Today marks the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence. On September 16, 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo launched a decade-long struggle for independence from the Spanish empire set in motion by the famous Grito de Dolores (cry of Dolores). Prominent figures in that struggle include Father Jose Maria Morelos and General Augustin de Iturbide who became Mexico's first leader.
An 1821 treaty recognized Mexican independence from Spain and called for a constitutional monarchy. The planned monarchy failed. A republic was declared in December of 1822 and established in 1824.
The story of Mexico is a story of a people's long struggle for democracy, human rights, and respect for their country's sovereignty. Regardless of many challenges, including foreign invasions and periods of violent internal conflict, Mexico has made tremendous progress in economic development, education, and in achieving a high standard of living for its growing population. It is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world and the second most-populous country in Latin America after Portuguese-speaking Brazil. According to some estimates, the population of the area around Mexico City is nearly 22 million, making it the most populated city in the Western Hemisphere.
Mexico's trade regime is among the most open in the world, including free trade agreements with the U.S., Canada, the European Union, and many other countries for a total of 44 partners. The United States is Mexico's main trade partner, totalling about 80% of Mexican exports in 2009.
U.S. relations with Mexico are as important and complex as with any nation in the world and directly impact the lives of millions of Americans. "Our nations are connected by the busiest border in the world, by a rich economic partnership, by a vibrant exchange of cultures, and by millions of Mexican Americans who have contributed so much to our own nation," said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. "Our common history and our common future gives us the courage and the foundation to build an even stronger base for our work together."
"Mexico and the United States share so much," said Secretary Clinton. "With confidence in our democratic institutions, our shared values, and our unwavering friendship, we will continue working together to confront the challenges in the 21st century, and to build prosperity and peace for all our people."