Mexico (Spanish: México, Náhuatl: Mēxihco), officially the Republic of Mexico (República de México), is a country in the southwestern quarter of North America. It is bordered to the north by the Amerikaanse Free State, to the northeast by Tussenland and Opdamsland, to the southeast by South Tussenland and the Gulf of Mexico, to the west by the Pacific Ocean, and the south by Boschland. Mexico is the most populous nation in North America and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. The nation's capital, Mexico City (Ciudad de México), also known as CDMX, is the largest metropolitan area of North America and in the Western Hemisphere. Other major urban areas include Guadalaxara, Monterrey, Puebla, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Ciudad de Guatemala, Goudhaven, Ximénez and Santa Maria.
Pre-Columbian Mexico traces its origins to 8,000 BC and is identified as a cradle of civilization and was home to many advanced civilizations, including the Maya and the Aztecs. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its base in Mexico City, which became known as New Spain. The Catholic Church played an essential role as millions of indigenous inhabitants converted to Catholicism. The colony became wealthy due to the heavy exploitation of deposits of precious materials. Mexico became an independent country after the successful coup of the government of New Spain by the former viceroy Jorge González de Güemes y Horcasitas against Spain in 1881 and the subsequent Mexican Independence Crisis, founding the Empire of Mexico.
After Mexico's defeat in the Dutch-Mexican War (1901-1903), the internal popularity and legitimacy of the Emperor of Mexico waned. In 1909 the Emperor of Mexico abdicated and was replaced by the Republic of Mexico after the Mexican constitutional crisis. During the 20th century, economic and political rivalry between Mexico and New Netherland dominated political discourse. Starting in the 1930's Mexico experienced a massive economic boom with investment and advancement in mining, refining, industry, manufacturing, and agriculture sectors spurred by modernization policies of the Mexican government.
Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely the Valley of Mexico and surrounding territories, with its people being known as the Mexica. In the colonial era, when Mexico was called New Spain, this central region became the Intendency of Mexico. During colonial reforms in the 1850s, the colony was locally referred to as the Crown Colony of Mexico or the Viceroyalty of Mexico. After the colony achieved independence from the Spanish Empire in 1881, the new country was named after its capital: Mexico City, founded in 1524 on the site of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
Mexico is a historic cradle of civilization, with many pre-Colombian civilizations thriving in the valley of Mexico and the Yucatán peninsula. The earliest complex civilization in Mexico was the Olmec culture, which flourished on the Gulf Coast from around 1500 BC. In Central Mexico, the height of the classic period saw the ascendancy of Teotihuacán, which formed a military and commercial empire whose political influence stretched south into the Mayan areas and the north. During the early post-classic era, Central Mexico was dominated by the Toltec culture, Oaxaca by the Mixtec, and the lowland Maya area had important centers at Chichén Itzá and Mayapán. Toward the end of the post-Classic period, the Mexica established dominance, establishing a political and economic empire based in the city of Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City), extending from central Mexico to Guatemala. In 1519 Mesoamerican society drastically changed with the beginning of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire.
Under New Spain
Spanish presence is considered to have started in 1521 after the fall of Tenochtitlan (the site of present-day Mexico City). New Spain became the first of the four Spanish viceroyalties in the Americas. Numerous expeditions were commissioned by the Spanish crown and allowed them to claim a vast expanse of North America. By the mid-1700s, they would come head-to-head with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which had also claimed a massive part of the continent.
Conflict with the Netherlands over the Voortrekker States
Establishment of the Voortrekker Republics
Much to the displeasure of New Spain, settlers from Dutch Tussenland (called "Boers" or "Voortrekkers") trekked out west, crossing the Rocky Mountains and establishing sparsely populated settlements along their trail, and eventually into New Spain claimed territory. This riled up the New Spain authorities. Spain sought to fortify their presence in the area. This led to the foundation of the fortified settlement of Santa Maria.
Throughout 1800-1830, the various Boer settlements that dotted the west coast region had started to form their independent governments and began managing their own internal affairs. By 1835, five Voortrekker republics had formed, namely: Voorlandt (founded 1803, the first Boer republic), Kimoeenim Republic (founded 1812, named after the river where it sat on), Westerzee Republic (founded 1821). Goudlandt (broke off from the Westerzee Republic in 1845 after gold had been discovered), and New Orange (1847, the least populated of the five settlements).
New Spain authorities had multiple attempts in the 1820s to discourage the Dutch freebooters from settling there, including organized raids carried out by the natives. However, these were unsuccessful as the Voortrekkers managed to repel them each time.
From 1830 to 1840, New Spain decided to take more militaristic actions and began exercising their claims to the area militarily. New Spain invaded the Boer Republics one-by-one. The period was known as the Boer annexation period. The Boer Republics had no unified government or standing army, and they were easily conquered by the New Spain army. The fledgling Kingdom of the Netherlands did not want to get in a military conflict with Spain and took no action.
The Treaty of Santa Maria was signed in 1840. The 5 Republics became autonomous provinces in New Spain (and later Mexico). Over the next decades, the Dutch boers experienced rapid Catholicization and Hispanicization, and creating a new dialect of the Amerikaens language known as "Boer Amerikaens", which heavily borrows vocabulary from the Spanish language. Code-switching is common, especially within the younger generation in the present-day. In writing, the spelling of most words adopted from Spanish is retained, with exceptions for older words such as Kommestas (How are you; from Spanish 'cómo estás').
The Gold Rush of 1846, and the Goudlandt Rebellion
Gold was discovered in the southern region of the Westerzee Republic in 1845. This attracted many settlers in the area and made the small settlement of Meeuwÿck grow to a large town (the town was renamed to Goudhaven, translating to "Gold Port" in the Amerikaans dialect, known in Spanish as Puerto de Oro).
However, this rush had also attracted the Royal Dutch Tussenland Company's attention, which wished to exploit the gold-rich area. After the company's diplomatic attempts to partake in the gold rush were denied by the conservative Westerzee Republic, the company resorted to other dirty means.
They incited and supported a capitalist rebellion in Goudlandt, resulting in the secession of the Republic of Goudlandt from the Westerzee Republic (although still under the suzerainty of New Spain) in 1846. This new republic had allowed merchants working for the Dutch Tussenland company to set up shop in Goudlandt, bringing in a profit. This move, however, had upset the Spanish.
Gold-smuggling, and 2nd Dutch-Spanish War (1850-1855)
It became somewhat of an open secret that the Dutch had been siphoning the gold and profit from Goudlandt and New Spain. The trail that the Dutch merchants and miners working for the Dutch Tussenland company had used became known as the Smockelaer's Trail (meaning Smuggler's Trail in the Amerikaans dialect). This trail had also resulted in the founding of several settlements along its path. The gold smuggling business of the Dutch Tussenland company would eventually be one of the primary reasons for the Second Dutch-Spanish War. During the war, New Spain occupied key forts in the Dutch unincorporated territories of Acansa (Dutch: Opdamslandt) and Misuri (Dutch: Mizoerie). In the resulting treaty, these regions were officially ceded to New Spain as three new provinces: Misuri del Norte, Misuri del Sur, and Acansa.
Independence and Formation of the Mexican Empire
During the Communard Wars, communard revolutionaries occupied the majority of Spain. During this time, the royal family and King Ferdinand VII sought refuge in New Spain. While the king was staying in New Spain, he became interested in the colony's internal affairs. He instituted a series of reforms that sought to hispanize New Spain's culture to a further degree and weakened the local elites' power in favor of giving greater control to the royal military and peninsulare business elites in the king's inner circle. This increased tension between Spanish authorities and New Spain's population across social classes. Additionally, over the 19th century, New Spain had become economically self-sufficient, while Spain had been increasingly dependent on New Spain's resources to fund their empire. This led to a period of increased dissatisfaction of local elites and businessmen starting from the 1860s.
When the King and the royal family returned to Spain in 1878 following the end of the Communard Wars, the Viceroy of New Spain, Jorge González de Güemes y Horcasitas, started to consolidate support within the New Spanish elite and amongst local military officers to declare independence. In early 1881, the King caught wind of the Viceroy's sedition and ordered the Spanish royal army to arrest him and sent another viceroy to replace him. When the new viceroy arrived in New Spain, he was arrested by Jorge González and the local army, who refused the King's orders and pledged loyalty to the González. The following day, on Feb 3rd, 1881 González declared himself emperor of an independent Mexico. While in Spain, the Communard Wars left the Iberian peninsula devastated and with a guerilla insurgency in northern Spain, wreaking havoc on the countryside.
Additionally, Spain borrowed money from Genoese and British banks to rebuild after the war but defaulted on the payments within a year, which led to an economic crisis. Learning González's declaration of a Mexican Empire, the King was furious and pledged to retake the colony, leading to the Mexican Independence Crisis. The Spanish army set out several expeditions to retake Mexico in 1881 and 1882, but they were repelled by the newly formed Mexican army and navy each time. With a mounting economic crisis, guerilla fighting in the nation, and the inability to militarily take back New Spain, the Spanish crown recognized the Mexican empire in 1884.
The Mexican Empire under Emperor González sought to centralize control over all of New Spain's former holdings and embarked on a wave of reforms to consolidate power in Mexico city and in the military. In 1887 the Mexican government sent the military to crush the Central American rebellions centered in Guatemala and Honduras. They also sought to build economic and political relationships with other nations in the region including Saint-Domingue, Colombia and South Tussenland. During the 1890's Mexico became a important funder of the proposed Genoese Panama canal project.
Dutch Mexican War (1901-1903)
In western North America, the fledgling Mexican Empire had a lot of potential in the region as a great power. Heavily religious and autocratic, it wanted to centralize its authority and display its might. In 1897, Mexico abolished home rule for the autonomous Voortrekker (or Boer) states. The Kingdom of the Netherlands, which was generally sympathetic to the Boers, saw this as an affront to their authority in North America and issued an ultimatum to Mexico: restore self-governance for the Dutch Boers states else they will attack Mexico. Mexico refused, and in 1901 the Dutch declared war, known as the Mexican-Dutch Boer war. At the onset of the war, the former Dutch colony of the New Netherlands joined the war on the Dutch Kingdom's side.
Emperor González overestimated his new empire's might. The Mexican military made advances on Tussenland, but the combined Tussenlander and New Netherlander force eventually repelled it. Additionally, the Mexican navy was not able to match the newly modernized Dutch navy.
Throughout the latter half of the war, the Dutch had managed to occupy the land they had lost to Spain (Mizoerie and Acansa) during the 2nd Dutch-Spanish War of 1850. However, they were only able to liberate only two of the five Voortrekker Republics (Westerzee and Kimoeënim). Things soon came to a stalemate, and in 1903 both parties agreed to meet in the neutral Republic of Virginia to settle matters, with the war ending in uti possidetis.
The Treaty of Williamsburg, signed by both parties in the City of Williamsburg (Virginia), ended the war. Under this treaty, the land lost in the 2nd Dutch-Spanish war would be retroceded back to Tussenland. As for the Voortrekker Republics under Dutch control, the Kingdom of the Netherlands decided that it was impractical to annex them into Tussenland, as they already had their own unique blend of Dutch-Hispanic culture (as well as a large proportion of Catholics, proselytized by Spain and Mexico during 75 years of combined Spanish and Mexican rule). They were granted their fully-sovereign and (partially) unified state: the Amerikaense Vrystaët, or the Amerikaanse Free State. The rest of the Voortrekker Republics that the Dutch were unable to occupy were allowed to remain under Mexico, as long as they guarantee self-rule to these regions in matters concerning internal affairs.
The Mexican Revolution (1909)
The defeat at the Dutch-Mexican War (1901-1903) was a blow to Emperor Jorge Gonzales's prestige and legitimacy. The nascent Republican and Liberal movements within Mexico pounced at the chance to get rid of the Emperor. They started to organize for change with much greater ferocity and tenacity (under suppression by Mexican Imperial authorities).
In the immediate aftermath of the war, facing external and internal political pressure, Emperor González was forced to agree to a new constitution that limited the monarchy's power and create a representative legislature. While this was initially applauded as a historic step towards democracy in Mexico, it soon became apparent that these changes were only superficial. By 1904, the new Mexican senate was stacked full of entrenched monarchist politicians who owed exclusive loyalty to Emperor González and acted as little more than a "rubber-stamp" for the monarchy. This arrangement infuriated many Mexicans who had gained significant republican sympathies stemming from increased urbanization and the spread of liberal, pro-republican ideas, literature, and values from the republican movements happening around North America at the time. Additionally, the military was starting to grow disenchanted with the further kleptocratic monarchial rule as the Emperor began to take a more hands-on approach to military organization and governance (including a series of purges aimed at removing pro-republican officers from the Army and Navy).
In 1906, the Emperor personally removed the famous war general Juan-Guillermo Quesada, who was known for his personality, charisma, and heroic defense of Los Angeles during the Dutch-Mexican War, in fears that his popularity amongst the common folk could be a political challenge for the Emperor. This provoked a significant wave of disapproval from the army officer corps and mass public outrage. This move solidified the idea in the vast majority of minds of the Mexican people that the Emperor was little more than a tyrant and the post-war constitution was futile. Over the next two years, Mexico was at a stage of near open revolt with a series of strikes, protests, and riots wreaking havoc on the Emperor's legitimacy and shutting down critical urban areas of the country. By late 1908, the army was in a state of near rebellion and stopped enforcing the Emperor's crackdowns against protestors. This led to a worried and frantic response from the monarchy. Not long after, Emperor Gonzales abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Agustín González Silva de Ciudad Mexico, in an attempt appease reformers. However, this move backfired, and the new 31-year-old Emperor was seen as both a puppet of his father and a remaining symbol of Monarchist tyranny.
In January of 1909, the country was in a full-scale revolt. After a 128-day strike in Mexico City, the army, now again under the leadership of the former general Juan-Guillermo Quesada, arrested the Emperor and his father, which led to the pro-monarchy Senate, Royal Court, and rest of the royal family fleeing to the city of Monterrey, calling for the release of the Emperor. The next day, a collation of influential organized republican leaders convened and declared the new Mexican Republic later that week. The old government of the Emperor (which by now resided in Monterrey) did not recognize this declaration and attempted to raise a paramilitary army from some of the remaining monarchist strongholds in Nuevo Leon and Veracruz. After several months of street clashes and political debate amongst the two competing governments, the army stepped in and threw its support behind the republican congress. In the following weeks, the monarchist forces surrendered and dissipated nationwide, and on April 12th, 1909, the Mexican Republic held its first national democratic elections.
Government and Politics
Since 1909 and the establishment of the Republic, Mexico has been a liberal democracy that operates under a semi-presidential system with a president as head of the state elected by a national vote every 7 years and a prime minister elected by the upper house of the legislature (the Mexican Senate) and approved by the lower house (the Mexican congress of provinces). The Mexican legislature is bicameral with the upper house being elected proportionally (with terms of 3 years) and the lower house being comprised of 3 representatives appointed by each provincial government.
There is a separation of powers between the Mexican President and Mexican Prime Minister with the prime minister and their appointed council of ministers having authority over internal executive affairs and the president having authority over the military and foreign affairs. This system of power sharing was created during the Mexican constitutional crisis of 1909 to avoid concentrating power in the hand of one leader; this was likely a reaction to the Imperial period's system of near absolute power vested in the emperor.