In the late eighteenth century, the vast region of the Americas known as the Viceroyalty of New Spain (Novohispania), was the most notable political structure in the Western Hemisphere. New Spain was political capital of present-day Mexico, Central America, the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Florida, the coastal regions of Alabama and Mississippi, all lands west of the Mississippi, and claimed portions of Western Canada and Alaska. The wealthiest and most culturally advanced portion of New Spain was present-day Mexico. The great urban centers of Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puebla, Valladolid (Morelia), Queretaro, and San Miguel el Grande (de Allende) were renowned for their architectural elegance. Literacy in the cities was comparable to that of any European capital. The wealth extracted from the colony fueled the enormous economic growth and the accumulation of power in Spain and other parts of Europe. Yet when Mexico achieved independence in 1821, it did not retain its previous position of prominence, and Spain was no longer a world power. The story of this dramatic shift in the world order and the economic, political and social crises facing Mexico during the period of independence shape the story of the documentary.