Note the dramatic demographic shifts during the colonial era. They include the overwhelming mortality of the indigenous population and that population’s slow rebound in conjunction with the emergence of the Mestizo population.
At the center of the colonial grid- pattern towns, on the central plaza, Catholic houses of worship stamped the church’s overwhelming influence in colonial society. This is the cathedral in Morelia, Michoacan.
One critical Spanish introduction during the colonial period was the grid pattern town, like this one, Antigua, Guatemala. In the US we take this street pattern for granted. However, it was the Spaniards who applied this model of urban planning in the New World.
The excerpt below from colonial Honduras is representative of colonial concerns throughout the Americas. The town Comayagua is populated and situated in the most convenient location in the land and in the best site near gold and silver. The best and richest gold and silver mines in this land are very near the town. The town is located in the most beautiful and fruitful valley in the land. It could produce all the products of Castile: bread, wine, livestock (especially sheep). The town should be the principal city of this land. However, there is lack of Indians in the land. But it would be good site for interoceanic trade (Pedraza, 1539).
Also in Morelia. This slide shows the remnants of a colonial aqueduct that was used to carry water from a spring into the center of town.
In large and small colonial cities the plaza was ringed by corridors of arches that formed a perimeter of verandas around the plaza. These corridors are know as portales. They often house restaurants.
Typical interior courtyard of a municipal building in a large colonial city. This is Morelia.
Nueva Espana: 1522-1821 Political Institutions: Audiencia (1529) Council of the Indies (1524) Viceroyalty and Viceroy (1535) Religious Institutions secular clergy: comprised of priests who served under bishops appointed by Pope. Secular clergy worked hand in hand with civil authorities. missionary orders (regular clergy): self-governing bodies under the separate authority of their respective superiors. Had greater influence over the common people. Franciscan (1523) Augustinians (1533), Dominicans (1525) Jesuits (1571) Economic/Social Institutions Encomienda: this grant of vast amounts of land and labor to conquistadors and their offspring led to the concentration of land in the hands of a relatively small elite class.
This map shows how Mexico was divided into different political units during the later colonial period.