ECONOMY: TRADE, COMMUNICATIONS AND TOURISM
Trade is lively, both internal and foreign; the volume of trade in the country has increased considerably, also thanks to the trade agreements signed with the United States and Canada (NAFTA, 1994), with the European Union (2000) and with Japan (2005). The main export partners are the United States, which absorb more than three quarters of trade, Canada, the Eastern countries (China, Japan, South Korea) and, among the European countries, Germany, Italy, France and Spain. Among the importing countries, again the United States and Canada, followed by Spain, Germany and some South American states (Colombia, Venezuela). Mexico mainly exports high-tech artifacts, electrical and electronic products, vehicles and machinery, optical equipment and televisions, as well as mineral products such as petroleum and derivatives, iron and steel and some food products such as vegetables, beer, fruit, coffee, and ranks second in the export of cattle. Mainly imported are machinery and means of transport, various artifacts, iron and steel, cereals and corn (for which Mexico is the fourth importing country in the world). § The network of Mexican communication routes also developed considerably in the second half of the century. XX. The role of the railways is fundamental (26,662 km in 2005), thanks to which vast areas have been enhanced which have indeed become the axes of territorial organization, especially in the northern section of the plateau; they connect Mexico City with the United States and the coast along three main routes. Carretera Panamericana: thanks to these routes, the plateau is connected with the major port centers (Tampico, Veracruz, Acapulco, Coatzacoalcos, Progreso, Mazatlán etc.). Given the territorial extension, air transport has registered increasing importance: Mexico has about fifty airports, including the international ones of the capital, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Mexicali, Mérida, Cancún. § Finally, the currency contribution linked to foreign visitors is considerable: thanks to the entries registered in 2006 (over 20 million people, mostly from the United States and Canada), Mexico ranks eighth on the world tourism scale.
HISTORY: FROM THE PRE-COLUMBIAN ERA TO THE OCCUPATION OF CORTÉS
In the pre-Columbian era, according to sportsqna, the territory of Mexico that today belongs to Mexico had seen the flowering of important civilizations: those of the Olmecs, the Chichimecs, the Toltecs and finally the Aztecs. The “New Empire” of the Maya had also developed in the southern peninsula of Yucatán, through the League of Mayapán. None of those peoples, however, managed to establish centralized state bodies, having preferred the system of federative pacts. In this way, their political and social structures were undermined from within and could only last a few centuries. In particular, the Aztec dominion, which began to assert itself around the middle of the century. XIV (the capital Tenochtitlán, nucleus of today’s Mexico City, was founded in 1325, according to Vaillant and Vasconcelos, or in 1345, according to Herring), reached its apogee during the reigns of Montezuma I (1440-69) and Axayacatl (1469-81), and then began a rapid decline. Led by Hernán Cortés, the Spaniards arrived in 1519, while Montezuma II reigned on the Aztec throne. From Yucatán, where he had landed, Cortés went up the coast, erecting the city of Veracruz. Then he will settle further north, in a place he called San Juan de Ulúa. Here he received a message from Montezuma, who welcomed him but at the same time inviting him to leave. Cortés remained: indeed, to avoid escapes by his men, he sank the ships with which he had come from Cuba. The Conquest began . Taking advantage of the rivalry of the populations subjugated by the Aztecs and assisted by an indigenous woman who passed under her (Malinche, called Doña Marina by the Spaniards), Cortés arrived at the gates of Tenochtitlán on November 8, 1519. Having stipulated a truce with Montezuma, he had to hastily return to Veracruz, to face a Spanish expeditionary force that the governor of Havana, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, had sent against him (Cortés had detached himself from the authority of the governor and had decided to operate in absolute autonomy, in the direct service of Emperor Charles V). Having resolved the question favorably, he was able to return to Tenochtitlán; but he found there a situation of revolt. Then he forced Montezuma to speak to the crowd that gathered under the balconies of the royal palace. An arrow from the square hit the sovereign: three days later, on June 20, 1520, Montezuma died. His successor, Cuitláhuac, raised the Aztecs against the conquistadors and they were forced to flee in the night of the 30th (la noche triste). Six months later, Cortés returned to the assault. Meanwhile Cuitláhuac had died of smallpox and had passed the scepter to his young nephew Cuauhtémoc. The Aztec resistance was desperate, but nothing could against the horses and cannons of the enemies. On August 13, 1521, Tenochtitlán was taken over by Cortés. Cuauhtémoc, imprisoned, died assassinated in 1525.