Spanish Borderlands – Research Paper Example
Spanish Borderlands While Spain acquired colonies away for home in the eighteenth century, it used three main sto entrench itself in this societies. Miyares and Airriess (76) notes that religion, in this instance Christianity was used to win people to its side. Military installation, involved the military being strategically located so as to respond hastily in the event of an attack from the hostile communities and by so doing act as a deterrent. But the most important institution perhaps, was the pueblo or civil town. These were towns modelled along the Spanish traditions and was instrumental in reaching out to horst communities and assimilating them into the Spanish culture.
Pueblo was basically a civil community of the Spanish, and in some instances, care was taken to avoid mixing with the local inhabitants (McKee 52). In such instances, such as in Texas, there was a clear demarcation between the local Indians and the Spanish Pueblo, and intermarriages were frowned upon. This was basically to ensure that the purity of the Spanish culture was maintained. Within the Pueblo, which were basically establishments housing individuals, locals were engaged in economic activities such as farming, livestock husbandry, buildings and even digging ditches to help collect water to irrigate their crops (Miyares and Airriess 78). In a way, locals employed in the Pueblo were trained in the lives of the Spaniards, helping to inculcate the Spanish culture. This way, they were able to endear themselves to the locals by ensuring that they gave them a means of life, considered better than their harsh traditional way of life which was mainly based on hunting.
Apart from being a way of life, Monroy (117) notes that the Pueblo were expected to be permanent settlement and not temporary settlements. For the military installations, those were intended to be temporary settlements. Even though they were occupied by people, especially those dealing with religious activities, they were normally around hostile areas prone to attaches from both the locals and foreign attacks. This made them unsuitable for permanent settlement as the insecurity situation made them highly mobile. Being permanent, the structure of the Pueblo included a church, offices and houses. The survival of Pueblos was maintained by turning them into economic centers. It attracted farmers, merchants and artisans. This people came to the pueblos to to trade in their wares. Besides, some of them ended up settling as the condition was suitable for sustaining their activities, helping them to accumulate wealth and develop their craft. Besides having ready supplies for the materials they needed, there was also stability in the form of customers coming in to buy the goods. Above all, these Pueblos were located in areas where there was order, away from the activities of hostile local communities. Security therefore assured these people of their continuous trade.
In essence, these settlements, them being permanent, survived the changes over time and developed into cities such as California, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. It has to be noted, especially for the case of the United States, that these states have the largest concentration of Mexican Americans who trace their roots to Mexico. The reason for this is the fact that the Spanish first colonized Mexico before spreading their roots into the United States. In essence, aspects of Mexican life came with Mexicans who came to assist the Spanish in their movements northwards, helping to displace the native Indians. In fact, Miyares and Airriess (76) notes that it is only after Mexican-American War that some of the borderlands became American territory. The 1848 Guadalupe Treaty, ensured that the Mexicans within the borderland territory became American citizens. Hence, from one continuous strip of land, international boundary was imposed, bringing these states into American territory.
According to Monroy (116), the settlements were governed by Laws of the Indies (1573). These laws basically directed the land usage patterns. A good example was the concept of grant land. This was a way of putting land into private ownership. This was an incentive for people to turn land into productive ventures, and most of these grant lands were converted into ranches once cattle and sheep farming became economic bloodline (McKee 55). The institutions therefore were to stick to these laws and enforce them. Monroy (117) notes that even though though say that even though the laws were not enforced uniformly across all the borderlands, the institutions created were similar across all the borderlands.
Another role of the Pueblos was to starve off the spread of other ideologies. Given that the French were a bit fast in entering the borderlands (McKee 55). Pueblos was meant to deal with the threat of the French way of life. Entrenching the Spanish way of life, ensured that the culture of the Spanish dominated the landscape.
The Pueblos were intended to be the climax of the Spanish settlements. In the initial stages, we had the military settlement coming in with the mission to spread the gospel. While the mission were focused on converting the natives into Christianity, specifically Catholicism, the military settlements played the role of seeing off attacks either from foreign forces or the natives. This was a double prong approach to colonizing the borderlands. After entrenching themselves, the Pueblo was to be established. Therefore the Pueblos was the last approach taken by the Spanish in its journey to colonize the borderlands, aiming to spread the Spanish way of life.
McKee, Jesse O. Ethnicity in Contemporary America: A Geographical Appraisal. Chicago: Rowman & Littlefield,, 2000.
Miyares, Ines M. and Christopher A. Airriess. Contemporary Ethnic Geographies in America. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006.
Monroy, Douglas. The Borders Within: Encounters Between Mexico and the U.S. Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 2008.