• United States!

    United States: Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Go Now!

    United States
    Explore the vast openness and wildlife found roaming in the western United States, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park (pictured) in North Dakota. Begin Your Journey!

  • Trinidad & Tobago!

    Trinidad & Tobago: Beautiful Coastline. Go Now!

    Trinidad & Tobago
    These Caribbean islands mix Indian, African, and European cultures alongside beautiful beaches. Go Now!

  • Cuba!

    Cuba: Sandy beach. Go Now!

    Cuba
    Many people fear the unknowns of Cuba, but the history, culture, food, and impressive beaches lure many visitors every year. Explore Cuba!

  • Panama!

    Panama: Panama City skyline. Go Now!

    Panama
    Panama is best known for the Panama Canal, but the beaches draw tourists, as does Panama City (pictured), a modern capital quite different from most nearby cities. Explore Panama

  • Mexico!

    Mexico: Sunrise over the mountains in Puerto Vallarta. Go Now!

    Mexico
    Although many people just go for the beaches, Mexico offers impressive mountain vistas (pictured in Puerto Vallarta), great food, and historic ruins that compete with the best in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Barbados!

    Barbados: Pier on the beach. Go Now!

    Barbados
    This Caribbean island has hints of British culture, but is wholly Caribbean as well. Explore Barbados!

History of Mexico

WARNING: Much of Mexico is unsafe, please read this travel warning before going!

Mexico's history begins with their ancient civilizations of the Mayans and Aztecs among others. These two groups created strong governments, cultures, communication, and architecture that still stands today. These cultures are still known for their monuments, like the ones in Chichen Itza or the city of Teotihuacan, but also for their incredible understanding of astrology and their tendency to sacrifice humans to appease the gods.

Despite the arrival of the Europeans and the incredibly quick fall of the native civilizations, modern day Mexico takes much of its culture and heritage from these ancient peoples. Most Mexicans have at least some native blood in them and the Mexican flag is taken from the Aztecs' (also known as Mexica) sighting of an eagle devouring a snake while standing on a cactus.

The European arrival also destroyed much of the local population as each group approached the other with hesitancy. The Spanish arrived en-force in modern-day Mexico in 1519 and the two groups saw the other as mystical. The Aztecs believed, according to their calendar, that the god Quetzalcoatl was to return from the east that year and when Cortez arrived on horseback it was believed he was Quetzalcoatl so the Aztecs let the Spanish into their city. On the other hand, the Spanish believed the Aztecs to be sub-human and didn't believe otherwise until Pope Paul III determined the Aztecs to be so in 1537.

The influence the Spanish had on Mexico was significant, beginning with the conversion of much of the local population to Catholicism. However soon after this conversion, the people weren't treated as equals so much as being treated like slaves as the Spanish began ruthlessly exploiting the local populations.

As chaos ensued in Europe, particularly war with France and Napoleon's eventual takeover of Spain, tensions rose in Mexico as the different groups fought over power until 1810 when Padre Miguel Hidalgo launched a rebellion for independence. After 11 years of fighting, Mexico won independence. However, from 1821 until the 1860 Mexico's political stability was non-existent and they were continuously invaded as they failed to control their lands.

Beginning in 1866 Mexico undertook a number of changes including greater access to education, better transportation networks, and improved healthcare, but during this time, free elections were stopped and in 1910 the Mexican Revolution broke out to remedy this, but not without first killing nearly15% of the country and destroying any stability the government once held.

From 1920 until today Mexico has been under strict government rule and the people have hardly had a chance at a fair election or any freedoms at all. This has caused emigration, particularly to the United States a growing concern for both Americans and Mexican alike.

This page was last updated: March, 2013