More than 3,000 years ago, the first civilization in Mesoamerica blossomed on a fertile land south of the Gulf of Mexico. There, the Olmecs pioneered a civil, military and religious organization that would spread, after evolving, to young cultures in Mesoamerica. The Maya, Purepechas, Huastecos and Aztecs among others, formed local empires whose vestiges can be traced in Uxmal, Tzinzunzan, Tajin and the Main Temple in Mexico City. Their stunning ancient cities were part of a commercial and religious system with staggering, though partial, development in science. The Mayans introduced the notion of mathematical zero to this hemisphere, as arabs did in western civilization , but, paradoxically, the Mayans didn’t use the wheel for mechanical purposes.
Spanish conquerors brought European traditions to the land and imposed a new religion on its people. From that violent fusion, New Spain emerged as a thriving new culture. Inspired by French Enlightenment revolutionary ideas, 300 years later, Miguel Hidalgo started an 11 year-war (1810-1821), which finally brought independence from Spain. Invaded by the United States and France, the new nation of Mexico faced onto the 19th century fighting for development while defending its territory from upcoming economic powers.
President Benito Juarez initiated a period of stability and growth. Porfirio Diaz consolidated the modern Mexican nation but the poorest paid the price. Democracy, Land and Freedom were the flags for a Revolution (1910). Military governments ruled the country during the first half of the 20th century. In the 21st century, Mexico is still looking for a place on the international stage.