about the dreadful education infrastructure. Other groups soon join them in a number of protests. The state responds with violence. [22]

Land rights protests in San Salvador Atenco are met with police violence, abuse and rape. [26]

June - It is evident that the US government is involved in vote manipulation in the Mexican election. Exit poles show that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the (PRD) leads over Felipe Calderon of the ruling PAN, but Calderon is declared the winner. A recount is demanded by Obrador. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

July - Up to 500,000 Obrador supporters rally in Mexico City to demand a recount. [14] [15] [16]

Obrador and his supporters vote to camp in the Zocalo in protest. [17]

August - The Mexican Electoral Tribunal rejects the call for a full recount. Obrador's supporters vow to continue their protest. The Zapatistas say they will join them. [18] [20]

The Western press is largely silent on the whole issue. [19]

September - Evidence surfaces that the Electoral Tribunal is hiding data that from their limited recount that shows that Calderon's vote drop after a recount. [23]

Obrador's supporters vote to make him leader of a parallel government. [24]

October - Fox threatens force to end the protests Oaxaca. [27] Violence is used by the police and military helicopters are overhead. [28]

The protest is broken up by 4,000 riot police after three people are killed including a US journalist who was shot in the chest. The gunmen are later identified as police in civilian clothes. [31] [32]

Wal-Mart are found to have illegaly funded Calderon in the elections. [30]

November - Protests continue in Oaxaca and are met with police violence. [33] [35]

December - Calderon takes over as president in a restricted ceremony held at midnight to avoid protests. Some opposition lawmakers are staging a sit-in in the Congress chamber. [34] He is sworn in the Congress later that morning in a hasty ceremony preceded by a brawl between lawmakers, while hundreds of thousands of protesters gather in the Zocolo. [36]


February - Protests are staged in Mexico City after the price of corn bread rises 400% as more corn is used for producing bio-fuels for the USA. [37] [38]


January-February - Mexican farming suffers as the NAFTA opens Mexico to tax free imports of basic foods from the USA. [39]

Government backed attacks on Zapatista communities increase. [40]

May - US trained Mexican security personnel are reported to have joined drug cartels and carried out many killings. [41]


US agents allow grenade parts to be supplied to Mexican drug cartels as part of the "Fast and Furious" and "Wide Receiver". [81]

May - The USA gives another $470 million to Mexican security forces for the "drug war". [42]

October - The Mexican government seizes the power plants of the Central Light and Power Company of Mexico, liquidates the company and lays off its workers, threatening the existence of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union a strong opposer of many of the Calderón government's policies. [43]


April - An official report puts the death toll of the US backed drug war at nearly 23,000 since Calderón came to power. [44] There is more evidence that government forces are working with some of the cartels. [46]

Migrants passing through Mexico suffer many abuses and public officials are often involved. [45]

June - Violent oppression of native rural communities continues. [47]

Major international banks are involved in laundering drug money. [48]

October - One of the most violent drug cartels is led by ex Mexican military personel trained by the U.S. [49]


March - US president Obama promises another $900 million for the "drug war". [50]

US agencies are found to be arming the drug cartels. The latest operation uncovered is called "Fast and Furious". [51] [53]

April - There is more evidence that the US and Mexican governments are working with the drug cartels. [52]

December - Foreign mining conerns use violence to deter protesters. [55]


February - NAFTA continues to drive emigration, the destruction of the traditional economy and agriculture, and enviromental ills. [56]

April - Of nearly 100,000 guns seized in Mexico in the last five years, 68% come from the USA. [58]

May - Government forces use violence, killings, torture and disappearances under cover of the "war on drugs". [59]

June - US president Obama denies access to Fast and Furious papers. [60]

Mexico's biggest TV network found to have run a campaign promoting Nieto. [61]

July - Lopez Obrador demands a vote recount. [62]

Enrique Peña Nieto confirmed as official presidential victor after highly dubious recount. [63]

Hundreds testify to PRI buying votes. [64]

Obrador claims vote buying, media bias, manipulation of opinion poles, overspending and money laundering by Niet's PRI party. [65]

A Mexican official claims that the CIA and other international forces aren't trying to end the drug trade, but to control it. [66]

August - Mexican communities oppose mining giants and are met with violence and murder. [67]

The Mexican electoral tribunal dismisses claims of vote buying by Nieto's party during the elections, despite the evidence. [69] [71]

September - More testimony and evidence of US and Mexican collaboration with drug cartels in a fake drug war. [70]

November - The number of homicides, largely attributable to the "war on drugs", is estimated at 120,000 during Calderon's presidency. [72]


February - Peña Nieto's administration increases militarization of Mexican society in concert with the US. [73]

April - Mexican teachers rebel against government imposed educational reform. [74]

November - Mexican government appears untroubled by US spying on it. [75]


January - Evidence shows US DEA worked with Mexico's largest drug cartel, allowing them to smuggle billions of dollars worth of cocaine into the USA. [76]

May - US Border Patrol agents continue to commit many abuses against Mexican immigrants with impunity. [77]

Zapatista teacher Jose Luis Solís López (Compañero Galeano) is brutaly murdered by paramilitaries. 15 others are injured and a school, a health clinic and a water system are destroyed. [78]

July - More evidence of presidential involvement in drug trafficking presented by a prominent journalist. [79]

September - Torture routinely used by Mexican police and armed forced according to Amnesty Inernational. [80]

November - It is shown that US agents allowed grenade parts to be supplied to Mexican drug cartels as part of the "Fast and Furious" and "Wide Receiver" programs in 2009. [81]

There are mass protests over government handling of the case of 43 disappeared students. [82]

December - Evidence is revealed of Mexican authorities being involved in the disappearance of 43 students. [83]


January - The Mexican Attorney General says the wife of the former Iguala mayor was the head of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, which he says is responsible for the murder of the 43 Ayotzinapa students. He has closed the case, declining to investigate the possible involvement of more government officials. [84]

Mexican police reportedly gun down unarmed civilians in Apatzingan, killing 16. [87]

March - Indigenous peoples in Mexico still suffer discrimination and are used as slaves. [85]

April - At least half of Mexico's children are living in poverty according to a UN study. [86]

May - Evidence shows that police slaughtered 42 people in Michoacan and officials tried to cover it up. [88]