November 6: Peninsulare Problems

Written by Matthew Mendez, Journalist

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November 6, 1813 C.E. The Congress of Chilpancingo declares Mexico independent from the Spanish Empire. Ever since the conquest of the Aztecs by Hernan Cortes on August 13, 1521, the region currently known as Mexico stood as the jewel of the Spanish crown, contributing valuable resources such as gold and silver to their conquerors. Despite the importance of Mexico to the Spanish Empire, the many peoples of the region proved subject to a variety of abuses by the Peninsulares, Spaniards born on the Iberian Peninsula but living in the Americas. Separated into racially defined social classes named Castas, the Peninsulares were the highest social class in New Spain, while indigenous, mixed-race, African, and Mexican born whites remained firmly subordinate. By the time of the Napoleonic Wars though, the Mexican people grew restless, declaring independence from a Spain weakened by the French conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. In their declaration of independence, the Mexican people abolished the Castas, slavery, torture, monopolies and the tribute system enforced by the Spanish. Despite valiant fighting on behalf of the Mexican people, the Spanish managed to quell the rebellion until 1815, when the fight for independence gained even more momentum.