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Mexicano Contributions to the Southwest Mexicano- Mexican- American Mexican Cession 1848- 80,000- 100,000 Mexicans living in what is now, U.S. territory. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo granted citizenship to these people, the right to keep their property, & use their language.

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Mexicano Contributions to the Southwest

Mexicano- Mexican- American


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Mexican Cession

  • 1848- 80,000- 100,000 Mexicans living in what is now, U.S. territory.

  • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo granted citizenship to these people, the right to keep their property, & use their language.

  • Most of these promises weren’t kept.

  • Many Americans believed they were superior, white settlers pushed Mexicans off their land.


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Prejudice Against Mexicano’s

  • Whites took Mexicano’s land

  • Made it illegal for Mexicano children to speak Spanish in schools.

  • Found ways to keep them from voting.

  • The government did little to protect Mexicano’s, despite protests.


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Mexican Heritage

  • White settlers showed little respect for Mexicano’s but did borrow their heritage.

  • Spanish words & Mexican foods, laws, technology, & architecture all became a lasting part of the culture of the Southwest.


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Mexicano Contributions

  • Mining

  • Cattle Ranching

  • Irrigated Farming

  • Food

  • Architecture

  • Laws

  • Entertainment


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Mining

  • Mining in the West came in 3 waves: gold, silver, & copper. All 3 depended on the contribution of Mexican miners.

  • Mexicano’s came to the Southwest w/ a rich mining tradition, knew where to look for precious metals & how to get them from the ground.

  • Taught miners panning & brought the riffle box to the goldfields.


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Mining Skills

  • Introduced panning- scoop up mud, swish away the sand & left with gold.

  • Riffle box: bottom of a long box was crossed w/ pieces of wood called riffles. As mud washed trough the box, the heavy gold sank & was trapped behind the riffles. Used extensively by Americans & Chinese.

  • Mexicano’s taught Americans how to get quartz out of the mountains.

  • Also showed miners how to use a simple arrastra, or grinding mill, to crush rock so they could easily remove gold.


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Silver & Copper Mining

  • A Mexican miner sparked the West’s first big silver strike.

  • 1859, Henry Comstock was getting annoyed w/ all this “blue stuff” he was finding while looking for gold.

  • A Mexican miner said it was silver. In its first 20 years, the Comstock lode yielded over $300 million in gold & silver.


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Copper

  • Mexicano’s discovered copper in the Southwest in the early 1800s.

  • When Americans began to mine copper in Arizona they turned to Mexicans for help.

  • By 1940 Arizona mines had produced $3 billion worth of copper that carried electricity & telephone calls to millions of homes across America.


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Cattle Ranching

  • Cattle ranching in the west was built upon traditions brought north from Mexico.

  • Spanish colonists imported the first cattle to the Americas.

  • Soon there were millions of cattle in California & Texas. Mexicans taught Americans the cattle business from Mexican rancheros, or ranchers.


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The Rancho

  • Western cattle ranching was nothing like dairy farming in the East. Western ranchos were much larger.

  • In the arid Southwest, large grants of land were needed to provide enough food & water for cattle herds.

  • Instead of dairy, in the West, they produced meat, hides & tallow (beef fat).

  • Cowboys were hired to care for the cattle.


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The Roundup

  • Cowboys most important jobs were the rodeo, or roundup, @ branding.

  • Branding was essential b/c herds mixed together in unfenced grasslands.

  • As Americans took up ranching, they adopted the rancheros’ practice of branding cattle.

  • Cowboys, roundups, branding are all still part of ranch life in the West.


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The Cowboy

  • Vaqueros admired for riding skills, roping, & handling cattle. American cowboys adopted their clothes, gear & much of their language.

  • Cowboy hats came from sombreros: shaded eyes, served as a water pail or pillow.

  • Leather chaps protect legs from cacti/sagebrush.

  • High-heeled, pointed-toe boots to easily slip into stirrups, the poncho, cowboy saddle w/ horn to tie steer, the lariat (rope for lassoing)


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Cowboy Lingo

  • Bronco, stampede, corral, lasso, burro, buckaroo, vamoose, mesa, canyon, mesquite, chaparral- all taken from the Spanish language.


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Sheep Raising

  • New Mexico’s most important industry was sheep raising. Americans saw the Spanish sheep-raising system in New Mexico, they soon adopted the system as their own.

  • Large-scale sheep raising spread into California.

  • 1862-1880, U.S. wool production went from 5 million to 22 million pounds per year.


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Irrigated Farming

  • People in the East knew nothing about irrigation: plenty of rain. Southwest: 6 months w/out rain: irrigation essential.

  • Mexican settlers brought w/ them irrigation techniques developed centuries earlier in Spain & North Africa.

  • Borrowed from Pueblo Indians of New Mexico.

  • When settlers arrived, Pueblos irrigated 15,000-25,000 acres of crop in Rio Grande Valley.


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Mexican System of Irrigation

  • 1st farmers redirect water from local streams to their field. Built dam of rocks, earth & brush across the stream. Water that backed up behind the dam was brought to fields: irrigation ditches.

  • To prevent wasting: carefully leveled fields into squares, each square marked off by a wall of earth high enough to hold water. As each square got soaked w/ water, they made a hole in the wall & water flowed to the next square.


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American’s Fruit Basket

  • Americans used Mexicano crops & irrigation techniques to turn the Southwest into America’s fruit basket.

  • Grapes, dates, olives, apples, walnuts, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, & quinces. Lemons, limes, oranges.

  • With the help of Mexicano farm workers, American farmers transformed dry deserts into irrigated fruit orchards & citrus groves.


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Mexican Food

  • Spain’s conquest of Mexico in 1521, created a Food Revolution. Spain came to Mexico for gold, great treasure: the food. Corn, tomatoes, chocolate/peanuts/vanilla/squash/avocados/ coconuts/sunflower seeds/chili peppers/beans.

  • Spain brought “Old World” to Mexico: pork/beef lamb/chicken/goat/almonds/walnuts/rice/wheat barley. Planted apples/oranges/grapes/olives lettuce/carrots/sugarcane/potatoes (Peru), cinnamon/parsley/coriander/oregano/pepper.


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New Cooking Style

  • Mexican cooks combined these Old & New foods to create a rich, flavorful style of cooking neither Indian or Spanish: Mexican.

  • When Americans came they borrowed recipes. In Texas, a “Tex-Mex” combo was created: Chili


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Spanish-style Architecture

  • Thick walls, red tile roofs, round arches, courtyards, typical Spanish architecture

  • Their mission homes were simple & ideally suited to the hot, dry climate of the Southwest.

  • Wood scarce in Southwest, Mexicans used adobe bricks as main building material.

  • Adobe: mixture of earth, grass, water shaped into bricks, baked in sun. They covered their adobe homes w/ red clay tiles: fireproof, kept wall from being washed away in heavy rain.


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Newcomers adopt Spanish style

  • Americans adopted the styles b/c of advantages of adobe: stayed cooler in the summer & warmer in winter.

  • Adobe structures were easily constructed.

  • Americans built homes, courthouses, trading posts, post offices, etc.

  • Later builders adopt this style for concrete & stucco. 1930- nearly 1 millions Spanish-style homes in California.


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Mexican Laws

  • Mexico outlawed slavery in 1829.

  • Slaves sometimes ran away to Mexico.

  • When Americans went west to mine, they had no laws so they used Mexican mining laws to develop a “law of mines”

  • Water law- too precious & rare in Southwest to be privately owned: belongs to everyone.

  • Community property: women get half the property in a divorce.


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Mexicano Entertainment

  • Music, dance & fiestas (celebrations).

  • Music & dancing: Mexicano music greatly influenced country & western music in Southwest. Most importantly: corrido, or folk ballad. A corrido is a dramatic story sung to the accompaniment of guitars.

  • American settlers admired the Mexican dance, part of any fiesta. Favorites: jota, fandango, & la bamba.


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Fiestas

  • Variety of religious festivals. One of the most important for Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico.

  • In San Antonio, Texas, Tejanos marked this day December 12 w/ a celebration @ cathedral & danced all night @ homes.

  • Today: El Cinco de Mayo (the Fifth of May), celebrates an important victory in Mexico’s fight for independence from French rule in 1862.


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Rodeo

  • Millions of Americans find the Rodeo exciting. Rodeo roots go back to cattle roundups on Mexicano ranchos.

  • Mexican cowboys competed w/ each other in calf roping, bull riding, & bronco busting.

  • Americans soon joined in these contests & soon rodeos became annual events in western cities.


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