Mexican Economy

This essay Mexican Economy has a total of 4623 words and 19 pages.

Mexican Economy

I. Historical, Population, Culture, Political, and Economic Information

History

Mexico was the site of some of the earliest and most advanced civilizations in the western hemisphere. The Mayan culture, according to archaeological research, attained its greatest development about the 6th century AD. Another group, the Toltec, established an empire in the Valley of Mexico and developed a great civilization still evidenced by the ruins of magnificent buildings and monuments. The leading tribe, the Aztec, built great cities and developed an intricate social, political, and religious organization. Their civilization was highly developed, both intellectually and artistically. The first European explorer to visit Mexican territory was Francisco Fernández de Córdoba, who in 1517 discovered traces of the Maya in Yucatán. In 1535, some years after the fall of the Aztec capital, the basic form of colonial government in Mexico was instituted with the appointment of the first Spanish viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza. A distinguishing characteristic of colonial Mexico was the exploitation of the Native Americans. Although thousands of them were killed during the Spanish conquest, they continued to be the great majority of inhabitants of what was referred to as New Spain, speaking their own languages and retaining much of their native culture. Inevitably they became the laboring class. Their plight was the result of the \'encomienda\' system, by which Spanish nobles, priests, and soldiers were granted not only large tracts of land but also jurisdiction over all Native American residents. A second characteristic of colonial Mexico was the position and power of the Roman Catholic church. Franciscan, Augustinian, Dominican, and Jesuit missionaries entered the country with the conquistadores. The Mexican church became enormously wealthy through gifts and bequests that could be held in perpetuity. Before 1859, when church holdings were nationalized, the church owned one-third of all property and land. A third characteristic was the existence of rigid social classes: the Native Americans, the mestizos, mixed Spanish and Native American (an increasingly large group during the colonial era), black slaves which were brought from Africa and the Caribbean, freed blacks and white Mexicans. The white Mexicans were themselves divided. Highest of all classes was that of the peninsulares, those born in Spain, as opposed to the criollos, or Creoles—people of pure European descent who had been born and raised in New Spain. The peninsulares were sent from Spain to hold the highest colonial offices in both the civil and church administrations. The peninsulars held themselves higher than the criollos, who were almost never given high office. The resentment of the criollos became an influential force in the later movement for independence. In 1808 the viceroy, under pressure from influential criollos, permitted them to participate in the administration. Other peninsular officials objected and expelled the viceroy. In the midst of these factional struggles a political rebellion was begun by the Mexican people. Mexico has been rocked by political rebellion during most of its entire history in one way or another. Under the various dictatorships that Mexico found itself under at times in history, it made tremendous advances in economic and commercial development. Many of the new undertakings were financed and managed by foreigners (mostly American and European). This was and continues to be a major factor in the discontent of most Mexicans. Moreover, the government favored the rich owners of large estates, increasing their properties by assigning them communal lands that belonged to the Native Americans. When the Native Americans revolted, they were sold into peonage. Discontent, anger and a spirit of revolt continued to grow throughout Mexico. Madero was elected president in 1911, but was not forceful enough to end the political strife. Other rebel leaders, particularly Emiliano Zapata and Francisco (Pancho) Villa, completely refused to submit to presidential authority. Victoriano Huerta, head of the Madero army, conspired with the rebel leaders and in 1913 seized control of Mexico City. New armed revolts under Zapata, Villa, and Venustiano Carranza began, and Huerta resigned in 1914. Carranza took power in the same year, and Villa at once declared war on him. In addition to the ambitions of rival military leaders, intervention by foreign governments seeking to protect the interests of their nationals added to the confusion. In August 1915, a commission representing eight Latin American countries and the United States recognized Carranza as the lawful authority

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Topics Related to Mexican Economy

Americas, Mexico, Military history of Mexico, Folk saints, French intervention in Mexico, Venustiano Carranza, Mexicans of European descent, Emiliano Zapata, Victoriano Huerta, Mexicans, Criollo people, New Spain

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