Mexico's fascinating complexities are difficult to approach. This illustrated Concise History begins with a brief examination of contemporary issues, while the book as a whole - ranging from the Olmecs to the present day - combines a chronological and thematic approach while highlighting long-term issues and controversies. Modern Mexico, founded after independence from Spain in 1821, was created out of a long and disparate historical inheritance which has constantly influenced its evolution. This book takes account of that past and pays attention to the pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial influence. Mexico's economic problems are given historical treatment together with political analysis and attention to social and cultural factors. The book's prime objective is accessibility to readers, including those interested in gaining a broad general knowledge of the country and those across the professions anxious to secure a rapid but secure understanding of a subject where there are few starting points.