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Mexico Class Notes

World Geography – Mexico: A Blending Of Cultures
Mexico Class Notes
Lesson Idea
Enduring Understandings
Native and Spanish influences have shaped Mexico.
Concepts Important to Know and Understand
Spanish conquest, Tenochtitlan, Institutional Revolutionary Party, Mestizo, Maquiladoras, NAFTA
Broad Brush Knowledge
Political, Economic, Social, Environmental factors, Environment, Language, Religion, Ethnicity, Education
Colonialism and Independence
A. The territory of present day Mexico was originally occupied by many different
native peoples.
B. These people included the:
C. The rich fabric of native life was torn apart by the
II. Spanish Conquest
A. In 1519, _____________________________________________ landed on the
coast of Mexico.
B. Cortes and his men marched into the interior of the country until they reached
the Aztec city of ______________________________________, the ancient site
of present day Mexico City.
C. By 1521, Cortes and his soldiers had ___________________________ the Aztecs.
III. Colony and Country
A. For centuries afterward, Mexico was part of the _________________________
B. In ___________________________, Mexico achieved independence from Spain.
IV. One Party Rule
A. In 1929, a new political party arose in Mexico. This was the
____________________________________________________________ (PRI).
It helped to introduce democracy and maintain political stability for much of the
20th century.
B. This party did not tolerate opposition, because of this, _____________________
and ________________________________ undermined the democratic process.
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C. In 2000, _____________________________________, the National Action Party
candidate, was elected president of Mexico. For the first time in 71 years, the PRI
did not control Mexico’s congress or presidency.
D. This showed that Mexico was gradually becoming more
V. A Meeting of Cultures
A. The culture of Mexico is a blend of ___________________________ influences
with original ________________________ cultures.
B. Mexico’s native population has helped shaped the country’s
VI. The Aztecs
A. Before the arrival of the Spanish, Mexico was a place of many advanced
____________________________ cultures.
B. The Aztec Empire began in __________________________ A.D.
C. The Aztecs built their capital of ________________________________________,
a city of beautiful temples, palaces, gardens, and lakes.
D. Tenochtitlan was where the Aztecs practiced _________________________
sacrifice in their temples.
VII. The Spanish
A. When Cortes and the Spanish conquered the Aztec Empire, they destroyed most
of the capital and built ____________________________________ on top of its
B. The Spanish brought their _________________________________ and
____________________________ religion, both of which dominate modern
Native Influence
A. Mexico’s ____________________________ heritage remains very strong.
B. The name of the country comes from “___________________________”, an
older name for the Aztecs.
C. Mexico has a large ________________________ population – people of mixed
Spanish and Native American heritage.
IX. Mexican Painters
A. Mexico has a long heritage of _____________________________ and
B. In the 20th century, Mexico’s tradition of painting took the form of
______________________ art.
C. Many important painters portrayed the history of Mexico on the
__________________ of its public buildings.
D. Famous Mexican painters include:
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E. Mexican painters blended _____________________________and
_______________________________ influences.
X. An Architectural Heritage
A. The Native Americans constructed beautiful temples and public buildings, often in
the shape of ____________________________.
B. At Tenochtitlan, the people built a city of pyramids, many of which were topped
with _____________________________.
C. The Spanish buildings included beautiful ___________________________ that
were scattered throughout the territory they conquered.
D. Later, the Spanish built huge ____________________________________, such
as the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico.
XI. Economies: Cities and Factories
A. Mexico continues to struggle with two main economic challenges:
It is attempting to close a long-standing gap between the
______________ and ___________________ people.
It is attempting to develop a modern ___________________________
B. Mexico has traditionally been a ______________________________ society, but
it started to industrialize in the middle of the 20th century.
XII. Population and the Cities
A. Mexicans are moving to the cities because they see ________________________
opportunities there.
B. Jobs in the cities provide a way to narrow the gap between the rich and poor
because such jobs pay __________________ than those in rural areas.
C. Mexico’s population of about 52 million in 1970 almost
_________________________ by the year 2000.
D. It’s population is largely very ____________________________.
A. Mexico’s economy includes a large industry based on its oil reserves in and along
the coast of the __________________________________________.
B. Mexico has emphasized its oil industry as an important part of developing an
___________________________ economy.
C. The profits from oil have helped to finance development, especially in
_____________________________________ industries.
A. ______________________________________________ is the most important
part of Mexico’s recent economic development.
B. Most of the new factories are located along the ________________________
and Mexico border.
C. ___________________________________________ are factories in Mexico that
assemble imported materials into finished products that are then exported,
mostly to the United States.
D. These products include:
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A. Mexico is a vital member, along with the United States and Canada, of NAFTA
B. This important trade agreement has created a huge zone of
_______________________________ on trade and economic issues.
C. Trade is expected to contribute to _______________________ for millions of
D. Under NAFTA, import _____________________ on manufactured goods are
being slowly reduced and eventually will disappear.
Mexican Life Today
A. The people of Mexico face big challenges in the world today. Three are foremost
among their concerns:
B. Many of these issues relate to the income gap between the rich and poor.
A. _________________________ has had an impact on family life in Mexico.
B. Mexico shares a 2000 mile border with the
C. Many workers leave Mexico to travel to the United States in search of
D. Many workers send _____________________________ back to their families.
E. Often, a year or two later, they return to Mexico with savings to help improve
_____________________ conditions for their families.
A. The rapidly growing population and various government policies have contributed
to a _________________________________ of jobs.
B. This has led many Mexicans to migrate to the United States in search of work.
C. Without __________________________________ and
_____________________________, young workers cannot find good jobs.
A. In recent years, attendance of eligible students at school has improved.
B. Today, about ______________ % of school-age children attend school.
C. In the coming years, Mexico will have to invest in large sums in
___________________________ to provide a better life for its young citizens.
D. Education will become even more important as Mexico becomes more
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