Politics of Mexico, NAFTA
Pretty good, could have touched base with NAFTA more could have touched base with NAFTA more
Mexico was the site of some of the earliest and most advanced civilizations in the western
hemisphere. The Mayan culture, according to archaeological research, attained its greatest
development about the 6th century AD. Another group, the Toltec, established an empire in
the Valley of Mexico and developed a great civilization still evidenced by the ruins of
magnificent buildings and monuments. The leading tribe, the Aztec, built great cities and
developed an intricate social, political, and religious organization. Their civilization
was highly developed, both intellectually and artistically. The first European explorer to
visit Mexican territory was Francisco Fernández de Córdoba, who in 1517 discovered traces of
the Maya in Yucatán. In 1535, some years after the fall of the Aztec capital, the basic
form of colonial government in Mexico was instituted with the appointment of the first
Spanish viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza. A distinguishing characteristic of colonial Mexico was
the exploitation of the Native Americans. Although thousands of them were killed during the
Spanish conquest, they continued to be the great majority of inhabitants of what was
referred to as New Spain, speaking their own languages and retaining much of their native
culture. Inevitably they became the laboring class. Their plight was the result of the
'encomienda' system, by which Spanish nobles, priests, and soldiers were granted not only
large tracts of land but also jurisdiction over all Native American residents. A second
characteristic of colonial Mexico was the position and power of the Roman Catholic church.
Franciscan, Augustinian, Dominican, and Jesuit missionaries entered the country with the
conquistadores. The Mexican church became enormously wealthy through gifts and bequests that
could be held in perpetuity. Before 1859, when church holdings were nationalized, the
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