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The spot where Mexico City, once known as Tenochtitlan, now sits had been occupied for some 20,000 years by the people of ancient Mexico when the Spanish Conquistadors, led by Cortez, invaded the city in 1519. Although Tenochtitlan's warriors were fierce and had conquered many cities themselves, the Spanish easily overtook them. This was in part due to their superior weapons and in part due to a native legend foretelling the coming of a "white god", which Mocteczuma, the native king, believed Cortez to be.
The native's civilization was quickly crushed by Cortez's men. Those who survived were forced to convert to Catholicism by the Spanish and lived in poverty as second class citizens, setting the stage for the hundreds of years of unrest that has existed in Mexico between the native people and those of Spanish decent, a conflict that still has hold on the nation in modern times.
Today, with a population topping 18 million, Mexico City is not only the largest city in Mexico but the largest in North America. It is a major player in world commerce, its corporations providing such goods as oil and pharmaceuticals to the world. It is also considered to be the capitol of Latin America, with many people migrating there from throughout the region in hopes of finding work and a better life.