Some Mexican History Highlights
The State Emblem of Mexico was first adopted in 1823 and the eagle and snake have served ever since the Emblem of Arms of then successive republics and empires. The Emblem recalls an old Indian legend: The Aztec people were guided by god Huitzilopochtli to seek a place where an eagle landed on a prickly-pear cactus, eating a snake... After hundreads of years of wandering they found the sign on a small swampy island in Lake Texcoco. Their new home they named Tenochtitlan ("Place of the Prickly Pear Cactus"). In A.D. 1325 they built a city on the site of the island in the lake; this is now the centre of Mexico City.
In the area that is now Mexico City, the Aztec settled and created their empire while to the south other cultures thrived like the Maya who had a sophisticated writing system (see glyphs to left).
The Spaniard Cortes and his men arrived in Tabasco in 1531
Malinche (Doña Marina) was the daughter of an Aztec family. Her mother gave her to some passing traders. She wound up a slave of the chief of Tabasco. By the time Cortes arrived, she had learned the Mayan dialects used in the Yucatan while still understanding Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs and most Non-Mayan Indians. Cortes' ship landed in Tabasco. The chief presented Cortes with slave women.  La Malince was one of them. Cortes had relied on a Spanish priest, Jeronimo de Aguilar who spoke Mayan. Malinche served as the interpreter at meetings between Cortes and the Aztecs (including their leader Moctezuma). She had borne Cortes a son, Don Mahin Cortes. If modern-day Mexicans are a blend of Spanish and Indian blood, Doña Marina's son was the first "Mexican" whose history we can follow.
The largest cathedral on the continent (pictured here) was built by the Spanish out of stones from dismantled pyramids. It is located in what is now central Mexico City- the Zocalo.
The Virgin of Guadelupe appeared to Juan Diego in December, 1531 (just 12 days after Cortes set foot on Mexican soil). At that spot a chapel (the Basilica) was built. This is the holy site (a sort of Mecca). December 12 is the Day of Guadelupe - an official national holiday observed with pilgrimages, processions and special masses.
El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a day to celebrate those who have died. Streets near the cemeteries are filled with decorations. It is believed that the spirit of the dead visit their families on October 31 and leave on November 2. Families make altars and place ofrendas (offerings) of food such as pan de muertos (bread baked in the shape of skulls and bones), candles, incense, yellow marigolds known as cempazuchitl and a photo of the departed soul is placed on the altar.