History - Pro Bosque Chapultepec
Asset 2

Pro Bosque de Chapultepec



  • I
  • II
  • III
  • IV
  • V
  • VI


Period I

Over 20 million years ago, Chapultepec (Grasshopper) Hill was formed along with other peaks like Tepetzingo and Tlapacoya. 10 000 years ago, the Basin of Mexico was home to deer, wild horses and mammoths.


Period II

Preclassic Era (2500 BCE – 150/200 CE)

First traces of human occupation with bone and pottery fragments found on Chapultepec Hill.


Classic Era (150/200 CE – 900 CE)

400-650 CE Evidence of Teotihuacano occupation (pottery, burials, obsidian, vestiges of residential and ceremonial structures).


Postclassic Era (900 CE – 1521 CE)

900-1050 Vestiges of Tolteca pottery.

1162 Written sources refer to the suicide of the last Tolteca ruler, Huemac, in the mythical Cincalco Cave. c.

1250 In the year 9 Flint, the Mexica arrive at Chapultepec, occupied years earlier by the Tepaneca of Azcapotzalco.

1298-1299 The Tepaneca and their allies fight the Mexica and force them to leave. c.

1428 The Mexica Empire regains control of the site and its springs. They build ceremonial and astronomical structures and waterworks: aqueducts, pools and channels.

1465 Moctezuma I (Ilhuicamina) orders the construction an aqueduct from Chapultepec to Tenochtitlan, designed by Nezahualcoyotl, ruler of Texcoco.

1507 Like predecessors of his, Moctezuma II (Xocoyotzin) has his effigy sculpted on the boulders of Chapultepec Hill.

1521 Hernán Cortés conquers Tenochtitlan. The Spaniards cut off the city’s drinking water supply at Chapultepec.


Period III

1525 A Franciscan chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael is founded at the summit of Chapultepec Hill, atop the vestiges of a pre-Hispanic temple.

1530 King Charles V cedes Chapultepec’ land rights to Mexico City in perpetuity.

1551 Luis de Velasco, New Spain’s second viceroy, orders the building of a weekend retreat, a mansion known as the Alcazar, on the slopes of Chapultepec Hill.

1558 Work is performed on what is popularly called the “Weepers’ Pool,” also known as Moctezuma’s Pool.

1752-1775 Excavations carried out on Chapultepec Hill to find Moctezuma’s buried treasure led the springs’ water level to fall; they ultimately dried up by the late nineteenth century.

1784 The gunpowder factory built around 1779 exploded and destroyed the viceroys’ palace. Matías de Gálvez decides to rebuild the Alcazar atop Chapultepec Hill.

1785 The former viceroy’s son, Bernardo de Gálvez completes the new Alcazar’s construction.

1787 Due to a financial crisis, the government attempts to auction off the Alcazar and its surrounding woods, but the sale never takes place.

1792 The Count of Revillagigedo arrives with a project to rehabilitate the castle.


Period IV

1803 Alexander von Humboldt climbs Chapultepec Hill and describes its natural beauty as well as its springs and pools.

1826 The government started building a botanical garden that was never finished.

1843 The Alcazar atop the hill is converted into a fort in order to shelter the Military Academy; it is rechristened the “Castle.”

1847 In two brutal battles  against the invasion of US troops, cadets defending the Military College are killed and commemorated as the Niños Héroes.

1849 The Military College is rebuilt and reopened.

1859 Miguel Miramón is the first president of independent Mexico to live at Chapultepec Castle.

1864 Maximilian of Habsburg makes Chapultepec Castle his official residence.

1865-1866 The Castle was transformed with European-style gardens, fountains and ornamentation. Maximilian orders the design of the Paseo de la Emperatriz, later renamed Paseo de la Reforma.

1867 A victorious President Juárez wrote his “Statement to the Nation” at Chapultepec, yet the Juárez family only occupied the Castle as residence for two months out of the year.

1872-1911 Chapultepec Castle was the official residence of presidents Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada, Porfirio Díaz and Manuel González.

1872 The Rotunda of Illustrious Persons was built at Dolores Cemetery.

1878-1880 Mexico’s first astronomical Observatory was installed in the Castle’s tallest tower, known as the Caballero Alto. Minister Vicente Riva Palacio of the Porfirio Díaz government built a fence around the park to separate it from the city’s western outskirts.

1896 First film productions and screenings in Mexico. Envoys of the Lumière brothers filmed scenes such as “President Porfirio Díaz Riding a Horse at Chapultepec Park.”

1899-1911 Alberto Courmont’s Project to build the zoo is interrupted by the Revolution. José Yves Limantour performs a general overhaul of Chapultepec Park, basing his design on the Bois de Boulogne.


Period V

1905 The park opens to the public, with certain rules and regulations.

1910 For the 100th anniversary of Independence, new public works are unveiled, such as two artificial lakesthe Lago Mayor and Menor.

1911 Francisco I. Madero becomes president and makes Chapultepec Castle his residence.

1914 When President Victoriano Huerta is forced to resign, the Military College is closed for good.

1917 Venustiano Carranza expands the park uphill, westwards, with a garden designed by Antonio Rivas Mercado. The La Hormiga ranch is expropriated.

1920 Adolfo de la Huerta seeks to preserve and enhance the park and its woodlands.

1924 The Alfonso L. Herrera Zoo opens its doors (remodeled in 1992–1994).

1925 Plutarco Elías Calles announces a 220-acre expansion to the park, incorporating a former racetrack, the hills by the King’s Mill and the Dolores Waterworks and Cemetery.

1931 The Fountain of Temperance is designed and installed.

1935 Lázaro Cárdenas moves to a new residence: Los Pinos, on the former La Hormiga estate.

1944 After a five-year-long rehabilitation, under decree by Lázaro Cárdenas, Chapultepec Castle reopens as the National History Museum.

1952 The Altar to the Homeland, a semicircle of six marble columns commemorating Chapultepec’s heroic cadets, is unveiled.

1959 The Casa del Lago is given to the National Autonomous University of Mexico and becomes a cultural center.

1960 The spiral-shaped El Caracol History Gallery opens its doors.

1964 Chapultepec Park’s Second Section opens, consisting of an additional 415 acres, two artificial lakes, the Natural History Museum, the La Feria fairground and eleven new fountains. The National Museum of Anthropology and the Modern Art Museum are opened.

1974 Chapultepec Park expands once more, with another 600 acres, its Third Section.

1981 The Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum is inaugurated.

1986 The Euquerio Guerrero Elders’ Garden opens and the monumental Nezahualcoyotl Fountain is unveiled.

1990 The National Auditorium, built in 1952, undergoes major renovations and expansion.

1993 The Papalote Children’s Museum opens in Chapultepec Park’s Second Section.


Period VI

2002-2003 With the creation of the Citizens’ Advisory Board and the Trust for Chapultepec Park, a triple alliance is established between government, citizens and private enterprise to restore and beautify the park.

2004-2008 A Master Plan is devised for the restoration and rehabilitation of the park’s First Section.

2008-2018 A Master Plan and Management Plan are conceived to reclaim and refurbish Section Two.

2018 With the change in administration, the newly-elected president converts the presidential residence into the Los Pinos Cultural Center, Casa Abierta al Pueblo.

2019 President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announces plans to convert Chapultepec Park into “the largest, most important space in the world for culture and art.” Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco is appointed general coordinator of the new Chapultepec Cultural Complex. Chapultepec Park further gained a 280-acre Fourth Section for a total of nearly 2 000 acres. It also received the World Urban Parks’ Gold Award, gaining international recognition for its majesty and benefits to the lives of citizens. 


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