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A brief history of Mexico from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s:

1767 Emperor Charles III attempts to limit the power of the Catholic Church and
expels the Jesuits from all Spanish territories. Their expulsion sparks rebellion in
several regions of Mexico, which is brutally repressed by the Viceroy’s forces.

1789 The politically liberal ideas of the French Revolution [liberty, fraternity, equality]
spread to the New World. Mestizos and criollos demand to have more of a role in the
governing of Nueva España.

1808 Napoleon Bonaparte occupies Spain, and installs his brother Joseph as the head
of state. The war between Spain [with Britain] and France leads to Mexican
independence, as Spain begins to fall apart nationally and internationally.

1810 On 16 September, in the village of Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo issues his cry
for independence, called “El grito de Dolores.” This set off a number of revolutionary
activities by natives and mestizos. While initially successful, the movement loses steam
and is defeated. Hidalgo is captured and executed. 16 Sept. is celebrated as Mexico’s
Independence Day.

1814 Father José Morelos proclaims a Mexican republic before being defeated by the
royalist sympathizer General Agustín de Iturbide.

1821 Revolts in Spain usher in an era of liberal reforms; conservative Mexican leaders
plan to end the Viceroyalty system and declare independence. Iturbide issues a plan
[read it!]. In August the last Viceroy signs the Treaty of Córdoba and Mexico is
officially independent.

1823 Iturbide, who had declared himself Emperor, is overthrown by General Antonio de
Santa Anna, who declares a republic. Guadalupe Victoria is the first elected president,
Iturbide is executed, and thus begins a long struggle between Centralist [conservative]
and Federalist [liberal] politicians.

1833 Santa Anna becomes president.

1846 The US declares war on Mexico in order to acquire Texas, New Mexico and
California. Despite a series of US victories, Mexico refuses to admit defeat. In 1847
US troops capture Mexico City and a formal peace is reached in the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo, wherein the US acquires what is now the South West, and was then
½ of Mexico’s territory.
1857 A new era of reform. Santa Anna is forced into exile. Liberal leaders write a new
constitution and establish Mexico as a Federation, guarantee freedom of speech,
universal voting rights [for men], curtail the power and wealth of the Catholic Church.
Conservative factions oppose these changes and a 3 year-long civil war erupts.

1861 Benito Juárez, a Zapotec Indian, emerges from the war as a champion of the
Liberals. He suspended payment of Mexico’s foreign debt. Lead by Napoleon III,
France, Great Britain and Spain intervene to protect their investments in Mexico, and
occupy Veracruz. Napoleon III sends his troops to Mexico City, forcing Juárez to flee
in 1863. Maximilian, the Archduke of Austria, is installed as Emperor.

1867 The US continued to recognize Juárez as the leader, and pressures France to
withdraw its troops from Mexico. After Mexican troops, lead by General Porfirio Díaz,
occupy Mexico City, Maximilian is forced to surrender and is court-martialed and
executed. Once back in power, Juárez proposes changes to the Constitution to
strengthen executive powers.