About  |   Contact  |  Mongabay on Facebook  |  Mongabay on Twitter  |  Subscribe
Rainforests | Tropical fish | Environmental news | For kids | Madagascar | Photos

Mexico-The Porfiriato, 1876-1910





MONGABAY.COM
Mongabay.com seeks to raise interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife, while examining the impact of emerging trends in climate, technology, economics, and finance on conservation and development (more)







WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Email:


Mexico Index

The liberal republicans under Juárez's leadership consolidated the victory of the principles of the constitution of 1857. The Restoration, as the period from 1867 to 1876 is called, was marked by peace and tolerance toward the conservatives. Juárez returned to Mexico City on July 15, 1867, called for presidential elections, and presented himself as a candidate. By the end of the year, he was victorious.

The economy and the education system were vitally important to Juarez's new administration. Economic development was based on the improvement of communications, the exploitation of the country's natural resources, and the revamping of the mining sector through favorable tax guidelines. Seeking to reduce banditry and to attract investment capital, Juárez strengthened the rurales , the Rural Defense Force (Guardia Rural) responsible for the security of roads and land cargo, and placed it under the Ministry of Interior. The improvement of communications began with the completion in 1873 of the railroad that linked Mexico City with Veracruz, a Mexican venture that had been started in the 1850s. In the area of education, a complete reorganization was directed by a commission headed by the prominent physician and positivist intellectual, Gabino Barreda. He devised a school curriculum that concentrated on mathematics and the physical sciences. For the first time, education became mandatory. Despite new schools, the liberal aspiration for literacy and schools open to all remained an unfulfilled goal, as in most nineteenth-century rural societies.

At the end of his term in 1871, Juárez decided to seek reelection. His opponents were José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, whose candidacies divided the liberal faction and resulted in none of the candidates receiving a majority of the votes. With no clear winner, it was up to congress to choose among the three candidates or to reelect the incumbent president. The congress chose Juárez. Díaz invoked the principle of "no reelection" in the constitution of 1857 and staged a revolt in November 1871. On July 18, 1872, amidst the Díaz rebellion, Juárez died of a heart attack.

New elections were called in 1872, and Lerdo won the presidency. His administration was characterized by a continuous effort to bring peace to the country, and he intervened militarily in the countryside whenever it was necessary. Lerdo maintained the emphasis on communications through new railroad and telegraph lines. In education, he directed his energies to the construction of new schools and the enrollment of more students. When the time came for electing a new president, Lerdo showed interest in another four-year term. Díaz rose in rebellion a second time in March 1876, again defending the "no reelection" principle. Lerdo went into exile in the United States, and on November 21, 1876, Díaz occupied Mexico City. A political mastermind, surrounded by capable advisers, he held power directly or indirectly for the next thirty-four years. The period known as the "Porfiriato" (the period of Porfirio Díaz's rule) had begun.

The Porfiriato, 1876-1910

Propitious economic conditions did not greet Porfirio Díaz upon his rise to power in 1876. Mexico remained saddled with a huge foreign debt and an empty treasury. An army of bureaucrats was owed back wages, the country had a poor international credit rating, and persistent current account deficits caused serious balance of payments problems. Investment, whether foreign or domestic, was scarce, and the mining industry had yet to recover from the revolutionary wars. The relatively few mines in operation in 1876 were exploited haphazardly, and extraction and smelting techniques were archaic. Only a few miles of rail had been laid, transportation and communications were rudimentary, and dock facilities were dilapidated and unsafe. Endemic rural violence further hindered commerce.

During his first four years in office, Díaz began to tackle economic backwardness. He first decreed stiff measures against contraband moving across the United States border. Smugglers and bandits crossed the border from both sides, but Díaz would not permit United States troops to enter Mexico in search of them. Instead, he enlarged the Mexican border patrol. In 1877 Díaz agreed to honor US$4 million in claims by United States citizens against Mexico.

In 1880 at the end of his term and despite his followers' wishes, Díaz left office. The next president, Manuel González, continued Diaz's modernization program. Telegraph lines began to operate, and railroad construction was kept apace. In an attempt to meet his foreign debt obligations, González withheld the salaries of government officials, a move that led to a harsh campaign against the president.

During González's tenure, Díaz gathered a large following that restored him to office in 1884. Mexican positivism, embodied in the slogan "order and progress," was the backbone of the modernization scheme supported by the científicos , intellectual followers of Barreda. Led by José Ives Limantour, who served as adviser to Díaz, the científicos developed a plan for economic recovery that was to be carried out through the next twenty-seven years of the Porfiriato.

Data as of June 1996



BackgroundThe site of advanced Amerindian civilizations, Mexico came under Spanish rule for three centuries before achieving independence early in the 19th century. A devaluation of the peso in late 1994 threw Mexico into economic turmoil, triggering the worst recession in over half a century. The nation had been making an impressive recovery until the global financial crisis hit in late 2008. Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely Amerindian population in the impoverished southern states. The elections held in 2000 marked the first time since the 1910 Mexican Revolution that an opposition candidate - Vicente FOX of the National Action Party (PAN) - defeated the party in government, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He was succeeded in 2006 by another PAN candidate Felipe CALDERON. In January 2009, Mexico assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2009-10 term.
LocationMiddle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the United States and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the United States
Area(sq km)total: 1,964,375 sq km
land: 1,943,945 sq km
water: 20,430 sq km
Geographic coordinates23 00 N, 102 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 4,353 km
border countries: Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km

Coastline(km)9,330 km

Climatevaries from tropical to desert

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Laguna Salada -10 m
highest point: Volcan Pico de Orizaba 5,700 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber
Land use(%)arable land: 12.66%
permanent crops: 1.28%
other: 86.06% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)63,200 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)457.2 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 78.22 cu km/yr (17%/5%/77%)
per capita: 731 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazardstsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts
Environment - current issuesscarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural fresh water resources scarce and polluted in north, inaccessible and poor quality in center and extreme southeast; raw sewage and industrial effluents polluting rivers in urban areas; deforestation; widespread erosion; desertification; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border; land subsidence in Valley of Mexico caused by groundwater depletion
note: the government considers the lack of clean water and deforestation national security issues
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notestrategic location on southern border of US; corn (maize), one of the world's major grain crops, is thought to have originated in Mexico
Population111,211,789 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 29.1% (male 16,544,223/female 15,861,141)
15-64 years: 64.6% (male 34,734,571/female 37,129,793)
65 years and over: 6.2% (male 3,130,518/female 3,811,543) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 26.3 years
male: 25.3 years
female: 27.3 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)1.13% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)19.71 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)4.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)-3.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 77% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 18.42 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 16.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 76.06 years
male: 73.25 years
female: 79 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)2.34 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Mexican(s)
adjective: Mexican
Ethnic groups(%)mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3% (Pentecostal 1.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other 3.8%), other 0.3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1% (2000 census)
Languages(%)Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%, unspecified 0.8%; note - indigenous languages include various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional languages (2005)

Country nameconventional long form: United Mexican States
conventional short form: Mexico
local long form: Estados Unidos Mexicanos
local short form: Mexico
Government typefederal republic
Capitalname: Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
geographic coordinates: 19 26 N, 99 08 W
time difference: UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in October
note: Mexico is divided into three time zones
Administrative divisions31 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Colima, Distrito Federal*, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan de Ocampo, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro de Arteaga, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz-Llave, Yucatan, Zacatecas
Constitution5-Feb-17

Legal systemmixture of US constitutional theory and civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory (but not enforced)
Executive branchchief of state: President Felipe de Jesus CALDERON Hinojosa (since 1 December 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Felipe de Jesus CALDERON Hinojosa (since 1 December 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president; note - appointment of attorney general requires consent of the Senate
elections: president elected by popular vote for a single six-year term; election last held on 2 July 2006 (next to be held 1 July 2012)
election results: Felipe CALDERON elected president; percent of vote - Felipe CALDERON 35.89%, Andres Manuel LOPEZ OBRADOR 35.31%, Roberto MADRAZO 22.26%, other 6.54%

Legislative branchbicameral National Congress or Congreso de la Union consists of the Senate or Camara de Senadores (128 seats; 96 members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms, and 32 seats are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (500 seats; 300 members are elected by popular vote; remaining 200 members are allocated on the basis of each party's popular vote; to serve three-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 2 July 2006 for all of the seats (next to be held 1 July 2012); Chamber of Deputies - last held 5 July 2009 (next to be held 1 July 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAN 52, PRI 33, PRD 26, PVEM 6, CD 5, PT 5, independent 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PRI 237, PAN 143, PRD 72, PVEM 21, PT 13, CD 6, other 8

Judicial branchSupreme Court of Justice or Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nacion (justices or ministros are appointed by the president with consent of the Senate)

Political pressure groups and leadersBroad Progressive Front or FAP; Businessmen's Coordinating Council or CCE; Confederation of Employers of the Mexican Republic or COPARMEX; Confederation of Industrial Chambers or CONCAMIN; Confederation of Mexican Workers or CTM; Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce or CONCANACO; Coordinator for Foreign Trade Business Organizations or COECE; Federation of Unions Providing Goods and Services or FESEBES; National Chamber of Transformation Industries or CANACINTRA; National Peasant Confederation or CNC; National Small Business Chamber or CANACOPE; National Syndicate of Education Workers or SNTE; National Union of Workers or UNT; Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca or APPO; Roman Catholic Church
International organization participationAPEC, BCIE, BIS, CAN (observer), Caricom (observer), CDB, CE (observer), CSN (observer), EBRD, FAO, G-20, G-3, G-15, G-24, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, MIGA, NAFTA, NAM (observer), NEA, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), PCA, RG, SICA (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNASUR (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Flag descriptionthree equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and red; the coat of arms (an eagle with a snake in its beak perched on a cactus) is centered in the white band

Economy - overviewMexico has a free market economy in the trillion dollar class. It contains a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. Recent administrations have expanded competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution, and airports. Per capita income is roughly one-third that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. Trade with the US and Canada has nearly tripled since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994. Mexico has 12 free trade agreements with over 40 countries including, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan, putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. In 2007, during its first year in office, the Felipe CALDERON administration was able to garner support from the opposition to successfully pass a pension and a fiscal reform. The administration continues to face many economic challenges including the need to upgrade infrastructure, modernize labor laws, and allow private investment in the energy sector. CALDERON has stated that his top economic priorities remain reducing poverty and creating jobs.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$1.567 trillion (2008 est.)
$1.547 trillion (2007 est.)
$1.498 trillion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.088 trillion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)1.3% (2008 est.)
3.3% (2007 est.)
5.1% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$14,300 (2008 est.)
$14,200 (2007 est.)
$13,900 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 3.8%
industry: 35.2%
services: 61% (2008 est.)
Labor force45.32 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 15.1%
industry: 25.7%
services: 59% (2005)
Unemployment rate(%)4% (2008 est.)
3.7% (2007 est.)
note: underemployment is perhaps 25%
Population below poverty line(%)13.8% using food-based definition of poverty; asset based poverty amounted to more than 40% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 37.9% (2006)
Distribution of family income - Gini index47.9 (2006)
53.1 (1998)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)22.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $257.1 billion
expenditures: $258.1 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)5.1% (2008 est.)
4% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$92.34 billion (31 December 2008)
$103.5 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money$147.4 billion (31 December 2008)
$168.4 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit$287 billion (31 December 2008)
$349.1 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$232.6 billion (31 December 2008)
$397.7 billion (31 December 2007)
$348.3 billion (31 December 2006)
Economic aid - recipient$189.4 million (2005)

Public debt(% of GDP)35.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
23.5% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productscorn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products
Industriesfood and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism

Industrial production growth rate(%)-0.7% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$15.81 billion (2008 est.)
-$8.331 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$291.3 billion (2008 est.)
$271.9 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton
Exports - partners(%)US 80.2%, Canada 2.4%, Germany 1.7% (2008)
Imports$308.6 billion (2008 est.)
$281.9 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts
Imports - partners(%)US 49%, China 11.2%, Japan 5.3%, South Korea 4.4%, Germany 4.1% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$95.3 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$87.19 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$200.4 billion (31 December 2008)
$193.1 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$289.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$267.8 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$45.39 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$44.7 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange ratesMexican pesos (MXN) per US dollar - 11.016 (2008 est.), 10.8 (2007), 10.899 (2006), 10.898 (2005), 11.286 (2004)

Currency (code)Mexican peso (MXN)

Telephones - main lines in use20.539 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular75.304 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: adequate telephone service for business and government, but the population is poorly served; mobile subscribers far outnumber fixed-line subscribers; domestic satellite system with 120 earth stations; extensive microwave radio relay network; considerable use of fiber-optic cable and coaxial cable
domestic: low telephone density with about 19 fixed lines per 100 persons; privatized in December 1990; despite the opening to competition in January 1997, Telmex remains dominant; legal challenges to Telmex's alleged anti-competitive behavior in the mobile and fixed-line markets culminated in a World Trade Organization ruling in 2004 against Mexico prompting some strengthening of the powers granted Mexico's telecom regulator; mobile cellular teledensity approaching 70 per 100 persons
international: country code - 52; Columbus-2 fiber-optic submarine cable with access to the US, Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Spain, and Italy; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the MAYA-1 submarine cable system together provide access to Central America, parts of South America and the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 120 (32 Intelsat, 2 Solidaridad (giving Mexico improved access to South America, Central America, and much of the US as well as enhancing domestic communications), 1 Panamsat, numerous Inmarsat mobile earth stations); linked to Central American Microwave System of trunk connections (2008)
Internet country code.mx
Internet users23.26 million (2008)
Airports1,744 (2009)
Pipelines(km)gas 22,705 km; liquid petroleum gas 1,875 km; oil 8,688 km; oil/gas/water 228 km; refined products 6,520 km (2006)
Roadways(km)total: 356,945 km
paved: 178,473 km (includes 6,279 km of expressways)
unpaved: 178,472 km (2006)

Ports and terminalsAltamira, Coatzacoalcos, Manzanillo, Morro Redondo, Salina Cruz, Tampico, Veracruz
Military branchesSecretariat of National Defense (Secretaria de Defensa Nacional, Sedena): Army (Ejercito, includes Mexican Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Mexicana, FAM)); Secretariat of the Navy (Secretaria de Marina, Semar): Mexican Navy (Armada de Mexico, ARM, includes Naval Air Force (FAN) and naval infantry) (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for compulsory military service, conscript service obligation - 12 months; 16 years of age with consent for voluntary enlistment; conscripts serve only in the Army; Navy and Air Force service is all voluntary; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2007)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 27,774,688
females age 16-49: 29,376,791 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 22,541,654
females age 16-49: 25,149,027 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 1,109,981
female: 1,072,094 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)0.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Disputes - internationalabundant rainfall in recent years along much of the Mexico-US border region has ameliorated periodically strained water-sharing arrangements; the US has intensified security measures to monitor and control legal and illegal personnel, transport, and commodities across its border with Mexico; Mexico must deal with thousands of impoverished Guatemalans and other Central Americans who cross the porous border looking for work in Mexico and the United States

Refugees and internally displaced personsIDPs: 5,500-10,000 (government's quashing of Zapatista uprising in 1994 in eastern Chiapas Region) (2007)
Electricity - production(kWh)245 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 78.7%
hydro: 14.2%
nuclear: 4.2%
other: 2.9% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)200.9 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)1.288 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)584 million kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)3.186 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)2.128 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)1.986 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)479,600 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - proved reserves(bbl)10.5 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production(cu m)52.15 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)66.88 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)1.136 billion cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)372.7 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.3% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS200,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths11,000 (2007 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: dengue fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis (2009)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91%
male: 92.4%
female: 89.6% (2004 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 13 years
male: 14 years
female: 13 years (2006)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.5% of GDP (2005)








Copyright mongabay 2000-2013