The foundations of the press in Mexico

The Ignacio Cubas Newspaper Library of the General Archive of the Nation was inaugurated in 1977, being the second largest in the country, only behind the National Newspaper Library of the UNAM. Within its collection there are the most representative newspapers in the history.

Hoja Volante (1554) by Fray AlonsoArchivo General de la Nación - México

With the arrival of the printing press in 1539 to what is now Mexican territory, the possibility of disseminating various information originated through the circulation of the so-called flyers made in the various printing workshops. This activity over the years became the main source of communication in the New Spain era, which was evolving in its content and periodicity, leading to a more extensive format that we commonly know as newspapers or newspapers.  

Libra Astronomica (1681) by Carlos Singüenza y GongoraArchivo General de la Nación - México

The first regular and specialized leaflet printed in our country was the so-called Mercurio Volante, published in 1693 by the intellectual Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, which contained news of a historical and scientific nature.  

Gazeta de México (1784) by Juan Ignacio CastorenaArchivo General de la Nación - México

It is considered that the first newspaper that circulated in Mexican territory was the one founded by the clergyman and doctor Juan Ignacio Castorena in 1722, called "Gazeta de México" which was published monthly with information of a religious, official, commercial, social, mining nature. and maritime.  

El Despertador Americano (1810) by Miguel HidalgoArchivo General de la Nación - México

Later, during the Independence stage, printed publications took on a more nationalistic and political character. The press served as a weapon in the ideological struggle of those groups that sought the social transformation of the country. It is in this period that the newspaper called "El Despertador Americano" appeared, founded by Miguel Hidalgo in the city of Guadalajara on December 20, 1810.  

El Ilustrador Nacional (1812) by José María CosArchivo General de la Nación - México

Beginning with the American Alarm Clock, periodicals were the perfect way to spread the ideas and criticisms of the intellectuals of that time. As was the "National Illustrator" of Dr. José María Cos. In its pages, the theologian dedicated himself to publishing the adverse social and economic situations in which the New-Hispanic population struggled for its independence remained.  

El Pensador Mexicano (1812) by José Joaquín Fernández de LizardiArchivo General de la Nación - México

In the same year, 1812, the considered America's first novelist, José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi published “El Pensador de Americano”, where he openly spoke for the abolition of slavery.  

El Siglo Diez y Nueve (1862) by Mariano Otero y Juan Bautista MoralesArchivo General de la Nación - México

At the end of the War of Independence and with the establishment of the Constitution of 1824, a regime of freedom of the press was achieved, which gave rise to the development of periodical publications in Mexican territory, such as newspapers of liberal ideology,  beginning with “El Siglo Diez y Nueve ”, founded by Mariano Otero and Juan Bautista Morales in 1841 and which included sections of literature, geographical and scientific articles, national and foreign news, public entertainment, advertisements, varieties  

El Monitor Republicano (1871) by Vicente García TorresArchivo General de la Nación - México

Another liberal court newspaper was "El Monitor Republicano", founded by Vicente García Torres in 1844. It was founded under the name "El Monitor Constitucional", which was transformed in 1846 to circulate in Mexico City. It stood out for its editorial content in supporting political movements such as the Reform Laws and the Ayutla Revolution.  

Diario del Imperio (1865) by Maximiliano de HabsburgoArchivo General de la Nación - México

By 1863, Maximilian of Habsburg would come to power due to the French intervention in Mexican territory, a period known as the Second Empire, in these troubled years printed publications would have a notable reduction because Maximiliano would impose his own newspaper known as the Second Empire, in these troubled years printed publications would have a notable reduction because Maximiliano would impose his own newspaper known as “El Diario del Imperio”, where the decrees of the Austrian emperor were announced.  

El Imparcial (1910)Archivo General de la Nación - México

With the execution of Maximilian, the Second Empire and the triumph of the Republic ended. With this, the conditions of freedom of expression already specified in the Political Constitution were improved. Years later, when Porfirio Díaz came to power, he found very radical  and combative periodicals, so the subsidy of newspapers such as "El Imparcial" was the best means of having them as allies.  

El Hijo del Ahuizote (1902) by Daniel Cabrera RiveraArchivo General de la Nación - México

Faced with this situation, the clandestine dye publications returned to take an appearance as was "El Hijo del Ahuizote" founded in 1885 by Daniel Cabrera Rivera and where a critical and satirical editorial line was given against the Díaz regime through the use of cartoons.  

El Ahuizote (1911)Archivo General de la Nación - México

The Hijo del Ahuizote was taken up in 1902 by the brothers Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón who leased the publication and were in charge of the edition where they crudely pointed out the dictatorship of Díaz. The printing press was seized and the publication censored. In response, the publishers re-founded the publication several times with the names of "El Ahuizote", "El nieto del Ahuizote" and  “El bisnieto del  Ahuizote".   

Regeneración (1900) by Erinque Flores Magón y Ricardo Flores MagónArchivo General de la Nación - México

A year earlier, the Flores Magón brothers had already ventured into the print media with the anarchist-style newspaper called “Regeneración”, with which they had begun their criticism of the Díaz government and support for the Mexican working class. Regeneration published 381 issues over 18 years with multiple interruptions.











El Anti-Releccionista (1909) by Félix F. PalaviciniArchivo General de la Nación - México

The scheme of newspapers with illustrations continued, in 1909 Félix F. Palavicini founded “El Anti Reeleccionista” where José Vasconcelos and the cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada collaborated, who illustrated, with a humorous tone, the situation that prevailed in the unprotected classes of the population.

El Universal (1919) by Félix F. PalaviciniArchivo General de la Nación - México

“El Imparcial” continued in office with an infrastructure that led it to be the first newspaper to incorporate illustrated covers, journalistic organization concepts and the marketing of the newspaper as an advertising product.  

Excelsior (1919) by Rafael AlducínArchivo General de la Nación - México

With its closure in 1914, new newspapers emerged such as El Universal, founded by F. Palavicini in 1916, and a year later Rafael Alducín Excelsior, outstanding newspapers that survive today.

Credits: Story

Consult more about the Ignacio Cubas Library-Newspaper Library of the AGN at: https://www.gob.mx/agn/acciones-y-programas/biblioteca-y-hemeroteca

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