History of Colonial Mexican Society and the War of Independence

Spanish language now is one of the most spoken languages all over the world. Great number of people in different countries and continents speak it and consider it to be their native language. The reason for such a great popularity lies in the history of Spain. In past time, it was one of the mightiest colonial empires. Being the first to discover and colonize the New World, Spain managed to create a great state which was one of the most powerful and influential in those times. Its territories were huge, as the major part of South and North America was ruled by the Spanish Crown.

These territories supplied the mother country with a great number of different resources in such a way promoting its blistering development. Intending to conquer and control more and more lands, the Spanish monarchy sent many people to their colonies, trying to bring their own culture, traditions and laws. That is why, there is a great number of people in the world which now consider Spanish to be their native language. There are not colonial empires in our world any more, as all these territories fought for their independence and managed to achieve success. Modern Mexico was one of these colonies.

To understand the main motifs of the war of independence better, it is necessary to analyze the main stages of the development of relations between Mexico and Spain. The thing is, that the territory of modern Mexico is known to be the place for a powerful Aztec Empire, which managed to conquer a great number of different Indian tribes1. However, being so powerful, it was not able to resist the Spanish invasion. Hernando Cortes with a bunch of soldiers managed to conquer all these lands, killing Indians, their kings, women and children. Being very cruel, he brought devastation and death to these lands. Moreover, he was the first to establish the model which was then accepted.

This model was connected with the treatment of Indians. Being not able to resist white population of Europe, Indians were used as a workforce and a remedy for making money. Inability of the locals to struggle for their rights became one of the main reasons for their long exploiture. Suffering from new, unknown for them diseases, living under terrible conditions and almost dying off, they become those source which created the basis for powerful and prosperous Spanish Empire.

New Spain appeared as a result of the hellish toil of the locals. Moreover, from one of the richest peoples in the world, they turned into the poorest ones as all their treasures were sent to Spain. This practice was common for the economic life of New Mexico. Huge territories of the North America served as a mere supplier of a raw material for the mother country and almost nothing remained there. First of all, it was the source of the precious metals, that is why their exploration became the main priority2. Conditions in mines were horrible, however, it was the Indians’ main duty to work there. Moreover, they had to pay a fee each year.

Nevertheless, there were a great number of other unfair laws and traditions. Being at least twice bigger than Spain, New Spain were able to produce much more goods, however, it was not allowed to do it. Being afraid of rivalry, Spain prohibited creation of the same goods which were manufactured in the mother land and raising of the same crops. These artificial limits depressed the economy of the colony, preventing it from development. Moreover, there was an obvious segregation of the society. The minority, presented by noble people from Spain, were the most influential and powerful people who dictated their rules in society. The rest of the population had different rights and duties. Mestizos and mulatto were deprived of any civil rights and were treated not much better than Indians. Though the last ones, as against Negros, could not become slaves, conditions of their living were not better. They were only supplied with everything they need not to extinct as the colony needed their hands. Moreover, there was one more important factor which influenced state of affairs in New Spain.

This thing was the Catholic Church3. Being great admirers of this institution, Spanish people of course brought it to new lands and tried to fasten their religion to locals who were pagans and had their own traditions and beliefs. Moreover, the culture of Indians were taken as primitive and not worth attention, that is why there was the strangle of the Spanish culture which was dominant and the only accepted in society. Clothes, lifestyle, food and a great number of other things were copied from traditions and customs which were peculiar for Spain. That is why, it is possible to say, that the majority of population of New Spain suffered from the colonial oppression. Being rich in mineral resources, Mexico had to give almost all its money to the mother land, while the vestiges were used to supply rich Spanish people who lived in New Spain.

Having outlined the main aspects of the colonial life of Mexico, it is possible to understand that the majority of its population was not satisfied with existing state of affairs. However, Spain had been the only ruler of these lands for three hundred years, dictating its rules and exploiting its population. There were several reasons for such a long rule. The first, of course, was the inborn helplessness of Indians before white people. Historically, they were not able to resist them.

There were religious and cultural aspects of this weakness. Indians had never seen white people before. Moreover, the level of technological development of Europeans was higher and this fact, of course, was one of the main factors which shocked Indians. Arquebuses and giant ships defied their imagination and that is why Spanish people were taken as the ambassadors of skies. However, there were some other reasons for such a long rule. In fact, Spain was the creator of this state.

It did not conquer the existing one, it just fought for territories, where new colonies were founded. That is why, people who inhabited these colonies had no great thrust for independence as they did not have the experience of being free or having their own country. Colonials were not united around the idea of struggle for independence. Every social group had its own interests and purposes. Moreover, the future, in case of revolution, seemed rather vague, as the country did not have its own economic system and its industry was still limited and not developed. That is why, the rule of the Spanish Crown was so long.

However, step by step, Mexican Society managed to overcome these obstacles. Events which took part in Europe at the beginning of the 19th century and ideas of Enlightenment influenced and altered the conscience of the people, who lived in Mexico, greatly. Having understood their rightlessness, being not satisfied with existing caste system and the flow of wealth out of their country to Spain4, local people decided to fight for their independence in order to create new country in which they would be able to be the owners of its wealth and resources. The Mexican war of Independence started at 1810 and ended in the 1821 by the proclamation of the Mexican Empire, which later transferred into a federal republic. There were many other stresses and wars in the history of this land. However, this event was the most important for the development of this country as the colony obtained its independence.

Having analyzed the data, it is possible to come to certain conclusions. First of all, it should be said that modern Mexico and some other territories of North and South America had been under the Spanish rule for a long period of time. Being conquered in the process of conquista, these lands supplied Spain with resources and served as the main basis for its wealth. People, who lived there, were deprived of any rights and considered to be only servants and workers. However, this state of affairs could not satisfy the population of these colonies any more. The Mexican War of Independence was the result of this dissatisfaction and led to the birth of a new state which now is known as Mexico.


“. Nations Online.

Martin, Richard. Governance and Society in Colonial Mexico: Chihuahua in the Eighteenth Century. Redwood City: Stanford University Press, 2000. Web.

Palfrey, Dale. ““.



1 “History of Mexico”, Nations Online. Web.

2 Richard Martin, Governance and Society in Colonial Mexico: Chihuahua in the Eighteenth Century (Redwood City: Stanford University Press, 2000), 2.

3 Dale Parley. “The settlement of New Spain: Mexico’s Colonial era”. Web.

4 “The Pre-Independence Mexican Indian Uprisings Did They Help or Hinder Mexico’s Drive to Independence?”. Web.

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