La Fiesta Grande
THE AZTEC EMPIRE One of the best know indigenous Mexican groups is the Aztec, which actually absorbed many individual tribes to become one large group. Primarily Nahuatl speaking, they claimed as their ancestral home a place called Aztlán. Today, the Cerro de Culiacan in Guanajuato state, "150 Leagues" from Mexico City, is believed by some to be this mythical place. The Aztecs are an agglomeration of different tribes and the Mexica (pronounced me-shee-ka) were considered the most powerful group. THE ZAPOTEC Moving further south to the Valley of Oaxaca the Zapotec civilization was flourishing as long as 2,500 years ago. With its beginnings around the 6th century BC, the Olmec civilization continued developing until the Spanish conquest in the 15th century, making their empire much longer lasting than that of the Aztecs. Their civilization was centered around the Zapotec capital of Monte Alban and is known to have been very advanced for its time. There was not one single Zapotec language but instead a variety of Zapotec dialects, which had written and spoken forms. Many have survived to this day with the significantly large Zapotec communities that still live in the state of Oaxaca, as well as other parts of Mexico.  Benito Juarez, the first indigenous president of Mexico, was of Zapotec descent. Their survival is likely to be down to the fact that, upon hearing of the defeat of the Aztecs by the Spaniards, they decided not to fight them like the Aztecs did, but there were numerous uprisings against the Spanish up to the 18th century. THE MAYA CIVILIZATION The Maya civilization started around 2000 BC although where precisely, is not known. It is generally believed that the first settlements were along the Pacific coast in present-day Chiapas State. What is known is that this empire extended from the the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico all the way south to El Salvador. Maya civilization has 4 clearly marked periods in time starting with the Preclassic Period that dates from the beginning of Maya civilization to around 200 AD. The next period is the Classic (AD 250-900) followed by a Collapse and large scale abandonment of the cities. After roaming the land they entered into the Valley of Mexico after their leader Huitzilopochtli ordered them to change locations in the 13th century. There, at least 16 other indigenous tribes were occupying this valley also the result of them migrating this area of Mexico. Since the Mexicas were one of the last tribes to arrive in the Valley of Mexico, they found that all of the good land was already occupied. They were forced to keep searching for their own spot until they eventually found a small island in a lake of the valley—where, according to legend, they would see the fulfillment of a vision of an eagle eating a snake while perched on a cactus. This vision was a sign indicating that this was where they should settle. This settlement would later become the famous Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. The Mexica became very skilled in developing their homeland and this helped them to move their way up the social and political ladder of the Aztec Empire, as well as by intermarriage with other tribes.
Mexican cuisine is primarily a fusion of indigenous Mesoamerican cooking with European, especially Spanish, elements added after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century. The staples are native foods, such as corn, beans, avocados, tomatoes, and chili peppers, along with rice, which was brought by the Spanish. Europeans introduced a large number of other foods, the most important of which were meats from domesticated animals (beef, pork, chicken, goat, and sheep), dairy products (especially cheese), and various herbs and spices. While the Spanish initially tried to impose their own diet on the country, this was not possible and eventually the foods and cooking techniques began to be mixed, especially in colonial era convents. African and Asian influences were also introduced into the mixture during this era as a result of African slavery in New Spain and the Manila-Acapulco Galleons. Before the colonization of the Americas, the area that is now called Mexico was inhabited by many indigenous tribes, each with their own traditions and languages. When the Spaniards took control however, a combination of their oppressive ways, unfamiliar diseases and war decimated the indigenous population. The people that managed to survive gradually incorporated elements of Spanish culture into their own, such as the Catholic religion and the Spanish language. As a result, many of the original traits of the indigenous tribes have now been lost or blended into European-based customs. Today, efforts continue to revive a sense of pride for the Mexican indigenous culture, something that was started around the time of Mexican Independence and even more so since the Revolution. c. AD 250-900 Classical Maya city states flourish in the far south of modern-day Mexico, as well as in neighbouring Guatemala and Belize, before suffering a mysterious collapse. c. AD 0-500 - Major cultural and religious centre of Teotihuacan flourishes. Thought to have been one of the world's largest cities at the time, but little is known about its ethnic and political nature. 6th-7th century - Influx of new peoples into central Mexico from the north, including speakers of Nahuatl. 800-1000 - High point of the Toltec culture, centred on the city of Tula, in modern-day Hidalgo province. 10th-16th centuries - Revitalised Maya civilisation blossoms in the northern Yucatan peninsula, creating major cities such as Chichen Itza and Uxmal. 1428-1521 - The latest of a long line of indigenous civilisations, the Aztec Empire - an alliance of Nahuatl-speaking city states led by Tenochtitlan (modern-day Mexico City) - establishes hegemony over much of central Mexico. 1519 - Small Spanish army led by Hernan Cortes lands at Veracruz, marking the start of Spain's conquest of Mexico. 1521 - Allied with native anti-Aztec forces, Cortes' men capture the capital Tenochtitlan (modern-day Mexico City). 1521-1820 - Mexico forms part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Independence. 1810-21 - War of Independence ends with the creation of the short-living Mexican Empire, which includes Central America to the southern border of modern-day Costa Rica, as well as what is now the southwestern US. 1824 - Mexico becomes a federal republic after the ouster and exile of Emperor Augustin de Iturbide. Central American provinces secede, becoming the countries of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The new Mexican state is marked by tension between the conservative Spanish-origin landowning elite and the largely indigenous landless minority, resulting in instability and frequent armed conflict.  2001 April - Parliament passes a bill increasing the rights of indigenous people. A few days later, Subcomandante Marcos rejects the bill, saying it leaves the Indian population worse off than before. Marcos says the uprising in Chiapas will continue. 2001 November - President Fox appoints a prosecutor to investigate the disappearance of left-wing activists during the 1970s and 1980s. 2002 March - Roberto Madrazo wins the contest to lead the PRI, which governed for 71 years until 2000. 2001 April - Parliament passes a bill increasing the rights of indigenous people. A few days later, Subcomandante Marcos rejects the bill, saying it leaves the Indian population worse off than before. Marcos says the uprising in Chiapas will continue. 2001 November - President Fox appoints a prosecutor to investigate the disappearance of left-wing activists during the 1970s and 1980s. 2002 March - Roberto Madrazo wins the contest to lead the PRI, which governed for 71 years until 2000. 2002 June - Millions of secret security files are released, shedding light on the torture and killing by security forces of hundreds of political activists in the 1960s and 1970s. President Fox says his government is not afraid to pursue prosecutions. 2002 July - Former President Luis Echeverria is questioned about massacres of student protesters in 1968, when he was interior minister, and in 1971 when he was president. 2002 September - Three army officers are charged with first-degree murder over the killings of 134 leftists in the 1970s. 2004 July - Investigator deems 1971 shooting of student protesters by government forces to have been genocide; judge refuses to order arrest of former President Luis Echeverria on charges that he ordered attack. 2005 January - Six prison officers are murdered and top-security jails are put on high alert amid escalating tension between the authorities and drug gangs. 2005 April - Political furore a Mexico City mayor and presidential favourite Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is stripped of his immunity from prosecution by Congress in a land dispute. The government eventually abandons the prosecution. 2006 February - A federal post of special prosecutor is created to tackle violent crime against women. Mexico had been criticised by the UN and rights groups over the unsolved murders of more than 300 women over 12 years in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. 2006 July - Conservative candidate Felipe Calderon is declared the winner of presidential elections with a razor-thin majority over his leftist rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who challenges the result with mass street protests. The Federal Electoral Tribunal confirms Mr Calderon's win in September. 2006 October - US President George W Bush signs legislation to build 1,125km (700 miles) of fencing along the US-Mexico border. Mexico condemns plans for the barrier, which is intended to curb illegal immigration. 2006 December - A new federal police force is created to tackle drugs cartels; thousands of troops are deployed in the western state of Michoacan as part of a major anti-drug trafficking drive. 2007 February - New law obliging authorities to take tougher action against domestic violence comes into effect. 2007 July - A financial website says that Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim has overtaken Microsoft founder Bill Gates to become the world's richest person. Genocide trial against former president Luis Echeverria is suspended. 2007 October - Heavy rains flood nearly the entire southern state of Tabasco. Some 500,000 are made homeless in one of the country's worst natural disasters. 2008 Drug-related killings soar. Murders linked to organised crime leap to almost 1,400 in first five months of year. open the market to foreign oil firms and strip state-owned energy group Pemex of the monopoly it has held since nationalisation in 1938. 2008 May - Attorney-general Eduardo Medina Mora says more than 4,000 people have been killed in 18 months since President Calderon took office and declared war on drugs cartels. About 450 of the dead are police, soldiers or prosecutors, and many of the killings have been concentrated along the US border. 2008 August - Hundreds of thousands join marches throughout Mexico to protest against continuing wave of drugs-related violence. 2008 October - Faced with drop in Mexican oil production, government passes series of energy reforms. Package includes controversial plans to allow private investment in state oil giant Pemex. 2009 January - Government unveils package of emergency measures worth nearly $150m (£100m) to protect economy from effects of US economic downturn. 2009 February - Reports say about 1,000 people died in a further upsurge in drug-related violence in the first six weeks of 2009. 2009 March - Army troops enter Ciudad Juarez, on the border with the US, as open warfare erupts between rival drug gangs. 2009 April - Authorities close schools and public buildings after dozens are confirmed to have been killed by the virulent new swine flu virus. 2009 July - Opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) makes large gains in mid-term congressional elections, winning 48% of seats in the Chamber of Deputies. 2009 October - Murder rate in Ciudad Juarez on Mexico-US border reaches all-time high amid battles between rival drug cartels. 2009 December - One of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords, Arturo Beltran Leyva, is killed in a shoot-out with state security forces. The authorities put the number of drug-related killings for 2009 at around 6,500, the worst year of bloodshed since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels in late 2006. 2010 March - President Calderon calls on United States to share responsibility in battle against drug trafficking, after the murder of three people connected to US consulate in border city of Ciudad Juarez. 2010 August - US President Barack Obama signs into law a $600m bill to put more agents and equipment along the Mexican border to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. 2010 December - Wikileaks releases US diplomatic cables revealing that the US ambassador questioned the Mexican security forces' ability to tackle organised crime. *Over 50,000 people thought to have died from drug-related violence between 2006-12. *Drugs traffic into US worth an estimated $13bn *Regions along Mexico's border with US worst-hit, but violence has spread to other areas. *More than 50,000 troops and federal police involved in combating the gangs 2011 August - An attack on the Casino Royale in Monterrey kills 52 people, after gunmen douse the building with fuel and set it alight. 2012 May - The army arrests a drug cartel leader over the killing of 49 people whose mutilated bodies are dumped on a major road in Nuevo Leon state, in one of the worst atrocities committed in the ongoing drug war. 2012 July - The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate Enrique Pena Nieto wins presidential election. 2013 July - Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, head of the brutal Zetas drugs cartel, is arrested in the highest-profile arrest since President Pena Nieto adopted a policy of targeting local bosses rather than big names. 2014 February - Vigilante groups launch an offensive against the Knights Templar drugs cartel in the state of Michoacan; they are granted temporary legal status as Rural Defence Corps. 2014 August - Mexico's Congress approves sweeping reforms to the country's energy sector that will open the market to foreign oil firms and strip state-owned energy group Pemex of the monopoly it has held since nationalisation in 1938. 2014 November - Plans are announced to bring regional government and police to be brought under federal control after mass protests over the disappearance in September of 43 trainee teachers in the southwestern state of Guerrero. 2015 January - Authorities issue arrest warrants for 45 suspects - including a former mayor - in the case of 43 missing students kidnapped and thought killed in Guerrero. 2015 May - Hundreds of gunmen overrun the city of Chilapa in Guerrero, abducting 15 young men in a suspected drug gang turf war. 2015 June - Governing Institutional Revolutionary Party and its allies lose seats but hold onto power as independents and the new leftwing party Morena make a strong showing in regional and local polls. 2015 July - Top drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escapes from high-security prison through a tunnel, in his second prison-break since 2001, and over a year-and-a-half since his recapture in January 2014. He is recaptured in January 2016. 2015 August - Inter-American Commission on Human Rights complains its investigation is not being given access to suspects in Guerrero missing students case. 2016 February - Visiting Pope Francis urges a stadium packed with members of the clergy not to give up in the face of violence, drug trafficking and corruption. 2016 March - Mexico says it will not pay for a wall to built along the Mexican-US border in its first direct response to US presidential candidate Donald Trump's electoral pledge. 2016 May - President Enrique Pena Nieto has announced proposals to reform the constitution to allow same sex marriages across the country. 2017 January - Drug lord Joaquin Guzman, known as El Chapo, is extradited to the United States to be tried on charges of money laundering, drug-trafficking, kidnapping and murder. 1836 - Former province of Texas, by now increasingly populated by English-speaking Americans, secedes after a war, going on to join the United States nine years later. 1846-8 - Mexican-American War ends with Mexico being forced to sell its northern provinces (including modern-day California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah) to the US. 1855-72 - "La Reforma" period, characterised by liberal reforms limiting the power and landholdings of the Catholic Church. 1864-7 - Archduke Maximilian Habsburg of Austria is installed as Mexican emperor with support from Napoleon III of France and conservative landowners, but is toppled and executed by Republican rebels. 1876-1911 - Porfirio Diaz's 35-year-long dictatorship - known as the "Porfiriato" - brings a long period of stability, modernisation and economic growth, but at the price of political repression and stagnation. 1910-1920 - Mexican Revolution ends the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship and leads to establishment of a constitutional republic. 1913-14 - Diaz' successor, the liberal Francisco Madero, introduces land reform and labour legislation before being assassinated. Victoriano Huerta seizes power. Political unrest continues with Zapata leading a peasant revolt in the south. The ice pick assassination 1914 - Victoriano Huerta - viewed with suspicion by the United States for alleged pro-German sympathies - resigns, and is succeeded by Venustiano Carranza. 1916 - US forces cross the border in pursuit of the guerrilla leader Francisco "Pancho" Villa. 1917 - US forces withdraw, having failed to kill Villa. A new constitution is adopted, which is designed to ensure permanent democracy in Mexico. 1920 - President Venustiano Carranza is murdered. Civil war follows. 1929 - The National Revolutionary Party is formed. In 1946 it is re-named the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. 1934 - President Lazaro Cardenas begins programme of oil nationalisation, land reform and industrial expansion. 1940 - Leon Trotsky murdered in Mexico. 1942 - Mexico declares war on Japan and Germany. 1968 - Student demonstration in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, during the Olympic Games is fired upon by Mexican security forces. Hundreds of protesters are killed or wounded. The extent of the violence shocks the country. 1976 - Huge offshore oil reserves discovered; the Cantarell field becomes the mainstay of Mexico's oil production. 1985 - Earthquake in Mexico City kills thousands and makes many more homeless. 1993 - Mexican parliament ratifies the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the US and Canada. 1994 - A guerrilla rebellion in Chiapas by the Zapatista National Liberation Army is brutally suppressed by government troops. The rebels oppose Nafta and want greater recognition for Indian rights. The government recognises the Zapatista National Liberation Front (EZLN). 1994 August - Presidential elections won by PRI candidate Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, after the previous candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio, was murdered. The stock market plunges in December, the peso loses a third of its value. 1995 - Former President Carlos Salinas goes into exile after his brother Raul Salinas is connected with Colosio's murder. 1995 November - The government and the EZLN reach an agreement on greater autonomy for the indigenous Mayans of Chiapas. 1996 - The insurgency in the south escalates as the leftist Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) attacks government troops. 1997 - The PRI suffers heavy losses in elections and loses its overall majority in the lower house of parliament for the first time since 1929. 1997 December - 45 Indians killed by paramilitary gunmen in a Chiapas village. The incident causes an international outcry, President Zedillo starts an investigation. 1998 January - Governor of Chiapas resigns. Peace talks with the rebels are reactivated, but break down at the end of the year. Fox election victory 2000 July - Vicente Fox of the opposition Alliance for Change wins presidential elections, the first opposition candidate ever to do so. Parliamentary elections see the Alliance for Change emerge as the strongest party, beating the PRI by just over 1%. 2000 December - Vicente Fox is sworn in as president. 2001 March - Zapatista guerrillas, led by Subcomandante Marcos, stage their "Zapatour", a march from Chiapas to Mexico City to highlight their demands. Mexican cuisine is as complex as any other world cuisine, such as those of China, France, Italy and Japan. It is created mostly with ingredients native to Mexico, as well as those brought over by the Spanish conquistadors, with some new influences since then. In addition to staples, such as corn and chile peppers, native ingredients include tomatoes, squashes, avocados, cocoa and vanilla, as well as ingredients not generally used in other cuisines, such as edible flowers, vegetables like huauzontle and papaloquelite, or small criollo avocados, whose skin is edible. Mexican Civilizations. México timeline Before the Spanish conquest, Mexico was inhabited by many indigenous civilizations, each with their own languages and traditions. The city of Teotihuacan was a major pre-Colombian cultural centre Up to 30,000 people were killed in the quake which struck Mexico City in 1985 Mexico City in 1995: Thousands gathered in in support of Zapatistas pressing for indigenous rights The ski-mask wearing sub-commandante Marcos was the public face of the popular rebellion In 2006, President Calderon launched a crackdown on Mexico's brutal drugs gangs Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's dramatic 2015 prison escape once again highlighted the weakness of state institutions. Mexico hosted the football World Cup in 1986 Aztec-era traditions are still being kept alive The Spanish conquest took decades to complete Pancho Villa was one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution. His exploits have been recreated in a variety of books and movies. Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky (l) arrives in Mexico, where he was tracked down and killed. Vegetables play an important role in Mexican cuisine. Common vegetables include zucchini, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, spinach, swiss chard, mushrooms, jitomate (red tomato), green tomato, etc. Other traditional vegetable dishes include chile rellenos, huitlacoche (corn fungus), huauzontle, and nopalitos (cactus leaves) to name a few. European contributions include pork, chicken, beef, cheese, herbs and spices, as well as some fruits. Tropical fruits such as guava, prickly pear, sapote, mangoes, bananas, pineapple and cherimoya (custard apple) are popular, especially in the center and south of the country. It has been debated how much Mexican food is still indigenous and how much is European. However, the basis of the diet is still corn and beans, with chile pepper as a seasoning, as they are complementary foods.
Over the centuries, this resulted in regional cuisines based on local conditions, such as those in Oaxaca, Veracruz and the Yucatán Peninsula. Mexican cuisine is an important aspect of the culture, social structure and popular traditions of Mexico. The most important example of this connection is the use of mole for special occasions and holidays, particularly in the South and Center regions of the country. For this reason and others, traditional Mexican cuisine was inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. THE OLMEC CIVILIZATION The Olmecs are thought to be the one of the oldest civilization in Mexico, since they began before 1000BC. The Olmecs were the first organized civilization in Mexico, relied heavily on agriculture and were the first to introduce ritual bloodletting. We still don't know how Olmec society was structured but it is believed to have been hierarchical. One clue to this are the huge stone heads that they left behind which are believed to be those of the heads of Olmec rulers. Although there is much that it still not known about the Olmecs, such as how and why their tribe disappeared around 300BC. The Olmec people and culture did not completely disappear; many other tribes incorporated aspects of the Olmec culture into their own including the Aztecs more than 1000 years later.
Basic elements Mexican cuisine

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