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The Americas

Central American Colonial Settlements


New Spain
AD 1535 - 1821

The viceroyalty of New Spain was created when the greatest Aztec city, Tenochtitlan, was defeated in 1521, ending Aztec, or Mexica, civilisation. The first phase of Spain's conquest of the South American continent was complete and a form of governance for the massive new territories was required on behalf of the crown. The conquest was managed within a very short space of time, just four years or so from when the first expedition was sent into Mexica, but when it was complete, the former heartland of Spanish rule in the Americas, Hispaniola, lost much of its importance.

The process of establishing the viceroyalty took until 1535. To avoid the risk of an adventurous conquistador forming his own breakaway kingdom in the conquered territories (namely, Cortes), Charles I of Spain created the 'Council of the Indies' in 1524, and in 1527 the administration of New Spain was taken out of the hands of Hernan Cortes. The new form of administration by Audiencia, essentially a royal committee, proved unwieldy, and in 1535 the first viceroy of New Spain was appointed. At its height, New Spain governed Spanish conquests in northern and central America, the Caribbean, and a few territories in the Asia-Pacific region.

(Additional information from from Discovering the Chichimeca, Charlotte M Gradie (The Americas, Vol 51, No 1:67-88, 1994).)

1517 - 1518

Two expeditions are sent from Hispaniola by Diego Velazquez into the Aztec empire.


The Spanish conquistador Hernan, or Hernando, Cortes is elected captain of the third expedition to the mainland from the colony of Cuba, just west of Hispaniola, an expedition which he partially funds. He and his force of 600 land in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mayan territory. They soon arrive at Tenochtitlan. Emperor Moctezuma welcomes Cortes, thinking he is the legendary god-king, Quetzalcoatl, returned to claim his kingdom as he had prophesied. Some of his men claim that the city of Moctezuma (Montezuma) is one of the largest in the world, comparable to Paris and Venice. Alvarado orders the 'Massacre of the Great Temple', finally spurring the Aztecs into resisting them. Moctezuma is killed during the breakout from the city by Cortes and his men.


The Aztec city of Azcapotzalco is conquered, and later becomes a Mexican administrative borough.

Spanish conquistador and native slaves
The Spanish conquest of the Americas delivered vast resources in labour and slaves

1521 - 1524

The greatest Aztec city, Tenochtitlan, is defeated and subsumed within the empire, ending Aztec, or Mexica, civilisation. With that, the first phase of the Spanish conquest of the South American continent is completed and New Spain is effectively born. Cortes becomes the first colonial ruler of the conquered territories until 1524, running his administration from Mexico City. Then the city is named as the capital of the Municipality of New Spain and control of the new territories passes through many hands before the king of Spain organises an official viceroyalty.


The Audiencia, a royal committee, is created to govern the newly conquered territories, 'relieving' Cortes of his new domain.


The Spanish governor of New Castile (the recently-discovered Peru) conquers the Inca empire, opening up vast new territories in South America.

1534 - 1535

In 1534, the new governate of Rio de la Plata is created to administer territories which are still overseen by Peru. The following year, with the Audiencia proving to be unwieldy, the king of Spain appoints the first viceroy to take command of New Spain.

1535 - 1550

Antonio de Mendoza

First Spanish viceroy of New Spain. (Viceroy of Peru 1550-1552.)

1540 - 1543

Antonio de Mendoza vigorously encourages the exploration of all of Spain's new territories in the Americas. New areas are discovered, settled and conquered under the control of the viceroy, including the south-west, the western coast of Alta California, and the Philippine Islands. In 1542, a new viceroyalty is created in order to govern the vast Spanish conquests in Peru.

During the course of the century, many new towns are established in northern and Central America. The province of Guatemala is established out of Chiapas, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. While formally subject to New Spain, the region is administered separately as a matter of practicality. To its south, the 'New Kingdom of Granada' is created to encompass the territories covering modern northern and central Colombia, almost all of Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama, northern Venezuela, and north-western Guyana.

However, the going is not easy for the Spanish. The two year Mixtón War (1540-1542) sees the Caxcanes and other semi-nomadic natives of north-western Mexico fighting fiercely against the Spanish invaders and their allies, the Aztec and Tlaxcalan. The Caxcanes are usually categorised as Chichimecs. The war is named after Mixtón, a hill in southern Zacatecas state in Mexico which is used as a stronghold by the natives. The Caxanes are defeated and incorporated into New Spain, but various areas of resistance continue, leading into the Chichimeca War in 1550.

1550 - 1564

Luis de Velasco

Died in office.

1550 & 1560

There are two Zapotec uprisings against Spanish colonial authority on these two dates, and it takes considerable effort on the part of the new masters of Central America to restore control. The Catholic Encyclopaedia regards these uprisings as attempts to revert to paganism.

1550 - 1591

Simultaneous to the Zapotec uprisings is the far more serious Chichimeca War. This sees the Spanish forces of New Spain fighting the Chichimec confederation in Mexico's lowlands, centred on the Bajio region. Being triggered eight years after the conclusion of the Mixtón War, it is largely a continuation of that conflict and near-unbroken unrest and resistance in between. The defeated Caxanes are now incorporated into the Spanish forces. The Chichimecs are excellent and highly-deadly archers who inflict heavy casualties upon the invaders and their allies, and Spain is unable to defeat them fully. Instead a new colonial policy of gradual integration is pursued over the next three centuries, minimising organised resistance of this form.

1564 - 1566

Francisco Ceinos

Dean of the Audiencia governing on an interim basis.

1566 - 1568

Gaston de Peralta

1567 - 1568

Alonso Munoz and Luis Carrillo

Royal Commissioners ruling temporarily.

1567 - 1568

Luis Carrillo


Francisco Ceinos

Dean of the Audiencia governing on an interim basis.

1568 - 1580

Martin Enriquez de Almanza

Spanish viceroy of New Spain (and of Peru 1581-1583).

1580 - 1583

Lorenzo Suarez de Mendoza

Second cousin of Don Antonio.

1583 - 1584

Luis de Villanueva y Zapata

Dean of the Audiencia governing on an interim basis.

1584 - 1585

Pedro Moya de Contreras

Also archbishop of Mexico.

1585 - 1590

Alvaro Manrique de Zuniga

1590 - 1595

Luis de Velasco

Son of the first Velasco. Spanish viceroy of New Spain (& Peru).

1595 - 1603

Gaspar de Zuniga y Acevedo

Spanish viceroy of New Spain (and of Peru 1604-1606).

1603 - 1607

Juan de Mendoza y Luna

Spanish viceroy of New Spain (and of Peru 1607-1615).

1607 - 1611

Luis de Velasco

Second term after acting as viceroy of Peru.


The governorship of Guatemala is raised to the position of captaincy general, in the hope that the region's greater level of autonomy will be able to halt increased pirate attacks.

1611 - 1612

Garcia Guerra

Also archbishop of Mexico. Died.


Pedro Otarola

Dean of the Audiencia governing on an interim basis.

1612 - 1621

Diego Fernandez de Cordoba

Spanish viceroy of New Spain (and of Peru 1622-1629).


The region of Yucatan is promoted as a captaincy general in its own right.


Paz de Valecillo

Dean of the Audiencia governing on an interim basis.

1621 - 1624

Diego Carrillo de Mendoza y Pimentel

1624 - 1635

Rodrigo Pacheco y Osorio

1635 - 1640

Lope Diez de Armendariz


Don Lope is the first 'Criollo', or European born in the colonies, to become viceroy of New Spain. In this case, Don Lope had been born in Peru in 1575.

1640 - 1642

Diego Lopez Pacheco Cabrera y Bobadilla


Juan de Palafox y Mendoza

Also archbishop of Puebla & Mexico.

1642 - 1648

Garcia Sarmiento de Sotomayor

Spanish viceroy of New Spain (and of Peru 1648-1655).

1648 - 1649

Marcos de Torres y Rueda

Also bishop of Yucatan.

1649 - 1650

Matias de Peralta

Also dean of the Audiencia.

1650 - 1653

Luis Enriquez de Guzman

1653 - 1660

Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva


English troops take Jamaica from New Spain, adding it to their New World Colonies and making it a hub for rum production and slave trading. It also allows renewed contact with the Mosquito Coast.

1660 - 1664

Juan de Leyva de la Cerda


Diego Osorio de Escobar y Llamas

Also archbishop of Puebla.

1664 - 1673

Antonio Sebastian de Toledo


Pedro Nuno Colon de Portugal


Don Pedro is a direct descendant of Christopher Columbus, discoverer of the Spanish Americas and first viceroy of the Indies at Hispaniola. Unfortunately he dies just five days after taking up his post.

1673 - 1680

Payo Enriquez de Rivera

Also archbishop of Mexico.

1680 - 1686

Tomas Antonio de la Cerda y Aragon

1686 - 1688

Melchor Portocarrero y Lasso de la Vega

1688 - 1696

Gaspar de la Cerda Sandoval Silva


Due to the threat of French encroachment from the New French colony of Louisiana, New Spain establishes its first presence in Texas, although these early missions quickly fail.

San Jose Mission
The mission at San Jose was one of Spain's attempts to colonise the region


Juan Ortega y Montanes

Interim viceroy of New Spain, & later archbishop of Mexico.

1696 - 1701

Jose Sarmiento y Valladares

1701 - 1702

Juan Ortega y Montanes

Interim viceroy of New Spain, & archbishop of Mexico.

1702 - 1711

Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva Enriquez

First Spanish viceroy of New Spain appointed by Bourbon kings.

1711 - 1716

Fernando de Alencastre Norona y Silva


The final uprising by the Zapotec peoples takes place against Spanish colonial authority.


New missions are established in Texas to create a buffer zone between it and the New French colony of Louisiana. These are followed in 1718 by the first European settlement in Texas, at San Antonio.

1716 - 1722

Baltasar de Zuniga y Guzman

Viceroy of Sardinia (1704-1706).

1722 - 1734

Juan de Acuna

1734 - 1740

Juan Antonio de Vizarron y Eguiarreta

Also archbishop of Mexico.

1740 - 1741

Pedro de Castro y Figueroa

1741 - 1742

Pedro Malo de Villavicencio

Interim viceroy of New Spain, & president of the Audiencia.

1742 - 1746

Pedro Cebrian y Agustin

1746 - 1755

Juan Francisco de Guemes y Horcasitas

1755 - 1760

Agustin de Ahumada y Villalon


Francisco Antonio de Echavarri

Also dean of the Audiencia.


Francisco Cajigal de la Vega

Previously captain general of Cuba (1747-1760).

1760 - 1766

Joaquin de Montserrat


The French cede the vast and wild Louisiana Territory (stretching from modern Louisiana to Canada) from New France to Spain, only to take it back again in 1800 under the Treaty of San Iidefonso.

1766 - 1771

Carlos Francisco de Croix

1771 - 1779

Antonio Maria de Bucareli y Ursua


Francisco Roma y Rosell

Also regent of the Audiencia.

1779 - 1783

Martin de Mayorga

Previously captain general of Guatemala (1773-1779).

1783 - 1784

Matias de Galvez

Previously captain general of Guatemala (1779-1783).

1784 - 1785

Vicente de Herrera y Rivero

Also regent of the Audiencia.

1785 - 1786

Bernardo de Galvez y Madrid

1786 - 1787

Eusebio Sanchez Pareja y Beleno

Also regent of the Audiencia.


Alonso Nunez de Haro y Peralta

Also archbishop of Mexico.

1787 - 1789

Manuel Antonio Flores

1789 - 1794

Juan Vicente de Guemes Padilla Horcasitas

1794 - 1798

Miguel de la Grua Talamanca

1798 - 1800

Miguel Jose de Azanza

1800 - 1803

Felix Berenguer de Marquina

1803 - 1808

Jose de Iturrigaray

Deposed, sent to Spain, and freed. Died 1815.


The USA asks the viceroy to remove his Spanish troops from New Orleans in Louisiana so that it can take possession of the area up to the River Sabine. The viceroy agrees and the troops are removed. By this stage New Spain already encompasses Mexico, plus Arizona, California, parts of Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and areas of Colorado, Oregon, and Wyoming.


The lack of a king in French-occupied Spain creates instability in New Spain, and at the end of a turbulent year, the viceroy is deposed. Pedro de Garibay is appointed by the Audiencia and recognises the authority of the Junta of Seville in Spain, following its directives while Joseph Bonaparte is puppet king of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. The coup against the viceroy is seen by the pro-independence party in New Spain as a final break with the old country, and agitation and political manoeuvring begins to edge the colony towards independence.

1808 - 1809

Pedro de Garibay

Controlled by the Audiencia. Died 1815.


The Supreme Junta of Spain replaces Don Pedro with the archbishop of Mexico.

1809 - 1810

Francisco Javier de Lizana y Beaumont

Archbishop of Mexico.


Pedro Catani

1810 - 1813

Francisco Javier Venegas

1810 - 1811

Two days after Don Francisco takes office, the insurrection against Spanish control of New Spain ignites with the cry, 'Long live Independence! Long live America! Death to bad government!' The first phase of the war ends in defeat for the rebels and the execution of most of their leaders. However, new rebel leaders soon spring up and the countryside is full of armed groups.

Spain's American colonies declare independence in 1811
Thanks to France's occupation of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, Spain's colonies in the Americas quickly took the opportunity to declare their independence

1813 - 1816

Felix Maria Calleja del Rey

1815 - 1817

Following four years of occasionally heavy fighting, a new rebel leader appears in the south. Don Felix, his rule becoming ever more dictatorial, is relieved of his position. His replacement apparently ends the insurrection.

1816 - 1821

Juan Ruiz de Apodaca

Previously captain general of Cuba. Deposed by a royalist coup.

1818 - 1819

With the USA keen to support the rebels, William Robinson occupies Altamira and Tampico but is taken prisoner by royalists and is sent to Cadiz. He escapes at Gibraltar with British help but as a consequence Spain and the United States sign the Adams-Onis Treaty on 22 February 1819. This establishes the border between the two countries, with the US gaining Florida and renouncing its claim to Texas, and Spain renouncing its claim to Oregon.


Francisco Novella Azabal Perez y Sicardo

Army general created interim viceroy.


Juan O'Donoju

Captain general of New Spain. Died ten days after independence.


New Spain as a whole achieves independence from Spain, bringing 300 years of governance of the colonies to an end. The name of the capital city, Mexico, is applied to the whole country. Juan O'Donoju uses diplomacy to withdraw Spanish troops with the minimum of bloodshed. Spain is left only with its Caribbean territories (including Cuba and Puerto Rico). Hispaniola is entirely lost in 1822 and Peru in 1824.

On 3 October 1821, the captaincy general of Guatemala (which is formed of Chiapas, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) is annexed to the Mexican empire.

Mexican Empire
AD 1822 - 1823

Mexico was born out of New Spain when the first rebellion began in 1810. Independence came in 1821 when all of Central America was freed from Spanish control. The last viceroy of New Spain in Mexico signed the Act of Independence on 28 September 1821. On 3 October 1821, the captaincy general of Guatemala (Chiapas, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) was also joined to the Mexican empire. Mexico therefore originally encompassed not only modern Mexico, but also Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, plus areas of Colorado and Wyoming and all of Central America except modern Panama (part of  Gran Colombia) and Belize.

1822 - 1823

Agustin / Augustin

First constitutional emperor of Mexico. Abdicated. Executed.


Agustin has as his consort Charlotte (or Carlotta), daughter of Leopold I of the Belgians. Trying to run the country as he had previously run his military forces as a Spanish officer, he is forced to abdicate the throne in the face of increasing opposition. A republic is declared. Despite being threatened with death should he ever return to Mexico, he does so in 1824 in an attempt to calm growing instability in the country. He is immediately arrested and is soon executed. All the countries of the former captaincy general of Guatemala leave Mexican control, forming the federal republic of Central America.

Emperor Augustin
Augustin de Iturbide, a general of the Independence War, was selected by Congress to be the first emperor of Mexico

1824 - 1864

Prince Agustin Jeronimo

Heir and titular emperor upon his father's death.


With the end of the Mexican republic of 1824 in sight, Prince Agustin approves the adoption of his nephews, Agustin and Salvador, by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria. Maximilian himself is the new ruler of the country under the banner of the Mexican Second Empire.

Mexican Republic
AD 1824 - 1864

Mexico's empire lasted all of a year or so, before opposition to the rule of the emperor forced his abdication and a republic was declared. A republican constitution was drawn up with an elected president as the head of state. Opposite points of view about how the government should be organised led to constant strife until 1836 when General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna approved a radical amendment.


General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna suspends the 1824 constitution, and civil war erupts in Mexico in opposition to his hard-line form of centralist dictatorship. The country begins to fragment, with Texas declaring itself an independent republic. Santa Anna's troops massacre the American garrison at the Alamo to ensure that Mexico retains most of Texas, but the north-eastern core becomes independent. Santa Anna does not retain permanent control of Mexico, despite repeated attempts to do so, but over the course of his two decades in politics he is usually to be found in control of the country.

Map of Central America in the 1830s
The Federal Republic of Central America was formed of Chiapas, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. This lasted from 1823-1841, by which time Mexico had grabbed much of Chiapas and the republic itself dissolved into the separate nation states known today - although Nicaragua did not control the independent Mosquito Coast until the end of the century, and British troops occupied eastern Belize (click or tap on map to view full sized)

1836 - 1855

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna

Dictatorial military president.

1840 - 1843

Mexico takes advantage of the civil war in the federal republic of Central America and grabs eastern Chiapas. However, elsewhere in Mexico, further fragmentation occurs when Rio Grande and Yucatan both declare themselves to be independent republics. Rio Grande rejoins Mexico in the same year, but Yucatan holds out until December 1843. After defeating Mexico in battle it negotiates a level of self-rule in return for rejoining the republic.

1845 - 1848

The USA annexes the remaining disputed territory of Texas, triggering the Mexican-American War in 1846. Yucatan again proclaims its independence but suffers an internal revolt of its Mayan people. Mexico accepts defeat in the war in 1848, permanently losing Texas as a result. Under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico also loses Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, and a new, permanent border is drawn along the Rio Grande. Santa Anna's days as dictatorial ruler are also numbered, with the country re-introducing a federal form of government. That same government provides help to Yucatan and it rejoins the republic.

1861 - 1864

The country is invaded and occupied by France during the Franco-Mexican War (or French Intervention), with material support from Spain via Cuba, and by Britain. The invasion is successful, establishing a new empire in Mexico, but the British and Spanish quickly pull out when they realise this is France's aim.

Second Mexican Empire
AD 1864 - 1867

Mexico, a much reduced country following the defeat of 1848, was invaded by imperial France in 1862 under the pretence of collecting loans which were overdue. Then Ferdinand Maximilian, a Habsburg archduke from Austria, was established on the throne of a second Mexican empire by conservative elements who wanted to introduce a permanent monarchy. It was almost as short-lived as its predecessor, being beset by constant conflict and with the populace viewing their emperor as a French puppet. Benito Juarez, the last republican president, managed to reclaim his country and restore the republic just three years later.

1864 - 1867


Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria. Executed.


Agustín de Iturbide y Green

Grandson of Agustin. Named as Maximilian's heir.


Maximilian is executed by firing squad on the orders of Benito Juarez in an attempt to dissuade any further foreign efforts to colonise Mexico. Shortly before being captured, Maximilian sends his two adopted heirs to safety where they form a Mexican royal family in exile. The hereditary emperors succeed to Maximilian's lost title in modern Mexico.

Modern Mexico
AD 1867 - Present Day

Officially titled the United Mexican States, the modern federal republic of Mexico sits in the upper-central area of Central America. It borders the USA to the north and Guatemala and Belize to the south, with the Gulf of Mexico on its eastern flank and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It comprises thirty-one states and one federal district - the populous capital city itself. Following the Second Empire period, the beginnings of modern Mexico saw the country enjoy a stable economy alongside the less enjoyable spectre of inequality and repression.

The territory within Mexico's modern borders previously formed homelands for a large number of competing pre-Columbian groups, including the Aztecs, Chichimecs, Mayans, Mixtecs, Olmecs, Tepanecs. Toltecs, and Zapotecs. Zapotec civilisation first appeared from around 500 BC. All of these groups survived until the arrival of the Spanish, although by then they were largely dominated by the Aztecs. When the Second Empire's ruler, Maximilian, adopted the grandsons of the First Empire's ruler, he established a royal house that would be able to claim the title long after his death and Mexico's permanent return to a republic. The head of the imperial house fled first to Britain and then to the USA, but the House of Iturbide still holds a claim to its former royal seat (although they have not actually made any public demands for a restoration of monarchy). Successive claimants to the throne are shown with a shaded background.

Modern Mexico has the second-largest economy in Latin America and is a major oil producer and exporter. Though production has fallen in the last few years, about one-third of government revenue still comes from the industry. Much of the crude oil is bought by the USA. However, prosperity remains a dream for many Mexicans, and the socio-economic gap remains wide. Rural areas are often neglected and huge shanty towns ring the cities. In recent decades many poor Mexicans have sought to cross the three thousand kilometre border with the US in search of work. At one point more than a million were being arrested every year trying to make the crossing, but since 2007 there appears to have been a dramatic fall in numbers, mainly attributed to changing demographics in Mexico itself. However, the problems posed by illegal migration across this border have been used by some politicians in the USA to encourage a 'wall building' mentality.

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from The Last Door: Political Prisoners and the Use of Torture in Mexico's Dirty War, Gladys McCormick (Americas, No 74 (1): 60, January 2017), from External Links: BBC Country Profiles, and Women in Power: 1900 (dead link), and Rinde AMLO protesta como 'presidente legítimo' (El Universal, in Spanish).)

1867 - 1925

Prince Agustín de Iturbide y Green

Maximilian's heir. Died a professor of languages in USA.

1876 - 1911

A republican general during the French 'Second Empire' intervention by the name of Porfirio Díaz is elected as Mexico's twenty-ninth president in 1876. This begins the three-decade 'Porfiriato' period which sees Mexico recover from its occupation and greatly prosper under stable government.


Spain loses the Spanish-American War. With that it also loses much of the Spanish Caribbean, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Spanish East Indies (including the Marianna Islands, and the Philippines to the USA).

1910 - 1911

The 'Porfiriato' may have delivered economic prosperity to Mexico but it has also overseen growing inequality and political repression. President Diaz is re-elected after changing his mind about an announced retirement but electoral fraud is alleged and he is forced into exile in France. The resultant political crises sparks the Mexican Revolution. New elections see a return to peace for just two years.

Mexican Revolution 1910
The Mexican Revolution rumbled on from 1910 until 1920, with sporadic bursts of peace although it generally faded out after 1917, by which time it had already resulted in positive changes in the country

1913 - 1917

The new president (elected in 1911) is assassinated in a coup which is led by a conservative general named Victoriana Huerta. This re-ignites the civil war, involving now-legendary characters such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, each leading their own small armies. Another, official army led by Venustiano Carranza ends the war and introduces a reformist constitution in 1917.

Mexico maintains neutrality during the First World War, fuelling suspicion that the government has been bribed by imperial Germany. However, it ignores a German proposal which is made public on 1 March 1917 which offers Mexico the US states of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico if the US joins the Allies in the conflict.

1920 - 1928

Two more presidents are assassinated in 1920 and 1928, but in essence the country remains stable. In the middle of this period the man selected by Maximilian as his adopted heir, Prince Agustín de Iturbide y Green, dies without having produced an heir. His position as head of the imperial House of Mexico passes to his cousin's daughter, María Josepha Sophia de Iturbide.

1925 - 1949

Princess Maria

Niece of Agustin. Played no political role. Died in Romania.

1941 - 1945

During the Second World War, Mexico supplies raw materials to the USA as one of the allied nations in opposition to the Axis powers. Following the sinking of a Mexican tanker, the country declares war against Germany in June 1942.


Royal claimant Princess Maria and her second husband die in mysterious circumstances shortly after being interned by the Romanian communist government. Her will passes the claim to the throne to her only grandson, Prince Maximilian (better known as Count Maximilian von Götzen-Iturbide or, professionally, as Richard von Götzen).

1949 - Present

Prince Maximilian

Grandson of Maria. Born 2 Mar 1944. Currently living in the UK.


The Tlatelolco Massacre involves the killing of students and civilians by police and the military on 2 October 1968. The dead have been taking part in protests that are taking place in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco section of Mexico City. Overall, these events are part of the Mexican Dirty War, an offshoot of the Cold War, during which the US-backed government suppresses political opposition by means of intimidation and disappearances.


In the midst of a currency crisis in the country, the Zapatista Army of Liberation declares war against the Mexican government. The uprising sweeps through the southern state of Chiapas and at least 150 people die during the government's pacification of the region.

Mexico City
The heart of the historic colonial centre of Mexico City is the Zócalo (main plaza), the largest of its kind in South America, which dates from the sixteenth century and was built over the ruins of Tenochtitlan

2000 - 2006

For the first time since 1929 an opposition party wins the presidential election. The Institutional Revolution Party (or National Action Party, a centre-right party which had been founded in 1939) gains power for six years.


A bitterly-fought presidential election results in a return to victory for the conservative National Action Party after weeks of legal wrangling over the results, albeit by a very narrow margin.

Prince Ferdinand

Son of Maximilian and heir. Born 1992.