Last updated
Former army general President Diaz in 1902, in a civilian business suit. Porfirio Diaz civilian.jpg
Former army general President Díaz in 1902, in a civilian business suit.

The Porfiriato [1]  was a period in the history of Mexico when power was held by liberal General Porfirio Díaz, between November 28, 1876, and May 25, 1911. [2] Díaz pursued a policy of "order and progress," inviting foreign investment to Mexico and maintaining social and political order, by force if necessary. There were tremendous changes economically, technologically, socially, and culturally during this period. As Díaz approached his 80th birthday and after having been continuously elected since 1884, he still had not put in place a plan for his succession. The fraudulent 1910 elections are usually seen as the end date of the Porfiriato. Violence broke out, Díaz was forced to resign and go into exile, and Mexico experienced a decade of regional civil war, the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).

History of Mexico aspect of history

The history of Mexico, a country in the southern portion of North America, covers a period of more than three millennia. First populated more than 13,000 years ago, the territory had complex indigenous civilizations before being conquered and colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century. One of the important aspects of Mesoamerican civilizations was their development of a form of writing, so that Mexico's written history stretches back hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1519. This era before the arrival of Europeans is called variously the prehispanic era or the precolumbian era.

Porfirio Díaz 19th and 20th-century President of Mexico

José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori was a Mexican general and politician who served seven terms as President of Mexico, a total of 31 years, from February 17, 1877 to December 1, 1880 and from December 1, 1884 to May 25, 1911. The entire period 1876–1911 is often referred to as the Porfiriato.

Mexican Revolution major nationwide armed struggle in Mexico between 1910 and 1920

The Mexican Revolution, also known as the Mexican Civil War, was a major armed struggle, lasting roughly from 1910 to 1920, that radically transformed Mexican culture and government. Although recent research has focused on local and regional aspects of the Revolution, it was a genuinely national revolution. Its outbreak in 1910 resulted from the failure of the 35-year-long regime of Porfirio Díaz to find a managed solution to the presidential succession. This meant there was a political crisis among competing elites and the opportunity for agrarian insurrection. Wealthy landowner Francisco I. Madero challenged Díaz in the 1910 presidential election, and following the rigged results, revolted under the Plan of San Luis Potosí. Armed conflict ousted Díaz from power; a new election was held in 1911, bringing Madero to the presidency.


Porfiriato as a historical period

Historians have investigated the late nineteenth century when liberal army general Porfirio Díaz was President of Mexico, (1876-1880, 1884-1911) as a cohesive historical period based on political transitions. [3] In particular, this meant separating the period of "order and progress" from the tumultuous decade of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 and post Revolution developments, but increasingly the Porfiriato is seen as laying the basis for post-revolutionary Mexico. [4] Under the Díaz regime, Mexico was able to tamp down banditry, political infighting, and tendencies toward economic nationalism suspicious of foreign investment to allow rapid economic and technological change, an openness to cultural innovation, increasing urbanization, and shifts in societal attitudes. The defeat of Mexican conservatives in the War of the Reform and then finally in the French intervention in Mexico cleared a path for liberals to implement their vision of Mexico.

Reform War 1858-1861 armed conflict in Mexico

The War of Reform in Mexico, during the Second Federal Republic of Mexico, was the three-year civil war (1857–1860) between members of the Liberal Party who had taken power in 1855 under the Plan of Ayutla, and members of the Conservative Party resisting the legitimacy of the government and its radical restructuring of Mexican laws, known as La Reforma. The War of the Reform is one of many episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted to eliminate the political, economic, and cultural power of the Catholic church as well as undermine the role of the Mexican Army. Both the Catholic Church and the Army were protected by corporate or institutional privileges (fueros) established in the colonial era. Liberals sought to create a modern nation-state founded on liberal principles. The Conservatives wanted a centralist government, some even a monarchy, with the Church and military keeping their traditional roles and powers, and with landed and merchant elites maintaining their dominance over the majority mixed-race and indigenous populations of Mexico.

Second French intervention in Mexico invasion of Mexico, launched in late 1861, by the Second French Empire

The Second French Intervention in Mexico was an invasion of Mexico, launched in late 1861, by the Second French Empire (1852–70). Initially supported by the United Kingdom and Spain, the French intervention in Mexico was a consequence of President Benito Juárez's two-year moratorium, on 17 July 1861, of loan-interest payments to French, British and Spanish creditors.

Porfirio Díaz, after whom the period is named, was a liberal Mexican army general who had distinguished himself during the War of Reforma and the French intervention. He had political aspirations to be president of Mexico, which did not come to fruition until he rebelled against Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada under the Plan of Tuxtepec and became president. He initially ruled from 1876 until 1880. Díaz's first term is sometimes treated separately, as he consolidated power and sought the recognition of his regime from the U.S. government. The Plan of Tuxtepec explicitly called for no re-election of the president, so at the end of Díaz's term, a political ally from the Federal Army, General Manuel González, became president for one term. In 1884, Díaz abandoned the principle of no re-election and returned to the presidency, not relinquishing it until forced in 1911. Francisco I. Madero challenged Díaz in 1910, campaigning under the slogan "Effective suffrage, no re-election." [5] [6]

Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada President of Mexico

Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada Corral was a jurist and Liberal president of Mexico, succeeding Benito Juárez who died of a heart attack in July 1872. Lerdo was elected to his own presidential term later in 1872 rather than remaining successor due to his previous office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Juárez's political rival liberal General Porfirio Díaz had attempted a coup against Juárez, but his Plan de la Noria failed and Díaz was eliminated as a political foe during Lerdo's 1872-76 term, giving Lerdo considerable leeway to pursue his program without political interference. Lerdo was more successful than Juárez in his final years as president in pacifying the country and strengthening the Mexican state. He ran for another term in 1876 and was elected, but was overthrown by Porfirio Díaz and his supporters under the Plan of Tuxtepec, which asserted the principle of no-reelection to the presidency. Lerdo died in exile in New York in 1889, but Díaz invited the return of his body to Mexico for burial with full honors. Not counting Miguel Miramón, an unrecognized president during the Reform War, he is the first president of the recognized presidents that was not born during Spanish colonial rule.

In Mexican history, the Plan of Tuxtepec was a plan drafted by Porfirio Díaz in 1876 and proclaimed on 10 January 1876 in the Villa de Ojitlán municipality of San Lucas Ojitlán, Tuxtepec district, Oaxaca. It was signed by a group of military officers led by Colonel Hermenegildo Sarmiento and drafted by porfiristas Vicente Riva Palacio, Irineo Paz, and Protasio Tagle on the instigation of Díaz. Díaz signed the previous version of the plan in December 1875, which did not include the three most important articles that appointed Diaz as president. It disavowed Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada as President, while acknowledging the Constitution and the Reform laws, and proclaimed Díaz as the leader of the movement. Díaz later became the president of Mexico.

Manuel González Flores President of Mexico

Manuel del Refugio González Flores, commonly known as Manuel González, was a Mexican military general and liberal politician who served as the 31st President of Mexico from 1880 to 1884. Before initiating his presidential career, González played important roles in the Mexican–American War as a lieutenant, and later in the Reform War as general on the conservative side. In the French intervention in Mexico, González fought for the Mexican Republic under the command of General Porfirio Díaz. He supported Díaz's attempts to gain the presidency of Mexico, which succeeded in 1876. He served as Mexican Secretary of War in the Díaz administration from 1878 to 1879. Díaz could not be re-elected to the presidency in 1880, since the basis of his coup against Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada was the principle of no-reelection, so Díaz worked for the election of his political client González, who would be weak rival should Díaz run again. His presidency from 1880 to 1884 is marked by a number of major diplomatic and domestic achievements, which historian Friedrich Katz considers to be no less than "the profound transformation" of Mexico. Although the González presidency has been considered corrupt, that assessment is colored by the difficult financial circumstances in 1884 and by Díaz's campaign to discredit his successor, paving the way for his own re-election in 1884.

Political order

Rural on board a train. Photograph Manuel Ramos, published in La Revista de Revistas, May 1912 Manuel Ramos Guardia Rural.jpg
Rural on board a train. Photograph Manuel Ramos, published in La Revista de Revistas, May 1912

Starting Díaz's second term (1884-88), following the "interregnum" of President González (1880-84), the regime has been characterized as a dictatorship, with no opponents of Díaz elected to Congress and Díaz staying in office with elections without democracy. Congress was Díaz's rubber stamp for legislation. Internal stability, sometimes called the Pax Porfiriana, was coupled with the increasing strength of the Mexican state, fueled by increased revenues from an expanding economy. Díaz replaced a number of independent regional leaders for men loyal to himself, but quelled potential discontent by co-opting even the political "outs" by making them intermediaries with foreign investors, allowing their personal enrichment. To further consolidate state power, Díaz appointed jefes políticos, ("political bosses") answerable to central government who commanded local forces. The policies of conciliation, co-optation and repression allowed the regime to maintain order for decades. [7] In central Mexico, indigenous communities that had exercised political and economic control over their lands and populations were undermined by the Díaz regime through expropriation of lands and weakening or absence of indigenous leadership. Expropriation of village lands occurred as landed estates (haciendas), often owned by foreign investors, expanded. This process is known for the state of Morelos before the Mexican Revolution when Emiliano Zapata emerged as a leader in Anenecuilco to defend village lands and rights. Since the Díaz regime aimed to conciliate foreign investors and large estate owners, foreign and domestic, indigenous villages suffered politically and economically. [8] [9]

A hacienda, in the colonies of the Spanish Empire, is an estate, similar to a Roman latifundium. Some haciendas were plantations, mines or factories. Many haciendas combined these activities. The word is derived from the Spanish word "hacer" or "haciendo", which means: to make or be making, respectively; and were largely business enterprises consisting of various money making ventures including raising farm animals and maintaining orchards.

Emiliano Zapata Mexican Revolutionary

Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, the main leader of the peasant revolution in the state of Morelos, and the inspiration of the agrarian movement called Zapatismo.

Anenecuilco town in the municipality of Ayala, Morelos, Mexico

Anenecuilco is a town in the municipality of Ayala, Morelos, Mexico, which gives its name to Zapata's Plan de Ayala. It has a population of 10,773 people. Mexican revolutionary hero, Emiliano Zapata was born here in 1879, and today the town is the home of a museum in the house of his birth. It is located at 18°46′41″N98°59′10″W, at a mean height of 1,239 meters above sea level. The place name means "Place where the water twists back and forth" in the Nahuatl language.

When Díaz came to power in 1876, the northern border of Mexico with the U.S.became a region of tension and conflict, which had to be resolved in order for the Díaz regime to be recognized as the sovereign government of Mexico. Indigenous groups and cattle thieves marauded in the border region. The Apache did not recognize the sovereignty of either the U.S. or Mexico over their traditional territories, but did use the formal international division to their advantage, raiding on one side of the border and seeking sanctuary on the other. Thieves stole cattle and likewise used the border to escape authorities. The U.S. used the border issue as a reason to withhold recognition from the Díaz regime and there continued to be a low-level international conflict. The issue of recognition was finally resolved by Díaz's government granting generous concessions to prominent U.S. promoters of investment in Mexico, who pressured the administration of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes to grant recognition in 1878. It was clear to Díaz that order was to be maintained over all other considerations. [10]

Rutherford B. Hayes 19th president of the United States

Rutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th president of the United States from 1877 to 1881, having served also as an American representative and governor of Ohio. Hayes was a lawyer and staunch abolitionist who defended refugee slaves in court proceedings in the antebellum years. During the American Civil War, he was seriously wounded while fighting in the Union Army.

The turmoil of over a decade of war (1857-1867) and economic disruption gave rise to banditry. To combat this, during the administration of civilian president Benito Juárez, a small, efficient rural police force under the control of the president, known as the Rurales , was a tool to impose order.  When former army general Díaz took over the presidency, he expanded the size and scope of Rurales; they were under the command and control of the president in a way the Mexican army was not. The slogan of the Porfiriato, “order and progress,” recognized that without political order, that economic development and growth – progress — was not possible.  Investors would be unwilling to risk their capital if political conditions were unstable. [11] [12]

Benito Juárez President of Mexico during XIX century

Benito Pablo Juárez García was a Mexican lawyer and president of Mexico, of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca.


in Mexico, the term Rurales (Spanish) is used in respect of two armed government forces. The historic Guardia Rural was a mounted rural police force, founded by President Benito Juárez in 1861 and expanded by President Porfirio Díaz. It served as an effective force of repression and a counterweight to the Mexican Army during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The rurales were dissolved during the Mexican Revolution.

The construction of railways gave the government more effective control of many regions of Mexico that had maintained a level of independence due to their distance from the capital. The construction of telegraph lines along side railroad tracks further facilitated the government's control, so that orders from Mexican City were instantly transmitted to officials elsewhere. The government could respond quickly to regional revolts by loading armed Rurales and their horses on trains to quell disturbances. By the end of the nineteenth century, violence had almost completely disappeared.


Díaz himself was a practical politician, but Mexican intellectuals sought to articulate a rationale for their form liberalism.  The advocates were called Científicos , "the scientists." [13] They found a basis for such a philosophy by crafting to Mexico French philosopher Auguste Comte’s Positivism and Herbert Spencer’s social Darwinism.  Positivism sought to ground knowledge on observation and empirically-based knowledge rather than metaphysics or religious belief.  In Mexico, liberal intellectuals believed that Mexico’s stability under Díaz was due to his strong government. In Social Darwinism and Positivism intellectuals saw the justification of their rule  due to their superiority over a largely rural, largely indigenous and mixed-race (mestizo)  Mexican population. [14] [15] Liberals sought to develop Mexico economically and sought to implement progress by an ideology promoting attitudes that were "nationalist, pro-capitalist, and moral tenets of thrift, hard work, entrepreneurialism, proper hygiene, and temperance." [16] [17]


A photo of the Metlac railway bridge, an example of engineering achievement that overcame geographical barriers and allowed efficient movement of goods and people. Photo by Guillermo Kahlo. MetlacBridgeKahlo.JPG
A photo of the Metlac railway bridge, an example of engineering achievement that overcame geographical barriers and allowed efficient movement of goods and people. Photo by Guillermo Kahlo.

Mexico at the beginning of the Porfiriato was a predominantly rural nation, with large estate owners controlling agricultural production for the local and regional food market. The largest groups of Mexicans involved in agriculture were small-scale ranchers and subsistence agriculturalists along with landless peasants tilling lands they did not own.  Patterns of land ownership were shifting in the nineteenth century. The Liberal Reform had sought to eliminate corporate ownership of land, targeting estates owned by the Roman Catholic Church and indigenous communities, forcing them to be broken up into parcels and sold.  Despite liberals’ hopes, this did not result in the creation of a class of yeoman farmers, but it did undermine the integrity of indigenous communities and undermine the economic power of the Church.

Construction of railway lines was a major factor in transforming the Mexican economy.  Mexico is not endowed with a navigable river system that would have allowed for cheap water transport, and roads were often impassable during the rainy season, so the construction of railway lines overcame a major obstacle for Mexican economic development. The first line to be built was from the Gulf port of Veracruz to Mexico City, begun during the French intervention, but the rapid expansion of lines in central Mexico and northward to the U.S. border lowered transportation costs for passengers and freight, opened new regions, such as the Comarca Lagunera in northern Mexico, to agricultural development.  The capital for railways as well as tracks and rolling stock were foreign. Investment in such capital demanding infrastructure is an indicator that foreign investors had confidence in Mexico’s stability.  Construction of the railways was an effect of stability, but there was a significant decrease in banditry and other unrest because of the railways.  The Rurales and their horses could be loaded on trains and dispatched to impose order. [18] [19]

Along with the construction of railways, telegraph lines were built next to the tracks.  This allowed instant communication between capital and distant cities, increasing the power of the central Mexican state over distant regions.  Dispatching Rurales quickly to troubled areas was a direct effect of more efficient communication.

An industry that expanded significantly during this time was mining.  In the colonial era, Mexico had mined and refined silver, minting silver coinage that became the first global currency.  During the Porfiriato, mining of industrial minerals was the core of the industry.  The world price of silver dropped in 1873, while at the same time economies in developed countries needed industrial minerals for their manufacturing.   As with other aspects of the Mexican economy, the growth in the mining sector was predicated on the stability established by the government.  The expansion of the railway network meant that ore could be transported cheaply and the telegraph network allowed investors to have efficient communications with the mining sites.  Foreign investors, particularly from the U.S.,  had confidence in risking their capital in mining enterprises in Mexico.  Mining enterprises for copper, lead, iron, and coal in Mexico’s north, especially Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato and Coahuila, with Monterrey and Aguascalientes becoming especially prominent. [20] [21]

The development of industrial manufacturing aimed at a domestic market, primarily in textiles. Factories were built in urban areas by Mexican entrepreneurs in Orizaba and Guanajuato, which provided opportunities for workers to earn wages.  These factories, many owned by French nationals, supplied domestic textile needs.


Justo Sierra, Diaz's Secretary of Education (1905-1911), who established the National University in Mexico Justo Sierra.jpg
Justo Sierra, Díaz's Secretary of Education (1905-1911), who established the National University in Mexico

Liberals created a secular educational system to counter the religious influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Public schools had been established during the period of Benito Juárez, but expanded during the Porfiriato after the defeat of the French monarchy and their Mexican Catholic allies. [22] Schools did not just teach literacy and numeracy, but also aimed at creating a workforce guided by principles of punctuality, thrift, valuable work habits, and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco use, and gambling. Even so, illiteracy was widespread, with the 1910 census indicating only 33% of men and 27% of women were literate. [23] However, the government's commitment to education under Justo Sierra was an important step, particularly in higher education with the establishment of the secular, state-controlled Universidad Nacional de México. The Pontifical University of Mexico, founded in the early sixteenth century under religious authority, was suppressed in 1865.

Public health

Public health became an important issue for the Mexican government, which viewed a healthy population as important for economic development. Government investment in public health was seen as part of Mexico's overall project of modernization. In Mexico City, the government invested in large-scale infrastructure project to drain the central lake system, the desagüe in an attempt to prevent frequent flooding in the capital. Planners viewed inadequate drainage, sewage treatment, and lack of access to clean, potable water as solvable problems using scientific methods. [24] Another issue that modernizers tackled was sanitation in the meatpacking industry. [25] Instilling ideas of proper hygiene were values to be imparted in schools. [26]


House of Tiles, Mexico City, site of the Jockey Club during the Porfiriato Casa de Azulejos 3.jpg
House of Tiles, Mexico City, site of the Jockey Club during the Porfiriato

During the Porfiriato, urban Mexican elites became more cosmopolitan, with their consumer tastes for imported fashion styles and goods being considered an indicator of Mexico's modernity, with France being the embodiment of the sophistication they admired. Since the French had invaded Mexico and occupied it during the 1860s, Mexico's turn toward France was not without controversy in Mexico. France was a major European power and with the fall of Napoleon III in 1870, the way was opened to reestablish normal relations between the countries. With the resumption of diplomatic relations, Mexico enthusiastically embraced French styles. Department stores, such as the Palacio de Hierro, were modeled on those in Paris (Bon Marché) and London (Harrod's). French influence on culture in fashion, art, and architecture is evident in the capital and other major Mexican cities, with Mexican elites enthusiastic for French styles known as Afrancesados. [27] [28]

Diaz's Vice President, Ramon Corral and family dressed in European-style fashions Ramon Corral and family.jpg
Diaz's Vice President, Ramón Corral and family dressed in European-style fashions
Satirical print by Jose Guadalupe Posada with bicyclists labeled with the names of Mexico City newspapers Posada6.Bikes.jpeg
Satirical print by José Guadalupe Posada with bicyclists labeled with the names of Mexico City newspapers

Among the elites, horse racing became popular and purpose-built race tracks were constructed, such as the Hippodrome of Peralvillo, built by the newly-formed Jockey Club. The club hired an architect who attended race events in Europe and the U.S. to design and build the track, which was to be opened on Easter Sunday 1882, a distinctly non-religious way to celebrate the holiday. At the delayed opening, the President of the Republic (1880-82), Manuel González, his cabinet, and the diplomatic corps, along with Mexicans who could afford the entry, watched horses owned by gentlemen compete for purses. The Jockey Club was founded in 1881, modeled on those in Europe. Mexico City's occupied the top floor of the eighteenth-century former residence of the Count of Orizaba known as the House of the Tiles. The club provided a place for elite social gatherings. Among the directors of the Jockey Club were Manuel Romero Rubio and José Yves Limantour, Díaz's closest advisors, and President González and Díaz himself as members. The Jockey Club had rooms for smoking, dining rooms, weapons, bowling, poker and baccarat. [29] [30] There were upscale gambling houses that were regulated by the government. One was in the former Palace of the Emperor Iturbide, which in the late nineteenth century was a hotel. Entertainment among men of the urban popular classes included tradtional sports of cockfighting and bullfighting.

Bicycles were imported from Paris and Boston to Mexico City in 1869, just after the French Intervention. A French company imported bicycles and set up a rental business, but the sport took off when the technology improved in the 1890s with wheels of equal size and pneumatic tires. Bicycle clubs and organized races made their appearance soon after. Organized sports with rules, equality of competition, bureaucracy and formal record keeping became hallmarks of modernity. Although men dominated the sport, women also participated. For women especially, bicycling challenged traditional behavior, demeanor, and fashions, freeing them from being closely supervised shut-ins. Riding a bicycle required better women's clothing, and many adopted Bloomers for riding. In 1898, cartoon montage in the satirical publication El Hijo del Ahuizote answered the question "why go by bicycle?": for amusement, for pleasure in the streets, and one panel shows a bicycle on its side with a couple embracing, with the caption "for love." Cycling was touted as promoting exercise and good hygiene and was associated with modernity, speed, and modernization through technology. [31]


The mid-nineteenth century had been riven by conflict between the Catholic Church and the liberal State. The liberals' Mexican Constitution of 1857 had established separation of church and state, and there were strong anti-clerical articles of the constitution. As a pragmatic politician, Díaz did not want to re-open outright conflict been his regime and the Catholic Church in Mexico and his marriage to Carmen Romero Rubio, who was a faithful Catholic, helped mend the rift. Díaz never had the anticlerical articles of the constitution repealed, but he did not strictly enforce them, so that the Catholic Church made a political and economic comeback during the Porfiriato. U.S. Protestant missionaries made inroads in Mexico during the Porfiriato, particularly in the north, [32] but did not significantly challenge the power of Catholicism in Mexico. [33] In a number of regions of Mexico, local religious cults and dissident peasant movements arose, which the Catholic Church considered idolatrous. Responding to the potential loss of the faithful in Mexico and elsewhere, Pope Leo XIII issued the encyclical Rerum Novarum , calling on the Church to become involved in social problems. In Mexico, some Catholic laymen supported the abolition of debt peonage on landed estates, which kept peasants tied to work there because they were unable to pay off their debts. The Church itself had lost lands during the Liberal Reform in the mid-nineteenth century, so it could voice support for the peasants' plight. The Church's success in the new initiatives can be seen as Zapatistas in Morelos carried out no anticlerical actions during the Mexican Revolution, [34] and many fighters wore the Virgin of Guadalupe on their hats.

Historical memory and patrimony

Porfirio Diaz in 1910 at the National Museum of Anthropology with the Aztec Calendar Stone. Piedra del sol Porfirio Diaz.png
Porfirio Díaz in 1910 at the National Museum of Anthropology with the Aztec Calendar Stone.

During the Díaz regime, the state began to take control over the cultural patrimony of Mexico, expanding the National Museum of Anthropology as the central repository of artifacts from Mexico's archeological sites, as well as asserting control over the sites themselves. The Law of Monuments (1897) gave jurisdiction over archeological sites to the federal government. This allowed the expropriation and expulsion of peasants who had been cultivating crops on the archeological sites, most systematically done at Teotihuacan. Former cavalry officer and archeologist Leopoldo Batres was Inspector of Archeological Monuments and wielded considerable power. He garnered resources from the Díaz government funds to guard archeological sites in central Mexico and Yucatan, as well as to hire workers to excavate archeological sites of particular importance for creating an image of Mexico's glorious past to foreign scholars and tourists, as well as patriotic fervor in Mexico. [35]

Along the wide, tree-lined boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma, laid out by Emperor Maximilian between the National Palace and Chapultepec Castle, was transformed as a site of historical memory, with statues commemorating figures of Mexican history and important historical events.

1910 Centennial of Independence

Illustrated program of the official centennial festivities over 30 days in September 1910. 97.- CCCLXXXII- - Programa Ilustrado de los festejos oficiales y particulares.tif
Illustrated program of the official centennial festivities over 30 days in September 1910.
Porfirio Diaz and his second wife Carmen Romero Rubio photographed with others celebrating the centennial of Mexican independence in 1910. Porforio Diaz.jpg
Porfirio Díaz and his second wife Carmen Romero Rubio photographed with others celebrating the centennial of Mexican independence in 1910.

The official centennial festivities were concentrated in the month of September, but there were events during the centennial year outside of September. There was a book published, detailing the day by day events of the centennial. [36] The central core of Mexico city was decorated and lit with electric lights many bedecked with flowers. Two major monuments were inaugurated, the Angel of Independence on Paseo de la Reforma at a major intersection, and the monument to Benito Juárez at the edge of the Alameda Park. On the first day of September, Díaz inaugurated a new insane asylum in Mixcoac. On the second, the pillar of the baptismal font in Hidalgo's church was brought to the capital with great ceremony and placed in the National Museum, with some 25,000 children viewing the event. Many nations participated in the celebrations, including the Japan, whose pavilion Díaz inaugurated. An important issue for the modernizing Mexican state was health and hygiene, and an exhibition was inaugurated on September 2. Díaz's Minister of the Interior, Ramón Corral ceremonially laid the first stone of a new penitentiary. On Sunday, September 4, there was a parade with allegorical floats, which Díaz and his whole cabinet viewed. On September 6 some 38,000 school children honored the Mexican flag. Diaz inaugurated the new building of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Mexico City, a Protestant voluntary association. A new normal school to train teachers was inaugurated with Diaz and foreign delegates attending. Also occurring during the festivities was the Nation Congress of Pedagogy.

The Spanish monarchy sent a special ambassador to the festivities, who was enthusiastically received. Diaz gave an enormous reception in his honor. On September 9 Díaz laid the first stone on a monument to Isabel the Catholic and Díaz also opened an exhibition of colonial-era Spanish art.

The International Congress of Americanists met in Mexico City, with Porfirio Díaz elected its honorary president. Prominent Americanists from many countries attended, including Eduard Seler from Germany and Franz Boaz from the U.S. Mexican Secretary of Education, Justo Sierra attended. Diaz and Justo Sierra went with Congress attendees went to the archeological site of San Juan Teotihuacan.

As part of the historical commemorations of the centennial, on September 8 there was homage paid to the Niños Héroes, the cadets who died defending Chapultepec Castle from the invading U.S. forces during the Mexican-American War. But Diaz also laid the first stone to a monument to George Washington in the American Colony in Mexico City. The U.S. delegation hosted a sumptuous banquet for fellow delegates. There was a large number of journalists from the U.S. attending the celebrations, such as the New York Times, the New York Evening Post, Harper's Weekly, the Washington Post, as well as some from Toronto and Montreal in Canada, with the U.S. ambassador hosting a reception for these North American newspapermen.

Other statues that were inaugurated were one honoring France's Louis Pasteur and Germany's Alexander von Humboldt. The German government had an honor guard for the monument of German naval officers.

See also

Related Research Articles

Francisco I. Madero 19th and 20th-century Mexican revolutionary leader and president

Francisco Ignacio Madero González was a Mexican revolutionary, writer and statesman who served as the 33rd president of Mexico from 1911 until shortly before his assassination in 1913. He was an advocate for social justice and democracy. Madero was notable for challenging Mexican President Porfirio Díaz for the presidency in 1910 and being instrumental in sparking the Mexican Revolution.

The Científicos were a circle of technocratic advisors to President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz. Steeped in the positivist "scientific politics", they functioned as part of his program of modernization at the start of the 20th century.

Liberalism in Mexico was part of a broader nineteenth-century political trend affecting Western Europe and the Americas, including the United States, that challenged entrenched power.

Daniel Cosío Villegas was a prominent Mexican economist, essayist, historian, and diplomat.

La Reforma or the Liberal Reform was initiated in Mexico following the ousting of centralist president Antonio López de Santa Anna by a group of liberals under the 1854 Plan de Ayutla. From the liberals' narrow objective to remove a dictator and take power, they expanded their aims to a comprehensive program to remake Mexico governed by liberal principles as embodied by a series of Reform laws and then the Constitution of 1857. The major goals of this movement were to undermine the power of the Catholic Church in Mexico, separate church and state, reduce the power of the Mexican military, and integrate Mexico's large indigenous population as citizens of Mexico and not a protected class. Liberals envisioned secular education as a means to create a Mexican citizenry. The liberals' strategy was to sharply limit the traditional institutional privileges (fueros) of the Catholic Church and the army. The law prohibiting the ownership of land by corporations targeted the holdings of the Catholic Church and indigenous communities - confiscating Church land. Indigenous community lands were held by the community as a whole, not as individual parcels. Liberals sought to create a class of yeoman farmers that held land individually. No class of individualistic peasants developed with the Liberal program emerged, but many merchants acquired land. Many existing landowners expanded their holdings at the expense of peasants, and some upwardly mobile ranch owners, often mestizos, acquired land previously held by communities. Upon the promulgation of the liberal Constitution of 1857, conservatives refused to swear allegiance to it and, instead, formed a conservative government. The result was a civil war known as the Reform War or Three Years' War, waged between conservatives and liberals for three years, ending with the defeat of the conservatives on the battlefield. Victorious liberal president Benito Juárez could not implement the envisioned reforms due to a new political threat. Conservatives had sought another route to regaining power, resulting in their active collaboration with Napoleon III's plans to turn the Mexican Empire into the main American ally of the French empire. Mexican conservatives offered the crown of Mexico to Habsburg archduke Maximilian. The French invasion and republican resistance to the French Intervention in Mexico lasted from 1862-67. With the defeat of the conservatives and the execution of Maximilian, Juárez again took up his duties as president. In this period from 1867 to 1876, often called the "Restored Republic" liberals had no credible opposition to their implementation of the laws of the Reform embodied in the 1857 Constitution.

Justo Sierra Mexican writer, journalist, poet and political figure of the second half of the nineteenth century

Justo Sierra Méndez, was a prominent liberal Mexican writer, historian, journalist, poet and political figure during the Porfiriato, in the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. He was a leading voice of the Científicos, "the scientists" who were the intellectual leaders during the regime of Porfirio Díaz.

Economic history of Mexico

Mexico's economic history has been characterized since the colonial era by resource extraction, agriculture, and a relatively underdeveloped industrial sector. Economic elites in the colonial period were predominantly Spanish born, active as transatlantic merchants and silver mine owners and diversifying their investments with the landed estates. The largest sector of the population was indigenous subsistence farmers, who lived mainly in the center and south.

José Yves Limantour Mexican secretary of Finance

José Yves Limantour y Márquez was a Mexican financier who served as Secretary of the Finance of Mexico from 1893 until the fall of the Porfirio Díaz regime in 1911. Limantour established the gold standard in Mexico, suspending free coinage of silver, and mandating only government coins be used. He secured the national debt in 1899 with a consortium of foreign banks, and at the time of the outbreak of the Revolution, Mexico was on strong financial basis. Before the Mexican Revolution he was widely seen, along General Bernardo Reyes, as one of the stronger candidates to succeed President Díaz.

Enrique Creel Mexican politician

Enrique Clay Creel Cuilty, sometimes known as Henry Clay Creel was a Mexican businessman and politician member of the powerful Creel-Terrazas family of Chihuahua. He is considered the foremost banker during the Porfirato (1876-1910) and wielded considerable political power, becoming "one of the most hated symbols of the Porfirian regime." He served as governor of Chihuahua on two occasions, ambassador of Mexico to the United States, and served in the cabinet of President Porfirio Díaz as his Minister of Foreign Affairs in the last years of his regime.

Monumento a la Revolución

The Monument to the Revolution is a landmark and monument commemorating the Mexican Revolution. It is located in Plaza de la República, near to the heart of the major thoroughfares Paseo de la Reforma and Avenida de los Insurgentes in downtown Mexico City.

Treaty of Ciudad Juárez 1911 treaty during the Mexican Revolution

The Treaty of Ciudad Juárez was a peace treaty signed between the President of Mexico, Porfirio Díaz, and the revolutionary Francisco Madero on May 21, 1911. The treaty put an end to the fighting between forces supporting Madero and those of Díaz and thus concluded the initial phase of the Mexican Revolution.

Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857 constitution

The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857 often called simply the Constitution of 1857 is the liberal constitution drafted by 1857 Constituent Congress of Mexico during the presidency of Ignacio Comonfort. It was ratified on February 5, 1857, establishing individual rights such as freedom of speech; freedom of conscience; freedom of the press; freedom of assembly; and the right to bear arms. It also reaffirmed the abolition of slavery, eliminated debtor prison, and eliminated all forms of cruel and unusual punishment, including the death penalty.

Hijas de Cuauhtemoc was a revolutionary feminist organization founded in Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). The organization was opposed to the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz and the imperialist economic policies during this period, which they felt exploited workers. Hijas de Cuauhtemoc engaged in many forms of activism to promote the removal of Diaz from power. As a feminist organization, Hijas de Cuauhtemoc also sought to connect revolutionary struggle to radical social changes for Mexican women. Specifically, the feminist demands of Hijas de Cuauhtemoc were the abolition of domestic labor, equal pay, educational access, equal rights within the family, and rights for women in agricultural work.

Monument to Christopher Columbus (Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City)

The Monument to Christopher Columbus, on a major traffic roundabout (glorieta) along Mexico City's Paseo de la Reforma, was dedicated in 1877.


  1. Cosío Villegas, Daniel (1955). Historia Moderna de México. El porfiriato. La vida social[Modern History of Mexico. El Porfiriato, social life] (in Spanish). México: Editorial Hermes.
  2. Speckman Guerra, Elisa (2011). "El Porfiriato". Nueva historia mínima de México (in Spanish). El Colegio de México. p. 200. ISBN   968-12-1139-1.
  3. Stevens, D.F. "Porfirio Díaz" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 2, p. 378. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  4. Bunker, Steven B. and William H. Beezley. "Porfiriato: Interpretations" in Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, pp. 1169-1173
  5. Katz, Friedich, "The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato, 1867-1910" in Mexico Since Independence, Leslie Bethell, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press 1991, pp.49-124
  6. Coever, Don M. The Porfirian Interregnum: The Presidency of Manuel González of Mexico, 1880-1884. Forth Worth: Texas Christian University Press 1981.
  7. Katz, "The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato", pp. 81-83.
  8. Katz, "The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato",pp. 95-98
  9. Womack, John Jr. Zapata and the Mexican Revolution. New York: Vintage 1968.
  10. Katz, "The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato", pp.67-68
  11. Vanderwood, Paul J. Disorder and Progress: Bandits, Police, and Mexican Development. Revised edition. Wilmington DL: Scholarly Resources 1992.
  12. Coatsworth,  John H. "Obstacles to Economic Growth in Nineteenth-Century Mexico," American Historical Review vol. 83, No. 1 (Feb. 1978), pp. 80–100
  13. Priego, Natalia. Positivism, Science, and 'The Scientists' in Porfirian Mexico. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2016.
  14. Hale, Charles A. The Transformation of Liberalism in Late Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1989.
  15. Bunker and Beezley, “Porfiriato: Interpretations”, p. 1170.
  16. Bunker and Beezely, "Porfiriato: Interpretations", p. 1170.
  17. Knight, Alan, The Mexican Revolution, vol. 2. Cambridge University Press 1986.
  18. Coatsworth, John H. Growth Against Development: The Economic Impact of Railroads in Porfirian Mexico. DeKalb: University of Northern Illinois Press 1981.
  19. Coatsworth, John H. "Obstacles to Economic Growth in Nineteenth-Century Mexico," American Historical Review vol. 83, No. 1 (Feb. 1978), pp. 80–100
  20. Navarrete G., David. “Mining: 1821-1910” in Encyclopedia of Mexico. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn 1997, p. 919.
  21. Rankine, Margaret. “The Mexican Mining Industry with Special Reference to Guanajuato.” Bulletin of Latin American Research 11:1(1992).
  22. Chowning, Margaret. "Culture Wars in the Trenches? Public Schools and Catholic Education in Mexico, 1867-1897". Hispanic American Historical Review 97:4 (Nov. 2017), pp. 613-650.
  23. Vaughan, Mary Kay. "Nationalizing the Countryside: Schools and Communities in the 1930s" in The Eagle and the Virgin: Nation and Cultural Revolution in Mexico, 1920-1940, Vaughan, Mary Kay and Stephen E. Lewis, eds. Durham: Duke University Press 2006, p. 158
  24. Agostoni, Claudia. Monuments of Progress: Modernization and Public Health in Mexico City, 1876-1910. Calgary: University of Calgary Press; Boulder: University of Colorado Press; Mexico City: Instituto de Investigaciones Históricos 2003.
  25. Pilcher, Jeffrey M. The Sausage Rebellion: Public Health, Private Enterprise, and Meat in Mexico City, 1890-1917. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2006.
  26. Schell, Patience A. "Nationalizing children through schools and hypgiene: Porfirian and Revolutionary Mexico City". The Americas 60:4, April 2004, pp. 559-587.
  27. Katz, "The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato," p. 71.
  28. Bunker, Steven B. Creating Mexican Consumer Culture in the Age of Porfirio Díaz. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2012
  29. ["Casa de Azulejos" https://web.archive.org/web/20090822035832/http://www.sanborns.com.mx/sanborns/azulejos.asp#] accessed 10 May 2019
  30. Beezley, William H. Judas at the Jockey Club and other Episodes of Porfirian Mexico. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1987
  31. Beezley, Judas at the Jockey Club, pp. 41-52.
  32. Baldwin, Deborah J. Protestants and the Mexican Revolution: Missionaries, Ministers, and Social Change. Urbana: University of Illinois Press 1990.
  33. Katz,"The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato", pp. 86-87
  34. Katz, "The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato", pp. 86-87
  35. Bueno, Christina The Pursuit of Ruins: Archeology, History, and the Making of Modern Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2016.
  36. Díaz Flores Alatorre, Manuel. Recuerdo del Primer Centenario de la Independencia Nacional: Efemérides de las fiestas, recepciones, actos políticos, inauguraciones de monumentos, y de edificios, etc.. Mexico City: Rondero y Treppiedi 1910. The material below unless otherwise indicated is taken from this unpaginated work.

Further reading


  • Agostoni, Claudia. Monuments of Progress: Modernization and Public Health in Mexico City, 1876-1910. Calgary: University of Calgary Press/University Press of Colorado 2003. ISBN   0-87081-734-5
  • Beezley, William H. Judas at the Jockey Club and Other Episodes of Porfirian Mexico. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1987.
  • Beezley, William H. "The Porfirian Smart Set Anticipates Thornstein Veblen in Guadalajara" in Wm.Beezley et al., Rituals of Rule, Rituals of Resistance. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources 1994.
  • Buffington, Robert and William E. French. "The Culture of Modernity" in The Oxford History of Mexico, Michael C. Meyer and Wm. Beezley, eds. 397-432. New York: Oxford University Presss 2000.
  • Bunker, Steven B. Creating Mexican Consumer Culture in the Age of Porfirio Díaz. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2012. ISBN   978-0-8263-4454-0
  • Chowning, Margaret. "Culture Wars in the Trenches? Public Schools and Catholic Education in Mexico, 1867-1897". Hispanic American Historical Review 97:4 (Nov. 2017), pp. 613-650.
  • Coatsworth, John H. Growth Against Development: The Economic Impact of Railroads in Porfirian Mexico. DeKalb: University of Northern Illinois Press 1981.
  • Coatsworth, John H. "Obstacles to Economic Growth in Nineteenth-Century Mexico," American Historical Review vol. 83, No. 1 (Feb. 1978), pp. 80–100
  • Coever, Don M. The Porfirian Interregnum: The Presidency of Manuel González of Mexico, 1880-1884. Forth Worth: Texas Christian University Press 1981.
  • Díaz, Maria Elena. "The Satiric Penny Press for Workers in Mexico, 1900-1910: A Case study in the Politicisation of Popular Culture." Journal of Latin American Studies 22, no. 3, (Oct. 1990): 497-526.
  • Frank, Patrick. Posada's Broadsheets: Mexican Popular Imagery 1890-1910. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 1998.
  • French, William. "Prostitutes and Guardian Angels: Women, Work, and the Family in Porfirian Mexico". Hispanic American Historical Review 72, no. 4 (November 1992):529-52.
  • Garner, Paul. British Lions and Mexican Eagles: Business, Politics, and Empire in the Career of Weetman Pearson in Mexico, 1889-1919. Stanford: Stanford University Press 2011.
  • Garner, Paul. Porfirio Diaz. Harlow: Pearson Education 2001.
  • Garza, James A. The Imagined Underworld: Sex, Crime, and Vice in Porfirian Mexico City. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 2007.
  • Garza, James A. "Dominance and Submission in Don Porfirio's Belle Epoque: The Case of Luis and Piedad" in Masculinity and Sexuality in Modern Mexico, Victor M. Macias-Gonzalez and Anne Rubenstein, 79-100. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2012.
  • Haber, Stephen H. Industry and Underdevelopment: The Industrialization of Mexico, 1890-1940. Stanford: Stanford University Press 1989.
  • Hale, Charles A. The Transformation of Liberalism in Late Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1989.
  • Hibino, Barbara."Cervecería Cuauhtémoc: A Case Study of Technological and Industrial Development in Mexico." Mexican Studies 8.no. 1 (Winter 1992):23-43.
  • Irwin, Robert McKee, Edward J. McCaughan, and Michelle Rocío Nasser, eds. The Famous 41: Sexuality and Social Control in Mexico, 1901. New York: Palgrave MacMillan 2003.
  • Johns, Michael. The City of Mexico and the Age of Porfirio Diaz. Austin: University of Texas Press 1997.
  • Katz, Friedrich, "The Liberal Republic and the Porfiriato, 1867-1910" in Mexico Since Independence, Leslie Bethell, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press 1991, pp.49-124.
  • Kuhn, Gary. "Fiestas and Fiascoes -- Balloon Flights in Nineteenth-Century Mexico". Journal of Sports History 13, no. 2 (Summer 1986):111-18.
  • Lear, John. "Mexico City: Space and Class in the Porfirian Capital, 1884-1910." Journal of Urban History 22, no. 4. (May 1996) 454-92.
  • Macias-González, Victor M. "The Lagartijo at The High Life: Masculine Consumption and Homosexuality in Porfirian Mexico." In Irwin et al. eds. Famous 41, 227-50.
  • McCrossen, Alexis, ed. Land of Necessity: Consumer Culture in the United States-Mexico Borderlands. Durham: Duke University Press 2009.
  • Morgan, Tony. "Proletarians, Politicos, and Patriarchs: The Use and Abuse of Cultural Customs in the Early Industrialization of Mexico City, 1880-1910". In Beezley, et al. Rituals of Rule, 151-71.
  • Orlove, Benjamin, ed. The Allure of the Foreign: Imported Goods in Postcolonial Latin America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 1997.
  • Pilcher, Jeffrey M. "Fajitas and the Failure of Refrigerated Meatpacking in Mexico: Consumer Culture and Porfirian Capitalism." The Americas 60, no. 3 (Jan. 2004):411-29.
  • Pilcher, Jeffrey M. The Sausage Rebellion: Public Health, Private Enterprise, and Meat in Mexico City, 1890-1917. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2006. ISBN   978-0-8263-3796-2
  • Priego, Natalia. Positivism, Science, and 'The Scientists' in Porfirian Mexico. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press 2016.


  • Bazant, Jan: Breve historia de México México: Eds Coyoacán (2003) ISBN   970-633-057-7.
  • Bazant, Mílada. Historia de la educación durante el Porfiato. Mexico City: El Colegio de México 1993.
  • Cosío Villegas, Daniel. Estados Unidos contra Julio Hernández Jalili Arriba el cultural México: Hermes (1956).
  • Cosío Villegas, Daniel. Historia Moderna de México. El Porfiriato vida social México: Hermes (1972).
  • Cosío Villegas, Daniel. Historia Moderna de México. El Porfiriato Vida política interior 2.ª Parte México: Hermes (1972).
  • Esquivel, G.:. Historia de México. Oxford: Harla. (1996)
  • Gilly, Adolfo: La revolución interrumpida México: El caballito (1971) ISBN   9686011021.
  • González Gómez, Francisco: Historia de México 2 del Porfirismo al Neoliberalismo México: Quinto sol (1990) ISBN   968-6136-95-9.
  • Guerra, François-Xavier. México: del antiguo régimen a la revolución. Tomo I. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica (1991). ISBN   968-16-2971-X (obra completa).
  • Krauze, Enrique:Porfirio Díaz Biografía del Poder México:Ed Clio (1991) ISBN   968-16-2286-3.
  • Krauze, Enrique; Zerón Medina, Fausto: Porfirio La Ambición México:Ed Clio (1993) ISBN   968-6932-15-1.
  • Krauze, Enrique; Zerón-Medina, Fausto: Porfirio El Poder México:Ed Clio (1993) ISBN   968-6932-16-X.
  • Moreno, S.: Historia de México. México:Ediciones Pedagógicas. (1995)
  • Monod, Émile: L'Exposition Universelle de 1889 París: E. Dentu (1890).
  • Ortiz Gaitán, Julieta. Imágenes del deseo: Arte y publicidad en la prensa ilustrada mexicana, 1894-1900. Hamden CT: Archon Books 1997.
  • Pérez-Rayón Elizundia, Nora. "La publicidad en México a fines del siglo XIX: Expresión del progreso económico y la modernidad porfirista, trasmisor de nuevos valores y modelos culturales." Sociológica 9, no. 1 (Sept-Dec 1994): 195-226.
  • Roeder, Ralph: Hacia el México moderno: Porfirio Díaz México:Fondo de Cultura Económica (1973) ISBN   968-16-0764-3 (obra completa).
  • Torre Villar, Ernesto de la: Historia de México II México: McGRAW-HILL (1992) ISBN   968-451-971-0.
  • Valadés, José C: El porfirismo: historia de un régimen México: UNAM (1999).
  • Valadés, José C: Breve historia del porfirismo 1876-1911 México: Eds mexicanos unidos (1971).
  • Zavala, Silvio: Apuntes de historia nacional 1808-1974 México:Fondo de Cultura Económica (1995) ISBN   968-16-3442-X).