Mexico and US
Our interactive is a puzzle that you form to make Mexico.
Independence had been achieved in both Mexico and the United States by 1846. The US was also ready to expand its territory. As the army advanced west, Mexico began to get overwhelmed by their military might. They knew they didn’t have the strength or supplies to resist the powerful US Army, so Mexico compromised and allowed Anglos to settle in Texas. The settlers simply had to pledge their allegiance to Mexico and convert to Catholicism. However, as Texas became populated with Anglos, the Mexican government began to regret its decision. Anglo colonists were flooding into Texas without permission. Mexico tried to impose tax laws to scare them off and eventually forbid Anglo settlers from living in Texas, but the Anglos didn’t heed the laws.
After settling in large numbers, Anglo settlers declared Texan independence. Mexico attempted to squash the rebellion but suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto. As the Mexican-American war continued, American troops ultimately took control over Mexico City on September 12, 1847. With no way to win, Mexican forces surrendered to the US. On February 2nd, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, which ended the two-year war between Mexico and the US. The treaty agreed that the US would pay about $18 million for the damage caused during the war and $3.25 million of Mexico’s debt. In return, the US was given control over all of the northern territories that belonged to Mexico, including the current states of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico.
Californios were Spanish-speaking Mexicans who made their homes in Alta California, later the US state of California. Many Californios owned large haciendas, or Spanish estates, which were usually around 33 acres in size. After the 1849 Gold Rush, many Anglos from the east decided to stay in California. Anglos established farms and other settlements by squatting, or living without permission, on Californios' haciendas. When the Californios tried to drive the Anglos off their land, the squatters refused to comply. Even when the Mexican landowners asked for court help, they received little support from the US legal system.
The Californios couldn’t acquire a fair ruling because the legal system was controlled by biased Anglos. They and the government were working together to rob the Californios of their rightful land, which had belonged to them for generations. The Mexicans were soon outnumbered by the Anglos, and they had trouble finding jobs. Earl Shorris, a historian, wrote, “The victory of the Anglos was quick and cruel. In less than a quarter-century, the people who had taken the Pacific coast from the Native Americans lost it to the Anglo-Americans.” The Anglos had swiftly driven the Californios off their own land and taken control of the west.