Mexico Timeline, Post-Revolution to 2000, from

Mexico timeline

A chronology of key events:

1910 – Beginning of Epic Revolution, triggered by unrest amongst peasants and urban workers, who are led by Emiliano Zapata.

Emiliano Zapata
Emiliano Zapata: Revolutionary was killed in an ambush in 1919

1911 – Mexico’s dictator, Porfirio Diaz, is overthrown. The new president is Francisco Madero, a liberal. Madero introduces land reform and labour legislation. Political unrest continues with Zapata leading a peasant revolt in the south.

1913 – Madero is assassinated. Victoriano Huerta seizes power.

1914 – Huerta resigns. He is viewed with suspicion by the United States for his alleged pro-German sympathies. Huerta 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 – 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.

Mexico City at night
Mexico City’s Torre Mayor, Latin America’s tallest building
City founded by Aztecs in 14th century
1519: Spaniards led by Hernan Cortes arrive
Population (metro area): approx 20 million

1942 – Mexico declares war on Japan and Germany.

1960s – Unrest amongst peasants and labourers over unequal wealth distribution is suppressed.

1968 – Student demonstration in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, during the Olympic Games is fired upon by Mexican security forces. Hundreds of protestors 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.

Chiapas rebellion

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.

Indigenous Indian woman and military police officer in a Chiapas village
Chiapas, scene of a Zapatista rebel uprising in 1994

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.


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