Colonial expansion was dominated by the Spanish Conquistadors. Trade, and evangelicalism served as prime motivations for this expansion. We can equate these motivations with undertones of greed, and pride. This period of expansion is commonly referred to as “The Age of Exploration”. In the forefront of the process of discovery and conquest were the Spaniards, the chief beneficiaries of the initial wave of Western imperialistic activity. (8)
The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria were the names of the three ships Christopher Columbus consulted during this voyage. While he was viewed as a prominent figure in the past having “discovered the Americas”. Today however, the Italian explorer is perceived less favorably. (15) Christopher Columbus was truly guilty of ethnocentrism, and exploitation of peoples and resources. Although these actions were quite typical of his age. Thus it can be concluded that while the Renaissance and Reformation was an epoch of almost unprecedated artistic achievement, it was also an age of barbarism and intolerance.
•These illustrations depict Christopher Columbus aswell as the three ships that commenced his voyage.
The Spanish fanned out in all directions in search of God, gold, and glory. Their actions in the New World reflected exploitation and plunder. (Reminiscent to Christopher Columbus.) Their alliance with the Tlaxcalteca, in addition to various diseases of smallpox, and sicknesses that were foreign to the Aztecs, as well as advanced technologies and strategies lead them to victory.
Hernan Cortes was a Spanish conquistadaor and viciously lead his army through a brutal expedition that ultimately resulted in the fall of the Aztec empire. They were peacefully received by the Aztec emperor Montezuma, but they too played a deceitful game. Growing fears, paranoia, and tension lead Hernan Cortes to take immediate action after hearing about an attack on his men. He took Montezuma hostage. The Aztecs would recover, driving the Spanish out in 1520, but in 1521, Cortes would return to capture Tenochtitlan.
These illustrations portray the beginning relationshipbetween Hernan Cortes and Montezuma.
Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821. The collapse of Spain’s empire had a host of causes. External factors included the influence of European Enlightenment, which undermined the old order, as well as the examples of revolution in both North America, where the English colonists had proclaimed their independence in 1776. This period is referred to as the Democratic Revolution.
This treaty served as the peace treaty that ended the Mexican-American war. With the defeat of its army and fall of the capital, Mexico surrendered to the United States and entered into negotiations to end the war. This treaty drew out new territories and distinctions. Present day California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado known as the Mexican Cession became ceded to the United States. The Rio Grande would serve as the southern boundary of the United States.
Anti-Mexican attitudes during the second half of the nineteenth century were ubiquuitous throughout the Southwest, as many historians have noted. These sentiments arose for a variety of reasons but the most obvious of these reasons was the legacy of bitterness left by the recent war of conquest. Deep animosities created during the conflict persisted on both sides. Relations between Mexicanos and Anglos were complex. Although there was much hostility between the two ethnic groups, this was not uniformly the case.
The Spanish-speaking population in California rapidly deteriorated after the Mexican-American War. While the relations between the two ethnic communities were bound to be troublesome in the aftermath of the war, they were exacerbated immediately after the gold rush. Envy and racism as well as the desire to eliminate economic competition soon resulted in the attempt to drive Spanish- speaking peoples, all of them indiscriminately lumped under the category of “greasers”. Violence was directed against Mexicans as well as toward people of color. The Mexicano population suffered many indignities.
Cartoons commonly hinted at prejudices and biases against Mexican citizens and immigrants.
The Mexican Revolution was initiated as a revolt against the dictatorship of President Porfirio Diaz. As tensions increased the revolt transformed into a civil war. Young leaders sought democratic opportunity but were denied their rights to participate as President Diaz retained all power for that of his political supporters and himself. Multiple uprisings took place eventually resulting in the army of Diaz’s complete and utter defeat. This revolution proved to be a a revolutionizing of culture, politics, and society.
Pictured here are young rebels andreformers. Among these rebels is PanchoVilla who was one of the most prominentMexican revolutionary generals.
The 1930s was a decade of economic hardship for the United States. All segments of the American population suffered from the shrinking job market. Mexicans were no exception. With the onset of the Depression, Mexicans became a popular scapegoat. The collapse of the economy left Mexicans in dire straits. Even those retaining jobs found that wages were barely enough to make ends meet. Wages inevitably plummeted as competition increased.
While the transformation of traditional Mexican culture was not as dramatic in other parts of the Southwest, urbanization was a regionwide phenomenon. The main destinations of citybound immigrants continue to be the major barrios created in the previous century. The City of Angels illustrates the dynamics of the urbanization experience for Mexicans better than anywhere else, and today it contains the largest Spanish-speaking population in the United States. (142)
These photographs reflectthe hardships Mexicansfaced in the United States.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 forced the United States into the war. For Mexicanos, the colossal conflict represented an opportunity to enter the American mainstream. The military at the time had counted the participation of the Latinos as “whites.” Numbers of Latino participation fluctuate between 250,00 and 500,000.
The advent of pachuco gangs in the early 1940s mirrors the breakdown of the traditional family, as well as the discrimination experience by Mexicano youths in an urban environment. Pachucos represented a unique subculture in the Mexicano community. The felt misunderstood from their parents yet rejected as outsiders and criminals from educational institutions and employers. Left to their own devices they took refuge in carnalismo. (170)
These pictures symbolize the Pachuco culture in Los Angeles. Much of thissubculture can be associated with the Zoo Suit riots.
The Chicano Movement encompassed a broad section of issues. From restoration of land grants, to farm worker’s rights, to enhanced education, to voting and political rights, as well as emerging awareness of collective history. The Chicano Movement also addressed discrimination in private and public institutions.
The ChicanoMovement kindled“Brown Power” and“Chicano Power”which werestatements ofstrength , and pride.Yet humble cries ofjustice, and equality.
The populations of Mexican immigrants boomed throughout the years of 1974-1990. This increase can be attributed to the, extraordinarily high birthrate. This generation labeled as the Hispanic Generation, given its more conservative nature lived in a time of rapid and confusing change. This period is described as the “transitional time between, “Chicanismo and the contemporary age.” Chicano was said to have “transformed from a negative signifier of Mexican immigrant” into a positive self- identifier of “U.S. natives of Mexicano descent.
Mexican immigrants seen boarding and arriving.
In light of the recent movements, Mexicanas too had increasing demands for equality. While immigration became inevitable, women faced the economic challenges with persistency and vigor. From these perspectives emerged novelists, writers, poets, and an increasing number of women in the workforce. Women sought to pursue higher levels of education as well achieving a greater number of various degrees in the college field.
Chicanas demandfor their voice to beheard areempowered throughthis movement.They seek validationand equality. Theseare women from the70s, 80s, and 90s.
Illegal immigration has been a persistent problem in the United States. Hispanics fear that they will be the target of discrimination and prejudice due to these rising trends. The government seeks a speedy solution to this issue yet have not taken the appropriate measures in doing so. This has created many consequences for both the United States and Mexico. Among these consequences is growing xenophobia, prejudice, and discrimination. While the U.S. has tightened its borders, the methods consulted seem to carry the goal of completely shutting out Mexico in issuing a physical and virtual fence/ border. Mexican immigrants have been the targets of harsh policies and law making. Are government officials targeting the issue of immigration or Mexicans as a whole? Mexican immigrants continue to be exploited for labor yet denied their right to pursue opportunity.
THEN & NOWConsider how the family unit has changed from the past to the present. We must think of our upcoming generations and how they will be effected by history we are creating.
Mexicanos is a tremendous book that reveals many truths about the Mexican experience in the United States. Truly the journey of Mexicanos is one that is characterized by a strengthening bond of culture, family, faith, persistence, and determination. This book opens the eyes of its readers in providing them with multiple perspectives of what it meant and means to be Mexican. It celebrates the triumphs, trials, tribulations, validations, and revolution of a people who strived for betterment of their lives in passionatly seeking opportunity, equality, and justice for their generation and beyond.
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