History of Mexico
The history of Mexico, a country in the southern portion of North America, covers a period of more than three millennia. First populated more than 13,000 years ago, the territory had complex indigenous civilizations before being conquered and colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century. One of the important aspects of Mesoamerican civilizations was their development of a form of writing, so that Mexico's written history stretches back hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1519; this era before the arrival of Europeans is called variously the prehispanic era or the precolumbian era. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan became the Spanish capital Mexico City, remains the most populous city in Mexico. From 1521, the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire incorporated the region into the Spanish Empire, with New Spain its colonial era name and Mexico City the center of colonial rule, it became the capital of New Spain. During the colonial era, Mexico's long-established Mesoamerican civilizations mixed with European culture.
Nothing better represents this hybrid background than Mexico's languages: the country is both the most populated Spanish-speaking country in the world and home to the largest number of Native American language speakers in North America. For three centuries Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire, whose legacy is a country with a Spanish-speaking and Western culture. After a protracted struggle for independence, New Spain became the sovereign nation of Mexico, with the signing of the Treaty of Córdoba. A brief period of monarchy, called the First Mexican Empire, was followed by the founding of the Republic of Mexico, established under a federal constitution in 1824. Legal racial categories were eliminated. Slavery was not abolished at independence in 1821 or with the constitution in 1824, but was eliminated in 1829. Mexico continues to be constituted as a federated republic, under the Mexican Constitution of 1917; the Age of Santa Anna is the period of the late 1820s to the early 1850s, dominated by criollo military-man-turned-president Antonio López de Santa Anna.
In 1846, the Mexican–American War was provoked by the United States, ending two years with Mexico ceding half of its territory via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to the United States. Though Santa Anna bore significant responsibility for the disastrous defeat, he returned to office; the Liberal Reform began with the overthrow of Santa Anna by Mexican liberals, ushering in La Reforma beginning in 1854. The Mexican Constitution of 1857 codified the principles of liberalism in law separation of church and state, equality before the law, that included stripping corporate entities of special status; the Reform sparked a civil war between liberals defending the constitution and conservatives, who opposed it. The War of the Reform saw the defeat of the conservatives on the battlefield, but conservatives remained strong and took the opportunity to invite foreign intervention against the liberals in order to forward their own cause; the French Intervention is the period when France invaded Mexico, nominally to collect on defaulted loans to the liberal government of Benito Juárez, but it went further and at the invitation of Mexican conservatives seeking to restore monarchy in Mexico, to set Maximilian I on the Mexican throne.
The US was engaged in its own Civil War at that time, so did not attempt to block the French invasion. Curiously, the famous "Cinco de Mayo" celebrations in the USA refer to the victory of the Mexican army in 1862 over the French invaders; the French had planned to support the Southern Confederacy in the USA after conquering Mexico. The French were foiled in that effort by the Mexicans, so in this sense, Mexico inadvertently aided Abraham Lincoln. For that reason, Abraham Lincoln supported the Mexican liberals. At the end of the Civil War in the US and the triumph of the Union forces, the US aided Mexican liberals against Maximilian's regime. France withdrew its support of Maximilian in 1867 and his monarchist rule collapsed in 1867 and Maximilian was executed. With the end of the Second Mexican Empire, the period called the Restored Republic brought back Benito Juárez as president. Following his death from a heart attack, Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada succeed him, he was overthrown by liberal military man Porfirio Díaz, who after consolidating power ushered in a period of stability and economic growth.
The half-century of economic stagnation and political chaos following independence ended. The Porfiriato is the era when army hero Porfirio Díaz held power as president of Mexico continuously from 1876–1911, he promoted "order and progress" that saw the suppression of violence, modernization of the economy, the flow of foreign investment to the country. The period ended with the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. Under Díaz, Mexico's industry and infrastructure were modernized by a strong, stable but autocratic central government. Increased tax revenues and better administration brought dramatic improvements in public safety, public health, mining, foreign trade, national finances; the Mexican Revolution is the chaotic period between 1910 and 1920 when Mexicans fought to determine their future after the end of the Díaz era. The uncertainty about presidential succession in 1910, when 80 year-old Díaz was re-elected in fraudulent elections, touched off violence in northern Mexico and in the state of Morelos, just south of Mexico City.
The sparking forces of the Mexican Revolution were elites outside Díaz's inn
The Real Audiencia, or Audiencia, was an appellate court in Spain and its empire. The name of the institution translates as Royal Audience; the additional designation chancillería was applied to the appellate courts in early modern Spain. Each audiencia had oidores; the first audiencia was founded in the Kingdom of Castile in 1371 at Valladolid. The Valladolid Audiencia functioned as the highest court in Castile for the next two centuries. Appeals from the Castilian audiencias could only be made to the Council of Castile after its creation in 1480. After the union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon in the Kingdom of Spain and the subsequent conquest of Granada in 1492, the audiencia was divided in two, with the Audiencia of Valladolid taking cases originating north of the Tagus River, the Royal Audiencia of Ciudad Real taking cases from south of the river; the second audiencia was moved to Granada in 1505. Under Charles V and Philip II, the audiencia system was extended first in Spain proper, with the Royal Audiencia of Aragon and to the rest of the Spanish Empire.
Audiencias in cities and provinces that belong to Spain today included Seville, Las Palmas, Majorca and Extremadura. The audiencias and viceroys of the Crown of Aragon were overseen by the Council of Aragon, established in 1494. In the Indies, the two institutions were united, but with a different power relationship; the Crown of Castile early on introduced the audiencia into the Americas as part of its campaign to bring the area and its Spanish settlers and conquerors under royal control. With the vast conquests on the American mainland, which began in the 1520s, it became clear that the audiencia system would not be sufficient to run the overseas government. Viceroys were therefore introduced, but without the judicial powers the office had enjoyed under the Aragonese Crown. In the New World, the audiencias were given a consultative and quasi-legislative role in the administration of the territories. Both viceroys and audiencias were overseen by a Council of the Indies. Most of the laws dealing with the establishment of the 16th- and 17th-century audiencias can be found in Book II, Title XV of the Recopilación de Leyes de los Reynos de las Indias issued in 1680.
The first audiencia in the Americas was established at Santo Domingo in 1511 with jurisdiction over the Caribbean islands and the adjacent mainland. It was suppressed due to opposition by the Spanish settlers, but was re-established permanently in 1526; as the Spanish conquest of the continent continued, more audiencias were founded in the new areas of settlement. The first mainland audiencia was set up in Mexico City in 1527, just six years after the fall of Tenochtitlan, which had jurisdiction over most of what is now Mexico and Central America; this audiencia was followed by the Audiencia of Panama, 1538, overseeing Central America and the littoral regions of northern South America until its abolishment in 1543. It was reestablshed with jurisdiction only over Panama proper in 1564, which functioned until 1751. In 1543 with the abolition of the first Audiencia of Panama, two audiencias were established in its place: one in Guatemala with jurisdiction over Central America and another in Lima with jurisdiction over the newly settled areas of South America, gained by the conquest of Peru and surrounding regions.
Venezuela, settled earlier, remained under the jurisdiction of the Audiencia of Santo Domingo until the establishment of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the early 18th century. By the end of the 16th century six more audiencias had been established in: Guadalajara, 1548, covering what is now northern Mexico Santa Fe de Bogotá, 1548, overseeing most of modern Colombia Charcas, 1559 Quito, 1565, with jurisdiction over most of modern Ecuador, the Peruvian Amazon, Jaén, Tumbes and Popayán provinces Concepcíon, 1565, but, abolished in 1575 Manila in 1583 overseeing the Philippines and the Spanish East IndiesIn the 17th century two new audiencias were created in: Santiago, 1609, replacing the one in Concepción Buenos Aires, which only operated from 1661 to 1672; the last colonial audiencias were created under the Bourbon kings as part of their administrative reforms, which involved setting up new viceroyalties. The new dynasty found no need for the second Audiencia of Panama and abolished it in 1751, transferring its jurisdiction to the one in Bogotá.
New audiencias were established in: Caracas, 1786 Cusco, 1787 Buenos Aires, 1783. This meant that at the moment of Spanish American independence in the early 19th century, the overseas possessions of the Spanish Monarchy were overseen by twelve audiencias. After the loss of Santo Domingo to the French in 1795, the Audiencia of Santo Domingo was transferred to Camagüey, Cuba and renamed the Audiencia of Puerto Príncipe. In 1838 a second Cuban audiencia was established in Havana, from 1831 to 1853 Puerto Rico had its own audiencia. Unlike their peninsular counterparts, the overseas audiencias had legislative and executive functions in addition to their judicial ones, thus represented the king in his role as maker of laws and dispenser of justice, as evidenced by the fact that, as chanceries, they alone had the royal seal, their importance in handling the affairs of state is reflected in the fact that many of the modern countries of Spanish-speaking South America and Panama have boundaries that are rou
Aguascalientes the Free and Sovereign State of Aguascalientes, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 11 municipalities and its capital city is Aguascalientes, it is located in North-Central Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Zacatecas to Jalisco to the south, its name originated from the abundance of hot springs in the area. The demonym for the state's inhabitants is aguascalentense. Pre-Columbian era arrowheads and rock paintings in the caverns of the Sierra del Laurel and near the present village of Las Negritas testify to the presence of man in this territory for more than 20,000 years. In the colonial times, Pedro Almíndez Chirino was the first Spaniard who entered the territory by the end of 1530 or the beginning of 1531, following the instructions given by Nuño de Guzmán. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the territory of what is now the State of Aguascalientes was inhabited by Chichimecas, who made the territory difficult to access.
In fact, the total occupation of the lands of El Bajío was a task that would take about two centuries. With respect to this, Viceroy Luis de Velasco offered municipal benefits to those who established settlements to confront the Chichimeca, and for his part, Viceroy Gastón de Peralta decided to confront them directly, which did not end with good results. It was in order to be in the territory, presently the state inhabited by Chichimecas, the so-called Guachichiles, that the conquistadors built several forts or presidios; this was a system devised by Martín Enríquez de Almanza following the strategy, developing in Spain throughout the Reconquista period. Therefore, in order to protect the Camino de la Plata, which stretched between Zacatecas and Mexico City, three presidios founded by the Indian fighter Juan Domínguez, were to be created, which were: the presidio at Las Bocas called Las Bocas de Gallardo, situated on the border of Aguascalientes, in what was the jurisdiction of the mayor of Teocaltiche, presently the border of Aguascalientes and Zacatecas.
The latter was located on what are now Moctezuma and Victoria Streets, although some historians place it on the Calle 5 de Mayo at Moctezuma, just in front of the Plaza de Armas. This was a fortress whose purpose was the protection of the Valle de los Romero and the road to Zacatecas, entering this way to secure the passage of convoys loaded with silver and other metals; the founding of Aguascalientes as a town came from the order that King Felipe II gave the judge of the court of Nueva Galicia, Don Gerónimo de Orozco, in which he stated that he should look for a rich man to settle in the territory with the purpose of expelling the Chichimecas and of assuring safe passage. Gerónimo de Orozco, following that order, looked for someone who would accept the king's order and found a man named Juan de Montoro in the city of Santa María de los Lagos, he accepted the assignment and, accompanied by eleven other people, headed to the territory and thus founded the town of Aguas Calientes on October 22, 1575.
It has been noted that it was called San Marcos changing its name on August 18, 1611, to the Villa of Our Lady of the Assumption of Aguas Calientes. And from June 2, 1875, it was called the Villa of Our Lady of the Assumption of Aguas Calientes. In the act of its establishment, the Villa de San Marcos was awarded the highest mayoral jurisdiction under the Kingdom of New Galicia; as of December 4, 1786, on the occasion of the issuance of the "Ordinance of Mayors," it became a quartermaster sub-delegation. On April 24, 1789, by order of the Superior Board of Royal Property, the sub-delegation of Aguascalientes became a dependency of Zacatecas. In the Mexican War of Independence, in the territory, today the state of Aguascalientes, the fires of independence were stoked by illustrious and courageous men such as Valentin Gómez Farías, Rafael Iriarte, Rafael Vázquez, Pedro Parga. Confusion has arisen regarding the exact date when Aguascalientes formally separated from the territory of Zacatecas. By virtue of having, de facto, defeated the liberal government of Zacatecas by rising against the central government, president Antonio López de Santa Anna passed through Aguascalientes, where he was well received by the people who had wanted to separate from Zacatecas for some time.
Taking advantage of the independent souls of the Aguascalentenses, by way of punishing Zacatecas for supporting the Revolution against them, by Federal Decree of General López de Santa Anna dated May 23, 1835, in the third article. With respect to this, it must be mentioned that said order was not made official as it did not meet the legal requirements to take effect, since it was necessary that two thirds of each house, both Senators and Representatives, approved the order; the second requirement not being completed, the constitutional congress convened again to develop the centralized constitution that would be known as the Seven Laws. The constitution did not acknowledge Aguascalientes
Zacatecas the Free and Sovereign State of Zacatecas, is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas City. Zacatecas is located in North-Central Mexico, it is bordered by the states of Durango to the northwest, Coahuila to the north, Nayarit to the west, San Luis Potosí and Nuevo León to the east, Jalisco and Aguascalientes to the south. The state is best known for its rich deposits of silver and other minerals, its colonial architecture and its importance during the Mexican Revolution, its main economic activities are mining and tourism. Zacatecas is located in the center-north of Mexico, covers an area of 75,284km2, the tenth largest state in the country, it borders the states of Jalisco, San Luis Potosí, Coahuila and Durango and is divided into fifty-eight municipalities and 4,882 towns and other communities. The state has an average altitude of 2230 meters above sea level, with the capital at 2,496 masl.
The state has three main geographical regions, the Sierra Madre Occidental in the west, the Mexican Plateau and the Sierra Madre Oriental. Most of it is in the Sierra Madre Occidental with rugged peaks of over 2,500 meters above sea level; the mountains of the southeast and northeast are lower but there are large valleys such as the Juchipila and Tlaltenango. Most of the territory has other areas of flat land. In the center of the state there is a small mountain chain called the Sierra de Fresnillo, from which much of the state's mineral wealth comes. In the extreme northwest there is another important mountain chain called the Sierra de Sombrerete, marked by a mountain called Sombreretillo, an important source of mineral wealth. Near this chain is another called the Sierra de Órganos. No major rivers run through the state and most of the waterways run only during the rainy season; the state is part of two water basins. The southeast of the state belongs to the Lerma River basin, which empties in the Pacific Ocean.
Rivers belonging to this basin include the San Pedro, Juchipila and Tlaltenango. The other basin is smaller and endorheic, does not empty into any ocean; the state has eighty dams with a total capacity of 595,337 million cubic meters. The largest of these are the Leobardo Reynoso in Fresnillo, Miguel Aleman in Tepechitlan and El Chique in Tabasco. Much of the state's water is underground divided into twenty hydraulic zones; these are accessed by over 5,800 wells for agricultural use. Most of the territory has a cool, dry climate, although areas in the south have more moisture, with most rain falling between June and September; the driest and coldest areas are in the northeast, known as the Salado because of its saltwater lakes. 75 % of the state is semi arid. 14% is arable and 79% is apt for the grazing of livestock. The average annual temperature is 16C with most of the state being temperate; the coldest months are from November with frost not uncommon. The warmest month is June; the state gets an average rainfall of 400mm per year in the summer, with the warmest and wettest part of the state is along the Sierra Madre Occidental.
Ecosystems vary depending on relief and temperature, leading to a wide variety of vegetation, including forests and grasslands. Arid areas are dominated by various species of cactus. In the far south there are deciduous trees that lose their leaves in spring. Statewide the most common trees are mesquite and palo verde. In the highest altitude, near the Jalisco border, there are mixed forests of pine and holm oak, with the latter dominating along the border with Durango and some along the border with San Luis Potosí. One interesting tree that occurs in Zacatecas is the elephant tree. In the sierras there are white-tailed deer and hares; the extreme northern part of the state is the southern fringe of the Chihuahuan Desert and as such is rich and diverse in biology. This desert is home to a large amount of cacti and is one of the most ecologically diverse deserts on earth; the state name derives from the name of Zacatecas. This word is derived from Nahuatl and means "where there is abundant zacate".
The state seal depicts the Cerro de la Bufa, a landmark of the capital, surrounded by the weapons of the original inhabitants. Above is the motto "Work conquers all." Before the arrival of the Spanish, dominant ethnic groups included the Caxcans and Guachichils, with a probable rivalry between the Guachichils and the Caxcans. The history of these peoples is sketchy and it is not known when the first settlements were founded in the region. Between the fourth and tenth centuries in the Christian era, several large settlements developed such as Altavista, Chalchihuites and La Quemada, considered to be part of Greater Mesoamerica. Areas in the north of the state, without major settlements, were part of what is called Aridoamerica, where inhabitants lived off hunting and gathering; the first of the major population centers emerged along the Suchil and Guadiana Rivers. The archaeological sites of today are all ceremonial centers and/or observatories in the center of metropolises; the first Spanish settlement in the state's current borders was in what is now Nochistlan in 1531, the original Guadalajara.
This settlement was moved to its current location in Jalisco because of water supply problems and indigenous attacks. The capital was founded by Juan de Tolosa with the support of Cristob
Intendant (government official)
An intendant was and sometimes still is a public official in France, Spain and Latin America. The intendancy system was a centralizing administrative system developed in France; when France won the War of the Spanish Succession and the House of Bourbon was established on the throne of Spain, the intendancy system was extended to Spain and the Spanish Empire. Regions were divided into districts administered by the intendant; the title continues to be used in Spain and parts of Spanish America for particular government officials. Intendants were royal civil servants in France under the Old Regime. A product of the centralization policies of the French crown, intendants were appointed "commissions," and not purchasable hereditary "offices," which thus prevented the abuse of sales of royal offices and made them more tractable and subservient emissaries of the king. Intendants were sent to supervise and enforce the king's will in the provinces and had jurisdiction over three areas: finances and justice.
Their missions were always temporary, which helped reduce favorable bias toward a province, were focused on royal inspection. Article 54 of the Code Michau described their functions as "to learn about all crimes and financial misdealings committed by our officials and of other things concerning our service and the tranquility of our people". In the 17th and 18th centuries, the intendants were chosen from the noblesse de robe or the upper-bourgeoisie, they were masters of requests in the Conseil des parties. They were chosen by the Controller-General of Finances who asked the advice of the Secretary of State for War for those who were to be sent in border provinces, they were young: Charles Alexandre de Calonne became an intendant at the age of 32, Turgot and Louis Bénigne François Berthier de Sauvigny at the age of 34, Louis-Urbain-Aubert de Tourny at the age of 40. A symbol of royal centralization and absolutism, the intendant had numerous adversaries; those nostalgic for an administration based on noble lineage saw intendants as parvenus and usurpers of noble power.
Partisans of a less absolute monarchy called. Jacques Necker, the only Minister of Finances since 1720 who had not himself been an intendant, accused them of incompetence because of their youth and social aspirations; the cahiers de doléances of 1789 depicted them as over zealous agents of fiscal policies which weighed on the people. The term intendant was used for certain positions close to the Controller-General: intendants of finance intendants of commerce intendants of the sovereign councilIn the same way, the term intendant général was used for certain commissioned positions close to the State Secretaries of War and of the Navy; as early as the 15th century, the French kings sent commissioners to the provinces to report on royal and administrative issues and to undertake any necessary action. These agents of the king were recruited from among the masters of requests, the Councillors of State and members of the Parlements or the Court of Accounts, their mission lasted for a limited period.
Along with these, there were commissioners sent to the army, in charge of provisioning the army and finances. Such commissioners are found in Corsica as early as 1553, in Bourges in 1592, in Troyes in 1594, in Limoges in 1596; when Henry IV ascended the throne in 1589, one of his prime focuses was to reduce the privileges of the provincial governors who, in theory, represented "the presence of the king in his province" but had, during the civil wars of the early modern period, proven themselves to be intractable. The Intendants to the provinces —- the term "Intendant" appears around 1620 during the reign of Louis XIII – became an effective tool of regional control. Under Louis XIII's minister Cardinal Richelieu, with France's entry into the Thirty Years' War in 1635, the Intendants became a permanent institution in France. No longer mere inspectors, their role became one of government administrators. During the Fronde in 1648, the members of Parlement of the Chambre Saint-Louis demanded that the Intendants be suppressed.
At the end of the Fronde, the Intendants were reinstated. When Louis XIV was in power, the Marquis of Louvois, War Secretary between 1677 and 1691, further expanded the power of the provincial intendants, they monitored Louis's refinements of the French military, including the institution of a merit promotion system and a policy of enlistment limited to single men for periods of four years. After 1680, Intendants in France had a permanent position in a fixed region; the position of Intendant remained in existence until the French Revolution. The title was maintained thereafter for military officers with responsibility for financial auditing at regimental level and above. Appointed and revoked by the king and reporting to the Controller-General of Finances, the Intendant in his "g
The Caxcan were a nomadic indigenous people of Mexico. Under their leader, the Caxcan were allied with the Zacatecos against the Spaniards during the Mixtón Rebellion in 1540-42. During the rebellion, they were described as "the heart and the center of the Indian Rebellion". After the rebellion, they were a constant target of the Zacatecos and Guachichiles due to their ceasefire agreement with the Spaniards, their principal religious and population centers were at Teul, Tlaltenango and Teocaltiche. Over time, the Caxcans lost their culture due to warfare and marriage to non-Caxcans. Most of the Caxcans were sent into slavery by the Spanish to work in silver mines. During the colonial period, many Spanish had intermarried, or had relations, with the Caxcans making many Caxcan descendants Mestizos; the allied tribes and Mestizos settled the Caxcan lands in Jalisco. Their language was part of the Uto-Aztecan language family, their elected rulers were called tlatoani. Caxcan society was divided up into several different city-states.
The Chichimeca War was a military conflict waged between Spanish colonizers and their Indian allies against a confederation of Chichimeca Indians. It was the longest and most expensive conflict between Spaniards and the indigenous peoples of New Spain in the history of the colony; the Chichimeca wars began eight years after the Mixtón Rebellion. It can be considered as a continuation of that rebellion as the fighting did not come to a halt in the intervening years. Unlike in the Mixtón rebellion, the Caxcanes were now allied with the Spanish; the war was fought in the Bajío region known as La Gran Chichimeca in the Mexican states of Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and San Luis Potosi. The Council of the Caxcan Indians was formed in the 1920s by Juana Belén Gutiérrez de Mendoza, a Caxcan from Durango, she published Alto!, a book which stressed Mexican Nationalism through indigenous roots and after the alleged extinction of the Caxcan people, is quoted as saying "We do not recognize the right of any race to impose its civilization upon us" as a way to promote indigeneity
The Nahuas are a group of indigenous people of Mexico and El Salvador. Their Uto-Aztecan languages and Pipil, consist of many dialects, several of which are mutually unintelligible. About 1.5 million Nahuas speak another million speak only Spanish. Less than 1,000 native speakers of Nahuatl remain in El Salvador. Evidence suggests the Nahua peoples originated in Aridoamerica, in regions of the present day northwestern Mexico, they split off from the other Uto-Aztecan speaking peoples and migrated into central Mexico around 500 CE. They settled in and around the Basin of Mexico and spread out to become the dominant people in central Mexico; the name Nahua is derived from the Nahuatl word-root nāhua-, which means "audible, clear" with different derivations including "language". It was used in contrast with popoloca, "to speak unintelligibly" or "speak a foreign language". Another, related term is Nāhuatlācatl or Nāhuatlācah "Nahuatl-speaking people"; the Nahuas are sometimes referred to as Aztecs.
Using this term for the Nahuas has fallen out of favor in scholarship, though it is still used for the Aztec Empire. They have been called Mēxihcatl, Mēxihcah or in Spanish Mexicano "Mexicans", after the Mexica, the Nahua tribe which founded and predominated in the Aztec empire. At the turn of the 16th century, Nahua populations occupied territories ranging across modern-day Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua as far south as Panama; these were assimilated into mestizo society in most places. The last of the southern Nahua populations are the Pipil of El Salvador. Nahuatl was a lingua franca for rule during the apogee of the Aztec empire. There are many Nahuatl place names in regions. Nahua populations in Mexico are centered in the middle of the country, with most speakers in the states of Puebla, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí, but smaller populations are spread throughout the country, following recent population movements within Mexico. Within the last 50 years, Nahua populations have appeared in the United States in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston.
Archaeological and linguistic evidence suggest that the Nahuas came from the deserts of northern Mexico and migrated into central Mexico in several waves. Before the Nahuas entered Mesoamerica, they were living for a while in northwestern Mexico alongside the Cora and Huichol peoples; the first group of Nahuas to split from the main group were the Pochutec who went on to settle on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca as early as 400 BCE. From c. 600 BCE the Nahua rose to power in central Mexico and expanded into areas earlier occupied by Oto-Manguean and Huastec peoples. Through their integration in Mesoamerican the Mesoamerican cultural area the Nahuas adopted many cultural traits including maize agriculture and urbanism, religious practices including a ritual calendar of 260 days and the practice of human sacrifices and the construction of monumental architecture and the use of logographic writing. Around 1000 CE the Toltec people assumed to have been of Nahua ethnicity, established dominion over much of central Mexico which they ruled from Tollan Xicocotitlan.
From this period on the Nahua were the dominant ethnic group in the Valley of Mexico and far beyond, migrations kept coming in from the north. After the fall of Toltecs a period of large population movements followed and some Nahua groups such as the Pipil and Nicarao arrived as far south as Nicaragua, and in central Mexico different Nahua groups based in their different "Altepetl" city-states fought for political dominance. The Xochimilca, based in Xochimilco ruled an area south of Lake Texcoco. One of the last of the Nahua migrations to arrive in the valley settled on an island in the Lake Texcoco and proceeded to subjugate the surrounding tribes; this group were the Mexica who during the next 300 years became the dominant ethnic group of Mesoamerica ruling from Tenochtitlan their island capital. Allying with the Tepanecs and Acolhua people of Texcoco they formed the Aztec empire spreading the political and linguistic influence of the Nahuas well into Central America. In 1519 an expedition of Spaniards sailing from Cuba under the leadership of Hernán Cortés arrived on the Mexican gulf coast near the Totonac city of Quiyahuiztlan.
The Totonacs were one of the peoples that were politically subjugated by the Aztecs and word was sent to the Aztec Emperor of Tenochtitlan Motecuhzoma II. Going inland the Spaniards encountered and fought with Totonac forces and Nahua forces from the independent Altepetl of Tlaxcallan; the Tlaxcaltecs were a Nahua group. After being defeated in battle by the Spaniards, the Tlaxcalans entered into an alliance with Cortes that would be invaluable in the struggle against the Aztecs; the Spanish and Tlaxcaltec forces marched upon several cities that were under Aztec dominion and "liberated" them, before they arrived in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. There they were welcomed as guests by Motecuhzoma II, but after a while they took the ruler prisoner; when the Aztec nobility realized that their ruler had been turned into a Spanish puppet they attacked the Spaniards and chased them out of the cit