Mexico - Philatelist Country!
Europe's first gift to the inhabitants of Mexico, shortly following the Spanish invasion of the Aztec civilization, was smallpox. Millions died of the disease during the 1520s, including the Aztec Emperor himself. Then, adding insult to injury, his capital of Tenochtitlan was rebuilt as Mexico City!
It was to be almost 300 years until in 1810, independence from Spain was proclaimed by a priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. His portraits, with a few exceptions, dominate the early stamps of Mexico. Less than a year later, Hidalgo with some of his soldiers, were executed by Spanish troops.
A period of upheaval followed. The ebb and flow of insurgency, various declarations of independence and many deaths, led to the Spanish Crown and a General Iturbide (who had switched sides to the independence cause), signing 'The Treaty of Cordoba' and the 'Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire' in 1821, that recognised the independence of Mexico.
Immediately proclaiming himself emperor of the First Mexican Empire, he lasted until an uprising against him in 1823, which established the United Mexican States. In 1824, a Republican Constitution was accepted, and another country was born. The following years were turbulent, and led in 1836, to the first French intervention in Mexico following large-scale civil disturbances.
A centralised form of government was introduced, but when the 1824 Constitution was suspended, civil war spread across the country. Three new governments, the Republic of Texas, the Republic of the Rio Grande and the Republic of Yucatan, consequently declared their independence.
Texas achieved independence and was annexed by the United States. The Mexican-American War began in 1846 and lasted for two years, eventually forcing Mexico to give up over half of its land to the U.S.
Mexico's stamps are certainly amongst the most interesting that you can collect! The upheavals did not end at her first stamps, but continued being affected by French Occupation, Provisional issues, Civil Wars and local overprinting; and all amongst a backdrop of richly complex, beautiful and atmospheric designs.