America’s Influence on Mexican Culture

How does the geography of Mexico affect the people, culture, and government? There are different reasons people do and do not want to live in Mexico. Some reasons may be the climate, natural resources, or location. I will be talking about the culture of Mexico long ago and some of the culture today.

The Olmecs were a big influence on Mexico’s culture today. Around 1500 b.c. the Olmecs began their civilization along Mexico’s Gulf coast. The Olmecs developed a complex political system, religion, calendar, and a system of writing. Their writing system used hieroglyphics. They traded with nearby people, through this trade Olmecs influenced Native American cultures that came later.

The Mayans followed the Olmecs as the leading native culture in the region. They lived in southern Mexico and had several dozen cities with thousands of people within each city. These cities had pyramid-shaped temples of stone decorated sculptures. They also recorded the histories of all their rulers. The Mayans declined around A.D. 900, but Maya cities still continue in the Yucatan Peninsula. Thousands of Mayans still live in Mexico today.

The Aztecs settled in what is now Mexico city, they built the capital in the 1300s. Their capital, Tenochtitlan, was built on an island in the middle of a lake. With 150,000 people their city was the largest city ever built by Native Americans. They were skilled farmers and grew corn, beans, squash, and chili peppers. They built aqueducts to supply water to their capital, they also built canals to make travel easier.

They had a very strong army and by A.D. 1500s they had conquered and controlled 5 million people. In the late 1400s, explorers from Spain sailed to America and heard about the Aztecs and set out to find these people, leading to an experience that changed the history of Mexico. In 1519, Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, he and his 500 soldiers were greatly outnumbered by the Aztecs. Yet, just after two years Cortes and his soldiers defeated the Aztecs.

Cortes destroyed Tenochtitlan and built Mexico City in its place, Mexico City is still the capital today. Under Spanish rule, the lives of the native people changed. Settlers from Spain held the most power in society, native people held few rights. Preist came to Mexico to change native people into Roman Catholic religion, the church became an important part of the new colony. Churches were built in the middle of towns and cities, and church leaders became leaders in the colony.

The Olmecs, Mayans, Aztecs, and Spanish have all influenced the culture of modern Mexico. Their calendars, religion, practices can still be seen today.

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