Mexico History - The Conquest and the Colonial Period 4

Mexico History – The Conquest and the Colonial Period Part IV

In the center and south of the country, where the indigenous culture had developed more, Christianity spread rapidly, thanks to the good disposition that a large number of ancient populations showed for it, and thanks above all to the Franciscan friars (1523), Dominicans (1526) and Augustinians (1533). Among the latter, he distinguished himself between Alonso de la Veracruz (1504-1584), professor at the University of Mexico and founder of the College of St. Paul and of various important libraries. The N. and the NO. they were evangelized for many years by the Jesuits (1572), whose father provincial, Pietro Sánchez, founded the College of St. Peter and Paul in Mexico (1573). Subsequently, almost all the secondary and higher education centers in New Spain came to depend on the Jesuits.

Each element that made up the country’s system of government faced other elements; and even the king’s will encountered obstacles when it affected the interests of the most important social categories. Nevertheless, what corresponded to the superior interests of public life ended up prevailing; for example. the encomiendasthey were definitively abolished in 1729. The king appointed or recalled the viceroys and the highest civil authorities, and exercising his right of patronage, he also appointed the ecclesiastical dignitaries. As an auxiliary organ of his government, he had the Council of the Indies (Consejo de Indias), both for New Spain and for the other possessions of the Crown; and from this council came the appointments of high officials; the minor ones had confirmation from it. The viceroys, apparently absolute lords of New Spain, rarely held their office for more than 10 years, and generally less than six. In the second half of the century. XVIII distinguished themselves for their skill and their singular energy Francesco de Güemes y Horcasitas, count of Revillagigedo (1746-1755), Carlo Francesco de Croix, marquis de Croix (1766-1771), Antonio de Bucareli y Ursúa (1771-1779) and Giovanni Vincenzo de Güemes Pacheco de Padilla, second count of Revillagigedo (1789-1794). The government of the viceroys, throughout the colonial era had a great continuity, mainly due to the relations that the viceroys left to their successors, to inform them about the state of the viceroyalty; the obligation of the viceroys to listen to the opinions of the hearing even when they did not follow them, and to discuss any business order with the related administrative bodies; finally, to the fact that, when their term of office came to an end, they were, if necessary, subjected to a “juicio de residencia” to establish any responsibilities. In New Spain, there were two hearings: that of Mexico and that of Guadalajara, the second subordinate to the first,

According to Shoefrantics, the defects of colonial government have become serious and somewhat chronic, consisting of the condition of inequality and inferiority in which Creoles, mestizos, Indians and blacks were held by the Spaniards from a juridical, economic and social point of view. And this inequality and inferiority was accentuated after the end of the sixteenth century, as the progress of the culture of the whites distanced them more and more from the Indians and from a considerable part of the mestizos. But despite all this, the colony presented, in 1767, very prosperous conditions. Proof of this was the abundance of its natural products, the beauty of its cities, the artistic value of its churches, government buildings, colleges, stately homes, etc.; the generous hospitality they exercised; the lavish life of mine and farm owners and their extensive land holdings, literary contests during the festivities celebrated on the occasion of the oath of kings; the flourishing state of letters, which had as a brilliant representative, in the second half of the century. XVII, Sister Giovanna Inés de la Cruz, and that of the sciences, of which Carlo de Sigüenza y Góngora were conspicuous in the century. XVII, and Giuseppe Antonio Alzate in the century. XVIII; the abundance of works printed in the country, on every subject and even in indigenous languages; the existence of a university, founded 30 years after the conquest, and inaugurated in 1553, which was a breeding ground for men of science and literature.

This was the picture of the viceroyalty, which had already reached its geographical limits, when suddenly, on the night of 23 June 1767, there was the expulsion of the Jesuits, who were generally loved and esteemed and had in their hands the secondary and higher education of the colony as well as the evangelization of the extreme NO. of the territory. This measure was the result of the new ideas which inspired the government of the Bourbon monarchy; fruit of enlightened despotism, which claimed to make the people happy, following an abstract ideal of good rather than the actual needs and will of the people themselves. Forcibly imposed by the Viceroy Marquis de Croix, the expulsion of the Jesuits increased the feeling of indignation of the population of the colony. Various Mexican Jesuits, who had taken refuge in Italy (FS Clavijero, A. Cavo, FS Alegre), were able to dedicate themselves to writing the history of their homeland, while others (Landivar) extolled it in inspired poems. And this contributed to forming the Mexican national consciousness, already dawning in the works of Sister Giovanna Inés de la Cruz and in the history of ancient Mexico written, at the same time as that of Clavijero, by the Augustinian friar Mariano Veytia. The Jesuits expelled, they were replaced by Dominicans in the missions of Baja California, to the north-west; and by the Franciscans in Upper California, headed by Friar Junípero Serra, founder together with his companions, of those missions around which almost all the cities of the territory which now forms the western part of the United States sprang up.

Mexico History - The Conquest and the Colonial Period 4