Territorial evolution of Mexico

Last updated

Mexico has experienced many changes in territorial organization during its history as an independent state. The territorial boundaries of Mexico were affected by presidential and imperial decrees. One such decree was the Law of Bases for the Convocation of the Constituent Congress to the Constitutive Act of the Mexican Federation, which determined the national land area as the result of integration of the jurisdictions that corresponded to New Spain, the Captaincy General of Yucatán, the Captaincy General of Guatemala and the autonomous Kingdoms of East and West. The decree resulted in the independence from Spain.

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

New Spain viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire (1535-1821)

The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much later, as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was officially created on 8 March 1535 as a viceroyalty, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the viceroyalty was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan.

Captaincy General of Yucatán Spanish 1617-1821 possession in Central America

The Captaincy General of Yucatán was an administrative district of colonial Spain, created in 1617 to provide more autonomy for the Yucatán Peninsula, previously ruled directly by a simple governor under the jurisdiction of Audiencia of Mexico. Its creation was part of the, ultimately futile, Habsburg attempt in the late 16th century to prevent incursion into the Caribbean by foreign powers, which also involved the establishment of Captaincies General in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and neighboring Guatemala. With the addition of the title of captain general to the governor of Yucatán, the province gained greater autonomy in administration and military matters. Unlike in most areas of Spanish America, no formal corregidores were used in Yucatán, and instead the governor-captain general relied on other subordinate officials to handle the oversight of local districts. The Captaincy General remained part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, with the viceroy retaining the right to oversee the province's governance, when it was deemed necessary, and the Audiencia of Mexico taking judicial cases in appeal. The province and captaincy general covered the territory that today are the States of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Yucatán, and nominally the northern areas of Petén and Belize.



Subdivision by intendancies

Agustin de Iturbide , first Emperor of Mexico. Emperor Agustin I kroningsportret.JPG
Agustín de Iturbide , first Emperor of Mexico.

During the period of the Independence of Mexico, part of the territorial organization of New Spain was integrated into the new nation of the Mexican Empire. Added to this were the Captaincy General of Yucatán and the Captaincy General of Guatemala (whose annexation was a strategy to counteract the Spanish crown). This yielded Mexico's largest land area as an independent nation.

First Mexican Empire independent Mexico under a monarchical regime from 1821 to 1823

The Mexican Empire was a short lived monarchy, and the first independent post-colonial imperial state in Mexico. It was the only former colony of the Spanish Empire to establish a monarchy after independence. Together with the Brazilian Empire, it was one of two European-style empires in the Americas. The Mexican Empire lasted two years.

Captaincy General of Guatemala Spanish 1609-1821 possession in Central America; administrative division of the Spanish Empire, under the viceroyalty of New Spain

The Captaincy General of Guatemala, also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala, was an administrative division of the Spanish Empire, under the viceroyalty of New Spain in Central America, including the present-day nations of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Guatemala, and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The governor-captain general was also president of the Royal Audiencia of Guatemala, the superior court.

Guadalupe Victoria , First President of Mexico. Guadalupe Victoria - 02.jpg
Guadalupe Victoria , First President of México.

Subdivision by state and territory

During the structuring of the Republic, territorial and legal changes reaffirmed the Catholic Church's status as the only religion for Mexicans. The new nation developed a popular and representative federal republic that recognized the sovereignty of the States constituting the federal union.

A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a monarch.

Subdivision by department

The liberal government of Antonio López de Santa Anna, influenced by conservatives, ratified the Seven Laws by presidential decree, establishing a new territorial court and replacing the federal states by departments whose governors and legislators would be selected by the President. This break from federalism brought Mexico its most turbulent and unstable era.

Antonio López de Santa Anna Mexican politician and military

Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón, often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, was a Mexican politician and general who fought to defend royalist New Spain and then for Mexican independence. He greatly influenced early Mexican politics and government, and was an adept soldier and cunning politician, who dominated Mexican history in the first half of the nineteenth century to such an extent that historians often refer to it as the "Age of Santa Anna". He was called "the Man of Destiny", who "loomed over his time like a melodramatic colossus, the uncrowned monarch." Santa Anna first opposed the movement for Mexican independence from Spain, but then fought in support of it. Though not the first caudillo of modern Mexico, he "represents the stereotypical caudillo in Mexican history," and among the earliest. Conservative historian, intellectual, and politician Lucas Alamán wrote that "The history of Mexico since 1822 might accurately be called the history of Santa Anna's revolutions.... His name plays the major role in all the political events of the country and its destiny has become intertwined with his."

<i>Siete Leyes</i>

Las Siete Leyes (Spanish: [las ˈsjete ˈleʝes], or Seven Laws were a series of constitutional changes that fundamentally altered the organizational structure of Mexico, ending the first federal period and creating a unitary republic, the Central Republic. Formalized under President Antonio López de Santa Anna on 15 December 1835, they were enacted in 1836. They were intended to centralize and strengthen the national government. The aim of the previous constitution was to create a political system that would emulate the success of the United States, but after a decade of political turmoil, economic stagnation, and threats and actual foreign invasion, conservatives concluded that a better path for Mexico was centralized power. The Siete Leyes were revised in 1843, making them more workable, but also placing power entirely in the hands of Santa Anna. In 1846, the 1824 Constitution was restored and the second federal period began.

  1. The 15 articles of the first law granted citizenship to those who could read Spanish and had an annual income of 100 pesos, except for domestic workers, who did not have the right to vote.
  2. The second law allowed the President to close Congress and suppress the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. Military officers were not allowed to assume this office.
  3. The 58 articles of the third law established a bicameral Congress of Deputies and Senators, elected by governmental organs. Deputies had four-year terms; Senators were elected for six years.
  4. The 34 articles of the fourth law specified that the Supreme Court, the Senate of Mexico, and the Meeting of Ministers each nominate three candidates, and the lower house of the legislature would select from those nine candidates the President and Vice-president,
  5. The fifth law had an 11-member Supreme Court elected in the same manner as the President and Vice-President.
  6. The 31 articles of the sixth Law replaced the federal republic's nominally-sovereign "states" with centralized "departments", fashioned after the French model, whose governors and legislators were designated by the President.
  7. The seventh law prohibited reverting to the pre-reform laws for six years.
Maximilian I , Last Emperor of Mexico. X-Large Portrait of Maximiliano.jpg
Maximilian I , Last Emperor of Mexico.

During the Second Mexican Empire, Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico made a new division of national territory.

Second Mexican Empire 1864-1867 monarchy in Central America

The Mexican Empire or Second Mexican Empire was the name of Mexico under a limited hereditary monarchy declared by the Assembly of Notables on July 10, 1863, during the Second French intervention in Mexico. It was created with the support of Napoleon III of France, who attempted to establish a monarchist ally in the Americas. A referendum confirmed Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, as Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico.

Maximilian I of Mexico emperor of Mexico

Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. He was a younger brother of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy as its commander, he accepted an offer by Napoleon III of France to rule Mexico, conditional on a national plebiscite in his favour. France invaded the Mexican Republic in the winter of 1861, as part of the War of the French Intervention. Seeking to legitimize French rule in the Americas, Napoleon III invited Maximilian to establish a new pro-French Mexican monarchy. With the support of the French army and a group of conservative Mexican monarchists hostile to the liberal administration of the new Mexican president, Benito Juárez, Maximilian traveled to Mexico and declared himself Emperor of Mexico on 10 April 1864.

Territorial divisions throughout Mexican history were generally linked to political change and programs aimed at improving the administrative, country's economic and social development. On 3 March 1865, one of the most important decrees of the government of Maximilian, the first division of the territory of the new Empire, was issued and published in the Journal of the Empire on 13 March. The reorganization was accomplished by Manuel Orozco y Berra (1816–1881), and was made according to the following rules:

This division was of great importance, because geographical features and projected development were taken into account for the delimitation of the jurisdictions. [1]

The territorial division of the Second Mexican Empire was used for a short period because the Empire was overthrown in early 1867 with the execution of Maximilian I. The Federal Republic, and its former divisions, were restored in that year.


Several of the former borders of the states and territories in northern Mexico remain unclear. The northern border of Sonora, for example, is described in various ways, either as the Gila River or the Colorado River. The list of acts is not affected by this confusion, but the associated maps contain the following uncertainties and omissions:

Some of the borders of states in the north, and in northeast Texas, before independence and the Mexican Cession

Territorial evolution of Mexico


From Independence to the Constitution of 1824
Mexico 1821.PNG
September 27, 1821
The territorial organization of the First Mexican Empire was the largest extension of Mexico as an independent country: 4,925,283 km2.[ citation needed ]

The 24 intendencies of the Empire were:

Mapa Mexico 1823.PNG
May 21, 1823
Territorial organization under the interim government of Mexico after the establishment of the Republic on May 21, 1823, and before the decree of the Constitutive Act of the Mexican Federation on January 31, 1824 - the period between the end of the First Mexican Empire and the creation of the Federal Republic of the United Mexican States.

After the end of the empire, the Central American provinces decided not to be part of Mexico. Chiapas (part of Guatemala) was not yet part of Mexico, while the region of Soconusco proclaimed its independence of Mexico on 24 July 1824, and was formally annexed by the Federal Republic of Central America on August 18, 1824.


From the Constitution of 1824 to the Constitution of 1857
Mexico 1824.PNG
October 4, 1824
The Constitution of 1824 officially established the United Mexican States.

The constitution organized the country in 19 states and four territories. The order of the states is determined by the date of accession to the federation, listed in the order in which the constitutional congress of the state was instated. The 19 founding states were: [2]

OrderNameDate of Admission to FederationInstallation date of the Congress
San Luis Potosí
Sonora y Sinaloa
Nuevo León
Coahuila y Texas

The four federal territories were:

Alta California
Baja California Territory
Colima Territory
Nuevo México Territory
Mapa de Mexico 1824 2.PNG
November 18, 1824
The Federal District was established around the City of Mexico, separating it from the State of Mexico. The Federal District was originally a perfect circle with an area of 220 square kilometres (85 sq mi), centered on the Zócalo (Constitution Square). In 1854, Antonio López de Santa Anna enlarged the Federal District's area to 1,700 square kilometres (660 sq mi), before it was reduced to the current 1,479 square kilometres (571 sq mi) between 1898 and 1902, during the rule of Porfirio Díaz. This map shows only the current area of the Federal District.
Mapa de Mexico 1824 3.PNG
November 24, 1824
The Tlaxcala Territory was created out of part of the state of Puebla.
Mapa Mexico 1830.PNG
October 14, 1830
Sonora and Sinaloa became separate states.

Created as a state:

OrderNameDate of Admission
14-10-1830 [3]
Mapa de Mexico 1835 1.PNG
May 23, 1835 [4]
The Aguascalientes Territory was created out of part of the state of Zacatecas.
Mapa Mexico 1836.PNG
April 21, 1836
The region of Texas of the state of Coahuila y Texas declared its independence. The rest of the state was named Coahuila. The Treaties of Velasco ended the Texas Revolution on May 14, 1836 with the creation of the independent Republic of Texas.
Mapa Mexico 1837.PNG
Texas published a map claiming the Rio Grande as its border with Mexico and not the Nueces River, the border since the Spanish colonial era. [5] The Mexican Congress rejected the Treaties of Velasco signed by Antonio López de Santa Anna, arguing that Santa Anna had no authority to grant independence to Texas.
Mapa Mexico 1840 1.PNG
January 17, 1840
The states of Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas declared their independence from Mexico as the Republic of the Rio Grande, which also took the eastern part of the state of Chihuahua. However, the border with Texas was never determined: the Republic claimed the Nueces River as its northern border, while Texas continued to claim the Rio Grande as its southern border.
Mapa de Mexico 1840 2.PNG
November 6, 1840
The Republic of the Rio Grande returned to Mexico after a brief and unsuccessful war for independence. Coahuila kept the part of Chihuahua taken by the Republic.
Mapa de Mexico 1841.PNG
October 1, 1841
On February 12, 1840, Yucatán sent a report to the central government demanding the restoration of federalism as a form of government to combat poverty in the country. The act demanded the re-establishment of the Mexican Constitution of 1824. On October 1, 1841, the local Chamber of Deputies enacted the Declaration of Independence of the Yucatán Peninsula, thus establishing the second Republic of Yucatán.
Mapa Mexico 1842.PNG
September 11, 1842
The region of Soconusco was annexed by Mexico as part of the state of Chiapas, following the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Central America.
Mapa Mexico 1845.PNG
December 29, 1845
The U.S. annexed the Republic of Texas and admitted it to the Union as the State of Texas. Mexico did not accept the annexation, while also continuing to claim the Nueces River as its border with Texas. The dispute ultimately provoked the Mexican–American War, which began on April 25, 1846.
Mapa Mexico 1848 1.PNG
February 2, 1848
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo officially ended the Mexican–American War, forcing large territorial concessions by Mexico. All claims over Texas were abandoned, while the Rio Grande was established as the permanent border between the countries, thus giving portions of the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Tamaulipas to the United States.

In addition, the U.S. received what is now known as the Mexican Cession, equivalent to the territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México. Including Texas, Mexico ceded an area of approximately 2,500,000 square kilometres (970,000 sq mi) – by its terms, around 55% of its former national territory. [6]

Mapa Mexico 1848 2.PNG
August 17, 1848
On August 22, 1846, interim president José Mariano Salas re-enacted the Constitution of 1824. Two years later, during the government of José Joaquín de Herrera, Yucatán reunited with Mexico.

A decisive factor for the reunion was the Caste War, which forced Yucatán to seek outside help.

Mapa Mexico 1853 1.PNG
December 30, 1853
On December 30, 1853, Antonio López de Santa Anna signed a treaty with James Gadsden, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, which involved the sale of an area of 76,845 square kilometres (29,670 sq mi) from the states of Sonora and Chihuahua to the United States for $10 million. This treaty became known as the Gadsden Purchase (and as Venta de la Mesilla in Mexico).

The treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on April 25, 1854 and signed by U.S. President Franklin Pierce. Final approval by the Mexican Congress took place on June 8, 1854.

Mapa de Mexico 1854.PNG
April 25, 1854
After the United States Senate approved the Gadsden Purchase on April 25, 1854, the sale became official.

Mexican people angered by the sale proclaimed the Plan of Ayutla, which finally ended the political career of Santa Anna.


From the Constitution of 1857 to the Constitution of 1917
Mapa de Mexico en 1857.PNG
February 5, 1857
The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857 approved the reorganization of the national territory. Nuevo León merged with Coahuila, adopting the name of the latter. Also confirmed were the creation of a new state and the admission of 3 of the 4 territories as free states of the federation.

Created as a state::

OrderNameDate of AdmissionInstallation date of the Congress
27-10-1849 [7] 30-01-1850

Admitted as states:

OrderNameDate of AdmissionInstallation date of the Congress
09-12-1856 [8] 01-06-1857
09-12-1856 [9] [10] 19-07-1857
05-02-1857 [11]
Mapa Mexico 1858.PNG
May 3, 1858
The Campeche District was separated from the state of Yucatán, creating the Campeche Territory.
Mapa Mexico 1863.PNG
April 29, 1863
Admitted as a state:
OrderNameDate of AdmissionInstallation date of the Congress
29-04-1863 [12]
Mapa de Mexico 1864.PNG
February 26, 1864
President Benito Juárez, at Saltillo, decreed the separation of Coahuila and Nuevo León as 2 free and sovereign states, as they were before 1857.
Mapa de Mexico 1865.PNG
March 3, 1865
On October 3, 1863, conservative Mexicans and the Catholic Church, [13] which were unhappy with the government of Benito Juárez and the constitution of 1857, offered the crown of Mexico to the Austrian archduke Maximilian von Habsburg. On March 3, 1865, he decreed the first division of the territory of the new Empire, which was published in the Journal of the Empire on March 13 of that year.
Mapa de Mexico 1864.PNG
July 15, 1867
Emperor Maximilian was executed.

On 15 July 1867, President Benito Juárez entered the city of Mexico, formally restoring the Federal Republic.

Mapa de Mexico 1869 1.PNG
January 16, 1869
By decree of President Benito Juárez and with unanimous approval of Congress with parts of the State of Mexico

Created as a state:

OrderNameDate of AdmissionInstallation date of the Congress
16-01-1869 [14] 16-05-1869
Mapa de Mexico 1869 2.PNG
April 17, 1869
By decree of President Benito Juárez and with unanimous approval of Congress with parts of the State of Mexico

Created as a state:

OrderNameDate of AdmissionInstallation date of the Congress
17-04-1869 [15]
Mapa de Mexico 1884.PNG
December 12, 1884
By decree of President Manuel González, the Tepic Territory was created, separating from the state of Jalisco.
Mapa de Mexico 1902.PNG
November 24, 1902
Britain and Mexico, in 1893, agreed on the Rio Hondo as the border between Mexico and British Honduras, which was finalized in 1897. By decree of President Porfirio Díaz, the Quintana Roo Territory was created, separating from the state of Yucatán.
Mapa de Mexico 1917.PNG
January 26, 1917
The Tepic Territory was admitted as the state of:
Order Name Date of Admission Installation date of the Congress
26-01-1917 [16]


From the Constitution of 1917 to present
Mapa de Mexico 1917.PNG
February 5, 1917
As a result of the Mexican Revolution, the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1917 was enacted. The constitution ratified many social demands dating to the beginning of the Revolution, and was the first constitution in history to include so-called social rights. The admission of the state of Nayarit to the federation was ratified.
Mapa de Mexico 1930.PNG
December 30, 1930 [17]
On December 30, 1930, Congress and local legislatures approved the amendments to the Constitution which created the North Territory of Baja California and the South Territory of Baja California, divided at the 28th parallel. They were published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on February 7, 1931.
Mapa de Mexico 1931 1.PNG
January 28, 1931
Victor Emmanuel III of Italy handed down his verdict in favor of France for the possession of Clipperton Island, also known as Isla de la Pasion, by which Mexico lost the sovereignty of that atoll.
Mapa Mexico 1931 2.PNG
December 14, 1931
President Pascual Ortiz Rubio declared the annexation of the Quintana Roo Territory to the states of Yucatán and Campeche, giving as an excuse that the territory, not being economically self-sufficient, was a huge outflow for the federation.
Mapa de Mexico 1931 1.PNG
January 11, 1935 [18]
President Lázaro Cárdenas issued a decree published in the Official Journal on January 16, 1935, by which the Federal Territory of Quintana Roo was reconstituted.
Mapa de Mexico 1952.PNG
January 16, 1952
President Miguel Alemán Valdés announced on September 1, 1951 that the North Territory of Baja California, due to its population and its economic ability to survive, satisfied the conditions required by the Constitution to be admitted as a free and sovereign state .

The North Territory of Baja California was admitted as the state of

OrderNameDate of Admission
Baja California
16-01-1952 [19]
Mapa Mexico 1974.PNG
October 8, 1974 [20]
President Luis Echeverría Álvarez sent to the Congress of Mexico a bill for the Quintana Roo Territory and South Territory of Baja California to be elevated to the category of states.

Following the approval of state legislatures, on October 8, 1974, the decree, giving Mexico its current configuration, was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation.

The South Territory of Baja California and the Quintana Roo Territory were admitted as the states of:

OrderNameDate of AdmissionInstallation date of the Congress
Quintana Roo
08-10-197425-11-1974 [21]
Baja California Sur
08-10-197425-03-1975 [22]
Mexico–United States International Boundary and Water Commission
International Boundary and Water Commission

The Banco Convention of 1905 resulted in many exchanges of bancos (land surrounded by bends in the river that became segregated from either country by a cutoff, often due to rapid accretion or avulsion of the alluvial channel) between the two nations, most often in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Under the treaty, the following transfers involving Texas occurred from 1910 – 1976: [23]

Year# BancosAcres to USAAcres to MexicoYear# BancosAcres to USAAcres to Mexico
19416224.5246.9Total24517,712 acres (71.68 km2)11,662 acres (47.19 km2)
1910 - November 24, 2009

In 1927 under the same 1905 Convention, the U.S. acquired two bancos from Mexico at the Colorado River border with Arizona. Farmers Banco, covering 583.4 acres (2.361 km2), a part of the Cocopah Indian Reservation at 32°37′27″N114°46′45″W / 32.62417°N 114.77917°W / 32.62417; -114.77917 , was ceded to the U.S. with controversy. [24] Fain Banco (259 acres (1.05 km2)) at 32°31′32″N114°47′28″W / 32.52556°N 114.79111°W / 32.52556; -114.79111 also became U.S. soil.

The Rio Grande Rectification Treaty of 1933 straightened and stabilized the 155 miles (249 km) of river boundary through the highly developed El Paso-Juárez Valley. Numerous parcels of land (174) were transferred between the two countries during the construction period, 1935 – 1938. At the end, each nation had ceded an equal area of land (2,560.5 acres (10.362 km2)) to the other.

The Chamizal Treaty of 1963, which ended a hundred-year dispute between the two countries near El Paso, Texas, transferred 630 acres (2.5 km2) from the U.S. to Mexico in 1967. In return, Mexico transferred 264 acres (1.07 km2) to the U.S.

The Boundary Treaty of 1970 transferred 823 acres (3.33 km2) of Mexican territory to the U.S., in areas near Presidio and Hidalgo, Texas, to build flood control channels. In exchange, the U.S. ceded 2,177 acres (8.81 km2) to Mexico, including five parcels near Presidio, the Horcon Tract containing the little town of Rio Rico, Texas, and Beaver Island near Roma, Texas. The last of these transfers occurred in 1977.

On November 24, 2009, the U.S. ceded 6 islands in the Rio Grande to Mexico, totaling 107.81 acres (0.4363 km2). At the same time, Mexico ceded 3 islands and 2 cuts to the U.S., totaling 63.53 acres (0.2571 km2). This transfer, which had been pending for 20 years, was the first application of Article III of the 1970 Boundary Treaty.

The Centralist Republic

The Seven Constitutional Laws

The Centralist Republic with the separatist movements generated by the dissolution of the Federal Republic.
Territory proclaimed its independency
Territory claimed by the Republic of Texas
Territory claimed by the Republic of the Rio Grande
Rebellions Political divisions of Mexico 1836-1845 (location map scheme).svg
The Centralist Republic with the separatist movements generated by the dissolution of the Federal Republic.
  Territory proclaimed its independency
  Territory claimed by the Republic of Texas
  Territory claimed by the Republic of the Rio Grande

By the law of October 3, 1835, the centralist system was introduced in the country. The entities that formed the Republic lost their freedom, independence and sovereignty, becoming entirely subordinate to the central government.

The Seven Constitutional Laws were enacted on December 30, 1836. The sixth discussed the territorial configuration in its first and second articles. Shortly thereafter, the Eighth Organic Base—a separate statute from the Seven Laws—was enacted. The first article stipulated that the country would be composed of many departments, corresponding to the previously existing states, except that:

  1. Coahuila and Texas were separated into two different departments
  2. Colima Territory would be integrated into the Michoacán Department
  3. Tlaxcala Territory would be integrated into the Mexico Department
  4. The Federal District was eliminated

Accordingly, the new territorial division was composed of 24 departments. That initial territorial composition was regarded as final until 30 June 1838, by law of that date.

This period created a great political instability that began in regional problems and conflicts between the central entity and the states of the country. Rebellions were raised in several places, among which the following were particularly distinguished:

Map of Mexico between 1836 and 1846, from the secession of Texas, Rio grande, and Yucatan to the Mexican-American War of 1846. Mapa Mexico (1836-1846) Republica Centralista.PNG
Map of Mexico between 1836 and 1846, from the secession of Texas, Rio grande, and Yucatán to the Mexican–American War of 1846.

On August 22, 1846, due to the war with the United States, the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1824 was restored. There remained the separation of Yucatán, but 2 years later Yucatán definitively rejoined Mexico.

The Basis for Administration of the Republic

Map of Mexico between 1853 and 1856 during the Basis for the Administration of the Republic until the promulgation of the Constitution of 1857. Mapa Mexico (1853 -1856).PNG
Map of Mexico between 1853 and 1856 during the Basis for the Administration of the Republic until the promulgation of the Constitution of 1857.

A change in the governance of the country was determined by the Decree of 22 April 1853, which from that moment recognized the Basis for the Administration of the Republic as the fundamental law for the reorganization of government.

In this precept, in the first and second articles, the Section of Internal Governance, the independence and sovereignty of states were abolished, although the name "states" was retained.

In the third article districts, cities, or towns that had been separated from the states and divisions to which they belonged were returned to their original conditions. This excluded Aguascalientes, which continued to be considered a district of Zacatecas.

In a statement by the Ministry of War, on September 21, 1853, it was decided that states would instead be called "departments".

Changes in the territorial division, according to the code above, were established according to several decrees:

  1. May 29, 1853, establishing the Tehuantepec Territory, its capital city at Minatitlan
  2. October 16, 1853, establishing the Isla del Carmen Territory
  3. December 1, 1853, establishing the Sierra Gorda Territory, its capital city at San Luis de la Paz
  4. December 1, 1853, adding Tuxpan District to the Veracruz Department
  5. December 10, 1853, redesignating Aguascalientes District as Aguascalientes Department
  6. February 16, 1854 creating, despite the centralist system, a kind of Federal District
  7. July 20, 1854, approving the Treaty of Mesilla, which amended the border with the United States of America through the loss of territory of Chihuahua and Sonora.

Plan of Ayutla

The Plan of Ayutla was a political statement proclaimed on March 1, 1854 in Ayutla, Guerrero, and was intended to end the presidency of Antonio López de Santa Anna.

The plan was revised in Acapulco on 11 March 1854, by changing its second article to respect in principle the territorial division and to create a representative from each department and territory.

The Provisional Organic Statute (known as Lafragua Code) was promulgated on May 15, 1856. It provided the legal basis for governing the country in the period between the Plan of Ayutla and Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857. That document left open a later choice for federalism or centralism, but encouraged federalism because it called the entities that formed the Republic States. Thus, in its 2nd article, it retained the previous territorial division, and determined the existence of 22 states, the District of the capital, and 6 territories.

The Constitution of 1857 was drafted during the presidency of Ignacio Comonfort, who was sworn in on February 5, 1857. The Constitution contained the essence of the 1824 document (i.e. the federal character of the state and the democratic system of representative and republican government), but established freedom of religion and ended the domain of the Catholic Church as the sole and official religion of the country. It set out, in Article 43, the parties making up the federation - 24 states, 1 federal territory, and the Federal District known as the Valley of Mexico (today Mexico City). The territories of Sierra Gorda, Tehuantepec and Isla del Carmen, and Nuevo León as an independent state, disappeared (Nuevo León was later restored).

Related Research Articles

Administrative divisions of Mexico human settlement

The United Mexican States is a federal republic composed of 31 states and the capital, Mexico City, an autonomous entity on par with the states.

Aguascalientes State of Mexico

Aguascalientes, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Aguascalientes, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 11 municipalities and its capital city is Aguascalientes.

1824 Constitution of Mexico

The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1824 was enacted on October 4 of 1824, after the overthrow of the Mexican Empire of Agustin de Iturbide. In the new constitution, the republic took the name of United Mexican States, and was defined as a representative federal republic, with Catholicism as the official and unique religion. It was replaced by the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States of 1857.

State police police of subnational territories in various countries

State police or provincial police are a type of sub-national territorial police force found in nations organized as federations, typically in North America, South Asia, and Oceania. These forces typically have jurisdiction over the relevant sub-national jurisdiction, and may cooperate in law enforcement activities with municipal or national police where either exist.

Republic of Yucatán former country

The Republic of Yucatán was a sovereign state during two periods of the nineteenth century. The first Republic of Yucatán, founded May 29, 1823, willingly joined the Mexican federation as the Federated Republic of Yucatán on December 23, 1823, less than seven months later. The second Republic of Yucatán began in 1841, with its declaration of independence from the Mexican Federation. It remained independent for seven years, after which it rejoined the United Mexican States. The area of the former republic includes the modern Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo. The Republic of Yucatán usually refers to the Second Republic (1841–1848).

The 16th annual Nuestra Belleza México pageant was held at the Centro de Convenciones Yucatán Siglo XXI of Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico on September 20, 2009. It was the second time there were back-to-back victories for a state in Nuestra Belleza México history: Ximena Navarrete from Jalisco was crowned by outgoing Nuestra Belleza México titleholder Karla Carrillo also from Jalisco. She was the third Jalisciense to win this title. Thirty-four contestants of the Mexican Republic competed for the national title. Navarrete competed in Miss Universe 2010 in the US and won the Universal Title.

State governments of Mexico

State governments of Mexico are those sovereign governments formed in each Mexican state.

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.

Constitution of Yucatán

The Political Constitution of the State of Yucatán is the constitution which legally governs the free and sovereign state of Yucatán, one of 31 states with the Federal District comprise the 32 federative entities of the United Mexican States. It was drafted by the Constituent Congress of State, chaired by Héctor Victoria Aguilar in 1918 and promulgated by General Salvador Alvarado, pre-constitutional governor of Yucatán. The most important reforms were made in 1938, although its text has been revised and partially renovated over the 20th century and continues to be reformed so far.

Second Federal Republic of Mexico

The Second Federal Republic of Mexico is the name given to the second attempt to achieve a federalist government in Mexico. Officially called the United Mexican States, a federal republic was implemented again on August 22, 1846 when interim president José Mariano Salas issued a decree restoring the 1824 constitution. Like the Mexican Empire, the First Federal Republic and the Centralist Republic it was a chaotic period, marked by political instability that resulted in several internal conflicts. Mexico's loss of the war with the United States saw half the territory Mexico claimed become part of the United States. Even though Antonio López de Santa Anna played a major role in much of this history, he returned to the presidency yet again, selling northern territory coveted by the United States contiguous to territory it just gained in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The sale of the Mesilla Valley was for many the final straw, and liberals promulgated of the Plan of Ayutla, calling for the overthrow of Santa Anna. Santa Anna went into exile and the liberals set about implementing their vision of Mexico.

The 19th annual Nuestra Belleza Mexico pageant was held at the Poliforum del Centro de Convenciones of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico on September 1, 2012. Thirty-five contestants of Mexico competed for the national title, which was won by Cynthia Duque from Nuevo León who later competed in Miss Universe 2013 in Russia. Duque was crowned by outgoing Nuestra Belleza México titleholder Karina González. She is the fourth Neoleonesa to win this title.

Centralist Republic of Mexico unitary political regime established in Mexico in 1835

The Centralist Republic of Mexico, or in the anglophone scholarship, the Central Republic, was officially the Mexican Republic. It was a unitary political regime established in Mexico on October 23, 1835, under a new constitution known as the Seven Laws after the repeal of the federalist Constitution of 1824. Mexican conservatives attributed the political chaos of the federal era to the empowerment of states over the federal government, participation of non-elite men in the political system through universal male suffrage, rebellions, and economic stagnation to the weakness of the federal government. Conservative elites saw the solution to the problem as abolishing the federal system and creating a centralized one, reminiscent of the colonial era. Federalism had given a range of powers to Mexican states, their legislatures and municipalities. It was favored by the states outside the center of Mexico. Those favoring a centralized state were the conservative urban elites. Mexican conservatives saw federalism as a failure and Mexico not prepared for such a system. They considered the ideal form of government as a centralized, administrative republic, with the states losing power to the central government. Conservatives with the support of the Mexican army created the Central Republic, which lasted eleven years, 1835–46. The unitary regime was formally established on December 30, 1836, with the enactment of the Siete Leyes. However, the Seven Laws proved unworkable and were abandoned four and a half years later, and replaced by a military dictatorship under Antonio López de Santa Anna. On August 22, 1846, acting President José Mariano Salas issued the decree that restored the Constitution of 1824 and, with this, the return to federalism.

The law of Mexico is based upon the Constitution of Mexico and follows the civil law tradition.

Tepakán Municipality Municipality in Yucatán, Mexico

Tepakán Municipality (In the Yucatec Maya Language: “place where pakán fruit is found” is one of the 106 municipalities in the Mexican state of Yucatán containing of land and located roughly 70 km east of the city of Mérida.

Xocchel Municipality Municipality in Yucatán, Mexico

Xocchel Municipality is one of the 106 municipalities in the Mexican state of Yucatán containing (53.65 km2) of land and located roughly 45 km southeast of the city of Mérida.

Each of the 31 states of Mexico and Mexico City has a separate coat of arms. Each Mexican state flag contains the respective state arms, typically on a white background.


  1. "Commons, Aurea, La división territorial del Segundo Imperio Mexicano, 1865" (in Spanish).
  2. "La diputación provincial y el federalismo mexicano" (in Spanish).
  3. "500 años de México en documentos" (in Spanish).
  4. "Enciclopedia de los Municipios de México" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2011-06-16.
  5. "Global Security.org".
  6. "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848)".
  7. "Portal Estado de Guerrero" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2007-10-17.
  8. "Portal Gobierno del Estado de Tlaxcala" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2009-12-27.
  9. "Portal Ciudadano de Baja California" (in Spanish).
  10. "El Comentario" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2010-08-10.
  11. "Gobierno del Estado de Yucatán" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2010-04-11.
  12. "SEP" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2011-10-26.
  13. Martin Quirarte. "Visión panorámica de la historia de México". Librería Porrúa Hnos y Cia, S. A. 27a. edición 1995. México, D. F. Pág. 170-171.
  14. "Mexico 2010" (in Spanish).
  15. "Congreso de Morelos" (in Spanish).
  16. "Portal del Gobierno del Estado de Tlaxcala" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2010-02-18.
  17. "Historia de Baja California" (in Spanish).
  18. "Oficialía Mayor del Estado de Quintana Roo" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.
  19. "Transformación Política de Territorio Norte de la Baja California a Estado 29" (in Spanish).
  20. "SEP" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2010-08-10.
  21. "Poder Legislativo del Estado de Quintana Roo" (PDF) (in Spanish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-12.
  22. "Constitución Baja California Sur, Articulo 12 transitorio" (in Spanish).
  23. Mueller, Jerry E. (1975). Restless River, International Law and the Behavior of the Rio Grande. Texas Western Press. p. 64. ISBN   9780874040500.
  24. Decisions of the Department of the Interior in cases relating to the public lands: 1927-1954. United States. Department of the Interior. Washington. For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 25, 337. Retrieved 2013-07-25.