Mexico was originally the Aztec, Maya and others Indian nations. Great warriors, they could also be cruel, often killing people in human sacrifices. Cortes and a small force of Spaniards conquered them after holding one of their leaders, Montezuma, hostage and murdering him. Cortes received assistance from other Indian tribes who were subjugated by the larger empires. With Cortes were also Christian ministers who came with a different message and brought Christianity to the country. It became independent in 1810 when Miguel Hidalgo, a priest, started the independence war from Spain.
The borders of Mexico have changed over time. The area known as modern day Texas declared independence in 1836 and became independent after a short war. The choice of the United States to accept Texas as a new state a decade later caused the Mexican American War which was fought from 1846 to 1848. A military defeat for Mexico, they ceded more land for a small monetary compensation.
The Mexican Revolution started in 1910. First the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz was overthrown by the democrat Francisco Madero. Later anarchists and socialists also joined the revolution. American president Woodrow Wilson sent the navy to occupy the city of Veracruz to help the revolutionaries against a new dictator, Victoriano Huerta. In the Revolution Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa became wellknown heroes in Mexico. However, Villa also attacked the United States. Because of this the American government sent an expedition to Mexico to capture Villa, but they couldn't find him.
After the Revolution a socialist government was installed. Atheist president Plutarco Elías Calles introduced various anti-Christian laws in the 1920's. The cristeros started a rebellion against the government to defend their religion. Calles also started the PRI, a socialist party which ruled Mexico for the rest of the century. President Lázaro Cárdenas nationalized the country's oil in 1938. Mexicans are still very proud of this but other countries believe that the Mexican government stole their property in Mexico. However, Mexico was lucky because the United States needed Mexico's help in World War II, so the United States decided not to make a point of it.[Citation Needed]
In the 1970's because of the high spending of the liberal presidents Luis Echeverría and José López Portillo the Mexican economy started to get bad. The economy started to recover after the introduction of free market policies. NAFTA, which is one such free market policy, was signed in 1994. Because the country's economy was badly managed, many Mexicans migrate to the United States.
Recently Mexico became democratic, and Felipe Calderon is the current president.