How Old is Mexico?
How Old Is Mexico?
Mexico, as a country, is not that old; however, people have been living in present-day Mexico for tens of thousands of years. It is estimated that the first human civilizations arrived in Mexico approximately 23,000 years ago; however, much of this has been dated using radiocarbon dating, not written texts or hieroglyphics.
The first major civilization to inhabit Mexico, which is also called Mesoamerica (since Mexico is the name given to the area by European settlers), were the Olmecs. They started appearing along the Atlantic coast, particularly in the area of Tabasco, Mexico, around 1500 BC. This is the first civilization to produce an artistic and cultural style that can be recorded and studied by archaeologists.
Who Lived in Mexico Before European Settlers?
The biggest civilization to inhabit Mexico prior to the arrival of European settlers was the Mayans. They dominated the area for several hundred years, and there are remains that can be traced back to 300 BC. Along with the Inca and Aztec tribes, they ruled present-day Central and South America. In particular, the Mayans lived on the Yucatan Peninsula, and there is still a major pyramid built by the Mayan civilization that stands today. The biggest archaeological site is called Teotihuacan, located in the basin of Mexico. After the fall of the Mayan empire, the Aztec empire would rise, ruling the same area. There are still scientists studying indigenous tribes in the area to this day. Eventually, European settlers would arrive, and Mexico would become a colony of Spain.
Which European Country Owned Mexico?
Eventually, Spain conquered Mexico. Spain had a brief battle with the Aztec empire, which was ruling the area at the time. In 1521, Spain conquered the vast majority of Mesoamerica, just as England and France would conquer the rest of North America. Indigenous populations were pushed farther and farther away from the Atlantic coast, and present-day Mexico would exist under Spanish rule for 300 years. European powers would go to war against each other, and they would eventually carve up most of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and North America. Eventually, the United States won independence from England, inspiring many other colonies in the New World to do the same. Mexico would declare its independence from Spain, fighting a war that would last 11 years. Present-day Mexico was founded in 1821.
Did Mexico Own California?
When Mexico won its independence from Spain, it also claimed Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. Texas would revolt against Mexico in 1836, eventually winning its independence after a few brief battles. Texas was its own independent country for a short amount of time before it applied for admission to the United States. Mexico and the United States would go to war from 1846 to 1848. After a string of unbroken defeats at the hands of the United States Army, Mexico ceded all of the territories north of the Rio Grande River to the United States, establishing present-day borders.