In the late 18th century, there was an air of revolution in North America. In 1776, the 13 British colonies declared their independence and formed the country of the United States of America.88
45 years later, in 1821, the Spanish colony of New Spain also gained its independence and formed the nation of Mexico.
During its independence, Mexico was one of the largest countries in the world. But just 2 decades later, it lost almost 1/3rd of its land to the United States.
After the US gained its independence, it had a proper plan for its future. It worked towards developing their economy. It welcomed many immigrants and started to expand westwards.
But if you look at Mexico, the country after gaining its independence from Spain in 1821, was in chaos. The revolutionaries did not have a proper plan for the future. No plans or guidelines were established. There were internal divisions within the revolutionaries and separate factions fought with each other for control of the country.
It lacked the funds for controlling such a massive area. And the government was bankrupt after its decade-long was a war against Spain for independence. The new nation also had fears of an invasion by Spain which sought to reconquer its former colony from its base in Cuba.
But Mexico was able to keep its independence after defeating the Spanish at the battle of Tampico in 1829. The Mexican general, Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna became a National Hero upon this victory.
The Northern parts of the country were sparsely populated and the Mexican govt. encouraged people to settle in these lands. But the local Mexican people were just too hesitant to go to these lands. So, Mexico encouraged immigration from other countries. And people from the US flocked to these lands. Many US citizens came and settled in these lands especially in Texas. These US settlers in turn brought more people and most of them were illegal immigrants.
The Mexican govt. expected that these people would work on these lands so that it would help to develop the Mexican economy.
Tensions began to rise between the Mexican govt. & these US settlers. This rise in tensions eventually turned into a revolution. The US settlers defeated the Mexican army at the battle of San Jacinto in 1836. The US settlers established their own independent nation as the “Republic of Texas” in March 1836. Mexico despite being defeated refused to recognize the independence of Texas & still considered it as its rebellious state. Texas wanted to join the US but its offer of joining the US was rejected twice by the US govt. because the US did not want to include a new slave state.
In March 1845, after the election of James K Polk as the 11th President of the US, the US started to plan for the annexation of Texas. Texas was incorporated into the US in Dec 1845 as the 28th state.
In Nov 1845, Polk sent Senator John Slidell to Mexico. He offered the Mexican govt. Million in exchange for these lands. But it was refused by Mexico. So President Polk devised a plan in order to take the Northern part of Mexico by means of War.
When the Republic of Texas was formed in 1836, the Rio Grande river was decided as the border. But Mexico argued that the Nueces river 250 Miles north was the border. This region between the 2 rivers became a disputed territory. After the US annexed Texas in 1845, it also inherited the disputed territory.
President Polk moved his troops to the disputed territory in April 1846 in order to provoke the Mexicans. On April 25’ 1846, a small US patrolling force of around 80 was ambushed by a Mexican force of around 1600. 11 US soldiers were killed and the rest were captured. This incident marked the beginning of the Mexican-American War.
Mexico was beaten regularly. Even after several defeats, the Mexican govt refused to back down and negotiate. So now president James K Polk decided that the only way to bring the Mexican govt to the negotiating table is to invade the Mexican heartland itself. He sent General Winfield Scott via sea in order to invade Mexico. Scott and the US troops landed at the port city of Veracruz in March 1847. After the Mexicans were defeated at Veracruz, the US troops marched towards the capital of Mexico, “Mexico City”.
Mexico City was captured in Sep 1847 & the Mexican army surrendered bringing an end to the Mexican-American War. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on Feb 2nd’ 1848.
The Rio Grande River was recognized as the border between the US and Mexico. Mexico ceded all of its Northern lands to the US.
Mexico lost almost 500 thousand Sq.Miles of land which was almost 1/3rd of its original size during its independence in 1821. Socio Knowledge video.