A land of contrasts straddling temperate and tropical zones
Mexico has a 3000 year old history, which came into existence around 1000BC with the emergence of the ancient Olmec civilization. The sudden disappearance of the civilization in 400BC led to the birth of new civilizations, many of whom were influenced strongly by the Olmec civilization. Teotihuacan, the Zapotecs and Mixtecs of Monte Alban, the Maya of Yucatan, the Toltecs, Aztecs, and dozens of smaller, citied groups came and went, all contributing to the rich history of the country. The Aztec civilization stood out the most, achieving great artistic and scientific feats during their existence. The downfall of the Aztec civilization was brought about by the invasion of the Spaniards in the early 16th century, led by Hernan Cortes. A war of independence began in early 1800, led by a catholic priest named Father Miguel de Hidalgo y Costilla. For over a century the country was marred by continuous fighting, dictatorships and governments that changed every nine months. The establishment of the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (National Revolutionary Party), dominated by revolutionary and reformist politicians from northern Mexico, was established in 1929; it continued to control Mexico throughout the 20th century.