The tale of Mexico City's founding is almost as interesting as the current city itself. The city has been controlled by a number of different rulers and nations. Not only is Mexico City the oldest city (founded in 1325) on the North American continent but also the highest, at 7,350 feet (NY Times). With estimated 25million inhabitants, it is also the most populous city in the western hemisphere. A lot of actions have strung themselves together, to get the second largest city in the world, in the state that it is in today. There is an old tale that appears to be common knowledge amongst historians about how the nomadic Aztecs settled on what we would come to know today as Mexico City. On their search for the promise land they received prophecies saying that they would know the spot to settle when they encountered an eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus holding a snake in its beak (NY Times). In the year 1325 they came across just such an experience in the valley of Mexico and founded Tenochtitlán's, Mexico City's former name (Roots). The image of this eagle holding a snake is still emblazoned on the national flag of Mexico to this day. The Aztecs settled on what was then an island in a shallow lake and connected it to the mainland by a network of elaborate canals which can now be seen as roads. As mentioned previously, control of this land has changed several times. In the early 16th century when Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés saw Tenochtitlán for the first time he, was amazed by the metropolis he had stumbled upon. His direct comparison of this city was to that of Venice, a glorious city in its own right(NY Times) Hernán Cortés had a vision for his new city, however, that was far cry from the canal laden peaceful city Tenochtitlán once was. In 1521 his forces occupied and leveled the great Aztec metropolis, building their own capital on the ruins. The surrounding lake was subsequently filled in to expand and rebuild the area into something more of the Spanish architectural mode. Due to the grandness of the new city Cortes had built, Mexico City became the capital of all of the Spanish provinces in most of the western hemisphere north of Costa Rica. Mexico City stayed this way for three centuries before being won in the early 1820's by a revolutionary band led by Augustín de Iturbide who was later named emperor (Roots). During the Mexican-American War, Mexico City was captured by US forces in 1847, and held for five months (BBC). It was later taken by President Benito Pablo Juárez and ruled by the French army and Emperor Maximilian from 1836 to 1867. During the few years of revolution following 1910, the capital was known as the scene of street fighting interestingly enough. By the 1920s, plans for the urbanization of Mexico City had been initiated (Goulet, 16). These plans included a mass increase in industrialization as mills and factories spread throughout the city. Housing-development programs were put into place and initiated. The city seemed to be doing everything it could to improve, yet there was one major problem with all of the actions, overpopulation. Between 1930 and 1950, the population more than doubled. Mexico City is now one of the world's most populated areas with an estimated 22-25 million inhabitants living inside an area of 750 square kilometers. Overpopulation is the root of every single problem Mexico City is facing today. Poor planning by those in charge over 100 years ago can be accounted for as reasons why the city is in such bad shape today. City planning is the root of all other problems Mexico City is facing. Due to poor planning there is severe over population within the city. Because of the overpopulation, the environment is on the verge of being ruined. Due to the environmental effects and the imminent situation of running out of room to put the ever increasing population, politicians are continually under pressure to improve the situation, something...
Bibliography: BBC News (September 6, 2006). Country Profile: Mexico Retrieved November 25, 2006, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/country_profiles/1205074.stm
The Becker-Posner Blog
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Mexico: United Mexican State. Retrieved November 26, 2006 from http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/mexico/Michoac-n-Zacatecas/Mexico- United-Mexican-States-Estados-Unidos-Mexicanos.html
Mexico City History
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