News article

Document shows the beginning of the UK - Mexico relationship

The UK was among the first nations to recognise Mexico’s independence.

The UK Minister Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe visited Mexico in June 2016 to participate in the OECD summit, as well as to promote the UK’s tourism, business, innovation and digital economy sectors and possible collaborations with Mexico. During her visit, she gave to the British Embassy in Mexico a copy of a treaty between both nations that is 191 years old.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “I am delighted to present a copy of the Amity, Commercial and Navigation Treaty with Mexico to the British Embassy on behalf of The National Archives. This document is a wonderful example of the continuing relationship enjoyed by the UK and Mexico, and am sure will be of interest to many of the embassy’s visitors.”

In the wake of the independence of Mexico in 1821, Great Britain started diplomatic relations with the new Government of Mexico. A diplomatic mission of two joint Commissioners -James Morier and Henry Ward- was dispatched to Mexico. They negotiated the first Commercial and Navigation Treaty with Mexico, which was signed on 6 April 1825 and ratified in April 1827 by His Majesty’s Government. This copy is one of the first iterations of the historic treaty, with the final signed treaty showing just a few minor changes.

The document production

The pages from the Amity, Commercial and Navigation Treaty were imaged and printed with the help of the Image Library and Record Copying Departments. In Collection Care, the printed pages were then trimmed and sewn into a Japanese-style of binding, which is ideally suited to binding single sheets together. The colour of the cover was chosen to reflect that of the original book and a copy of the original label was set into the front cover to add some context. The two-colour decorative sewing is a variation on the traditional tortoiseshell style, which attaches the cover and pages together.

About the National Archives

The National Archives is the official archive and publisher for the UK Government and for England and Wales and provides expert advice and services to the public, government and the wider archive sector, ensuring that the public record and the wider archival heritage of the nation are preserved, made accessible and remain available for future generations.

The National Archives is custodian of one of the world’s most significant archival collections, holding in excess of 11 million records dating back to 974. The National Archives delivers over 600,000 original documents per year to the public in its reading rooms, provide access to many more digitised records online (over 200 million), and have an award-winning onsite and online education programme. The National Archives’ collection comprises historical government and public records and is one of the largest and most significant archives in the world.