Mexico History - The Conquest and the Colonial Period 3

Mexico History – The Conquest and the Colonial Period Part III

The natural tendency of the first conquerors to become independent meant that, although the emperor had nominated Cortés “governor general of New Spain and its provinces”, until October 15, 1522 Olid had rebelled against him and had placed him in the need to undertake his unfortunate expedition to the Hibueras in 1524, to reduce him to obedience. Meanwhile, during his absence from Mexico City, those in charge of governing in his name had refused to recognize each other and had become bitter internal struggles, which prompted the Spanish government to entrust the government of the country to a hearing (council administrative). Since the first audience (from December 1527 to December 1530) was not of government men, but of greedy and ambitious people, the

Having made the conquest of Mexico by men who accomplished it on their own account and for their own benefit, it happened that they tried to make up for the expenses they had incurred and the dangers they had incurred, and asked Cortés for lands and Indians. Cortés yielded to their needs and, in 1522, established the regime of repartimientos and encomiendas in New Spain.

The attitude of Charles V, at the beginning, was different. In his coupon of Valladolid, of June 26, 1523, he declared that “since God, Our Lord, had created the free and unsubject Indians, he could not put them in commendation or make a division of them”. But it was not possible to impose this concept on him. However, the second hearing reduced the divisions and faculties of the encomenderoshe ordered that the Indians not be branded as slaves; he obtained an increase in the introduction of cattle, horses, oxen and wool animals, which, in addition to being useful to the Spaniards, had to facilitate the passage to pastoral life for many nomads and the use of the plow for farmers. Finally, he founded new colonies; the most important, Puebla de los Ángeles, in 1530, by the Franciscan friar Toribio Buenavente (better known as Motolinio).

An encomendero was supposed to be a protector and educator of the Indians who were entrusted to him. In reality, the Indians were obliged to pay him a tribute, corresponding to what the other Indians had to pay to the government and which the second audience reduced to two royals a month. Along with good encomenderos there were bad ones: therefore, protests arose against the institution of encomiendas, especially from the Dominicans. We remember those of the bishop Fra Bartolomeo de las Casas. The Franciscans took an attitude of their own. Opposing all the exactions of which the Indians were victims, they argued that the best way to defend them was to make their encomiendas hereditary., at least in favor of the next generation; and in enlarging the possessions of the encomenderos so as to make abuses against Indians difficult. The missionaries also turned to the assistance and defense of the Indians, teaching them the catechism, the elements of Spanish culture, the arts and crafts, the spoken Castilian language, Latin, the first rules of the art of governing indigenous peoples. Above all, Peter of Ghent stood out in this activity, who ran for about 50 years the school he founded in Tecoco and then in Mexico, which was both primary, secondary and normal, and Bernardino of Sahagún, in the school of Santa Cruz in Tlatelolco, founded in 1536 by bishop Juan de Zumárraga and viceroy Mendoza. In the latter school and outside the school, Fra Bernardino called Indians to his collaborators,, which makes him one of the greatest founders of American ethnology.

Abolished slavery with the bull of Paul III of 2 June 1536, which deserves the name of Bull of freedom, published on 20 November 1542 the New Laws, which not only prohibited slavery but put an end to the encomiendas, the viceroy Mendoza was forced to suspend its execution due to the resistance of the encomenderos. However, his successor, Luigi de Velasco, obtained in 1551 that freedom be made to Indians still slaves. There was, however, the question of the property of the Indians to be resolved. The crown of Spain had ordered several times that they be respected: both the private ones of the ancient lords, and the communal ones of the indigenous villages, whose usufruct was distributed to the heads of families assigned to the various lots, on condition that they did not leave them and cultivated. Certainly, the attitude of the pope and of the numerous defenders of the Indians, especially of the bishops and friars; the marvelous spirit of dedication with which men of admirable virtue such as the bishop fra Giovanni de Zumárraga (1468-1548) and bishop Vasco de Quiroga (1470-1565) consecrated themselves to their assistance and education;

According to Rrrjewelry, the most important fact originating from the conquest was the formation of mixed races, of which the main component, because more numerous than the other, was the indigenous. In the early years of the colony, the unions between Spaniards and Indians seem to have been favored: although the Indians were separated from the whites, partly with the aim of preventing the former from being overwhelmed by the latter. Nonetheless, the number of mestizos multiplied more and more, until they made up 22% of the entire population in 1810. The imported black race also helped to form the population: but it rapidly diluted in the midst of the indigenous; and few individuals represented it when independence was achieved. These mestizos, as well as the Creoles, that is the whites born in New Spain, were found, especially in the century. XVII, when they had already greatly increased, in conditions of economic and social inferiority. For them no real estate was established, as they were for the first colonizers; the Spaniards were generally preferred to them; the mestizos, then, were considered an inferior race. This condition in which a large number of individuals was found, greatly exacerbated the character of some of them, created a leaven of discontent, led above all the Creoles to buy from the Spaniards the lands not distributed and not owned by the Indians or badly defended from them.

Mexico History - The Conquest and the Colonial Period 3