Mexico History Timeline
Timeline Description: Mexico's history dates back to pre-Columbian times when it was ruled by some of history's most advanced civilizations. The North American country ranks fifth in size out of all the countries in the Americas and it is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.

Date Event
1200 B.C. The Olmecs settle near Veracruz.

The first known society of Mexicans was the Olmecs. When they arrived in Mexico, they settled along the Gulf Coast near the city we call Veracruz today.
1100 The Mayan civilization collapses.

After many years of thriving as one of the most intelligent and innovative civilizations in the Americas, the Mayan civilization collapses. This most likely occurred because of overpopulation and lack of resources to support everyone.
1427 The Aztecs rise to prominence in Mexico's central valley.

The Aztecs, which most consider to be the last great civilizations of native Mexico before Christopher Columbus, rises to prominence in the central valley of Mexico. Part of the reason for their success is that they join with the Toltecs and the Mayans.
May 1521 Hernan Cortes attacks the Aztecs.

An explorer from Spain named Hernan Cortes attacks the Aztecs and colonizes the region. Cortes named the area New Spain and for many years Spain controls the Aztecs. Nearly 24 million Aztecs die from disease brought to Mexico from Europe.
1523 Catholic missionaries begin to arrive in Mexico.

Missionaries arrive in Mexico and begin building churches and converting citizens to Catholicism. King Carlos III of Spain will remove many of the Jesuits from Mexico in the late 1700s because he grows concerned with the power of the Catholics.
1821 Mexico wins its independence from Spain.

Vicente Guerrero and Agustin de Iturbide join forces and help Mexico win its freedom from Spanish rule. Even though they create a constitution together, Iturbide declares himself emperor in 1822.
1823 Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna overthrows Iturbide.

Iturbide's brief rule in Mexico ends when he is overthrown by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. He will serve as president of the new Mexican republic for 13 years until forced into exile in the Mexican-American War.
February 1848 Mexico loses the Mexican-American War.

A two year-battle with the United States over the annexation of Texas results in an American victory over Mexico. Over 500,000 square miles of territory is given to the United States, including California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.
November 1910 The Mexican Revolution begins.

Mexican peasants, upset with what they believe is unequal distribution of money and power, start a revolution against the Mexican government and President Porfirio Diaz. This leads to a 10-year civil war in which at least 2 million Mexican die.
July 20, 1923 Pancho Villa is assassinated.

Revolutionary hero Pancho Villa is murdered when he is attacked in his car. Villa was traveling without his customary 50 bodyguards and the two that were with him were easily overwhelmed by the attackers. The killers were never found.
August 21, 1929 Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera marry.

Two of Mexico's most talented modern artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, marry in a small ceremony in Coyoacan. Rivera is still considered one of the world's greatest muralists and Kahlo is one of its greatest surrealist painters.
October 1968 Mexico City hosts the Summer Olympics.

The capital of Mexico, Mexico City, hosts 5,500 athletes at the Summer Olympics. It is the first time that the Olympics are held in a Latin American country. Mexico won nine medals, including three golds.
September 19, 1985 An 8.1 earthquake rocks Mexico City.

Mexico City is devastated by an 8.1 earthquake. Over 10,000 people die, 30,000 are wounded, and thousands more are left homeless in a country already suffering from an economic crisis.
July 2, 2000 Vicente Fox Quesada is elected president of Mexico.

The Industrial Revolutionary Party's time in power comes to an end with the election of Vicente Fox Quesada of the National Action Party. The Industrial Revolution Party had led Mexico for 71 years.
January 2013 President Enrique Pena Nieto takes office.

Representing the Industrial Revolutionary Party, President Enrique Pena Nieto takes office. Formerly the State of Mexico governor, Pena Nieto vows to reduce the violence that plagues his country, largely the result of the power of drug cartels.