Snail Museum, Mexico City, Mexico

The Museo del Caracol (History Gallery), known for its spiral form of sea snail, was conceived as a didactic and expressive museum for children and young minors. It has twelve rooms in descending form that are equivalent to two floors of exhibition. The museum offers the opportunity to approach the great historical events that gave life to present-day Mexico, as well as the features and characteristics of the society that developed and transformed during the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century.

The museum is divided into five periods. The period of Independence and First Empire is exposed from Room 1 to 4. The Republic and North American Invasion in room 5 and 6. From Room 7 to 9 shows the Reformation and Restored Republic. The Porfiriato in room 10 and the Revolution in 11 and 12.

The History Gallery, Museo del Caracol, is a very young museum, it has just turned 58! He was born in 1960, as part of a great pedagogical and cultural project, destined for a country that grew vertiginously. It was also born as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of Independence and the fiftieth anniversary of the Revolution.

El Caracol was dreamed for the first time by the secretary of public education, Mr. Jaime Torres Bodet. He devised an educational project aimed at improving basic instruction. Don Jaime promoted the construction of schools and the distribution of millions of free textbooks. As part of that great project known as the “Eleven Year Plan”, knowledge of the history and training of good citizens were fundamental aspects. For this reason, in 1960 he proposed the construction of a different museum any other dedicated to Mexican children and youth, where historical learning was visually.

But Torres Bodet could not have done this project without help. People of great quality and experience participated in this project. The architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez created a building in harmony with the old hill of Chapultepec. Iker Larrauri and Julio Prieto did the reconstruction of the scenes and environments of the past, and the historian Arturo Arnáiz y Freg elaborated the historical script.

Many hopes were expressed in the Gallery of History. In just ten months he was ready. Upon opening it, Secretary Torres Bodet exalted his educational function; it would be, said “an open textbook”. More than half a century later, this mission is still being accomplished.

he design of the architect Ramírez Vázquez, a spiral embedded in the rock, gave rise to the affectionate name of “El Caracol”.

When the first visitors made the tour, they were completely amazed. There was not, in the whole museum, a single old piece, but models and dioramas that gave life to the museum and history

In the snail the great moments of national history were concentrated, from Independence to the promulgation of the 1917 constitution: illustrious characters, children, women, soldiers, dogs and horses, haciendas and palaces. All the past revived to put itself within reach of the Mexicans.

Half a century later, our museum continues to enjoy perfect health. He still fulfills the educational function that Torres Bodet wanted for him. It is an enclosure in which not only children, but young people and adults come to learn about our history, that which constitutes us as Mexicans, which makes us the people we are today.

Exhibition Halls

Independence and First Empire

Room 1: The Final Years of the Viceroyalty
As a precedent to the War of Independence are the Bourbon Reforms, which were promoted by Spanish kings, who belonged to the Bourbon dynasty. With these provisions, the expulsion of the Jesuits was achieved in 1767, and the maxim of the viceroy Marquis de Croix became effective, in which the inhabitants of New Spain were born to silence and obey and not to give their opinion on government affairs.

The Plaza Mayor of Mexico City in 1767

The plinth, for many centuries, served as a market. There was also the Parian building, where furniture, fabrics, glass and merchandise from Europe and the East were sold. The Plaza Mayor was the place where they learned about the events that occurred in the rest of the territories. Here the pillory rose to whip or subject the offenders to public shame, as well as the gallows for those sentenced to death.


During the viceroyalty, the charges that arrived or departed from New Spain were attacked by English, Dutch and French, so it was necessary to build forts and defensive walls in coastal cities.

The City of Mexico City proposes an autonomous government

Juan Francisco Azcárate, Francisco Primo de Verdad y Ramos, and Brother Melchor de Talamantes were the Creoles who ruled the town hall that was in Mexico City. Among his proposals, he was ignoring José Bonaparte and forms a provisional government.

The Apprehension of Viceroy José de Iturrigaray

After rejecting, by the Spaniards, the agreement between the City Council of Mexico City and the viceroy to ignore José Bonaparte; on September 15, 1808 Gabriel Yermo dismisses the viceroy Iturrigaray and sends Azcárate, Primo de Verdad and Talamantes to prison.

Denunciation of the Miguel Hidalgo Conspiracy

The conspirators decided to advance the insurrection after the confession of a dying man, in which he denounced the preparation of an uprising against the Spaniards revealed by the priest Rafael Gil de León before the authorities on September 13, 1810.

Room 2: The Miguel Hidalgo Uprising
The War of Independence lasted eleven years. During this historical process, the social groups and the initial ideology were different at the end of the war. The Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla movement was characterized by some improvisation, as the priest was an enlightened man but with little military information. The Hidalgo uprising started on September 16, 1810 in Dolores, Hidalgo lasted less than a year. The priest was captured by the royalists in Acatita de Baján and on July 30, 1810 Hidalgo was shot. Even without Miguel Hidalgo the independence movement continued.

Cry of pain

After the conspiracy was discovered, Miguel Hidalgo and Allende decided to release prisoners and imprison Spaniards to start the independence movement. Hidalgo went to the church’s atrium to ring the bells, and then talk to the crowd and convince them to start the fight against the viceregal government. Around five hundred individuals formed the first insurgent army, which in less than two months, added to eighty thousand.

Discovered the Conspiracy, Miguel Hidalgo decides to advance the movement and train his hosts

The first insurgent army was made up of indigenous people, mongrel ranchers and prisoners. During the advance of the movement, mestizos, armed peasants and mulattos who worked in works and mines were annexed. Allende and Aldama were in charge of the career military, being the only disciplined faction of the movement. However, there were looting and pillage of the rebel group, as there were many grudges and misery that had generated the oppression of three centuries of colony.

Assault on the Alhondiga de Granaditas

The first great battle of the War of Independence was the attack on Guanajuato.

Miguel Hidalgo commissioned Morelos

In Indaparapeo, Michoacán Miguel Hidalgo commissioned José María Morelos and Pavón to extend the war towards southern Mexico.

The Battle of the Mount of Crosses

After taking Valladolid, today Morelia, the insurgent army headed towards Mexico City. However, on the Mount of Crosses the realistic army stalked them with better weapons and greater discipline. Mariano Abasolo and Mariano Jiménez defeated the royalists. Hidalgo, instead of following Mexico City, decided to retire to avoid casualties in his army.

Miguel Hidalgo in Guadalajara

In Guadalajara, he published a decree against slavery, the annulment of the payment of taxes, which was replaced by a tax of alcabala on the land.

Room 3: The Participation of José María Morelos
After the death of Miguel Hidalgo, José María Morelos y Pavón led the movement. Morelos defined the places where the independent government would be established. In Chilpancingo, Morelos convened a Supreme American National Congress.

The Siege of Cuautla

Morelos, together with the insurgent army, resisted for two months the harassment of the royalists in Cuautla, Morelos, where they were besieged and suffered from thirst and hunger. Hermenegildo Galeana reconquered the source to supply vital liquid. On May 2, 1812 Morelos leaves Cuautla losing some guns and men.

The Gunner Child

Narciso Mendoza is known in history as “El Niño Artillero” for shooting Felix Maria Calleja and the realistic army with a cannon during the siege of Cuautla in 1812.

José María Morelos and the Chilpancingo Congress

In Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Morelos called a Congress where Independence was declared to Spain. Morelos became the Servant of the Nation and the Congress in the authority of the insurgents. The congress was formed by elected deputies, which was known as the Anahuac Congress. In Chilpancingo, issues about the conformation of the new country and the rights of Mexicans were discussed. In November 1815 Morelos was taken prisoner and in December the Congress was dissolved.

Nicolás Bravo forgives realistic soldiers

Nicolás Bravo was named Military Commander of the Province of Veracruz. After his father, Don Leonardo Bravo, was apprehended, he released realistic soldiers in El Palmar, Guerrero. Nicolás Bravo was a prisoner of the royalists from 1817 to 1820. He had an important role during the first decades of independent Mexico.

The Judgment of José María Morelos

Vicente Guerrero rejects forgiveness After the death of Morelos, Vicente Guerrero was in charge of the movement. The realistic army approached Guerrero’s father to convince him to give up but he replied “The country is first.”

The landing of Francisco Javier Mina

Fray Servando Teresa de Mier was a Mexican precursor of the independence movement. When traveling to Europe, he met Javier Mina and invited him to be part of the Independence movement. They disembarked

Room 4: The Consummation of Independence
When José María Morelos died, Vicente Guerrero continued the fight in the south of the territory. To achieve their objectives, the clergy and Spanish merchants of Viceroyalty had to hold certain secret meetings, mainly in the church of the Profesa, in Mexico City, here Agustín de Iturbide was appointed as leader of the emancipation movement. The Spaniards asked Iturbide to defeat Guerrero, however he invited him to his movement consummating Independence in September 1821.

The Hug of Acatempan

Guerrero and Iturbide met in Acatempan, Guerrero to seal the alliance for Independence. Iturbide carried a flag with a cross of Burgundy or San Andres, while Guerrero’s army was one of an eagle with a cactus; both standards formed a single symbol: the flag of the Three Guarantees that consisted of the struggle for religion, independence and union. Subsequently, the Iguala Plan was carried out in February 1821, in which Independence was declared and a constitutional monarchy government was established. In August of the same year, Juan de O’Donojú arrived in New Spain, representative of the Spanish government and sympathized with liberal ideas. O’Donojú and Iturbide signed “The Treaties of Cordoba”, in which the Independence of New Spain will be accepted,

Entry of the Trigarante Army in Mexico City

Juan de O’Donojú convinces Francisco Novella to vacate the capital of New Spain in 1821. On September 27, 1821, the Trigarant Army makes its triumphant entry into Mexico City. Iturbide receives the baton from the Cabildo president. The Provisional Board and the Regency were formed and were under the control of Iturbide, in addition, to be gormadas by members of the old bureaucracy. The Act of Independence of the Mexican Empire was promulgated, and with it the war ended.

The Coronation of Agustín de Iturbide

Agustín de Iturbide called a Congress to decide the political situation in Mexico. Three opinions arose, that the throne was occupied by someone born in America, or by a member of the reigning house in Spain that will move to Mexico, or that Mexico would become a federal Republic. Spain does not recognize the Independence of Mexico. Iturbide is proclaimed emperor and his coronation was on May 21, 1822. During his rule, many insurgent chiefs were excluded from his government. The Congress was dissolved and an absolutist monarchy was proposed. Santa Anna rebelled against Agustín de Iturbide, who decides to abdicate in 1823 and was shot in 1824.

American Republic and Invasion

Room 5: The Mexican Republic is born
During the first years of Mexico, as an independent nation, it had several types of government such as: empire, federal republic, centralist republic, dictatorship and moderate regimes. On October 5, 1824, the Magna Carta entered into force, stipulating that Mexico would be a Federal Republic. Guadalupe Victoria was the first president of the Mexican Republic.

The Constitution of 1824

The Constituent Congress of the Mexican Nation is formed on November 7, 1823 in the Jesuit temple of San Pedro and San Pablo in Mexico City. It was made up of federalists and centralists, headed by Miguel Ramos Arizpe and Brother Servando Teresa de Mier, respectively. Both proposed the creation of a federal republic. On October 5, 1824, the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States was proclaimed, which had 171 articles, in which it was established that Mexico would be a representative, federal and popular republic; With 2 powers: legislative and executive and the official religion would be Catholic.

Surrender of the Spaniards in San Juan de Ulúa

One of Guadalupe Victoria’s first orders was to evict the Spaniards from San Juan de Ulúa, Veracruz, since from that site the operation of the main port of Mexico was hindered, which threatened the country’s independence. In 1825, the city was bombed and the military siege began. All marine access was blocked so that the Spaniards did not receive water or food. On November 18, 1825, the Spanish capitulated and Mexico obtained sovereignty over their territory.

The Invasion of Isidro Barradas

On July 26, 1829, there was an attempt at reconquest headed by Isidro Barradas. The movement quickly seized, so it was necessary to send an army contingent, which was headed by Santa Anna and Manuel Mier y Terán. Barradas was defeated in the fort of La Barra. In Pueblo Viejo, Tamaulipas signed an agreement where the invaders promised not to take up arms against Mexico.

The Bank of the Avío

The Banco del Avió was founded in 1830 by Don Lucas Alamán, who lent money to promote the industry in the country. Together with Esteban de Antuaño, he supported technology during the Industrial Revolution.

Capture and Death of Vicente Guerrero

Anastasio Bustamante rose against the Guerrero government, who had to resign from office on December 16, 1829. Bustamante ordered the capture of Guerrero and once captured, he was transferred to Guerrero to be condemned by a war council and dies shot in Cuilapan, Oaxaca.

The Battle of the Alamo

Texas and Zacatecas declared themselves in revolt against the centralism of Santa Anna. Texas claims its independence from the Mexican government in 1835. Santa Anna seized the fort of El Alamo, San Antonio; where he ordered to shoot all the prisoners, for being considered foreigners with weapons in the country.

Room 6: The American Invasion

General Antonio López de Santa Anna At the San Agustín de las Cuevas Fair

Santa Anna had certain characteristics such as: entrusting his government to the vice president, passion for gambling and the raising of roosters that bet on fights. I bet them in places considered recreation and rest like San Angel and Tacubaya, where deck, dice and sapwood were played; picnics and dances were celebrated with musicians performing sones, syrups and romantic songs.

The Battle of Angostura

The Americans wanted to seize Mexico, started in Monterrey and continued to Coahuila. However, on February 22 and 23, 1847, a resistance was found among a series of hills known as La Angostura. The invaders had used Santa Anna so that the Mexican government will accept to sell them Alta California and New Mexico, but Congress never accepted it. If your offer is not accepted, the United States decides to invade Mexico to take over California, New Mexico and Texas. However, they were defeated, and after what happened they decided on a second invasion campaign, in which they triumphed and together with the Mexican government signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in which our country recognized the Rio Grande as the northern border. The United States took over California,

The Battle of Churubusco

The Americans lose their first battle in the Pedregal of Padierna and advanced towards the town of Churubusco. On August 20, 1847, US troops under David E. Twiggs defeated the Mexicans commanded by Pedro María Anaya. Nationals had to surrender due to the depletion of their ammunition.

The Assault on Chapultepec Castle
After taking Churubusco, the Americans camped in the town of San Ángel and Tacubaya. On September 13, 1847 there was an onslaught against the Military College in Chapultepec Castle. The cadets of the Military College, along with Nicolás Bravo, suffered a bombardment until they succumbed.

Reformation and Restored Republic

Room 7: The War of Reform
During the 19th century, there were two political groups in Mexico: the liberals and the conservatives. Liberals were in favor of a modern federal republic, while conservatives, continue with Spanish traditions.

Benito Juárez and José María Mata in New Orleans

Benito Juárez, who at that time was directly from the Scientific and Literary Institute of Oaxaca, was against the government of Santa Anna. Benito Juárez, after being a prisoner in Jalapa and imprisoned in the castle of San Juan, traveled to the city of New Orleans, where he began a friendship with liberals such as José María Mata, Melchor Ocampo, José Guadalupe Montenegro and Ponciano Arriaga, among them they organized a revolution. Juarez and Mata returned to Mexico as soon as they learned about the Ayutla revolution, headed by Juan Álvarez and Ignacio Comonfort.

Valentín Gómez Farías was the first to sign the Constitution of 1857, celebrated on February 5 of that year. The Constitution reflects the essence of liberal ideologies.

The Brave Do Not Murder

Benito Juárez is named president of the Republic in 1857. Guillermo Prieto with an impromptu speech saved Benito Juárez from being shot in Guadalajara. Prieto’s words were; “Lower those weapons: the brave do not kill!”

The Murder of Melchor Ocampo

Leonardo Márquez orders the execution of the liberal Melchor Ocampo in Tepeji del Río, Hidalgo.

The Battle of Calpulalpan

Juarez crossed through Panama to get to Veracruz, where he installed his government and issues the Reform Laws, in which the separation between the Church and the State, marriage and civil registration, the translation of the administration of the pantheons and cemeteries to the administration of the State and the transformation of the assets of the Church into heritage of the nation.1 On December 22, 1860, Miguel Miramón is defeated by the army of Jesús González Ortega in San Miguel Calpulalpan, after trying to take several times the city of Veracruz. The conservative Miramón had to flee the capital, taking refuge in Havana. In 1860, Juarez and the liberal forces enter the city triumphantly.

The Battle of May 5

The army commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza defeats the French troops in the city of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Room 8: The French Intervention (1862-1867)
Benito Juárez becomes president of Mexico in 1858. His main objectives were public finances and the payment of external debt, because France, Spain and England put pressure on Mexico. Juarez failed to have an agreement with France, so on May 5, 1862 they took the city of Puebla. The conservatives, after losing in the War of Reform, sought help in Europe, getting military help from Napoleon III. They offered the throne of Mexico to Maximilian of Habsburg, who arrives with his wife Carlota in 1864.

Offering of the Throne of Mexico

Some thought that the solution for Mexico would be a monarchy. On October 3, 1863, the conservatives had an interview at the Miramar Palace, where they offered the throne to Maximilian of Austria.

Maximiliano and Carlota’s entry into Mexico City

A countess wrote in the port of Veracruz: “The new sovereign of Mexico was facing his own empire, in a short time he had to step on the ground, but his subjects had hidden. No one received it. ” However, Maximiliano, along with his wife Carlota, were greeted with great jubilation by the Mexicans in June 1864.

A Chinaco Camp

The term chinaco was used disparagingly. However, the liberals converted it to a word used to define the honor and symbol of nationalist cause. The chinacos were ranchers. One of the best Chinacos was Nicolás Romero, who never wondered the number of his enemies, but where they were.

The Battle of Miahuatlán

Porfirio Díaz defeated on October 3, 1866 the imperialist Oronoz and Colonel Testard in Miahuatlán, Oaxaca. More than five thousand fighters participated in this battle. Porfirio Díaz participated exceptionally, because when the ammunition was over, he led a general charge for victory. The Deaths of José María Arteaga and Carlos Salazar José María Arteaga and Carlos Salazar, were the first to be shot in Uruapan on October 14, 1865 for wielding a weapon. That law was published by Maximiliano on October 3, 1865.

The Battle of April 2, 1867

On April 2, 1867, General Porfirio Díaz managed to drop the Plaza de Puebla, which meant having recovered a stolen space. Leonardo Márquez, known as “El Tigre de Tacubaya”, was the conservative general who had entrenched himself in Puebla.

The Fusilamiento of Maximiliano

Mexican forces loyal to Maximiliano, wanted to take refuge in Querétaro in 1867. French troops besieged the city and on May 15, after Maximiliano tried to escape, he was apprehended in the Cerro de las Campanas, along with Miguel Miramón and Tomás Mejía. With these captures the Intervention War and the monarchist government ended. Maximiliano, along with Miramón and Mejía were shot on June 19, 1867.

Room 9: The Restored Republic and the Porfiriato
The stages of the Restored Republic and the Porfiriato had lasting governments, great economic growth, construction of railroads, farms and media, oil extraction and development of mining and industrial activity. The Executive Power dominated over the Legislative and Judicial. During the Restored Republic, Benito Juárez and Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada ruled. Lerdo attempted re-election, however, Porfirio Díaz rose against the attempt with the Tuxtepec Plan. Díaz lasted thirty years in power in a dictatorial regime called the Porfiriato.

The National Preparatory School

It was inaugurated on February 1, 1868. The headquarters was the building occupied by the Colegio de San Idelfonso. Gabino Barreda was the first director and organized the curriculum based on Comte’s positivist philosophy.

Benito Juarez, Child

Benito Pablo Juárez García was originally from San Pablo Guelatao, Oaxaca. As a child, he worked as a grazing, agriculture and cochineal collector. He graduated as a lawyer at the Institute of Science and Arts. He defended indigenous communities. He married Margarita Maza. He was deputy and governor of Oaxaca. Juarez had a civil character, he was a man of laws and not of weapons. His liberal vision opened Mexico to modernity.

Benito Juárez in his Presidential Office

On December 25, 1867, Benito Juárez became president again. The offices of Juarez were in the National Palace. It regulated the amparo trial, the Civil and Criminal Procedure Codes, and the Organic Law of Public Instruction, with which the National Preparatory School was formed. On September 16, 1869, the Mexico-Veracruz railway was inaugurated. He was reelected for 1871-1875, however, Diaz rose against re-election in his Ferris Wheel. Díaz was defeated in Icamole, so he took refuge in the United States. Benito Juarez died on July 18, 1872.

Metlac Bridge

During the post- War Reform governments, new communication channels were built, such as the railways that facilitated the transport of people and goods. The first to be completed was the one that communicated Mexico City to Veracruz, it was inaugurated on January 1, 1873. Some of the most important works were the De la Soledad bridge, and the 28-meter high Metrac bridge.

The Treasury in the Porfiriato

The Hacienda was born during the colonial era, where cattle and agricultural products were raised. During the Porfiriato, at the cost of exploitation of the laborers, the Treasury achieves its boom. The production of goods rose due to the Law of Confiscation, the creation of railroads and the economic growth of Mexico. The main Haciendas were: pulqueras in Hidalgo, sugar mills in Morelos, henequeneras in Yucatán and cottons in Coahuila.

Tomochic Rebellion

The famous phrases during the Porfiriato were “order and progress”. In order to avoid movements that alter the Porfirian peace, repressive methods were used, such as the rebellion of Tomochic, Chihuahua, where the Indians rebelled after the abuses they suffered. In 1892, the soldiers besieged Tomochic and defeated the natives. These excesses were published by the military Heriberto Frías in the liberal period The Democrat.

The Porfiriato

Room 10: The Sunset of Porfiriato
Porfirio Díaz used violence to keep the peace. Porfirio Díaz modernized the industry and transport. Among which stood out: support for agriculture, railways and the telegraph. During the Porfiriato, the Cananea Strike in Sonora arose due to conflicts in the labor order. The Porfiriato was a time of modernization, but not in the political and social

The Press in the Porfiriato

The newspaper “El Imparcial” published the achievements and hid the injustices of the Diaz government, so it had the full support of the government. “El Diario del Hogar”, “EL Monitor Republicano” and “El Son de Ahuizote” criticized Díaz’s government, such as re-election and control, and its editors were imprisoned.

Room 11: The Mexican Revolution
It was a social movement in favor of democracy and social claims. The uprising against Diaz began on November 20, 1910, with the plan of San Luis Potosí written by Madero.

Room 12: The Constitution of 1917 and Current Mexico
Throughout the twentieth century, the social and coexistence pact of all Mexicans has been inscribed in the 1917 Constitution. In 1900, a high percentage of the population lived in the countryside, their economy was of self-consumption and traditionalist mentality. Currently, most Mexicans live in cities, have easy access to education and are aware of world events.