Mexico City has its roots buried in ancient tradition – the history of the city is put together from myths and heroic epics alike. From the founding of the legendary island city of Tenochtitlan in 1325 and the reign of powerful leaders like Montezuma, to the savage plundering of the Aztec empire by the Spanish colonialists in 1521, the civil uprising in 1810, and the establishment of Mexico City as the capital of the Mexican Republic in 1823, and finally the subsequent invasion by the American army in 1847, the history of Mexico City has been fantastically dramatic. It was the resistance to the American invasion that gave rise to heroes such as Zorro – imaginary, probably, but inspired from revered real-life personalities
Mexico was invaded by the French in 1864, and Ferdinand Maximilian was appointed ruler. He constructed a few prominent landmarks like the Avenue of the Empress (current day Paseo de la Reforma promenade). Porfirio Díaz succeeded Maximilian in 1876 and contributed greatly to the city’s architecture, adding European decorum and style to the existing cityscape, with buildings like the Palacio Postal and the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Diaz’s administration was toppled over in 1910 with the onset of the Mexican Revolution – nationalistic feelings were now awakening in the locals and colonialism was drawing to an end. The assumption of power by the locals brought about a drastic change in the city’s municipality as well as the architecture. No longer was there a focus on awe-inspiring, fear-inducing monumental buildings. The city began to expand rapidly as immigrants began streaming in from all over the country.
The growth rate soon stabilized and the administrative departments gradually started focusing on planning and management rather than catering to the uncontrolled urban sprawl. Mexico City began emerging as an ideal, middle-income, developing city. Its image allowed it to host the 1968 Olympic Games, with the construction of the grand Azteca Stadium.1985 saw a terrible earthquake destroy a large part of the city’s cultural heritage.