Portions of the province could support sugar cultivation and as early as the s sugar production was underway. New Spain's first viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoza established an hacienda on lands taken from Orizaba. Indians resisted cultivating sugarcane themselves, preferring to tend their subsistence crops. As in the Caribbean, black slave labor became crucial to the development of sugar estates.
During the period when Spain and Portugal were ruled by the same monarch and Portuguese slave traders had access to Spanish markets, African slaves were imported in large numbers to New Spain and many of them remained in the region of Veracruz. In the crown created a monopoly on tobacco, which directly affected agriculture and manufacturing in the Veracruz region. Tobacco was a valuable, high-demand product. Men, women, and even children smoked, something commented on by foreign travelers and depicted in eighteenth-century casta paintings.
It also established a small number of manufactories of finished products, and licensed distribution outlets estanquillos. In during the Bourbon Reforms Veracruz became an intendancy , a new administrative unit. Founded in as a Spanish settlement, Puebla de los Angeles quickly rose to the status of Mexico's second-most important city. Its location on the main route between the viceregal capital and the port of Veracruz, in a fertile basin with a dense indigenous population, largely not held in encomienda, made Puebla a destination for many later arriving Spaniards.
If there had been significant mineral wealth in Puebla, it could have been even more prominent a center for New Spain, but its first century established its importance. In it became the capital of an intendancy of the same name.
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It became the seat of the richest diocese in New Spain in its first century, with the seat of the first diocese, formerly in Tlaxcala, moved there in Merchants, manufacturers, and artisans were important to the city's economic fortunes, but its early prosperity was followed by stagnation and decline in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The foundation of the town of Puebla was a pragmatic social experiment to settle Spanish immigrants without encomiendas to pursue farming and industry.
It was located in a fertile basin on a temperate plateau in the nexus of the key trade triangle of Veracruz—Mexico City—Antequera Oaxaca. Although there were no encomiendas in Puebla itself, encomenderos with nearby labor grants settled in Puebla.
And despite its foundation as a Spanish city, sixteenth-century Puebla had Indians resident in the central core. Puebla's Spanish town council cabildo had considerable autonomy and was not dominated by encomenderos. The administrative structure of Puebla "may be seen as a subtle expression of royal absolutism, the granting of extensive privileges to a town of commoners, amounting almost to republican self-government, in order to curtail the potential authority of encomenderos and the religious orders, as well as to counterbalance the power of the viceregal capital.
Puebla built a significant manufacturing sector, mainly in textile production in workshops obrajes , supplying New Spain and markets as far away as Guatemala and Peru. Transatlantic ties between a particular Spanish town, Brihuega , and Puebla demonstrate the close connection between the two settlements.
The take-off for Puebla's manufacturing sector did not simply coincide with immigration from Brihuega but was crucial to "shaping and driving Puebla's economic development, especially in the manufacturing sector. Although obrajes in Brihuega were small-scale enterprises, quite a number of them in Puebla employed up to workers.
Supplies of wool, water for fulling mills, and labor free indigenous, incarcerated Indians, black slaves were available. Although much of Puebla's textile output was rough cloth, it also produced higher quality dyed cloth with cochineal from Oaxaca and indigo from Guatemala. In , Puebla became an intendancy as part of the new administrative structuring of the Bourbon Reforms.
Mexico City dominated the Valley of Mexico, but the valley continued to have dense indigenous populations challenged by growing, increasingly dense Spanish settlement. The Valley of Mexico had many former Indian city-states that became Indian towns in the colonial era. These towns continued to be ruled by indigenous elites under the Spanish crown, with an indigenous governor and a town councils.
The capital was provisioned by the indigenous towns, and its labor was available for enterprises that ultimately created a colonial economy. The gradual drying up of the central lake system created more dry land for farming, but the sixteenth-century population declines allowed Spaniards to expand their acquisition of land. One region that retained strong Indian land holding was the southern fresh water area, with important suppliers of fresh produce to the capital. The area was characterized by intensely cultivated chinampas, man-made extensions of cultivable land into the lake system.
These chinampa towns retained a strong indigenous character, and Indians continued to hold the majority of that land, despite its closeness to the Spanish capital. A key example is Xochimilco. Texcoco in the pre-conquest period was one of the three members of the Aztec Triple Alliance and the cultural center of the empire. It fell on hard times in the colonial period as an economic backwater.
Spaniards with any ambition or connections would be lured by the closeness of Mexico City, so that the Spanish presence was minimal and marginal. Tlaxcala, the major ally of the Spanish against the Aztecs of Tenochtitlan, also became something of a backwater, but like Puebla it did not come under the control of Spanish encomenderos. No elite Spaniards settled there, but like many other Indian towns in the Valley of Mexico, it had an assortment of small-scale merchants, artisans, farmers and ranchers, and textile workshops obrajes.
Since portions of northern New Spain became part of the United States' Southwest region , there has been considerable scholarship on the Spanish borderlands in the north. The motor of the Spanish colonial economy was the extraction of silver.
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The region farther north of the main mining zones attracted few Spanish settlers. Where there were settled indigenous populations , such as in the present-day state of New Mexico and in coastal regions of Baja and Alta California , indigenous culture retained considerable integrity.
The region did not have indigenous populations that practiced subsistence agriculture. From diverse cultural backgrounds and with no sustaining indigenous communities, these indios were quickly hispanized, but largely remained at the bottom of the economic hierarchy.
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Land owners lent workers money, which could be seen as a perpetual indebtedness, but it can be seen not as coercing Indians to stay but a way estate owners sweetened their terms of employment, beyond their basic wage labor. However, where labor was more abundant or market conditions depressed, estate owners paid lower wages. As with hacendados, renters produced for the commercial market. Many renters retained ties to the estates, diversifying their household's sources of income and level of economic security.
Areas of northern Mexico were incorporated into the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, following Texas independence and the Mexican—American War —48 and generally known as the "Spanish Borderlands. The Presidios forts , pueblos civilian towns and the misiones missions were the three major agencies employed by the Spanish crown to extend its borders and consolidate its colonial holdings in these territories. The town of Albuquerque present day Albuquerque, New Mexico was founded in From , Jesuits established eighteen missions throughout the Baja California Peninsula.
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Between and several missions were founded in Trinidad , but only four survived as Amerindian villages throughout the 18th century. In , explorers and missionaries visited the interior of Texas and came upon a river and Amerindian settlement on June 13, the feast day of St. Anthony , and named the location and river San Antonio in his honor. Accordingly, he resigned as governor in and left New Mexico, having spent much of his personal wealth on the enterprise.
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In , Pedro de Peralta , a later governor of the Province of New Mexico , established the settlement of Santa Fe near the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Missions were established to convert the locals, and manage the agricultural industry. The territory's indigenous population resented the Spanish prohibition of their traditional religion, and the encomienda system of forced labor. After the return of the Spanish in , the final resolution included a marked reduction of Spanish efforts to eradicate native culture and religion, the issuing of substantial communal land grants to each Pueblo, and a public defender of their rights and for their legal cases in Spanish courts.
In the Province came under the new Provincias Internas jurisdiction. In the late 18th century the Spanish land grant encouraged the settlement by individuals of large land parcels outside Mission and Pueblo boundaries, many of which became ranchos. Not until the eighteenth century was California of much interest to the Spanish crown, since it had no known rich mineral deposits or indigenous populations sufficiently organized to render tribute and do labor for Spaniards.
The discovery of huge deposits of gold in the Sierra Nevada foothills did not come until after the U. By the middle of the s, the Catholic order of Jesuits had established a number of missions on the Baja lower California peninsula. The method used to "occupy and fortify" was the established Spanish colonial system: missions misiones , between and twenty-one missions were established aimed at converting the Native Californians to Christianity, forts presidios , four total to protect the missionaries, and secular municipalities pueblos , three total.
As a result, the colonial population of California remained small, widely scattered and near the coast. In , the north-western frontier areas came under the administration of the new 'Commandancy General of the Internal Provinces of the North' Provincias Internas , designed to streamline administration and invigorate growth.
The crown created two new provincial governments from the former Las Californias in ; the southern peninsula became Baja California, and the ill-defined northern mainland frontier area became Alta California. Once missions and protective presidios were established in an area, large land grants encouraged settlement and establishment of California ranchos. The Spanish system of land grants was not very successful, however, because the grants were merely royal concessions—not actual land ownership.
Under later Mexican rule, land grants conveyed ownership, and were more successful at promoting settlement. Rancho activities centered on cattle-raising; many grantees emulated the Dons of Spain , with cattle, horses and sheep the source of wealth. Native-born descendants of the resident Spanish-heritage rancho grantees, soldiers, servants, merchants, craftsmen and others became the Californios. Many of the less-affluent men took native wives, and many daughters married later English, French and American settlers. After the Mexican War of Independence and subsequent secularization "disestablishment" of the missions , Mexican land grant transactions increased the spread of the rancho system.
The land grants and ranchos established mapping and land-ownership patterns that are still recognizable in present-day California and New Mexico. The villa of Campeche was the peninsula's port, the key gateway for the whole region. A merchant group developed and expanded dramatically as trade flourished during the seventeenth century. Blacks were an important component of Yucatecan society. The Maya community, the cah , was the means by which indigenous cultural integrity was maintained. In the economic sphere, unlike many other regions and ethnic groups in Mesoamerica, the Yucatec Maya did not have a pre-conquest network of regular markets to exchange different types of food and craft goods.
Perhaps because the peninsula was uniform in its ecosystem local niche production did not develop. Access to water was a limiting factor on agriculture, with the limestone escarpment giving way in water filled sinkholes cenotes , but rivers and streams were generally absent on the peninsula. Individuals had rights to land so long as they cleared and tilled them and when the soil was exhausted, they repeated the process.
Collective labor cultivated the confraternities' lands, which included raising the traditional maize, beans, and cotton. But confraternities also later pursued cattle ranching, as well as mule and horse breeding, depending on the local situation. In —17 viceroy of New Spain organized a sufficient ships to expel the foreigners, where the crown subsequently built a fortress at Isla del Carmen.