A Journey Through Time: Essay Sample on Mexico’s History
Mexico is located in the southern part of North America. According to historical records, the first inhabitants of this country migrated here approximately 13,000 years ago. They initially lived in the forest and depended on hunting and gathering as a chief food source. Later, they broke up into the present numerous ethnic groups. This paper analyzes Mexican socio-political and economic history presented in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The indigenous Mexicans believed in the existence of a supernatural being. The Mesoamericans, such as the Maya, Mixtec and Aztecs, had a concept of religion different from Abrahamic religions. According to them, god could be worshiped in any natural phenomenon. It meant that the sun, stars, moon, earth, cosmos, mountains, water, animals or plants could be used to signify the presence of god in their midst. It was coupled with the concept of polytheism, according to which they used linear and angular elements of folk art to create symbols. Such decorations could be inscribed on walls, stones, or pottery decorations.
Besides, the Mexican culture was characterized by class formation and intermarriages. Typically, it had a lot of ethnic groups, such as the Maya, Mixtec, Mixe, Pame, Totonac, Trique, Amuzgo, Chocho, Cora, Seri, and Yaqui, to mention but a few. Each of these had a distinct cultural belief, religion, and language. However, they freely interacted with each other through marriage, sporting activities, and wars. It was a significant component of their culture because it allowed people to peacefully coexist, understand and appreciate their differences. This kind of interaction continued even after the colonization of this country by Spaniards when they intermarried with these settlers to generate a hybrid group called Mestizo.
Last, but not least, the Mexican society was characterized by music and architectural masterpieces. Many scholars believe that the art of music has been practiced by such people as the Chocho, Pame, and Cora for a very long time. There were musical instruments, like flutes, drums, and seashells. Artists used ranchera, banda, and norteno traditional genres to thrill their dancing fans. It was a very important aspect of their life because it entertained, educated, informed, and brought people together. At the same time, the Mesoamericans produced aesthetic architectural designs, which were used as monuments and ceremonial centers to symbolize certain aspects of their tradition. It has continued until now since Mexico is known to generate internationally recognized artists.
However, most of these cultural aspects have faded away due to the colonial conquest of this country. For instance, when introducing Christianity, European missionaries did away with certain traditional practices, such as offering human beings as sacrifices and polytheism. Instead, they introduced a civilized culture that advocated for equality. Similarly, European and American designs greatly influence the current Mexican music and architecture.
The indigenous inhabitants of Mexico had a diversified economy. It meant that they practiced a lot of economic activities depending on cultural traditions and ecological conditions in the places they occupied. Therefore, each group had to identify an activity that could suit their demands.
To begin with, there was pastoralist activity among certain communities, such as the Pima Bajo. These people lived in ranches in semiarid areas, where they kept cattle. Such dry land could not support any other agricultural activity but pastoral farming. Hence, they took it upon themselves to breed livestock and move from one place to another in search of water and pasture. It was how they earned their livelihood because they could not fail to acquire animal products, such as meat, blood, and milk. It became the most basic diet, to which they had to adapt.
Secondly, some indigenous Mexican tribes, such as the Kiliwa and Lacandon, practiced hunting and gathering as their main source of living. However, after the depletion of natural resources in forests, they resorted to agriculture. Hence, they shifted to producing corn, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, pepper, cotton, cassava, tobacco, and pinto beans. It came after they had been stricken by hunger. It was an experience that compelled them to clear the forest and establish homes and farms. As a result, they established permanent homes and adopted sedentary lifestyles.
Lastly, there was a practice of weaving, pottery, and basketry among the Maya, Kickapoo, and Cora tribes. These people specialized in crafts to produce various products, such as pots, garments, and baskets. These were later exchanged with neighbors for other products they did not have. These people participated in the barter trade, whereby they could get other agricultural commodities, such as meat, livestock, maize, fish, tobacco, cassava, and pumpkins, which they were not producing. They had practiced it for a long time. It was prominently done in the Qaxaca Valley between 1800 BC and 1500 AD. Here, baskets and garments are believed to have been used as religious symbols.
Diverse economic activities in this place indicate its plural nature. Since every group occupied a different area, scanning their environment and developing the best strategy for feeding the ever-expanding population was essential. It was common knowledge that men had to start depending on hunting and gathering before developing adaptive strategies. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. Hence, the depletion of wild animals and fruits compelled men to venture into fishing, pottery, basketry, trade, crop, and animal farming.
The indigenous Mexican population had a complex political structure. Just like any other primitive society, these people had a well-organized political system, which was designed to help them manage day-to-day affairs on the territory, instill discipline, and maintain law and order. There were different empires with strong and able leaders who could unite all subjects to promote security and understanding. Some prominent kingdoms in this land included the Aztecs, Maya, Toltecs, and Tikal.
The Maya kingdom is believed to have originated in 300 BC. As a strong territory, it had a king called Ahau, a political and religious leader. Hence, he made many important decisions in the kingdom. He was the final court of appeal because his decisions were binding. He led them during wars fought to defend or expand the empire. For instance 1428, he spearheaded the Aztecs in the liberation war at Azcapotzalco against their former rulers. It became a turning point in the destiny of this community because after winning, it joined the Texcoco, Tenochtitlan, and Tlacopan kingdoms to form the Tripple Alliance, which it led.
Each of these kingdoms had a contingent of soldiers used to expand and defend the territory against external aggressors. To succeed in these wars, they had to look for weapons. Thus, such kingdoms as the Aztecs had copper weapons. It explained why it emerged victorious in all wars it participated in. After establishing a strong regime, leaders used resources acquired through taxation to construct well-secured palaces. For instance, in 1325, the Aztecs built the city of Tenochtitlan. Later, after the formation of the Tripple Alliance, magnificent headquarters were constructed in Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Surprisingly, these became the largest cities in the world at that time.
The subsequent Mexican regimes inherited this kind of political organization. The spirit of solidarity was applied whenever any war was fought. As a result, the Mexicans managed to unite to engage Spanish colonizers in a series of battles. Even if such agonies had lasted for 300 years, Mexico would have been eventually liberated when it attained full independence on October 4, 824. Even contemporary regimes are successful because of the same spirit.
Mexico has a very rich history. A plural nature characterizes this society, and each group described above has managed to assert its existence harmoniously. Indeed, the social-political and cultural structure of these people is quite admirable. More interestingly, there was a free space for exercising religious freedom. Since these indigenous groups had peculiar traditions, they solidified themselves and created unity in their locations. Besides, political and economic diversity allowed them to interact freely with each other through intermarriages and trade.
However, it would have been better to engage people in decision-making. The vesting of power on political leaders to propagate evils, such as land feudalism and human sacrifices, was ill-informed. Therefore, shunning such practices would have been important because they were detrimental to human lives. Hence, introducing Spanish encomienda feudal systems and synchronizing traditional pre-Hispanic cultural practices became a necessary turning point. These created a conducive environment that accommodated all sorts of people regardless of their background.
Surely, the project is important for understanding that Mexico is where it is today because of the past. Hence, it is an appeal to this country’s political leadership and academicians to conduct extensive research to reconstruct Mexican history. Despite modernity, people should not shy away from their culture. Instead, they should preserve it for the benefit of future generations. One must inherit and identify with its culture when born in a place. The future is a product of the present, which itself is a product of the past. A country, which does not know its history, is a blind nation. All scholars should do such a project.