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Mexico facts & history in brief

Tlatelolco today is the Plaza of the Three Cultures.
(It should be four according to our tour guide and some of the material I studied for this article.
Scholars are still uncertain and the Jury is still out.
I have trouble reconciling the conflicting stories, dates and spelling.
I will recount as best I can.)

Tlatelolco has a number of claim to fame and history, I will return to these later.

The Plaza of the Three Cultures contains the excavated ruins of the great pyramid, second largest in the city, and one of the oldest colonial churches, dedicated to Santiago (Saint James), patron saint of the conquistadors, and it is surrounded by modern office buildings and government-built housing projects.
Under the excavated ruins, according to scholars, archaeologist and our tour guide is another set of ruins.

The best I can find out the Toltecs, came before the Mayans, who seemed to be the forerunners of the Aztecs.
The Toltecs built cities as large as any in Europe at that time.
They built Teotihuacan (Sun and Moon Pyramids NE of Mexico City) and Tenochtitlan, which is today's Mexico City.
The Toltecs ruled the Mexico Valley some time between first and eight centuries A.D.
The Aztec civilisation who ruled a mighty empire in Mexico during the 1300's and early 1500's centred on the Valley of Mexico, a huge, oval basin about 2,300 metres above sea level.
Its high altitude gave it a mild climate.
Their religion demanded human sacrifices.
The city of Tenochtitlan the capital of the Aztec empire was built on some islands in the middle of a large lake, (Texcoco) canals and aqueducts criss-crossed the city and the islands were connected with causeways and linking each other and the mainland.
In 1519, the Spanish conquistador, Hernando Cortés landed on the east coast of Mexico and marched inland to Tenochtitlan (Today's Mexico City).
He and his troops were joined by many Indians who had been conquered by the Aztec and resented their heavy taxes.
Montezuma II did not oppose the advancing Spaniards, possibly because he thought Cortés represented the god Quetzalcoatl.
According to Aztec legend Quetzalcoatl had sailed across the sea and would return someday.
Cortés entered Tenochtitlan and made Montezuma a prisoner.
In 1520, the Aztec rebelled and drove the Spaniards from the city.
Montezuma died from wounds received in the fighting.
Cortés reorganised his army and began a bloody attack on Tenochtitlan and Cuauhtémoc, the new Aztec leader in early 1521.
The siege lasted seven months.
Tenochtitlan was cut off from external food supplies, the aqueduct supplying the city with water was destroyed.
The Spaniards destroyed the city, because the only way to hold any part of the city for Cortés was to raze it.
The Aztecs, hungry, thirsty and stricken with smallpox, made their last stand at the former great market place of Tlatelolco.
Cuauhtémoc was captured, ending the Aztec resistance and empire.
The Spaniards destroyed most of the previous civilisation's pyramids, temples and houses and built their own churches and buildings from the stones.
There are inscribed stone monuments at the Plaza.
One describes the pre-Columbian history of Tlatelolco, which was an independent Aztec city until it was absorbed by Tenochtitlan in the 15th century.
The second tells of Cuauhtémoc's defeat.
The third, erected in 1993, concerns the events of Oct. 2, 1968.

Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
in Latin America and the Caribbean
(The Treaty of Tlatelolco)

The 'Treaty of Tlatalolco' was signed at Mexico, Federal District, on 14 February 1967 and came into force on 22 April 1968.

In the name of their peoples and faithfully interpreting their desires and aspirations, the Governments of the States which sign the treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (excerpts only)

The Tlatelolco Massacre

Mexico's tragedy unfolded on the night of October 2, 1968, when a student demonstration ended in a storm of bullets in La Plaza de las tres Culturas at Tlatelolco, Mexico City.
The extent of the violence stunned the country.
When the shooting stopped, hundreds of people lay dead or wounded, as Army and police forces seized surviving protesters and dragged them away.
Although months of nation-wide student strikes had prompted an increasingly hard-line response from the Diaz Ordaz regime, no one was prepared for the bloodbath that Tlatelolco became.
More shocking still was the cover-up that kicked in as soon as the smoke cleared.
Eyewitnesses to the killings pointed to the President's "security" forces, who entered the plaza bristling with weapons, backed by armoured vehicles.
But the government pointed back, claiming that extremists and Communist agitators had initiated the violence.
Who was responsible for Tlatelolco?
The Mexican people have been demanding an answer ever since.
By Kate Doyle,
Director, Mexico Documentation Project.
Many of the students and wounded found refuge in the church.

Hui Chin and I was very pleased that we have visited Mexico, especially Mexico City.
There was a lot of work was going on road and services around town and around our hotel.
Mexico city wasn't the first one, where we have seen this either.
Much the same as usual, we went for a city sightseeing tour.
During our sightseeing tour we were taken to the 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' Basilicas.
Next day we returned for another day to participate in a couple of masses, that we walked in during our explorations.
There are two main Basilicas and many churches and chapels in the complex. You really need most of a day to see everything around here.
We also went to see the Pyramids at Teotihuacan. (The Pyramids of San Juan de Teotihuacán).
The place is about 30-35 kilometres from Mexico City and the drive there was very interesting and entertaining.
We stopped at an 'artisans collective souvenir shop', with interesting demonstrations, stories and souvenirs>
A large number of developments going on outside the city to house the expanding population.
We were told an interesting story about the hills along the our road.
Large numbers of rural people come to Mexico City all the time attracted by jobs and the fast pace of city life.
These poor people build themselves a shack on the side of the hills, which are government property, adding to it as time goes by.
Once they spent five years on the property, it becomes theirs, by Mexican law.
Another exciting day, although an incident at our lunch break did spoiled it for us some.
The lunch break was part of the tour, but we had to pay for it individually.
Hui Chin and I were running low on cash and we did ask the restaurateur before we sat down,if they accept Visa, because Visa isn't very popular, by our experience in Latin America.
Yes, he told us.
When it came to pay, of course, they did not accept Visas or any other credit cards from anybody, we had to borrow the price of our meals, from another couple from our hotel.
Very embarrassing.
I did complain too.
Quiet strongly too.
Wasn't really a fair play.
It wasn't cricket, Mate, If you happen to read this.
We happened to forget the name of the Restaurant.
I would like to name them, to warn others.
I would appreciate if someone could let me know.
(Their excuse was, that business was very slow, and they can't afford the commissions on the credit cards).
Returning to our Mexican experiences, did anybody noticed the Mexicans liking for green.
Thousands of green Volkswagen Beetle Taxis running around the city.
Buses, some bridges are the same green colour.
We spent a couple of days exploring the city on foot.
There was a free, very noisy and colourful concert going on the Plaza front of the Cathedral, one day when we visited.
We returned the next day for another look.
We are looking forward to visit Mexico again soon.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

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Tlaletico Tlaletico Tlaletico

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