Mexico and Central America 1914 CE

The Panama Canal has been built.

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What is happening in Mexico and Central America in 1914CE

After several years of political turmoil in Mexico, Porfirio Diaz became dictator (1877-1910). He set about an ambitious programme of modernization which brought benefits to some sections of society. However it deprived the majority of peasants of the land rights they had previously enjoyed. At the same time Diaz’ regime became mired in corruption. Revolutions broke out, and Mexico has descended into chaos. This is the era of Pancho Villa and other Indian revolutionary leaders.

In Central America, the late 19th and early 20th centuries have seen US business involvement in the region grow. Large US companies dominate the coffee and banana industries, which have now become vital parts of the economies of the region. The companies have manipulated local politics to their benefit, crushing labour unrest and acting as a stifling monopoly. On occasion they have even instigated direct military involvement, with some countries, notably Honduras and Nicaragua, being occupied by US troops for years at a time.

After costly attempts to build a canal across the isthmus of Panama, the US secured the right to control a swathe of land known as the Canal Zone, and to complete the canal. The canal is opened this year, 1914.

Next map, Mexico and Central America in 1960

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