Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, was the capital, successively, of the Aztec Empire, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, the Republic of Mexico, and the United States of Mexico. Since the establishment of the U.S.M. in 1820, a number of English-language newspapers have been published in Mexico City, including the Mexico Gazette, the Mexico City Diario, the Mexico City Herald, the Mexico City Journal, the Mexico City Record, the Mexico City Times, and the Mexico City Tribune.
The Mexican Civil War
When Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec Empire in 1521, he destroyed the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, then built a new Spanish capital, Mexico City, amid the ruins. Mexico City remained the capital when the former Aztec Empire was organized as the Viceroyalty of New Spain in 1535.
The Mexican revolt against Spanish rule after the Habsburg War led to the creation of the Republic of Mexico in 1805 under the former Viceroy Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas, the Count of Revillagigedo, with Mexico City remaining the capital. After Revillagigedo's death in 1806, the Mexican Civil War broke out between the Federalists, led by José María Morelos, and the Clericalists, led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. The Federalists sought to make Mexico a liberal secular state, while the Clericalists wished to have the Catholic Church play a major role in the government. Morelos was able to succeed Revillagigedo as President of Mexico, and to establish Federalist control of the government. Hidalgo left Mexico City and began a guerrilla war against the Federalists, since he lacked sufficent military force to mount a major attack on the capital. Hidalgo died in 1809 and his place at the head of the Clericalists was taken by Simón Figueroa.
In 1815 Morelos began carrying out massacres of suspected Clericalists throughout Mexico, prompting Figueroa to issue an appeal for aid from outside the country. His appeal was answered by the State of Jefferson, a former Mexican province settled by American exiles that had seceeded during the Habsburg War. A Jeffersonian army led by Colonel Andrew Jackson entered Mexico in July 1816. After defeating a Federalist army led by General Carlos Mejía in November 1816, Jackson was able to join forces with Figueroa and enter Mexico City on 6 February 1817.
After claiming the Mexican presidency, Figueroa launched a purge of the Federalists. All those with even the most tenuous ties to the Federalists were hunted down, tried in hastily-assembled courts, and executed. The executions continued for three months, until Jackson led a small force of Jeffersonian troops to the Presidential Palace in June and placed Figueroa under arrest, then naming himself provisional president of Mexico. Jackson's men, cooperating with dissidents and moderate Clericalists, brought an end to the executions.
One of the soldiers in the Jeffersonian army was Michael Huddleston, the son of a leading planter in western Jefferson. Although he was initially contemptuous of the Mexicans, he found Mexico City to be more sophisticated than any Jeffersonian city, and grew to like it. He met Consuela Venegas, the daughter of a deposed (and possibly executed) Hispano government official, and they fell in love. Huddleston chose to assimilate into Hispano culture, converting to Catholicism and adopting the name Miguel when he married Venegas in 1819.
The United States of Mexico
In Jefferson, co-Governor Alexander Hamilton announced his intention in May 1818 to unite his state with Mexico. In the campaign for the 1818 Jefferson elections, Hamilton nominated Jackson for Governor. With the election approaching, Jackson left Mexico City under the control of Colonel Barton Kelly and returned to Jefferson City. Jackson and his allies won the election in October 1818, and Jackson spent the next year in Jefferson City increasing his power and support.
Miguel Huddleston chose to remain in Mexico City after his marriage. He entered the cotton factoring business, and soon became wealthy, possibly due to his connections with the capital's Hispano elite. He purchased a hacienda in Pimintel, Durango, and made it his primary residence.
On 1 February 1820 the surviving Federalists attempted to overthrow the Jeffersonian provisional government. The coup attempt failed, but Jackson decided it would be necessary to return to Mexico City to oversee the situation, arriving on 4 May. In June, he sent word to Jefferson City that he intended to remain in Mexico City until relations between Jefferson and Mexico had been "made more reasonable than they are at present." Jackson was able to engineer the Mexico City Convention of September 1820, a constitutional convention which adopted a new Constitution creating a united Jeffersonian-Mexican nation called the United States of Mexico. Under the new Constitution, Jefferson became one of six Mexican states, with Mexico City itself forming a separate Capital District.
Elections to the new national government were held on Friday, 12 August 1821, and the newly elected Mexican Senate met on Wednesday, 5 September 1821 to select Jackson as the new President of the U.S.M. Jackson spent his first year in office consolidating his power, naming several prominent Mexicanos to his Cabinet. Jackson closed an opposition newspaper, the Mexico City Journal, and only allowed it to reopen after its publisher agreed to admit having printed false stories about federal abuses.
On 24 February 1823 Jackson announced that he would be making a Grand Tour of the U.S.M. over the course of the next year, during which time Secretary of State John Quincy Adams would remain in Mexico City to oversee the administration of the government. Jackson returned to Mexico City on 5 February 1824, and a week later gave an address to Congress announcing his findings.
During the Rocky Mountain War with the Confederation of North America, General Herbert Williamhouse led his army from its beachhead in Tampico in a drive on Mexico City in July 1846. President Pedro Hermión sent the District Guard under Major Michael Doheny to intercept Williamhouse and hold him there until reinforcements could be sent. Doheny was able to defeat Willaimhouse's larger force at the Battle of Tampico Road, and even forced the North Americans to withdraw back to Tampico.
The Hermión Dictatorship
Following the divisive 1875 Mexican elections, Senator Carlos Concepción created the Moralistas and launched a guerrilla war against the government of President Omar Kinkaid. Concepción's guerrillas were carrying out regular attacks on Mexico City when news reached Mexico of the French Revolution and the wave of anarchy that spread through Europe in the early months of 1880. President George Vining, who had succeeded after the assassination of Vining in December 1879, responded by creating the Constabulary, a secret police force, and placing President Hermión's son Benito Hermión in command of it. After Vining's own death by heart attack on 12 September 1881, nine days before the 1881 Mexican elections, Hermión was able to sieze power four days later, during the Night of the Caballeros. Hermión had leading members of the Liberty Party arrested or murdered, and was confirmed as Chief of State of the U.S.M. by a rump Senate on 17 September.
After Hermión declared himself Emperor of Mexico on 2 April 1901, Kramer Associates President Diego Cortez y Catalán began maneuvering to have him deposed. On 15 October 1901, 2000 K.A. guards disguised as laborers and led by Commandant Martin Cole surrounded the Imperial Palace. That night, forty-nine of them entered the palace, overcame Hermión's police guards, opened the gates for the others, and cut communications with the outside. When Hermión woke the next morning, Cole announced that the compound was in his hands, strongly hinting that he was with the Moralistas. "All we want is El Jefe. Servants and others may leave in peace, and must do so within fifteen minutes."
Hermión shaved his beard and mustache and dressed in a butler's uniform, leaving the Palace with the servants. He then made for Tampico while being tracked by over 300 K.A. agents. While Hermión fled Mexico City, Cole entered the palace with his men and announced that he would be forming a provisional government which would rule Mexico until elections could be held. Various onlookers, believing that Cole intended to make himself dictator in Hermión's place, raised their fists and shouted, "Viva Cole!"
All of the directives that Cole issued as head of the provisional government were drafted by Cortez, operating from K.A. headquarters in San Francisco. On 15 November Cole announced full amnesty for anyone who had been exiled by Hermión, and also promised the Moralistas "a role in the new Mexico if they want one," even though little remained of the Moralista movement. Cole also granted amnesty to members of the Hermión regime, and announced that the elections would take place on 14 June 1902.
The 1902 Mexican elections saw fourteen presidential candidates running, with none gaining more than twelve percent of the vote. Cole then announced that a run-off election would be held among the top three candidates: former Mexico City Times editor Pedro Sanchez, former Secretary for Postal Affairs George Craig, and former Senator Anthony Flores of Durango. Cortez considered all three candidates to be acceptable, but he preferred Flores due to his mixed Hispano/Mexicano heritage. In the runoff election, Flores received a plurality of the votes, and was duly inaugurated as President.
The Chapultepec Incident and the Bloody Season
During the Hundred Day War of 1914, French troops established a beachhead in Tampico in June, then began a drive on Mexico City in July. The French were defeated by General Emiliano Calles at the Battle of Chapultepec on 28 August and forced to surrender. Along with the French army were over 8,000 Negro slaves who had risen up and joined their march on Mexico City. President Victoriano Consalus ordered the slaves arrested and put on trial for treason. This sparked international outrage, and led to the Chapultepec Incident of 4 January 1916, when thousands of young North Americans stormed the Federal Prison in Chapultepec and freed the imprisoned slaves.
The Chapultepec Incident made the slavery question the leading political issue in the U.S.M. Consalus was unable to resolve the issue, and it was left to his successor Calles, who was elected president in 1920, to find a solution. Calles was able, with the support of K.A. President Douglas Benedict, to win passage of the Manumission Act in May. However passage of the Manumission Act led to a wave of political violence known as the Bloody Season in the summer of 1920. Slaves were attacked by hooded gangs, beaten, and in 154 cases, murdered.
Opponents of manumission were particularly outraged that politicians who had been elected by pledging to oppose manumission had bowed down to financial pressure from K.A. to allow its passage. Seventeen Assemblymen and two Senators were forced to resign in the face of overwhelming pressure from constituents. The riots and demonstrations were so severe that President Calles was obliged to call out the Mexican army to separate supporters and opponents of manumission, and had it not been for Calles' great personal following in the army, many officers might have deserted to the anti-manumission side. By late August, the opposition had taken to burning down Manumission Bureau offices, and threatening its officials with death if they attempted to rebuild them.
The Bloody season ended soon after President Calles personally confronted an armed mob in front of the Mexico City Manumission Bureau in the company of the capital's first freed slave, John Walker, on the morning of 22 September 1920. However, sporadic violence continued for another decade.
The Mercator Coup
In the wake of a series of Mexican defeats in the later years of the Global War, President Alvin Silva was forced in July 1949 to announce the holding of national elections the following January. The 1950 Mexican elections were marked by a wave of political violence committed by both sides. After United Mexican Party candidate Admiral Paul Suarez's narrow victory, Silva claimed that he had been a victim of electoral fraud in California and Jefferson, and the violence between the two sides continued to mount as the 19 January inauguration of Suarez approached. Fifteen people were killed during a mass protest in Mexico City on the evening of 15 January, and similar demonstrations were held the next day.
Colonel Vincent Mercator, commander of the Guadalajara garrison, declared martial law in his district in the name of order and to "defend the constitution." Other garrison commanders elsewhere in the U.S.M. followed suit. Mercator and ten other garrison commanders met in secret in Mexico City on the morning of 18 January, after which Mercator announced that Suarez would not be allowed to take office the following day, due to the risk that civil war would break out. Within an hour, Suarez was taken into protective custody, while Silva was arrested for "crimes against the republic." That evening, Mercator announced the creation of a provisional government headed by Marshal Felix Garcia, in which he would serve as Secretary of War.