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Section Two A Place of Three Cultures

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1 Section Two A Place of Three Cultures
Chapter Ten Mexico Section Two A Place of Three Cultures

2 Aztecs The Aztecs built the most powerful empire in Mexico in the early 1400’s. Their capital city, Tenochtitlan, occupied the site of modern Mexico City. It had a population of 60,000 and a main square with great temples and palaces.

3 The Spanish Conquest In 1519 the Spanish armies led by Hernan Cortez marched into Tenochtitlan. Within two years the conquistadors, or conquerors, destroyed the Aztec empire. The territory won by Cortes became the colony of New Spain.

4 New Spain Four social classes emerged as the Spanish settled New Spain: Peninsulares- born in Spain, held high official positions Criollos- people of Spanish ancestry born in the Americas Mestizos- people of mixed ancestry Indians- native people of the Americas Native Americans provided the labor on haciendas. Hacienda- large Spanish owned estates of land usually run as farms or cattle ranches. The haciendas and Native Americans were given to the conquistadors as rewards by the Spanish king. The Native Americans were to be “looked after”, but in fact lived a slave-like existence.

5 Road to Democracy Spanish colonial rule lasted until the early 1800’s.
In 1810 a criollo priest named Miguel Hidalgo called for a rebellion against Spanish rule. In 1821 the independent nation of Mexico was established. Over the next 100 years, Mexico was ruled by strong military leaders. By the end of the 1800’s Mexico was stable enough to attract foreign capital. Railroads and ranches were built. Mexico’s oil industry was also developed. This served only to help wealthy Mexicans grow wealthy and poor Mexicans remain poor.

6 The Mexican Revolution
In 1910 Mexican peasants and middle-class rebelled in the Mexican Revolution. It lasted 10 years and in 1920 Mexico had a new president and constitution. Mexico, like the United States is a federal democratic republic headed by an elected president and congress. It has been ruled by one political party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI from 1920 to 2000. In 2000 Vicente Fox of the National Action Party was elected president.

7 Social Conditions Mexico works to preserve its Native American, mestizo, and Spanish heritages. Mexicans use Spanish as their official language. There is freedom of religion, but most Mexicans are Roman Catholic. Only a small minority holds most of the wealth in the nation. Social justice and economic opportunities have yet to be achieved or created.

8 Rural Life In 1910 nearly all Mexican farmland was part of 8,000 haciendas. The government began a land redistribution program, where hacienda estates have been broken up and divided among landless peasants. Most of the land became ejidos, or farmland owned collectively by a rural community. Many ejido farmers practice subsistence farming. They grow only enough to feed their families. One third of Mexican farms are commercial farms called latifundios. These raise cash crops such as corn, sugar cane, coffee, and fruit. About 4 million rural Mexican families have no land to work. Many become migrant workers. They travel from place to place looking for harvesting jobs. Many come to the U.S. both legally and illegally.

9 Urban Life 75% of Mexico’s people live in cities.
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world. The cities offer better jobs, education, and entertainment. There is a small wealthy upper class in the cities, as well as a small middle class. Most urban dwellers are, however, very poor and must struggle to survive.

10 Economic Activities In 1993, the United States, Canada, and Mexico formed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This removed all trade barriers between the three nations. Mexico’s trade with the U.S. doubled and unemployment went down.

11 Major Industries The two most important economic activities are petroleum extraction and tourism. Oil reserves are found along Mexico’s Gulf Coast. The government owned oil company, Pemex, is responsible for oil production. Mexico’s climate, scenery, tropical beaches, and rich cultural history make tourism a major source of income along the south Pacific coast and the Yucatan Peninsula. Manufacturing is found mostly in and around Mexico City and in the northern regions of Mexico. It produces much of Mexico’s pollution problem.

12 Border Industries Along the U.S.-Mexican border are more than 2,000 maquiladoras. These are factories that assemble products almost exclusively for consumers in the United States. They employ over 200,000 workers and provide needed money and skills for many workers.

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