Modern Mexico is a diverse multi-enthinc nation. There are two basic ethnic components to Mexican ethnicity. The dominant ethnic component culturally is European, primarily Spanish. Spain was of course the colonial power. Only a few decades after Columbus' first voyage (1492), Spanish Conquistadores began the Conqust of Mexico (1519). The military superiority of the Conquistadores made Spaine and the Catholic Church the dominant cultural in New Spain. At the time of the conquest a very small group of Spanish conquistadors confront a huge relatively advanced Ameri-Indian population. The Spanish quickly defeated the major Amer-Indian people in Central Mexico because of superior military technology and the division of the indigenous Amer-Indian people into differnt, often warring tribes. The demographic balance rapidly shifted. The major factor was the collapse of he Amer-Indian population, primarily because of exposure to European diseses for which they had no exposure. The Bearing Sea crossing of Siberia nomads occurred before the advent of civilization which is where mny infectous diseases developed. Thus the Amer-Indian population declined while there was constant flow of Spanish and other European colonists to New Spain. The colonists were virtully all from southern Catholic Europe as the Inquisition kept almost all influence from Protestant northern Europe out. This continued even after independence (1821) and the demise of Inquisition as a cultural matter. Over four centuries, a third group appeared in Nexico--the mestizo, people of mixed Amer-Indian/Spanish ethnicity. Something like half of the Mexican population today is Mestizo. The exact proprtion is difficult to measure, beause there are diferent definitions and Mexicans themselves do not agree on the proper definition. There are two basic ways of defining ethnicity in Mexico and other Latin American countries--biological (meaning genetics) and cultural. Thanks to modern DNA studies we have fairly accurate data on biological ethnicity. Cultural ethnicity is more complicated. Ethnicity in Mexico is something based more on culture than genetics, but genetics is not absent in the national conciousness. Mexicans might be viewed as seperate ethnic groups, but in general there is a great deal of cultural cohesion, perhaps more so than in the United States.
The Indigenous population of Mexico were the Amer-Indian people divided into many often warring tribes. Ameri-Indian is the term more commonly used in Latin America for what North-Americans call Native Americans.
Mexicans use the term indios or indigenas. There are many different tribes in Mexico. Researchers have found a remarkavke diversity among the more than 60 indigenous people. The most powerful and richest group was the Aztecs which dominated central Mexico at the time of the Conquest. Native Americans are a bit different than the United States where Native Ameican groups are a very small part of the population. Native Americans in fact make up a major part of the Mexican population in that most Mexicans have both Spanish and Native American ancestors. The Amer-Indian ethnic component is something like 35-55 percentb of the population. The variation depends om whether or not you include the Mestizo component in the population. It would be much smaller if you use a cultural rather than genetic measure. The Indian minorities today are generally pure blood individuals living in communities that are culturally destinct from the overall Mexican national culture. Many of these Native American cultures still speak indigenous languages. Many lived on ejidos, communal organizations created during the Revolution. The ejidos have declined in recent years as a result of poor management and Government market reforms. Native American groups in Oaxaca have staged a rebellion from the authority of the national Government.
The Spanish quickly defeated the major Amer-Indian pelole in Central Mexico because of superior military technology and the division of the indigenous Aner-Indian people into differnt, often warring tribes. The demographic balance rapidly shifted. The major factor was the collapse of he Amer-Indian population, primarily because of exposure to European diseses for which they had no exposure. The Bearing Sea crossing of Siberia nomads occurred before the advent of civilization which is where many infectous diseases developed. Thus the Amer-Indian population declined while there was constant flow of Spanish and other European colonists to New Spain. The Spanish, especially in the early years came mostly from Andalusia, Castille and Extremadura (south-central Spain). The Muslim invaders from North Africa occupied almost all of Spain, but the northern prt of the country was was retaken fairly early on. The Muslim imprint on Spain was thus the strongest on the central and southern regions--Al-andalus. They controlled much of the area for over 8 centuries. Al-andalus was at first part of the Umayyad Caliphate, but soon became largly independent. Ther does not seem to have ben a masive erhnic mixing, but there was a cultural imprint. Perhaps most important, the centuries of mlitary conflict involved in the Reconquista meant that the Spanish Conquistadores were a finely honed military machine. The Spanish conquerors and the Catholic Church began to stamp out Ameri-Indian culture. The European population today is something like 40-60 percent of the popultion, depending on if you include include the mestizo popultion in the assesment.
New Spain was not heavily involved in the African slave trade. This was not based on any moral reasns, but because the Conquistadores and subsequent Spanish colonists did not need to import a foreign labor force, they had the conquered Aner-Indian people. Some were at first enslaved, but most were reduced to a basically feudal serf status as part of the Ebcomienda system. Small numbers of captive Africans were imported to work in the tropical conditiins along the Gulf coast. They were mostly from Cape Verde, Guinea and Mauritania (Arguin island). While a smallpart of the overall Mexican population, about 3-5 percent, Afreo-Mexicans are of some importance regionally.
We are not sure to what extent the Spanish Conquistadores and colonists had Aran (actually Moorish) ancestry. We think it was relatively small. More importantly, Arabs have begun migrating to Mexico (19th century). They were mostly Christian Arabs escaping oppression and not uncommonly Muslim pogroms. There are some 1.1 million Arabs in Mexico. They mostly come from the Arab Middle-Eastern heartland (Iraq, Lebanonese, Palestine, and Syria).
Over four centuries, a third group appeared in Nexico--the mestizo, people of mixed Amer-Indian/Spanish ethnicity. Something like half perhaps a little more of the Mexican population today is Mestizo. The exact proprtion is difficult to measure, beause there are diferent definitions and Mexicans themselves do not agree on the proper definition. Most Mexican people are not indigenous or Spanish, but rather mestizo. The
Here it is in numbers....the average mestizo mexican based on nuclear DNA is comprised of: Asians (1 percent), African (3 percent), European (40 percent), and Amer-Indian 55 percnt). For Mitochondrial DNA the numbers are African (3 percent), European (6 percent), and Amer-Indian (91 percent). The difference is due to the fact that most mestizos are the product of Spanish men and Amer-Indian women. American researchers and Mexico’s National Institute of Genomic Medicine have been collecting genetic data from mestizos for many years. One interesting result is that mestizos in any specific part of Mexico tended to have the same 'rare' genetic markers as the indigenous people in that same area. The researchers report that the mestizo genomes “track so well with the indigenous groups that we could use the genetic diversity in mestizos to make inferences about [their native] ancestors." [Wade]
There are asmall number of Asian-Mexicans. Something like 1 percent.
Wade, Lizzie. "People from Mexico show stunning amount of genetic diversity," Science (June 12, 2014).
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