Mexico’s history falls into four epochs: the era of the Indian empires (before 1521), the Spanish colonial phase (1521–1810), the period of national formation (1810–1910), which includes the war of independence (1810–21) and the long dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz (1876–80, 1884–1911), and the present period which began with the social revolution of 1910–21. Mexico was conquered for Spain by Cortés in 1521 and became part of the viceroyalty of New Spain. A substantial part of Mexico’s territory (including the present state of California) was lost to the USA by the Mexican War of 1846–48. In the 1860s France, Britain and the USA declared war on Mexico; France invaded the country and declared Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, to be Emperor. When the French withdrew in 1867 Maximilian was executed. The constitution of 1917 established a representative, democratic and federal republic, comprising 31 states and a federal district. The PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) remained in power for 71 years until it was defeated by the conservative National Action party in the elections of July 2000.
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