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Digital Resources: Museo de Mujeres Artistas Mexicanas, MUMA  

Gabriela Aceves-Sepulveda

The Museum of Mexican Women Artists (MUMA) is a virtual museum dedicated to the promotion of Mexican women in visual arts from the 20th century onward. It was founded by Mexican feminist activist and artist Lucero González (b. 1947), who envisioned it as a feminist digital network for artists, curators, and critics to build connections with initiatives across the country and in other parts of the world. It is currently run by a council of nine women who collectively come together to plan its yearly activities and to invite others to participate. Since 2008, MUMA has hosted a new exhibition every three months by different female curators and artists working mostly on drawing, painting, performance, photography, video, and sculpture. To date, it has organized more than forty online exhibitions and a number of temporary events including exhibitions, reading groups, and public forums across the country. While it has an exclusive focus on women, one of its objectives is to promote intergenerational encounters to discuss the intersections of art and gender and question the binary construction of sexual difference. MUMA is an important addition to the growing resources on the gendered dimensions of art, feminist art, and art curation in Mexico from the 20th century onward. It offers online galleries showcasing artworks by female artists working in Mexico and contemporary theoretical essays on feminist art and curation, as well as reinterpretations of early 20th-century women’s art. Its bilingual (English and Spanish) website showcases the artistic portfolios of more than 350 artists working in Mexico. Each artist portfolio includes a gallery of artworks, an artist’s statement, and a link to a personal artist website. The exhibition section contains image links to each show. Each exhibition can be viewed in a single window and showcases the works in the exhibition along with a curatorial essay. The program section consists of an archive of all the group’s exhibitions, including theoretical texts and events organized chronologically by year since 2008. The website also has an international news section on relevant art and academic activities, a library section with curatorial texts, book excerpts and theoretical essays, and a list of partner organizations and alliances. MUMA offers an email newsletter to its subscribers with information on current exhibitions and direct links to new artists’ portfolios. It has a search engine that allows the user to explore the website via six different categories which can yield results that cross reference texts, news, links, exhibitions, and artist portfolios. Throughout its more than twenty years of existence, MUMA’s hybrid model as a virtual museum and digital archive with a temporary physical presence—and as a collective organization—has significantly amplified the visibility of women artists in Mexico.

Article

Digital Resources: Power of Attorney, A Digital Spatial History of Indigenous Legal Culture in Colonial Oaxaca, Mexico  

Yanna Yannakakis

“Power of Attorney in Oaxaca, Mexico: Native People, Legal Culture, and Social Networks” is an ongoing digital research project that constructs a geography of indigenous legal culture through digital maps and visualizations. The Power of Attorney website analyzes relationships among people, places, and courts that were created by the granting of power attorney, a notarial procedure common across the Spanish empire. The primary actors in this story are indigenous individuals, communities, and coalitions of communities in the diocese of Oaxaca, Mexico, and the legal agents who represented them, some of whom were untitled indigenous scribes, and others, titled lawyers and legal agents of Spanish descent. The relationship between indigenous litigants and their legal agents created social networks and flows of knowledge and power at a variety of scales, some local and some transatlantic, whose dimensions changed over time. The pilot for the project focuses on the district of Villa Alta, Oaxaca, during the 18th century. “Power of Attorney in Oaxaca, Mexico: Native People, Legal Culture, and Social Networks” is an ongoing digital research project that constructs a geography of indigenous legal culture through digital maps and visualizations. The Power of Attorney (https://www.powerofattorneynative.com/) website analyzes relationships among people, places, and courts that were created by the granting of power attorney, a notarial procedure common across the Spanish empire. The primary actors in this story are indigenous individuals, communities, and coalitions of communities in the diocese of Oaxaca, Mexico, and the legal agents who represented them, some of whom were untitled indigenous scribes, and others, titled lawyers and legal agents of Spanish descent. The relationship between indigenous litigants and their legal agents created social networks and flows of knowledge and power at a variety of scales, some local and some transatlantic, whose dimensions changed over time. The pilot for the project focuses on the district of Villa Alta, Oaxaca, during the 18th century. The multiscalar narrative of the Power of Attorney project speaks to multiple audiences, and the digital multimedia format allows visitors to further tailor their interactions with information. The site operates on many levels. It provides maps and visualizations based on original research, data culled from primary sources that can be used as a research tool, historical and geographical background information, information about how to read letters of attorney, and microhistorical narratives of power of attorney relationships. For undergraduates learning about the relationship between Spanish administration and pueblos de indios, the maps and visualizations provide an at-a-glance overview of the spatial and social connections among Indian towns, ecclesiastical and viceregal courts, and the court of the king in Madrid from the perspective of an indigenous region rather than a top-down perspective. Graduate students and scholars interested in the production of notarial records in native jurisdictions, social history and ethnohistorical methodology and the relationship between local and transatlantic processes can explore the maps, visualizations, and data in greater detail. An educated general audience interested in the history of Oaxaca’s native peoples can find a general introduction to the region, its history and geography, and the long-standing relationship between Mexico’s native people and the law.

Article

Digital Resources: Researching Coffee in Latin American History  

Mario Samper Kutschbach

Given its historical and present roles in Latin American societies, coffee has generated substantial interest and information. Documents up to the mid-20th century have been partly digitized by researchers or generated in electronic format by inter/national organizations after 1960. Digitized information at first primarily focused on time series, censuses, and other quantitative data to address economic and technological aspects, and on other primary and secondary sources for social and political ones. Historical and cultural geography and environmental and rural history of coffee-producing areas have resorted to scanned or digital maps and geographical information systems (GIS), together with aerial photography after mid-century and satellite images since the 1990s, as well as datasets on climate and diseases, and scientific or technical reports. Digital collections of audio/video recordings, paintings, and photographs expanded the range of sources and topics. Digitizing research involves critical and creative source work; it is also more than digitizing sources. Creating and linking databases containing nominal information, together with archival sources and oral history, has allowed researchers to further integrate quantitative and qualitative methods. Software for network or content analysis, genealogy, and timelines has been used increasingly. Machine-learning, exploration of big data, and historical/spatial data mining are still incipient for Latin American coffee. Digital resources—combined with other sources and methods, guided by appropriate research questions in a theoretical/epistemological framework—are key for meaningful and systematic comparative discussions of national/local processes within a regional/global context. However, many digital resources are not publicly accessible or require payment; historical datasets should be public goods. Much work is yet required to digitize documents such as accounting of coffee estates, customs records, and associations’ minutes, as well as multiple secondary sources. Digitalizing historical research on coffee is a learning process and requires additional expertise; convergent and cross-disciplinary methodological approaches are needed to comprehensively address the economic, environmental, social, political, and cultural history of coffee.

Article

Digital Resources: Ricardo Flores Magón Archive  

Jacinto Barrera Bassols and Verónica Buitrón Escamilla

The Ricardo Flores Magón digital archive archivomagon (2008) is a website, constantly updated, that offers scholars and the interested public systematized information regarding Ricardo Flores Magón, the Mexican Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Mexicano, or PLM), and the magonista sociopolitical movement. The main text that make up this site include a complete run of the newspapers Regeneración (1900–1918, Mexico City, San Antonio, Saint Louis, and Los Angeles) and Revolución (1907–1908, Los Angeles), a compilation of the complete works of Ricardo Flores Magón, and a biographical dictionary of magonismo. It also offers other related tools: an interactive timeline of Ricardo Flores Magón’s life, a digital library with bibliographical and rare hemerographic material, and an image gallery of his portraits. In addition to being the official outlets of the PLM, Regeneración and Revolución were important platforms Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magón (1876–1922) used to disseminate his writings. These weeklies are also key to understanding the political and ideological trajectory of its drafting group, headed by the members of the Organizing Board of the Mexican Liberal Party (Junta Organizadora del Partido Liberal Mexicano, JOPLM). Ricardo Flores Magón, his brother Enrique, Antonio de Pío Araujo, William C. Owen (external editor), Praxedis G. Guerrero, Rafael Romero Palacios, Teodoro M. Gaitán, Antonio I. Villarreal, Librado Rivera, and R. G. Cox (external editor), were the authors of more than 70 percent of the articles in both publications. These publications are also invaluable sources for the history of militant networks, of liberal organizations both in Mexico and in the southwestern United States, especially California, Arizona, and Texas, as well as the living and working conditions of Mexican migrants in that region. PLM is considered the first binational political organization (Mexico–United States). Finally, these publications include a systematic chronicling of the Mexican Revolution, whose value lies in both its particular focus and the sources used. The archivomagon is being developed by the Dirección de Estudios Históricos del Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (DEH-INAH, México) (Department of Historical Studies of the National Institute of Anthropology and History) under the responsibility of Dr. Jacinto Barrera Bassols (coordinator) and Verónica Buitrón Escamilla.

Article

Digital Resources: The Documented Border  

Celeste González de Bustamante and Verónica Reyes-Escudero

The Documented Border: An Open Access Digital Archive combines creative and research strategies to contribute to the digital humanities. Officially launched in October 2014, the project advances understanding about the borderlands between the United States and Mexico and their peoples during a period of unprecedented change. As a repository and interactive tool, the open-access archive is useful for faculty and student research, journalists, and the community at large. Currently, the archive divides into two parts. The first part focuses on journalists and human rights activists, and it includes the oral histories of journalists who cover northern Mexico from both sides of the border and human rights activists who are working to improve freedom of expression in Mexico. More than a hundred journalists in Mexico have been murdered since 2000. The oral histories help to illuminate the complex environment in which journalists must work as they negotiate between political and economic forces and the need to inform the public. The second part of the archive features the inner workings of US immigration policies through the documentation (artists’ illustrations) of Operation Streamline, a “streamlined” federal-court proceeding in which a judge determines the status of migrants who are detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. A unique aspect of the Documented Border is its living-archive status. As archives in general struggle to close the gap in the representation of underrepresented communities in the historical record, the Documented Border Digital Archive has gotten in front of current research and primary-source documentation. The archive not only presents the documentation being created by interdisciplinary researchers in digital form but also donates it to the institution to ensure long-term preservation and access. The project forms part of the Borderlands Collection of the University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections.

Article

Digital Resources: The Humanizing Deportation Archive  

Robert Irwin

Humanizing Deportation is a community archive of digital stories (testimonial video shorts) that recounts personal experiences related to deportation and deportability. The largest qualitative archive in the world on this topic, its bilingual (English/Spanish) open access website, as of March 2020, holds close to 300 digital stories by nearly 250 different community storytellers and continues to expand. All digital stories are created and directed by the community storytellers themselves. While the vast majority of the stories were created by Mexican migrants currently living in Mexico’s largest border cities (Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez), and other major urban metropolitan regions (Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey), it also includes some stories of migrants living in the United States, as well as other migrants, many in transit, passing through Mexico from such countries as Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Cuba, and as far from North America as Cameroon. Launched in 2017, Humanizing Deportation’s teams of academic facilitators remain active, and the archive continues to grow.

Article

Digital Resources: The Wheelan Collection of Photographs of the Mexican Revolution  

Anton duPlessis

The John D. Wheelan Collection primarily contains photographs taken along the Texas-Mexico border in the areas of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, México. The processed collection, housed at Texas A&M University’s Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, comprises nearly 700 photographs documenting the Mexican Revolution and the war’s spillover into the United States, during a span of 1912 to 1919. Other portions of the image collection document American soldiers stationed in New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. The images have been digitized as JP2 files and can be viewed at the library’s institutional repository as well as downloaded. While most of the photographs derive from the film stock shot for The Life of General Villa, there are also portraits, scenes of daily life, and landscapes produced by El Paso studio photographers, photo postcards, and postcards. With the exception of some postcards, nearly all the images are black and white. The photos themselves vary in their measurements, though 3.5" x 5" and 5" x 7" predominate; each image’s dimensions is included in the accompanying metadata found in the repository. John Wheelan, already active in the fledging Texan motion picture industry, was one of numerous reporters and photographers who covered the Mexican Revolution. He probably arrived in northern Mexico early in the winter of 1913–1914, when General Francisco “Pancho” Villa held Ciudad Juárez. Villa was considered the most able military commander among the Constitutionalists, a loose coalition of revolutionaries against General Victoriano Huerta’s provisional government. In February 1913, Huerta had conspired in the overthrow of the constitutionally elected government of President Francisco Madero. Villa, an ardent supporter of Madero, was one of several leaders in northern Mexico who were fighting for both the restoration of constitutional government and revolutionary agrarian land reforms.

Article

Digital Resources: Using Facebook to Foster International Conversations about Mexican History  

Jason Dormady

Mexican History/Historia Mexicana (MH/HM) is a Facebook page dedicated to bringing together the world’s academic and popular masses in their interest of Mexican history. As of 2016, there are over 1300 members of the page, and posts garner one to three hundred views, though some posts or posted links have reached three to five thousand unique views. The Facebook page grew out of the frustration of this author with the slow and censored listserv system that serves as the main forum for scholars of Mexican history. In addition, there was a desire to reach private scholars and members of the public who are generally excluded from the listserv systems. In December 2011, the author and another scholar joined together in creating a Facebook page that would, in the words of the page description, serve as “a forum for the free exchange of information on the history and related culture and events of Mexico.” In late 2012 a third scholar joined them as operators, managers, and editors of the page. Material is selected in Spanish and English (and occasionally indigenous Mexican languages) related to Mexican history or events of historical importance. Generally, the goals of the page are to provide items of interest to the general public, resources to professional researchers that they may not know about, and well-known resources for new researchers. Information is provided on events or presentations related to the preservation of Mexican History, important new research works, and items of curiosity that simply pique theinterest of the operators. There is no systematic approach to content; instead, information is posted as a free-form collective, free of censorship. Members of the community are also welcome to post materials or queries and to comment and discuss topics on history and related items of culture and current events.

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Disease, Ecology, and the Environment in Colonial Mexico  

Bradley Skopyk and Elinor G. K. Melville

The onset of Spanish imperial rule in Mexico in 1521 had profound consequences well beyond the political and cultural spheres. It also altered Mexico’s environment, reconstituting the region’s ecology as new fauna, flora, and microorganisms were added and as the population dynamics of native Mexican biota fluctuated in response to Old World arrivals. While the consequences of myriad interactions between native and non-native species were vast and complex, it was the decimation of indigenous persons by pathogens that was one of the first biological consequences of colonization (in fact, occurring first in 1520, one year before the fall of the Aztec state) and one of the most important. Mexican human populations were reduced by 80 to 90 percent, effecting cascading ecological consequences across the physical and biological geography of Mexico. Forests regenerated, terraced slopes degraded, and much of the Mexican landscape lost its anthropogenic aspect. Simultaneously, ungulate introductions transformed Mexican flora and likely initiated soil erosion in some regions that, when transported to fluvial environments, disrupted the flow of rivers. On the other hand, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, and other ungulates altered plant communities through selective seed dispersion. New economic pursuits such as brick making and silver mining increased demand for heat energy that, in an unprecedented manner, encouraged intensive forest usage and, probably, regional deforestation, although empirical data on historical forest cover are still lacking. Severe climate variability, of a scale not experienced for at least five hundred years and perhaps many millennia, occurred simultaneously with colonial-induced ecological change. A significant conquest-era drought was followed by one of the coolest and wettest periods of the Holocene; a strong pluvial in the Mexican context lasted from 1540 to around 1620. Subsequent anomalies of both temperature (cold) and precipitation (either wet or dry) occurred in the 1640s and 1650s, and from the 1690s until about 1705. Together, these climate anomalies are known as the core Little Ice Age, and initiated agrarian transitions, hazardous flooding, prolonged droughts, epidemics, epizootics, and recurring agrarian crises that destabilized human health and spurred high rates of mortality. Soil degradation and suppressed forest cover are also likely outcomes of this process. Although debate abounds regarding the timing, extent, and causes of soil and water degradation, there is little doubt that extensive degradation occurred and destabilized late-colonial and early-Republic societies.

Article

Disney Health Films in Mexico  

María Rosa Gudiño Cejudo

In August 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, concerned with Nazi infiltration in the Americas and continental defense, created the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA) and appointed Nelson Rockefeller coordinator. To strengthen ties between the United States and Latin America, including Mexico, Rockefeller implemented cultural programs that included Health for the Americas and Literacy for the Americas to teach illiterate rural inhabitants to read and write in Spanish, and to inform them about health, prevention, and hygiene. Both programs used educational cinema as their main teaching tool, and the OIAA hired filmmaker Walt Disney to produce the films. The health series included thirteen animated cartoons with an average duration of ten minutes, dubbed in Spanish and Portuguese. The themes were drawn in part from the guidelines set out at the XI Conferencia Sanitaria Panamericana (Eleventh Pan-American Health Organization Conference; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1942) to address health care and sanitation. A group of psychologists, cartoonists, health authorities, teachers, and OIAA representatives carried out surveys and field work in various countries before production and test screening began. In this process, Mexico differed from the other countries involved because of Walt Disney’s connections with Mexican schools. Eulalia Guzmán, representative of the Secretaría de Educación Pública (Secretary of Public Education), led in reviewing the educational films, and Disney attended classes with local teachers to discuss the use of film as a teaching tool. In 1943, through the Programa Cooperativo de Salubridad y Saneamiento (Health and Sanitation Cooperative Program) of the Secretaría de Salubridad y Asistencia (Ministry of Health and Assistance, the films were shown in health campaigns throughout Mexico.

Article

The Dominicans as Conveyors of Mesoamerican Objects to Italy and Europe  

Davide Domenici

It has been customary to trace back to the early shipments sent by the Spanish conquistadors most of the Mesoamerican artefacts held in ancient European collections. Early 21st-century scholarship, however, has demonstrated that Dominican friars such as Domingo de Betanzos (1480–1549) had a key role in bringing indigenous objects from Mexico to Italy during the 16th century. This new understanding allows a rethinking of the ideological motivations that ignited the transatlantic circulation of indigenous artefacts; textual analysis of relevant sources, in fact, reveals that they were observed and understood within a missionary discourse on indigenous ingenuity, rationality, and convertibility. Once in Italy, the objects entered local art collections in Bologna, Rome, Florence, and other Italian cities, where they aroused an antiquarian approach to their study. The investigation of the collection history of these objects, which in some instances ended up in museums in other European countries, shows that our knowledge of many of the most iconic Mesoamerican artworks known today can be traced back to the actions of the Dominican friars.

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Drought and the Origins of the Mexican Revolution  

Mikael D. Wolfe

What role did drought play in the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution of 1910? Although historians of the Mexican Revolution acknowledge that the effects of drought helped catalyze it, they have not explored in any depth what connects drought to revolution. Instead, they usually subsume it within a more general discussion of agricultural cycles to explain the conduct and fortunes of popular revolutionary armies. In particular, they reference the onset of drought between 1907 and 1909 as exacerbating an economic downturn induced by severe recession in the United States. By then, Mexico had become economically integrated with its northern neighbor through rapidly growing foreign investment, trade, and cross-border migration facilitated by the railroad transportation revolution. These socioeconomic and ecological factors together led to steep declines in wages and earnings, devastating crop failures, spikes in food prices (principally corn and beans), and even famine in the lower and middle classes. Although suggestive, such passing references to drought in the historiography of the revolution do not furnish a clear picture of its effects and how they may have contributed to social and political conflict. In the 21st century, new technologies, methods, and sources—from historical meteorological reports and climate-related accounts gleaned from archival sources to modern historical climatological data reconstructions—facilitate doing more rigorous climate history. This article provides a sampling of these methods and sources on the role of drought in late 19th- and early 20th-century Mexico that can supplement, elucidate, and even revise our understanding of the origins of the Mexican Revolution.

Article

The Drug Trade in Mexico  

Aileen Teague

The drug trade in Mexico and efforts by the Mexican government—often with United States assistance—to control the cultivation, sale, and use of narcotics are largely 20th-century phenomena. Over time, U.S. drug control policies have played a large role in the scope and longevity of Mexico’s drug trade. Many argue that these policies—guided by the U.S.-led global war on drugs—have been fruitless in Mexico, and are at least partially responsible for the violence and instability seen there in the early twentieth century. A producer of Cannabis sativa and the opium poppy, Mexico emerged as a critical place of drug supply following World War II, even though domestic drug use in Mexico has remained low. Since the 1960s and 1970s, the drug trade in Mexico has reached epic proportions due to drug demand emanating from the United States. Mexico’s cultivation of psychoactive raw materials and its prime location—connecting North America with Central America and the Caribbean and sharing a 2,000-mile-long border with the United States—have made it an ideal transit point for narcotics originating from other parts of the Western Hemisphere and the world. Although Mexico implemented a smaller, less organized antidrug campaign in the late 1940s, the inauguration of the global war on drugs in 1971 represents a distinctive shift in its drug control and enforcement policies. The government began utilizing U.S. supply-control models, advice, and aid to decrease the cultivation of drugs inside the country. America’s fight against drug trafficking in Central America and the Caribbean in the 1980s and 1990s shifted the geographic locus of the drug trade to Mexico by the early 2000s. Mexico’s powerful drug cartels proved more than capable of eluding (sometimes colluding with) the Mexican government’s efforts against them in the first decade of the 21st century during the administration of President Felipe Calderón (2006–2012). Calderón’s fight against the cartels brought about a drug war in Mexico, characterized by widespread violence, instability, and an estimated death toll of more than 70,000 people.

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The Economy during the Mexican Revolution  

Mark Wasserman

The Mexican economy consisted of activities at the international, national, and local levels, including the export of minerals and agricultural commodities, manufactures and agriculture for domestic markets, and production of goods for everyday consumption, respectively. The impact of a decade of civil wars between 1910 and 1920, which comprised the Mexican Revolution, on the economy varied according to which level, the time period, and the geographical region. The crucial aspects of the economy consisted of transportation and communications, banking, mining, export agriculture, and government policies and actions. The important factors were the intensity of the violence, inflation, and the availability of capital. Chronologically, there were several stages to the economic history of the Revolution. The first consisted of the years of the Madero rebellion and presidency, 1910–1913, when there was little damage done and growth continued. The second and worst period was during 1914, 1915, and 1916, when the counterrevolutionary Huerta regime battled the rebel Constitutionalists and after the latter’s victory the ensuing civil war between the divided winners. The third stage occurred with the defeat of the radical factions of the Revolution led by Zapata and Villa and the restoration of a semblance of order in 1917. The fourth included the establishment of the Sonoran dynasty of de la Huerta, Obregón, and Calles and the slow reconstruction of the economy.

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El Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática: A History of Innovation Rooted in Tradition  

J. Humberto Urquiza García

Since gaining independence, Mexico has consistently sought to improve and strengthen its official statistics collection process. This ongoing process of institutional continuity—beginning in the second half of the 19th century and continues into the first decades of the 21st century—can be divided into three discernible stages. The first stage lasted from 1882 to 1917 and was marked by the creation of a specialized government department that failed to provide cohesion to official statistics. During this stage, statistics were gathered only at a state level and through population censuses. The second stage began with the First Post-Revolutionary Statistics Act of 1922 and ended with the Statistics Act of 1983, which created the National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Informatics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática, or INEGI). This long second stage can be further divided into three sub-stages that directly influenced the development of official statistics: (a) 1917–1950: a time of simultaneous political instability and institutional strengthening; (b) 1950–1970: a period of economic stability known as the “Mexican miracle” that allowed for the fortification of official statistics; and (c) 1983–2008: a period when the official statistics system became integrated, which allowed for decentralization, and subsequently autonomous operation of the INEGI, an opening up of the economy, and a transition to democracy. The third stage is still a work in progress, but it has well-defined features: permanent coordination with regional and international statistics offices, statistical diversification, and the strengthening of the autonomy of the National Statistical and Geographic Information System (Sistema Nacional de Información Estadística y Geográfica, or SNIEG).

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Emiliano Zapata and Revolutionary Mexico, 1910–1919  

Paul Hart

Emiliano Zapata led the Liberating Army of the South during the Mexican Revolution. Zapata’s movement began with a demand for land reform, and his beliefs are most often captured by reference to the Plan de Ayala, which he promulgated in 1911. It was largely because of the Zapatistas (Zapata and his adherents) that land reform was written into the Mexican Constitution of 1917. Later, especially under President Lázaro Cárdenas, (1934–1940), the Mexican government carried out major land redistribution, which helped earn the post-revolutionary state legitimacy in the countryside. Over the course of nearly a decade fighting in the revolution, Zapata’s vision for remaking Mexico extended far beyond the Plan de Ayala and land reform to include judicial reform, decentralization of power, political democracy, the redistribution of wealth, and the promotion of the interests of rural workers and small agricultural producers while protecting Mexican sovereignty against powerful foreign interests. Zapata, however, led the most poorly armed of the main factions in the revolution and was unable to realize his goals. His enemies received large amounts of foreign military supplies, while he received no assistance from abroad. The inability of his poorly equipped volunteer army, mostly peasants and hacienda workers, to carry out large pitched battles dictated that they had to fight a grueling guerilla war. Zapata was unable to win on the battlefield, but was never totally defeated. He was assassinated in 1919. Although his larger vision for the future of Mexico did not prevail, his fight for land reform helped shape modern Mexico.

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The Mexican Student Movement of 1968  

Eugenia Allier-Montaño

At the end of July 1968, a skirmish between students from rival schools in central Mexico City led to police intervention. The repression of young people was so energetic that students organized to demonstrate against government violence. They were once again repressed: from the afternoon of July 26 to the early morning of July 30, the city center was the scene of multiple battles between students and police. In the following days, an unprecedented movement formed in the country and had strong support from the rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Javier Barros Sierra, who, with his call to march on August 1, gave legitimacy to the movement. On August 7, the National Strike Council (CNH) was formed, which included representatives of all higher education institutions (public and private) participating in the movement. For more than two months, the students toured the city, obtained the support of different social sectors (housewives, workers, neighborhood groups, and young professionals), and used ingenious methods (brigades, lightning rallies, flyers) to face the intense government campaign (always supported by businessmen, the media, the anticommunist right, and the high clergy) against them. The students’ demands were specified in six points in the CNH petition: freedom for political prisoners, dismissal of the military considered responsible for the repression, disbanding of the Corps of Grenadiers, repeal of the crime of social dissolution, compensation to the families of the dead and wounded, as well as the delineation of responsibilities for acts of repression. However, the main point for the students was to demand that negotiations with the government take place within the framework of a “public dialogue.” The movement continued until December 6, 1968, when the CNH was dissolved, but its splendor occurred between August and September. It was in those months that the movement showed great strength, particularly in the impressive demonstrations that swept through the capital. But by September 18, the UNAM’s University City was militarily occupied, and on September 24, the army took Zacatenco and Santo Tomás, two educational precincts of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN). On October 2, 1968, the students held a rally in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco. The government of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz implemented a massacre against them: hundreds of wounded, thousands of detainees, and around 40 dead were the results of the operation, whose main objectives were to scare the population with unleashed violence and to detain the members of the CNH. Ten days after October 2, President Díaz Ordaz inaugurated the XIX Olympics. However, state violence did not stop. At least until February 1969, the government sought out and arrested political and social activists linked to the mobilization. As a result, some 200 men and four women were kept in prison and sentenced to long sentences. With the new government of Luis Echeverría in 1970, the students were released. However, for a group of sixteen students and teachers, the only option for release was political exile.

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Excavation and Exhibition of the Pre-Hispanic Cultures during the Porfiriato  

Christina Bueno

In the late 19th century, Mexico’s ancient ruins captivated much of the world. European and American explorers trekked through what was often touted as an “American Egypt” in search of pre-Columbian artifacts to display in private collections and museums. Mexicans similarly hunted after the remains of the Indian past, as their country witnessed a heightened interest in the excavation and exhibition of ancient artifacts during the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, the period commonly known as the Porfiriato (1876–1910). The Díaz regime embraced the indigenous past in order to present Mexico as a nation with ancient and prestigious roots. It took control of pre-Hispanic relics and ruins through archaeology, a discipline that was thought to give Mexico the coveted aura of a scientific, cosmopolitan, and modern nation. The Díaz regime gave unprecedented support to the National Museum in Mexico City, the nation’s most important institution for the study and display of Indian antiquity. Museum scholars such as Francisco del Paso y Troncoso, Alfredo Chavero, and Antonio Peñafiel, worked on building and organizing the archaeology collection as the government intensified the process of accumulating artifacts in the capital. One of the central figures in this process was Leopoldo Batres, the head of the General Inspectorate of Archaeological Monuments of the Republic. Batres brought antiquities to the museum, helped organize the archaeology collection, and built the Gallery of Monoliths, the nation’s premier showcase of pre-Columbian relics. He also carried out excavations at ruins throughout the country and reconstructed several archaeological sites, including Xochicalco and Mitla. His most famous (and most controversial) work took place at Teotihuacán, where he rebuilt the Pyramid of the Sun, turning Teotihuacán into the nation’s first official archaeological site, a project made to coincide with the centennial celebration of Mexican independence in 1910.

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Exiles in Mexico  

Pablo Yankelevich

In the Latin American milieu, Mexico stands out as a host nation for exiles. It is somewhat paradoxical that a country with very restrictive migration policies was always willing to receive victims of political persecution, and later expanded this behavior to include victims of ethnic, religious, and gender persecution, generalized violence, and natural disasters. Explaining this paradox involves considering the transformations that the 1910 Revolution introduced into Mexico’s domestic and international politics and how these transformations impacted abroad, above all in the Latin American space, projecting the idea of a nation committed to the construction of political order and just and democratic societies. Political asylum and the Refugee Status Determination are the legal instruments by which Mexico has welcomed foreigners in conditions of extreme vulnerability. The widespread use of these instruments forged the image of Mexico as a nation of exiles. Many victims of persecution entered the country under the protection provided by the instruments of political asylum and refugee status; undoubtedly, many more did so by circumventing migratory obstacles thanks to generous governmental conduct in situations of political persecution. A journey through the most important experiences of exiles in Mexico must start with the first Latin American exiles persecuted by dictatorial regimes in the 1920s, before turning to the case of the Spanish Republicans after the Civil War in the late 1930s, and then immediately incorporating European victims of Nazism during World War II. During the Cold War a second stage of exile began with the arrival of Americans persecuted by McCarthyism in the United States, and later by the influx of thousands of Latin Americans victims of new military dictatorships. This cycle ended at the beginning of the 1980s when large contingents of Guatemalans crossed the border with Mexico to protect themselves from a war of extermination launched by the army of that country. The size and the social composition of this exile obliged Mexico to draft policies for the reception of victims of persecution that led to adjustments in national legislation and strategies for collaboration with the United Nations. In the final decades of the 20th century, the redemocratization processes in Latin America led to a marked decrease in the number of victims of political persecution. Nevertheless, since the beginning of the 21st century Mexico has faced new challenges, no longer in terms of political asylum but in terms of refuge. The increasing flows of foreign migrants who, irregularly, transit through Mexican territory to reach the border with the United States and the migration enforcement policies implemented by the US government have generated a considerable increase in requests for refugee status in Mexico. This phenomenon, unprecedented in the history of the reception of victims of persecution, leaves Mexico facing an enormous challenge in terms of humanitarian protection for foreigners who flee their countries to preserve their freedom and protect their lives.

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The Extraordinary Career of Juana C. Romero, Cacica of Tehuantepec  

Francie Chassen-López

In the 1850s, Juana Catarina Romero, known popularly as Juana Cata, peddled her cigarettes on the streets of Tehuantepec in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, an activity that enabled her to serve as a spy for the liberals under the command of Captain Porfirio Díaz during the War of the Reform (1858–1860). By 1890, Romero (1837–1915) had emerged as an international merchant, sugar cane producer and refiner, philanthropist, and “modernizing” cacica of the city of Tehuantepec. As powerful women rarely receive credit for their achievements, popular myth attributes her success to the men in her life, a supposed youthful love affair with Díaz or a later lover, Colonel Remigio Toledo. In contrast, a study of her career helps to shed light on how women could attain and exercise power in the 19th century and the ways in which they participated in the construction of the nation-state and a capitalist economy. Her trajectory shows that when allied with these forces of modernization, women could take on a more public role in society. It also reveals that it is through the lens of local and regional history that women’s contributions and accomplishments, so often erased in national histories, can be made visible.