Mexico travel guide



The History of Mexico City

Pre Hispanic

Placed on a small island on the middle of Lake Texcoco, Mexico City was founded as Mexico-Tenochtitlan approximately in March 18, 1325 by the Nahua Aztec or Mexica tribe, which hurriedly became the capital of a sophisticated growing empire. The layout of the city forced the Mexica to make non-natural islands (chinampas) and create an array of canals to permit the expansion of the metropolis.

After centuries of pre-Colombian civilization, the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés first arrived in the area in 1519. He did not succeed in conquering the city until August 13, 1521, after a 79-day siege that destroyed most of the old Aztec city. In 1524 the rebuilt city served as the capital of the viceroyalty of New Spain and the political and cultural center of Mexico. The importance of the city was such that the Captaincy General of Guatemala, Yucatán, Cuba, Florida, and the Philippines were managed from it. This colonial period culminated with the construction of the baroque Metropolitan Cathedral and the Basilica of Guadalupe.

The Independence

After the French occupation in Spain, the City council of Mexico declared to sympathize with the creation of a “Junta Soberana” that governed the New Spain while the occupation continues. The most radical members, like Francisco Primo de Verdad and Melchor de Talamantes, thought that independence had to be definitive. The “Junta de Mexico” counted on the support of the virrey Jose de Iturrigaray. Nevertheless, a reactionary movement took prisoners to the members of the city council the 15 of September of 1808 and obtained the destitution of the virrey.

After the beginning of the independence revolution in Dolores, Guanajuato, the objective of the insurgent troops was the capture of the capital. Their ways took them to the environs of the city of Mexico. Hidalgo and its army arrived at Cuajimalpa short time after proclaiming independence in Dolores. They defeated to the realists in the battle of Monte of Cruces, and in spite of it, the insurgents decided to return to the Bajío without taking the capital.

Since then, the valley of Mexico did not return to be military objective of the independence, and it had become the fortress of the realistic army. Towards 1820, when the popular revolution almost was extinguished, the city of Mexico was the place of new movements against the viceregal government. This time, the conspirators were the same that had obtained the destitution of Iturrigaray, that after the approval of the Constitution of Cadiz saw threatened their privileges. Among them was Agustín de Iturbide, that made a pact with Vicente Guerrero (head of the revolution in the south of Mexico) and before long forced Juan O'Donojú to sign the Treaties of Cordova that declare the independence of Mexico. The Army Trigarante entered victorious the city of Mexico the 27 of September of 1821, later Agustín de Iturbide proclaimed himself as emperor of the Mexican Empire crowned in the Cathedral of Mexico.

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