Planning some Mexican travel or a vacation? Start here with Mexican history, locations, and a current photos
Topolobampo y Los Mochis
Just Finished México City & Puerto Escondido
México is the only country in North America with a language and culture that is non-English. America is multi-cultured melting pot but within a generation or two most identify themselves as Americans. Canada has a 20% French Canadian population and about a third of the population consider them selves of French decent but Mexico is border-to-border ocean-to-ocean Mexican. It was under Spanish colonial rule and briefly French for three hundred years and has extensive old European architectural influence, Spanish Colonial to Baroque. It contains 33 world heritage sites more than anywhere else in the Americas. It has foods and drinks that are unique and recognized world wide as "Mexican'. When you visit México you are in a 'different land'. México is about 1/5 the size of The United States or Canada. It has about 122 million people, metro México City being the largest in Mexico and the western Hemisphere with over 21 million people. Amid the congestion it contains more museums than any other city in the Americas. It has been inhabited over 10,000 year and some of México’s archaeological ruins date back 2000 years. Building and highway projects still uncover new sites. Over 7 million of its inhabitants still speak one of 68 pre-Spanish native languages, most century’s old. Méxican geography varies from mountains, volcanoes, rain forest, deserts, to 5800 miles of coastline.
5th Ave Playa del Carmen
To understand how México got where it is to day lets look at some Mexican history. Franciso Hernández de Córdoba is said to be the first European to land on Mexican soil in 1517. He was followed two years later by Hernán Cortéz the first of many conquistadors and thus began the end of the indigenous empires. The Aztecs were the first to go. In the next 100 years 20-30 million of the natives died in battle, by enslavement or disease. Just as in the United States of America small pox and measles killed more of the population than soldiers. It was a bad time to be a local.
Arches of Queretaro
This was the start of the colonial building period in Neuva España as it was called in Europe. The Spanish built to protect themselves, protect trade routes then to protect souls. The first monasteries were started, built and financed by the Jesuit and Franciscans orders. They believed their mission was to convert the locals to Catholicism and spread the word of a Christian god. This was helped by a decree unconverted ‘savages’ could be used as slaves while converts were just hired help. The Jesuits were granted huge tracts of land to help support their converts. In 1767 after a power struggle between the kingdom of Spain and Jesuits of the Vatican, the Jesuits lost and were exiled to Italy. Their lands later auctioned off by the crown, the 'hired help' got to stay and work.
The downtown sections of these old colonial cities comprise the now chic historical districts that businesses, artist, tourists and retirees flock to. Most have strict building codes that keep these areas looking old colonial. They regulate the physical appearance of doors, walls, visible roofs, and some dictate what building materials can be used. The old warehouse is now a BaNorte, the silver miners mansion a hotel. and the horse stables a parking lot. The cobble stone streets built for horses and carts now deal with an overload of cars, trucks and buses. Each city deals with this differently, most turn city center streets into pedestrian walkways either on weekends or full time.
Ready for 'El Grito'
Many tourists 'up north' have a preconceived view of the United México States. They have been here a couple of time on vacation, did little Mexican travel. They flew into the airport, rode a bus or taxi to their tourist hotel and visited the areas near the beach communities. They enjoyed the slow, relaxed pace, friendly people. Practiced a few Spanish words smelled and ate the food, listened to the music coming from everywhere. They enjoyed themselves. To them Mexico is all beach, sun and drinks. Others have never been to Mexico, afraid of violence from the narco wars. They have seen the nightly news of murders and mayhem from drug cartels. They think anyone visiting or living in Mexico is crazy.
Early morning streets