Mexico (Estados Unidos de Mejico; Aztec, Mexitli), a federal republic occupying the S. W. portion of the continent of North America, between hit. 15° and 32° 42' N., and Ion. 86° 34' and 117° 7' W. It is bounded N. and N. E. by the United States; E. by the gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea; S. E. by Balize; S. by Guatemala; and S. and W. by the Pacific. Its maximum length from the Guatemala frontier to the extreme N. W. limit is 1,990 m.; its maximum breadth, about lat. 26° N., is 750 m.; the breadth in lat. 19°, between Vera Cruz on the Atlantic and Manzanillo on the Pacific, is but 540 m., and the minimum distance between the two oceans, 140 m. from N. to S., is on the isthmus of Tehuantepec. The republic is divided into 27 states, one federal district, and one territory, which, with their areas, population, and capitals, according to statistical reports of 1869 and 1873, but chiefly the former, are as follows:
Area in sq. m.
Han Luis Potosi
Area in sq. m.
San Juan Bautista.
In the tables for 1873, giving a total of 9,400,-000, the population of some states was exaggerated. The most densely populated regions are the table lands and the slopes of the Cordillera. There are in the republic 18 cities or towns whose population exceeds 20,000; in 12 of them it is above 30,000, and in 5 more than 50,000. - In regard to geographical position,. Mexico is highly favored. It lies between two great oceans, has a northern frontier of 1,400 and a southern of 345 m., and a seaboard of 6,086 m., 1,677 m. of which are on the gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea, and 4,408 m. on the Pacific, including 2,040 m. of shore washed by the gulf of California. The coasts, being deeply indented, especially in the peninsula of Lower California, with numerous bays and gulfs, and fringed with capes, points, and promontories, are extremely irregular in outline. The principal gulfs are those of Mexico and California, the first of which ranks among the largest in the world. The more noteworthy bays are those of Caborca, San Juan Bautista, La Bruja, and Teguece, on the coast of Sonora; Campeachy and Tehuantepec, washing respectively the N. and S. shores of the isthmus of Tehuantepec; San Luis, Las Animas, Malaga, Santa Marina, Magdalena, San Francisco or San Sebastian, and Moleje, in Lower California; La Asuncion, Espiritu Santo, and Chetumal, in Yucatan. The principal capes are Catoche in Yucatan, Rojo in Vera Cruz, Corrientes in Jalisco, and Pulmo, San Lucas, San Lazaro, San Eugenio, and San Quentin, in Lower California. All the coasts washed by the Caribbean sea and the gulf of Mexico are low, flat, and sandy, except near the mouth of the Tabasco river, where the heights of San Gabriel extend N. E. and S. W. for about 30 m.; but the majestic mountains of Vera Cruz, visible many leagues to seaward, form a picturesque background which relieves the monotony of the shore region of that state.
On the Pacific side the coasts, though generally low, are here and there roughened by spurs extending from the Cordillera toward the ocean. Off the N. E. coast of Yucatan are some islands; that of Cozi mel, called by the primitive inhabitants of the peninsula the island of Swallows, and by the Spanish conquerors Santa Cruz, has an area of about 300 sq. m., abounds in forests of precious timber, and is celebrated as the shrine to which the ancient Mexicans made pilgrimages to worship their idols in temples, the ruins of which are still visible. Carmen island or Perla del Golfo, in the bay of Campeachy, is 16 m. long and about 2 m. wide, with a seaport of the same name. Other islands in the gulf of Mexico are the islas de los Sacrificios near Vera Cruz, and the islet on which was built the fort or castle of San Juan de Ulua just opposite Vera Cruz, famous in Mexican history. Guadalupe, Cerros, San Benito, Lobos, and Santa Margarita islands are situated off the W. shore of Lower California; in the gulf of California are those of Angel de la Guarda (67 m. long), Tiburon, Carmen, and Cerralvo; and the islets of Revillagigedo are about 250 m. to seaward.
The harbors on the Caribbean sea, where the commerce is quite unimportant, are excellent; while those of the gulf of Mexico (Progreso, Campeachy, Tabasco, Coatzacoalcos, Vera Cruz, and Tuxpan) have only open roadsteads, the shore being unapproachable by any kind of craft during the prevalence of northers; and the ports of Tampico, on the Panuco, and Matamoros, on the Rio Grande, are not always accessible even to vessels of small draught. By far the most commodious harbors in the republic are those on the Pacific and the gulf of California, the principal being Acapulco, Manzanillo, San Bias, Mazatlan, Guaymas, and La Paz. - The face of the country is extremely diversified. The littoral regions are in general low and sandy, especially on the Atlantic side, where they were probably submerged at no remote period as far as the foot of the mountains. In no part of the republic within 80 m. of the sea does the land rise higher than 1,000 ft., except perhaps in Chiapas, where the chain of the Mexican Andes presents a mural barrier facing the ocean, toward which the descent is exceedingly rapid.
But the traveller journeying inland from either side, N. of the Tehuantepec isthmus, climbs by a succession of gigantic terraced mountains to a table land with a mean elevation of 8,000 ft., extending far beyond the northern limits of the republic. On the railway from Vera Cruz to the capital, every variety of climate is experienced within the space of a few hours, and the natural productions peculiar to each are successively passed in review, from the sugar cane, indigo plant, and plantain of the tropics, to the pines, firs, and lichens of the north. The Cordillera of the Andes enters the Mexican territory from Guatemala, and to about lat. 17° 30' extends almost midway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans; from that point it curves nearly due N. to lat. 21° 15', and approaches the E. coast, attaining its maximum elevation somewhat S. of the parallel of Mexico city, between Toluca on one side and Jalapa and Cordova on the other, where several peaks rise to 15,000 and 17,000 ft. above the sea.
Still further N. the Sierra Madre runs N. by W. toward Guanajuato, near which city it widens considerably and separates into three distinct branches, the most easterly of which trends in a generally northern direction through Nuevo Leon to' lat. 24° 30' then bends N. W., and. traversing Coa-huila, gradually declines in elevation as it approaches the Bio Grande. The central branch, or Cordillera de Anahuac, the highest of the three, runs N. W. through Zacatecas, Durango, and Chihuahua, taking successively the names of Sierra de Acha, Sierra de los Mimbres, Sierra Verde, and Sierra de las Grullas; about lat. 30° it is united by a system of spurs with two lateral chains, that of Texas to the east, and that of Sonora to the west. The western chain, or Cordillera proper, runs nearly parallel to the last through Michoacan, Jalisco, Zacatecas, Sinaloa, and Sonora, and is linked by spurs advancing westward to the maritime Alps of California. That portion of the Mexican Andes richest in silver is comprised between lat. 16° and 29°, while the alluvial auriferous soil continues a few degrees further northward.
A striking similarity between the general structure of the Mexican and that of the South American Andes is observable in the barrancas or vast fissures frequently intersecting the Cordilleras. The backs of the mountains form very elevated plateaus or basins, sufficiently uniform in height to be regarded as one continuous table land. The valley of Mexico is an elliptical plain with an area of about 940 sq. m., fringed on the east, south, and west by lofty peaks, some of which are active volcanoes. Indeed, the plain may be regarded as one vast volcanic hearth, roughened at intervals by isolated hills rising abruptly from the surrounding level. The most elevated summits are at the southeast, where Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl tower majestically over all the rest. So regular is the great plateau (formed exclusively by the broad, undulating, flattened crest of the Mexican Andes, and not the swelling of a valley between two mountain ridges, such as the alpine valley of Bolivia or that of Thibet), and so gentle are the slopes where depressions occur, that the journey from Mexico to Santa Fe, New-Mexico (about 1,200 m.), might be performed in a four-wheeled vehicle.
From Mexico S. to Oajaca, in the centre of the plain of that name, with an elevation varying from 3,000 to 6,000 ft., the route is almost as level as from the capital northward. Traces of volcanic fire, so numerous near the W. coast of Guatemala and in San Salvador, disappear in the gneiss-granite mountains of Oajaca; but they again become apparent, perhaps for the last time toward the north, in the central Cordillera de Anahuac. There a line of summits, comprising the volcanoes of Tuxtla, Orizaba, Popocatepetl, Iztaccihuatl, Toluca, Jorullo, and Colima, extends, between lat. 18° 15' and 19° 30', almost due E. and W. across the republic, and lies nearly perpendicular to the great axis of the chain of Guatemala and Anahuac. The following aro the principal mountain peaks of Mexico, the first ten being volcanoes, with their heights according to the most recent measurements:
Elevation in feet.
Vera Cruz and Puebla..
Mexico and Puebla...
Zapotlan el Grande...
San Martin or Tuxtla...
Cofre de Perote...
Pico de Quinceo...
Of the volcanoes, Orizaba, Iztaccihuatl, Popocatepetl. Toluca, Jorullo, and Colima form an E. and W. line nearly across the republic, and will be found described under their own names. The first four rise far above the limit of perpetual snow. San Martin or Tuxtla, in the mountains and near the town of the latter name, in the state of Vera Cruz, emits day and night a column of tiame visible far to seaward in the gulf. Its last eruption occurred shortly after the conquest. - Mexico is very imperfectly watered, having comparatively few rivers, and but a small number of these, owing to the peculiar topography of the country, are navigable. The largest is the Rio Bravo del Norte or Rio Grande, which forms part of the boundary with the United States, collecting the waters of the Mexican rivers Conchos (itself of considerable magnitude), Salada, and Sabinas, and of several minor streams. The Panuco, with its numerous tributaries, drains a portion of Guanajuato, Mexico, San Luis Potosi, and Tamaulipas, and empties into the gulf 5 m. below Tampico. It is navigable by small vessels for about 30 m. from its mouth, which is obstructed by a bar with but 9 ft. of water.
The Alvarado and Coatzacoaleos descend from the Oajaca mountains, traverse that state and Vera Cruz, and fall into the gulf 50 and 140 m., respectively, S. E. of the city of Vera Cruz. But for the bar at its mouth and numerous shoals, the Coatzacoalcos might be navigated for a considerable distance by large vessels. The Gri-jalva or Tabasco takes its rise in Guatemala, enters Mexico by the southern frontier of Chiapas which state and that of Tabasco it traverses, and empties into the gulf at the N. E. corner of Labasco by two mouths. This river passes the capitals of the two states just named, be-tween which it flows under a high mountain; it is deep and often rapid, and in the lower half of its course, which lies through a thickly wooded country, is navigable by schooners. The impetuous Usumasinta also rises in Guatemala, flows through Chiapas and Tabasco, and disembogues in the Laguna de Terminos in Yucatan, being linked to the Tabasco by a number of eanoi or transversal canals. The Chimalapa nsea in the same watershed as the Coatzacoaleos and holds a hurried course to Tehuantepec bay.
The chief river of Oajaca is the Verde, descending in the same watershed as the two preceding, and falling into the Pacific about Ion. 97°30' W., after a generally S. W. course of 200 m., passing the city of Oajaca. From the state of Mexico descend two large rivers to the Paciric: the Mescala or Balsas, which rises near Huastepec on the W. slope of the Sierra Madre, and after a winding course S., S. W., and S. through. Mexico, Michoacan, and Guerrero, falls into the sea at the small but commodious port of Zacatula, which name is often given to the lower portion of the river; and the Santiago or Lerma, rising in the lake of the latter name, and flowing N. W. 325 m. into Lake Chapala, from which it issues at the opposite end, to pursue its course 275 m. further to the port of San Blas. Shortly after leaving the lake it forms a magnificent cascade. Principal among the rivers flowing into the gulf of California are the Cnliacan, Fuerte, Mayo, Yaqui, and Colorado; the last is navigable by the largest vessels from the frontier to its mouth. Mexico has 59 lakes and lagoons, the most important of which are those of the valley of Mexico, viz.: Tezcuco, with an area of 99 sq. m.; Chalco, 54 sq. m.; Xochimil-co and Xaltocan, 27 sq. m. each; Zumpango, 9 sq. m.; and San Cristobal, 6 sq. m.
Some of them overflow during the rainy season, jeoparding the city of Mexico, which has often narrowly escaped destruction by inundations. Of the very imperfect system of drainage that exists, a portion was established by the ancient Aztecs, who likewise constructed the canal connecting Tezcuco, Xochimilco, and Chalco. The first of these is navigated by flat-bottomed steamers; but it is the exclusive depository of the city sewage, and to the consequent miasmatic exhalations the insalubrity of the capital is mainly due. Another large and important lake is Chapala, in Michoacan and Jalisco, also navigated by steam. Of the remaining 52 lakes none deserve special mention, although some are of considerable extent. - The geology of Mexico has been but imperfectly studied. The mountains in the extreme southeast are mainly composed of porphyry, with some limestone and clay slate, in which last veins of silver, copper, and lead frequently occur. The Oajaca system is chiefly of granite, especially in the loftiest peaks; and granite forms the rocky foundation of the central ta-ble land, where however the upper strata exhibit an extensive superstructure of porphyries rich in precious metals, together with basaltic lavas, trachyte, clay slate, amygdaloid, syenite, serpentine, dolorite, and limestone and sandstone.
The Cerro del Mercado in Durango is said to be one vast mass of iron. - The mineral products of Mexico, so far as hitherto known, are richer than those of any other country, not excepting Peru; and it is supposed upon good authority that still richer mines of silver and gold are likely to be discovered. The quantity of silver annually extracted is estimated at 500 tons, and that of gold at a ton and a half. Almost one half of the total yield is derived from the three great mining districts of Guanajuato, Zacatecas, and Catorce. In 1803 the shaft of the Valenciana mine, which yields an average annual profit of $500,-000, had reached a depth of 1,670 ft., being the deepest hitherto opened by the hand of man. The value of the precious metals from the Mexican mines, from the conquest down to 1826, was as follows: 1521 to 1803, $2,-027,952,000; 1803 to 1810, $161,000,000; 1810 to 1826, $180,000,000; total, $2,368,-952,000. The events of the war of independence constrained many mine owners, mostly Creoles, to emigrate; and a number of the most productive mines are still in ruins, notwithstanding the efforts made to reclaim them by foreign capitalists.
The whole of the gold and silver extracted from the mines of Mexico up to 1870 is estimated at $4,200,000,000. The aeven principal mines of San Luis Potosi alone produced in 1868 silver to the value of $2,-176,899 26. The state of Sinaloa is said to be literally covered with silver mines, the foreign property in which is distributed as follows: American, $2,000,000; Spanish, $1,450,000; English, $250,000; and German, $50,000. Mexicans there work so many mines and on so. small a scale, that accurate statistics concerning them cannot be obtained. Scientific explorers, who visited the Sinaloa mines in 1872, reported that those on the Pacific slopes would be the great source of the supply of silver for the next century. In 1870 there were in Oajaca 83 silver and 40 gold mines; in Sonora, 144, chiefly yielding gold, besides 583 in which, although very productive, the works were suspended. The mines during the colonial period were crown property, and those who worked them paid one fifth of the product to the king. When Mexico became independent they were declared public property, and miners were required to pay into the national treasury only a small percentage of the yield.
Even this tax was afterward abolished, and any one can, by right of discovery, denounce or record a mine, and obtain authority to work a certain number of varas free of tribute, A slight tax is however imposed on melting and coining it, amounting in 1873 to $166,590 14 for the whole republic. Although the ancient Aztecs do not appear to have possessed regularly stamped coin, their commerce was not exclusively confined to exchange of commodities; they had certain signs of the values of different articles, which consequently took the place of money, and of which Clavigero enumerates five kinds. One of these was cacao beans, counted by xiquipillis or lots of 8,000, or by sacks of 24,000 each. For articles of daily necessity the usual money was scraps of cotton cloth called patolcuachtli; expensive objects were paid for in grains of gold carried in quills; and for the cheapest articles copper pieces cut in the shape of a T were used. After the conquest the first mint was established in Mexico in 1538 by Don Antonio de Mendoza, the first viceroy.
The coinage of colonial times was distinguished into four subdivisions: moncda macuquina, irregular polygonal coin stamped without a machine, and having a cross, two lions, and two columns on one side, and the name of the reigning Spanish sovereign on the other, extending from 1535 to 1731; moneda colitmnaria, or pillar coin, 1732-'71; moneda de lusto, or bust coin, 1772-1821; and the coinage struck during the war of independence, 1810-'21. Since the establishment of independence there have been two distinct categories, the imperial and the republican. The total issue of macu-quina coins was $760,765,406; pillar coins, $461,518,225; bust coins, $929,298,327; total coinage of the colonial period, $2,151,581,958, of which $2,121,474,024 was executed at the mint of the capital, and $30,107,934 (all bust coins) at the mints of Chihuahua, Durango, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Sombrerete, and Zacatecas; $2,082,322,235 was silver, $68,716,-830 gold, and $542,893 copper. There were in 1873 eleven mints in the republic: Durango, Guadalajara, Oajaca, Culiacan, Hermosillo, and Alamos, under the direction of the central government, and Mexico, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, and Chihuahua, rented by private individuals; and the aggregate coinage at all of them in the year 1872-'3 was $20,374,-554, of which $19,686,434 was silver.
The total coinage in the Mexican mints from their foundation to June 30, 1873, was as follows:
. $2,151 581.958
Period of independence (1821-'73)...
Of the specie coined in 1869-'70 ($20,677,021), $17,479,014 was exported, leaving $3,198,007 for the general circulation. - Tin is abundant in Michoacan, and still more so in Jalisco; copper is common in both these states and in Guanajuato and Mexico; and lead is frequently found in almost all the silver mines, and especially in those of Oajaca. In this last state occur vitriol and amethysts, agates, turquoises, and carnelians, the most remarkable beds of all of which are in Mount Cocola on the confines of Tlaxcala. The galinozo stone, a black volcanic product, at times shaded with blue, and susceptible of a high polish, is found in many of the states. Marbles everywhere abound, the green and white varieties of Tecali being very beautiful. Porphyry, jasper, alabaster, rock crystal, talc, various green stones somewhat resembling emeralds, iron and loadstone (the two last particularly in Chihuahua), are met with in many parts of the Sierra Madre. True serpentine is found in Guanajuato, as are also zinc, antimony, and arsenic. Mercury occurs in that state and elsewhere; but this commodity, now so extensively used in the amalgamation process, is mostly imported, and at enhanced prices.
Gypsum and slate are very common; and coal is said to exist at the head waters of the RioSabinas. Sulphur abounds in the craters and on the flanks of the volcanoes, as well as in many of the rivers of Jalisco; the coasts of Yucatan afford quantities of amber; and salt is so plentiful in Yucatan, Puebla, Jalisco, and Tamaulipas as to be the object of an extensive export trade. Copperas abounds in Mexico; garnets, found in many parts of the republic, are much esteemed; and Lower California is justly celebrated for the large number and superior quality of its pearls. The fisheries of the atieula margaritifera or pearl oyster are carried on along the gulf coasts of the Califor-nian peninsula, and have long been highly productive. In 1873 the value of the shells obtained by 636 divers was $112,030, and of the pearls $64,300. Mineral springs are numerous in every part of the table land and on the slopes of the Cordilleras; the most famous are those of El Peflon and Nuestra Sefiora de Guadalupe, both in the vicinity of the city of Mexico, from the first of which are extracted large quantities of salt; and the thermal springs of Aguas Calientes. - In point of climate, Mexico, in common with all the An-dine territories of Spanish America, is divided into three great terraces: the coast regions, or tierras calientes (hot lands); the mountain slopes, or tierras templadas (temperate lands); and the elevated plateaus, or tierras frias (cold lands). The first region comprises all the country lower than 3,000 ft. above the sea; the second extends from 3,000 to the mean elevation of the central table land, 6,000 ft.; and the third embraces all above this last altitude.
The climates are distinguished into hot and dry, and hot and moist; temperate and dry. and temperate and moist; and cold and dry, and cold and moist. Properly there are but two seasons in all Mexico: the dry, from October to May; and the rainy, comprising the remaining months. The heaviest rains fall in August and September. The heat is generally excessive on all the coasts, but especially so at Guaymas, fcfazatlan, and Acapulco, on the Pacific, and Vera Cruz, Merida, Sisal, and Progreso, on the gulf. The mean annual temperature at Guaymas is 104° F.; that in all the tierras calientes is from 75° to 85°; in the tierras templadas, from 65° to 72°; imd in the so called cold regions, from 55° to 60° in the dry season, and never rising higher than 80o in the wet. The healthiest localities are those enjoying a dry climate, whether hot, temperate, or cold; and the most unhealthy, those m whose climate humidity prevails. The extreme rarefaction of the atmosphere in the highlands renders acute lung diseases common, and particularly pneumonia; and disorders of the digestive organs an, likewise frequent and fatal.
Yellow fever and black vomit, the great scourges of the coast regions, usually set in at Vera Cruz about the end of May, and last till November. At Campeachy, Tampico, and Acapulco the season often passes without a single case, intervals of six or even eight years sometimes occurring between the visitations at the last named port. But no such respite is ever enjoyed at Vera Cruz, Merida, or any of the coast towns of Yucatan, at all of which the mortality is generally very great. - The soil of Mexico is for the most part extremely fertile. The comparatively few exceptions are nearly all attributable to insufficient irrigation. Artificial irrigation is secured by means of canals and aguajes or dams. The value of the landed property of Mexico is set down as follows in an official report for the year 1873: municipal, $147,819,162 20; rural, $174,641,-176 31; total, $340,791,403 17. The minister of finance remarks, however, that triple that amount ($1,022,374,209 54) would more nearly approximate the truth.
The magnificent arboreal vegetation embraces 114 different species of building timber and cabinet woods, including oaks, pines, firs, cedars, mahogany, rosewood, etc.; 12 species of dye woods; 8 of gum trees; the cauclio or India rubber, copal, liquidambar, camphor, turpentine pine, mezquite (yielding a substance similar to gum arabic), dragon tree, and the almd-cigo or callitris quadrivalvis, from which san-darach is extracted. Among the oil-bearing trees and plants, of which there are 17 varieties, are the olive, cocoa palm, almond, sesame, flax, the tree yielding the balsam of Peru, etc. The maguey plant furnishes the natives with wholesome beverages, and in some instances also food, while the fibre is an excellent substitute for hemp. The fermented juice, called pulque, is the favorite beverage of the Indians, and is much liked by many of the whites; and a sort of brandy, mezcal, also prepared from it, is highly intoxicating. The value of the trade in pulque for 1862 was reported at $1,-487,523, and in mezcal at $2,576,646; but both have considerably increased with the facilities for rapid transport afforded by the Mexico and Vera Cruz railway opened in 1873. A special train called the "pulque train" runs every day betweon the capital and Sultepec. There are 59 classified species of medicinal plants; and many more are mentioned by botanists as still unclassified by science.
Jalap is exported to the extent of $50,000 per annum; the United States alone took $10,000 worth in 1873. The annual export of jalap at the beginning of the present century was 170,-000,000 lbs. Every variety of edible fruit known in Europe or America is found in Mexico, almost all growing spontaneously; and owing to the peculiar structure of the country, all of them, as well as every kind of European garden vegetable, may be obtained in the markets of the capital throughout the year. Agriculture is assiduously but laboriously carried on by the natives, who persist in using the implements of their ancestors, to the almost absolute exclusion of efficient modern appliances. One of the chief cultivated products is maize, of which three and even four abundant crops are obtained annually in many districts, and which thrives in all parts of the country. The yield is often 500 fold; and the Indians make it, with beans and chilli, their almost exclusive food. Wheat gives an increase of 60 fold, and rice of about 45. Several varieties of beans are grown; also barley, rye, lentils, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, cumin and coriander seeds, etc. Cotton, coffee, cacao, the sugar cane, tobacco, indigo, and cochineal are the staple productions of the hot and temperate regions.
The cotton crop of 1878 in Sinaloa comprised 550,000 lbs. at an average price of 20 cents; the cotton district of San Juan Evan-gelista produced 1,342,104 lbs. in 1872. The coffee of Colima, with an annual yield of about 30,000 lbs., is reported equal in quality to the finest Mocha. That of Vera Cruz (Jalapa and Cordova) is likewise much esteemed; the shipments of it to the United States in 1873 amounted to $299,942. The great cacao centre is Oajaca, where its three yearly crops render its culture the most profitable in the state. Sugar is made in large quantities in Vera Cruz and elsewhere. The tobaccos of Tabasco and Vera Cruz are quite equal to the finest of Cuba. The annual value of the food crops of Mexico may be estimated at about $58,000,000, and of all agricultural productions at $110,-000,000. The flowers of Mexico are among the richest and most varied in the world; and several of the streets of the capital on Sunday mornings are literally enamelled with flowers of brilliant hue and fragrant odor. Grapes flourish in Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Agnas Calientes, where, as in Sinaloa, wines, brandy, sugar, and raisins are made from them. - The manufactures of Mexico are comparatively unimportant.
Except those of tobacco, cacao, sugar, and indigo, none are exported, and but few can fully meet the home demand. Very good woollen and cotton cloths are woven in Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Nue-vo Leon, Mexico, Puebla, and Vera Cruz, and the rebozos (a species of shawl) of silk and linen, and the harness and saddles, are unequalled in any of the other Spanish-American countries. Sugar is manufactured largely and of good quality, the state of Morelos alone furnishing upward of 50,000,000 lbs. yearly. There are paper mills in Guadalajara and elsewhere. Glassware, porcelain, and earthenware of superior quality are made; also hats, chocolate, laces, flowers, liquors, gunpowder, etc.; and there are iron founderies and flour mills in many of the states. The silver and goldsmiths excel in the execution of filigree ornaments; and the Indians of Mexico, Guanajuato, and Guadalajara are skilful in the manufacture of clay and rag figures, almost worthy to rank with works of sculpture. The figures represent muleteers, water carriers, soldiers, and such like, with perfect accuracy of costume, and sometimes portraits from life, or from photographic pictures. Beer and pale ale of excellent quality are made in several breweries in the capital.
The dulces or sweetmeats of Guadalajara are much sought after both in and out of the republic. - The fauna includes three species of large felidce, the puma or American lion, jaguar, and ocelot; among the smaller is the wild cat. Wolves are common in the northern states, and also the coyotl or coyote; besides which there are bears, wild boars, and bisons. A species of sloth is found in the southern forests, with five varieties of monkeys. Of the other wild animals the principal are hares, rabbits, squirrels, two or three kinds of deer, beavers, moles, martens, and otters. All the domestic animals introduced by the early Spanish settlers have multiplied prodigiously. The horses, though small, retain the spirit and graceful forms of the Andalusian stock from which they mainly sprang. The rivers and lakes abound in excellent fish; turtles are taken in considerable numbers on the coast, and the carey of Yucatan and Guerrero is the object of a trade valued at $20,000 yearly. The ophidians are represented by a few boas in the southern forests, and several species of snakes, some extremely venomous, as the ratfle and coral snakes. The largest lizard is the iguana, whose flesh is by some of the natives considered excellent food.
Noxious insects infest the hot regions in myriads; alacranes or scorpions, in two distinct varieties, are everywhere feared, and it is said that many children are killed every year by their sting; and scolopendras, gigantic spiders, tarantulas, and mosquitoes abound. Bees are numerous, and their wax is an article of export; and the silkworm, though comparatively neglected, is said to yield an annual profit of $40,000. The birds of prey are eagles, hawks, and zopilotes or turkey buzzards, the scavengers of the coast towns, with three or four species of owls. Domestic fowl are extremely abundant. The parrots, humming birds, tro-gons, etc, vie in richness of plumage with those of Brazil; and the Mexican songsters, the prince of which is the zenzontle or mocking bird, are unequalled by those of any other country. - The population comprises about 6,000,-000 Indians of unmixed blood, nearly one half of whom are nomadic savage tribes of the mountainous districts of the north; about 500,-000 whites or Creoles, chiefly descended from the early Spanish colonists; perhaps 25,000 Africans or hybrids possessing some negro blood, whether mixed with the European or the Indian element; and mestizos or half-breeds derived from the union of the whites and Indians. Of the Indians there are 35 tribes, speaking as many different tongues and nearly 150 dialects.
They are indolent and apathetic, but under prudent direction become good workmen, and often attain to excellence in the mechanic arts; and many of them have been closely connected with the leading political events of the country. The mestizos inherit the vices rather than the virtues of the parent stocks, are inconstant and turbulent, and, if not the promoters, have been the instruments in many civil wars. Thecreolesor white Mexicans are in general arrogant, proud, indolent, and reckless, but extremely courteous and hospitable. The men are often well informed, but the education of the women rarely extends beyond reading and writing and a knowledge of music. The national costume of the ranchero or planter is a close-fitting jacket and slashed trousers adorned with massive gold or silver lace and buttons, and so wide below as to almost cover his immense spurs with rowels two or three inches in diameter. Some of the women still retain the old Castilian black silk dress; but French fashions prevail among the higher classes. - The staple articles of export are silver and gold coin, silver and copper ores, cochineal and indigo and other dye stuffs, with timber, cabinet woods, Sisal hemp, ixtle.
Arc The imports are cotton, linen, woollen, and silk fabrics, wrought and unwrought iron, machinery, hardware, provisions, etc. The value of the exports to the United States from Vera Cruz in 187:5 was $872,616; to Great Britain from the whole country in 1872, $2,2 17,620. The whole foreign trade of the republic in 1873 was: exports, $25,500,000; imports, $28,000,000. The annexed table shows the relative proportion of imports from different countries:
United States .
Systematic smuggling is so prevalent that the official figures representing the imports of all kinds and the exports for bullion may safely be doubled. The duties collected in the year ending .June 30, 1870, amounted to $17,303,-945 24, of which $8,274,572 were received at maritime, and $9,029,373 24 at frontier custom houses. According to the latest official report, published in November, 1873, the shipping movements at all the ports of the republic in 1870 were as follows:
Of the number of vessels entered, 362 were steamers, and of those cleared, 378. One French and two British lines of steamers ply regularly between St. Nazaire, Southampton, and Liverpool and the gulf ports of Vera Cruz and Tam-pico, touching at Havana, St. Thomas, Martinique, and Santander. The British steamers frequently call at New Orleans. An American line between New York and the principal gulf ports every 20 days, calling at Havana and New Orleans, receives a subsidy of $2,200 per round trip from the Mexican government. Regular communication is kept up between Acapulco and Panama and the intermediate ports of Mexico and Central America, and between Acapulco and San Francisco and the intermediate ports of Manzanillo, Mazatlan, and Cape San Lucas, by two American lines, one of which has a subsidy of $2,500 per round trip, and the other $2,000 monthly, from the Mexican government. In 1872 there were 5,740 arrivals at and 5,095 departures from Mexican ports. The Mexican merchant navy comprises 1,029 craft of all sizes, 357 of which are sea-going or large coasting vessels. - The existing railways of the republic are as follows:
Mexico to Vera Cruz...
268 1/4 m.
Branch, Apizaco to puebla...
29 1/4 "
Mexico to Tlalpam...
15 6/8 "
Vera Cruz (La Zamorana) to Medellin............
Mexico to Guadalupe...
4 1/2 "
* Mexico to Tacubaya and Popotla...
8 3/4 "
*Mexico to Atzcapozalco...
6 1/4 "
*Vera Cruz to Puebla via Jalapa†
363 5/8 m.
The line from Mexico to Vera Cruz is one of the most wonderful engineering enterprises in the world. It was commenced in 1852, completed in December, 1872, at a cost of $27,000,-000, and opened to public traffic through its whole extent on Jan. 17, 1873. About 60 m. of the line extend over the mountain region between the coast and the great Mexican plateau, the elevation of which on the eastern border is nearly 8,000 ft. above the sea. This portion of the road, with an average grade of 2.51 in 100, or 133 1/3 ft. to the mile, carried along the flanks of lofty mountains, through long tunnels, and over bridges spanning deep ravines, affords an opportunity of surveying the grandest and most picturesque scenery on the North American continent. The traffic amounts to about 240,000 passengers and 184,-000 tons of freight per annum; the receipts are about $2,500,000, and the running expenses average 60 per cent, of the receipts. The line between Mexico and Atzcapozalco is to be extended to Cuautitlan and Toluca. There is a line of horse cars from Matamoros to Paso de Santa Cruz. Several other lines are projected, the most important of which is one from Mexico N. to El Paso, to communicate with the United States railway system.
There are 24 regular lines of diligences established between the principal towns of the republic.
* Horse cars.
†Completed to Tolome.
The lack of good roads, in a country whose topographical structure deprives it of navigable rivers, greatly retards its material development and prosperity. Large sums were appropriated in 1873 for new highways and for repairs on such as already exist. A network of telegraph wires, 4,345 m. in length in 1874, embraced all the states but Chihuahua, Sonora, and Chiapas, and 655 m. more were in process of construction. The central government owns 1,575 m. of the lines, and state governments 605 m. There are lotteries under the direction of the government, and paying 10 per cent, of the proceeds into the national treasury. - Mexico has a federal government, based upon the constitution of 1857, and strongly resembling that of the United States. The executive power is vested in a president elected by universal suffrage for six years, having a salary of $30,000, and aided in the administration by a council or cabinet consisting of the ministers of the interior (goberna-cion), foreign affairs, justice, public worship and public instruction, public works (fomento), finance, and war. These ministers are appointed by the president. The chief justice of the supreme court unites with his judicial functions those of vice president of the republic.
The legislative power resides in a congress, consisting of a lower house, the members of which are elected by universal suffrage for two years, each state being represented in the proportion of one member for every 80,000 inhabitants; and a senate with two members for each state, elected by a plurality of votes in the congress of their respective states, and who must have completed 30 years of age. The congress is by law required to sit from Jan. 1 to April 15 in each year; and a consijo de gdbierno or government council holds sessions during the recess of congress. The predominant religion is the Eoman Catholic; but all other sects are tolerated, by virtue of a law promulgated in 1873. The ecclesiastical hierarchy consists of three archbishops, of Mexico, Guadalajara, and Mi-choacan; and ten bishops, of Puebla, Nuevo Leon, Oajaca, Durango, Yucatan, Chiapas, Lower California, Sonora, San Luis Potosi, and Vera Cruz. The revenue is mainly derived from customs, as will be seen by the following table for the years 1871-'2 and 1872-'3:
Divers contributions ........
Public instruction fund...
The expenditures were as follows:
District " ......
Ministry of foreign relations ..................
Ministry of the interior ..
" of justice.......
" of finance...
" of war and navy.
" of public works..
Balance from preceding year................
There is no official report of the national debt. The loans contracted by the imperial government are in their entirety repudiated by the present government. The army comprises 22,387 men, viz.: 15,407 foot, 5,140 horse, 1,463 artillery, and 377 coast guards and invalids. The estimated total expenditure for the army department in 1872-'3 was $10,252,522 32, which would include an extraordinary appropriation of $2,628,239 50. - Public instruction is in a comparatively prosperous condition; the number of schools is steadily increasing, through the liberal appropriations of the central and the various state governments for the development of the system, and the cooperation of private individuals. The following institutes in the city of Mexico are supported by the central government: an advanced school for girls, preparatory school, and schools of law, medicine, agriculture, engineering, fine arts, commerce, and arts and trades; besides which there were in 1873 in the whole federal district 338 schools of all grades, 103 being for females, and the total attendance being 22,407, of whom 8,773 are females.
Among these schools were 12 under the jurisdiction of the Lancasterian company, 6 under that of the benevolent society, the schools of the foundling hospital and other charitable institutions, private schools to the number of 100, and three for adults, with 248 pupils, 148 of whom were females. In the other states there were 3,532 public schools, of which 3,498 were male primary and 29 male grammar schools; the total attendance at all of them was 165,-864, of whom 19,594 were females. The number of public schools for adults was 23, with 935 male and 76 female pupils; and that of the literary institutes 15, with 2,493 students. - The history of Mexico may properly be distinguished into ancient and modern; and the latter is subdivided into two periods, the colonial and that of independence. Notwithstanding the numerous theories advanced concerning the primitive inhabitants of the country, all is still wrapped in profound obscurity. Tradition and the existing remnants of ancient structures point to a more remote and perhaps a higher civilization than that which filled the early Spanish conquerors with admiration; but neither can assist in determining the name or the origin of the first immigrants.
Historic ground in Mexico is not reached until the end of the 6th century; all beyond belongs to the domain of mythology. The Toltecs came to the vallev of Mexico, and there built their capital, Tollan (Tula), toward the beginning of the 7th century. According to one theory, they came from Guatemala; another theory represents them as crossing from Asia to America, by a chain of islands which in remote ages stretched at the north from the shores of the eastern to those of the western continent. They are described as an agricultural people, clothed in long tunics, sandals, and straw hats; not very warlike, but humane and civilized, and proficient in the highest mechanical arts; erecting cyclopean edifices; having a worship not sanguinary; and inventing the system of astronomy afterward adopted by the Tezcucans and Mexicans. The first Toltec dynasty is said to have been founded early in the 8th century by Icoatzin. After a lapse of about 500 years, the kingdom of Tollan, reduced by civil strifes, pestilence, and famine, was divided, and many of the surviving inhabitants migrated southward.
The Tolters were the first tribe to leave a written account of their nationality and polity; they arc regarded in Mexican history as the primitive nation of the country, and their epoch is taken as the starting point of a fixed chronology for the native annals. With the downfall of their monarchy terminated the civilization of the north. Not long afterward the Ohichi-mecs, described as a fierce northern tribe, living by the chase, dwelling in caverns or straw huts, monogamous, and worshipping the sun as their father and the earth as their mother, came to the Toltec country, which they did not conquer, as they met with no resistance, but merely occupied peacefully, settling in the same towns with the Toltecs who remained from the general emigration. The descendants of these toltecs became once more numerous and prosperous, and, taking the name of Colhuis or Culhuas, founded Colhuacan on the margin of the lake. Between the arrival of the Chichi-mecs and the end of the 12th century, tradition mentions the influx of a multitude of other northern tribes, chief among whom were the Tepanecs, who, with Atzoapozalco as their capital, established an independent state, and became gradually so powerful that in later times two of their kings usurped the throne of Tezcuco. Another of these tribes were the Techichimecs, the founders of the Tlaxcalan republic; and all of them spoke the Nahoa or Nahuatl tongue.
After these came the Acolhuis, likewise of Na-hoa origin, and consequently kindred to the roltecs, rind especially distinguished among all the immigrants by the Chichimecs as being the most refined. From them the latter readily learned agriculture, the mechanic arts, and town life; and the two races became so completely intermingled as at last to be confounded in one great nation in the kingdom of Tezcuco or Acolhuacan, a name indicating that not only the customs and culture of the Acolhuis prevailed, but also their language, which was incomparably more perfect than the Cbichimecan. The most important of all the tribes, the Mexicans or Aztecs, although the last to choose a permanent resting place, had been as long in the valley as any of the sister nations. They proceeded from Aztlan, an unknown region of the north, and reached Anahuac about 1195, having made three stations, at which the ruins of casas grandes are still to be seen. (See Casas Grandes.) Their first halting place was on the shores of the lake of Teguyo or Teguayo, probably identical with the lake of Timpanogos, or Great Salt lake, in Utah; the second was on the river Gila, and the third not far from the Presidio de los Llanos. ' After reaching the plain of the lakes, the Mexicans led a nomadic existence for 130 years.
After a series of unsuccessful encounters, in which their numbers were greatly diminished, they laid on the islands of the lake the foundations of their city of Tenochtitlan in 1325. Reduced to extreme poverty, and hated by surrounding nations, they resolutely strove against ill fortune until they became numerous and powerful enough to take the offensive. They then spread desolation and slavery through many of the tribes who in former days had shown them little mercy. Their capital was extended, and beautified to an extraordinary degree; they soon became the equals of the Tezcucans in the cultivation of the arts and sciences; their institutions, customs, theogony, and even their language, were propagated wherever their power reached. The adjacent territories were invaded and occupied by Aztec garrisons. The Tezcucans were perhaps more advanced in knowledge and refinement than the Mexicans; but the latter were certainly far more powerful, and they gave their name to the whole country and to the civilization of their day.
The boundaries of the Aztec realm have never been precisely defined; but they extended northward to the country of the Huastecas, whom the Mexicans never subdued; to the northwest the empire did not roach beyond the province of Tulba, the vast tract of land beyond which was occupied by the Otomies and some Chichimec tribes; to the west it terminated at the frontier of Michoacan; on the southwest it was in general only limited by the Pacific; and the greatest length on that coast was from Xoconocbco (Soconusco) to Coliman. On the Atlantic side the Mexicans possessed all that lay W. of the Coatzacoalcos. The Acolhuan dominions did not form one eighth of the Aztec kingdom. It should be observed that Ahuizotl, whose reign immediately preceded the Spanish conquest, carried his arms successfully into Guatemala, subduing that country and a portion of Nicaragua. The Tepanecs in 1419 seized the Acolhuan capital, assassinated the king, and placed their own prince Tegozomoc upon the throne, which was transmitted to his son Moxtla. But Nezahualcoyotl, the rightful heir, succeeded with the aid of the Mexicans not only in driving out the Tepanecs, but in conquering their country, which they gave to their allies the Mexicans. A league of mutual support and defence was then entered into by the princes of Mexico, Tezcuco, and Tlacopan, the conquered countries to be divided between the confederates, and the largest share to be awarded to Mexico. During a century of constant warfare this pact was adhered to with the strictest fidelity.
The Mexican monarch had the predominance' in matters of war; the authority of the three was equal in all other concerns; and no one ever meddled with the government of the others. Toward the middle of the 15th century, when the Acolhuan power began to decline, the Mexican king plundered a portion of his neighbor's territory, and arrogated to himself the title of emperor, though the Tez-cucan sovereigns continued to reign until the time of the conquest. These last had the prerogative of crowning those of Mexico. - For the first 27 years after the foundation of Te-nochtitlan, the government was in the hands of a body of 20 nobles; but in 1352 it was transformed into an elective monarchy, Acamapitzin or Acamapichtle being the first king. In the beginning the power of the sovereigns was limited, and their prerogatives were very moderate; but with territorial extension and increased wealth came the introduction of court pomp and pageantry, and such despotism as characterized the reign of Montezuma I. After the election of a king, four princes or lords were chosen from among his nearest of kin, whose voice was indispensable in all state affairs; they acted as senators, were presidents of the royal council, and one of their number was in due time elected successor to the crown, with sole reference to fitness for the office.
In later times it was customary to appoint the four candidates to the government of minor states; the one elected must have been general in the army, and not under 30 years of age. When the successor was under age, the government during his minority was committed to the senior of the royal family most fitted for the charge, whose election was confirmed by the kings of Tezcuco and Tlacopan. Three councils or cabinets assisted the king in the administration: one for the revenue, another for war, and a third for the government of the provinces. The councillors or ministers, though necessarily of the nobility, owed their eligibility to long military service and a profound knowledge of state matters. The nobles and priests were the main supporters of the national interests; but the influence of the latter in public affairs was more limited than in some of the earlier monarchies. They had no seat in the privy council, and their functions were chiefly restricted to superstitious exercises and foretelling the issue of campaigns. But they were intrusted with the education of children, were consulted on all grave family concerns, and their social influence was almost unbounded.
Profound respect for the main principles of morality was evinced by the ancient Mexicans, with whom the security rather of person than of property was largely provided for. In the uninhabited districts of the kingdom, public inns were placed at intervals for the gratuitous accommodation of wayfarers, and boats or bridges for their convenience in crossing rivers; and when the roads were damaged by floods, they were repaired at the public expense. A complete system of supreme and subordinate tribunals existed in all the towns, and a still more perfect judicial organization in the neighboring kingdom of Acolhuacan, where a council of all the judges throughout the realm was held once in 80 days at the capital, the monarch in person presiding, for the adjudication of causes left undetermined by the lower courts. The Aztecs were as remarkable for the moderation of their civil as for the severity of their penal code; but their laws seem to have been administered less impartially than in Tezcuco, and to have been somewhat flexible for the nobles and priests. Creditors could imprison their debtors, and had a claim upon their inheritance, but could not enslave the widows or orphans; and slaves about to be sold might free themselves by taking refuge in the royal palace.
Adultery was punished with death, however noble the offender might be. For treason or any crime against the person of the monarch, embezzlement of the taxes, etc, the offender was put to death with all his kindred to the fourth degree. Murder, even of a slave, was always a capital crime. Drunkenness in youth was a capital offence; in persons of maturer years, though not capital, it was punished with severity; but men of 70 years, and all persons on festive occasions, were permitted the use of wine. He who lied to the prejudice of another had a portion of his lips cut off, and sometimes his ears. Finally, he who robbed in the market, altered the lawful measures, or removed the legal boundaries in the fields, was immediately put to death; and conspirators against the prince, and those who committed adultery with the prince's wife, were torn to pieces limb by limb. The murder of a merchant or an ambassador, or any injury or insult to the latter, was considered a sufficient cause of war. During a series of very cruel wars, all prisoners were devoured or enslaved. At one time the laws were so few that the people knew them all by heart.
They were represented by paintings; and the judges were attended by clever clerks, or painters, who by means of figures described the suits and the parties concerned therein. The Mexicans had two sorts of prisons, one for debtors and persons not guilty of capital crimes, the other a species of cage in which were confined condemned criminals and prisoners taken in war. both of whom were closely guarded, those doomed to capital punishment being sparingly fed, and the others abundantly nourished that they might be in good flesh when led to sacrifice. For the same reason the Mexicans in battle preferred to capture their enemies alive. Polygamy was permitted, but seldom practised save by the princes and nobles. Marriage generally required the consent of the parents of both parties; and there was a special court for divorces, in which a wife might sue. Filial affection was a characteristic virtue of the Aztecs. Except in the royal family, sons succeeded to all the rights of their fathers; if these died without male issue, their rights reverted to their brothers, and in the absence of the latter to their nephew-. Daughters could not inherit.
The government revenues were derived from crown lands set apart in the various provinces, from a tax on the agricultural products, and chiefly from a tribute consisting of provisions and manufactured articles; besides which a contribution was received from the merchants and craftsmen every 20 or 80 days. The profession of arms was one of the most esteemed, and those who died in defence of their country were regarded as the happiest. There were four distinct grades of generals, and next below them were captains. The main bodies or regiments consisted of 8,000 men, and seem to have been divided into battalions of 400 men each, and these into squads of 20. They marched in admirable order; the priests were always in front; and the signal for combat was given by kindling a tire and sounding a trumpet. Their tactics were unfavorable to hostilities by night; but "force and stratagem, courage and deceit," says Prescott, "were equally admissible in war." -The Aztecs were most sincere in the practice of their religious rites. They believed in a supreme creator, invisible yet omnipresent, but requiring numerous assistants to perform his will, each of whom presided over some special natural phenomenon or phase of human existence. They had 13 principal and several hundred inferior deities.
The dread Huitzilopochtli, the war god of the Aztecs, was the patron divinity of the race, and myriads of human victims were sacrificed to him yearly in countless pyramidal temples throughout the realm. Quetzalcoatl, a more beneficent deity, was described by the natives as a tall white man, with a large forehead and flowing beard, who taught bis favored people the art of gov-ernment and the various arts of peace, especially those of the husbandman and silversmith; forbade bloody sacrifices, and only permitted those of bread, roses, and perfumes; and warned against robbery and all violence! This "god of the air," as he was named, bavin- incurred the displeasure of one of the other chief deities, was compelled to leave the country; but on quitting the shores of the gulf he promised to return, and the Mexicans always looked forward to that auspicious day. After his departure from the capital, he tarried at Oholula, where a magnificent temple was dedicated to him, the ruins of which are among the most curious remains of Mexican antiquities.
All these divinities were represented by images of clay, wood, stone, or precious metak and gems, but of most fantastic forms, coarse and hideous; and of the minor gods of every degree hosts of images were to be found in the dwellings of both great and small. The Mexicans, with all the other polished natives of Anahuac, regarded the soul both of man and brutes as immortal. The number of priests corresponded with the multitude of gods and temples; ancient historians affirm .that 5,000 were attached to the great temple of the capital, on the site of which now stands the cathedral. There were several different orders among the priests, the chief of all being the two high priests, whose dignity was conferred by election. The high priests anointed the king, and were the oracles consulted by him on all important state concerns. The sacerdotal hierarchies of the several gods were quite separate, and had each a gradation of their own. The temples (teocallis) were of two kinds: low and circular, or high and pyramidal, on the tops of which the sacrifices took place. Torquemada estimates that there were upward of 40,000 throughout the empire, and other historians estimate their number much higher.
There were hundreds in each principal city, besides the great temple with several smaller ones within its precincts; in each outlying quarter of the city were other small courts with as many as six temples; and there were temples on the mountains and at intervals along the highroads. They were solid pyramidal masses of earth cased with brick or stone, many of them more than 100 ft. square and of a still greater height. The ascent was by flights of steps on the outside, and on the broad flat summit were sanctuaries containing the images of the deities and altars on which fires were continually burning. Human sacrifices, which they made on the most trivial occasions, formed the chief religious ceremony of the Mexicans and the most important duty of the priesthood. In later days the repetition of these sacrifices became mournfully frequent; some Franciscan monks computed that about 2,500 persons were annually slaughtered on the altars of Tenochtitlan and some of the adjacent towns; and "days had been observed," writes Herrera, "on which above 20,000 had thus perished, reckoning all the sacrifices in several parts." Within the temples were schools, colleges, and apartments for the priests. A few of the priestesses took vows of perpetual celibacy.
Some of the priests were permitted to marry; those of whom chastity was required wore punished with death for the slightest deviation from it. When a child of two years was dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, a priest with a knife made a slight cut on its breast, to confirm the dedication.
Piercing the lips and nose for the insertion of various ornaments, and plucking the hairs of the nascent beard, were common practices among the Mexicans. For purposes of record and communication they had a species of picture writing bearing some relation to the Egyptian hieroglyphics. (See Hieroglyphics.) They had five books written in this way: the first treating of the seasons and years; the second of the days and festivals throughout the year; the third of dreams, omens, and other superstitious observances; the fourth of baptism and the names of children (for they celebrated a baptismal ceremony much like the Christian rite, in which the infant's lips and breasts were sprinkled with water); and the fifth of the ceremonies and prognostications used at marriages. Historical knowledge was preserved by tradition aided by picture writings; and there were, besides the multitudes of regular chronicles, certain men who kept important events, genealogies, etc, in their memory, and recited them when called upon. Translations of elaborate prose productions seem to show that eloquence and rhetorical effect were aimed at by Aztec scholars; but no original compositions have been preserved.
Songs perpetuating their traditions, recited at the great festivals, formed one of the foremost branches of temple education. Their musical instruments included various kinds of trumpets, whistles of bone and clay, horns of large sea shells, bamboo flutes, many varieties of drums, and a few stringed instruments. Theatrical performances were given on open terraces in the market places, the stage being covered with branches of trees; masks were indispensable; and the performances were inseparably connected with the religion. The plays were partly pantomimic and partly recitative. The art of prestidigitation was highly developed. Farces and masquerades were frequently given at the temples by the merchants, disguised as frogs, beetles, birds, butterflies, etc, the entertainment ending with dancing. The Mexicans had a simple system of arithmetical notation, in which the first 20 numbers were expressed by a corresponding number of dots. The number 20 was expressed by a flag, and larger sums were reckoned by twenties and expressed by repeating the nuniber of flags. The square of 20, 400, was denoted by a plume; and 8,000, the cube of 20, by a purse or sack. The year was divided into 18 months of 20 days each, and both months and days were expressed by peculiar hieroglyphics.
Five complementary days were added to make up the 365; and for the fraction over of nearly 6 hours, required to make the full year, they added 13 days at the end of every 52 years or cycle, which they called xiulimolpilli, "the tying up of years." A month was divided into 4 weeks of 5 days each. The epoch from which the Mexicans computed their chronology corresponded with the year 1091 of the Christian era. They had no astronomical instruments except the dial, but their skill in the science of astronomy is shown by their knowledge of the true length of the year, of the cause of eclipses and of the periods of the solstices and equinoxes, and of the transit of the sun across the zenith of Mexico. Most of their astronomical knowledge was derived from the Tol-tecs. The physicians were skilful; they had knowledge of several thousand plants and of hundreds of species of birds, quadrupeds, fishes, insects, reptiles, and minerals; but they mystified their cures with superstitious ceremonies. The Spanish conquerors attest the dexterity and success of the native surgeons in dressing wounds and in blood-letting. The merchants and military officers had a fair notion of geography; maps and charts of certain regions, of rivers, and of the whole coast, were accurately drawn or painted on cloth.
Agriculture was in tolerable advancement, the want of ploughs, oxen, and other animals being supplied by simple instruments and assiduous labor. Irrigation by means of canals was very efficient. Of the various Mexican implements, almost the only ones described are an axe of copper or bronze, with just the amount of tin alloy to give it the greatest hardness attainable, and knives and swords, razors, and arrow and spear heads, of itztli, or obsidian. They were extremely skilful in the cultivation of gardens, in which they planted fruit trees, medicinal plants, and flowers, with much taste. Among their chief productions were maize, cotton, cacao, the maguey or aloe, chile, etc. The maguey alone furnished the poor with almost all the necessaries of life: paper, thread, needles, cloth, shoes, stockings, and cordage from the leaves, the thickest part of these with the trunk furnishing besides a substantial dish; and pulque and mezcatl from the fermented juice. From the juice of the maize stalk they prepared sugar; from the cacao they made chocolate (Aztec, chocolatl), which they formed into tablets. In mining and metallurgy they were very expert.
They exercised the arts of casting, engraving, chasing, and carving in metal, with great skill; and in looms of simple construction they made manta (cotton cloth) and other tissues, some of which were of exquisite fineness, interwoven with rabbit hair and feathers, their only substitutes for wool and silk, and painted or dyed in most gorgeous colors. With the feathers of birds tastefully disposed on fine cotton webs, they made garments of the utmost magnificence. Buying and selling, there being no shops, were carried on in public squares or market places. Earthenware of every description, and suited for every domestic use, was one of the chief Mexican industries; and many of the articles were painted in showy colors and designs. No beasts of burden were used, all carrying being done either by water, chiefly on the lakes, where a marvellous number of vessels were employed, or on men's backs. The maritime commerce was probably very trifling. For the rapid transmission of news, towers were erected at intervals of six miles along the high roads, whore couriers were always in waiting for despatches, which were transferred from hand to hand at each stage. Despatches were thus carried 300 miles in a day. The different trades were commonly grouped into a species of guild.
The women shared equally with the men as well in social festivities as in labor. The Mexicans were simple in dress, but given to an inordinate display of ornaments. The people were courteous and polished, and strict observers of the proprieties of life. Cowering was their posture of respect. In their banquets, which were frequent and costly, human flesh was often served as a special delicacy, particularly in feasts connected with their religion. - The first European to visit the shores of Mexico was Francisco Fernandez de Cordova in 1517; but he only discovered the coast of Yucatan. The discovery was continued in the following year by Juan de Grijalva, in command of a squadron sent from Cuba by Velazquez, who sailed round the north coast as far as the mouth of the river Panuco, and landed on the islet on which now stands the castle of San Juan de Ulna. After his return, his brilliant account of his discovery excited the desire of conquest. On Good Friday, April 22, 1519, Hernan Cortes landed at that part of the coast where Vera Cruz was afterward built, and founded a town, to which he gave the name of Villariea de Vera Cruz. On the very day of his landing occurred the first of a series of battles which only terminated with the taking of the city of Tenochtitlan, Aug. 13, 1521, and the capture of the young and valorous Guatemozin, the last of the Aztec rnonarchs. (See Cortes, Guatemozin, and Montezuma.) The other smaller states were subdued after a short resistance.
A military government was immediately established, Cor-tes taking the supreme command; but ayun-tamientos had already been formed, the'first at Vill arica, and these continued independently of the new military power. Many of the laws emanating from the ayuntamientos still exist in full force in the Mexican republic. By a de-cree of Charles V., Cortes was constituted governor of the new territory, which had been named N.w Spain, Oct. 15, 1522. .The Indians, though converted, were distributed among the conquistadores and other Spanish officials and immigrantM, and compelled as slaves to till the ground and labor in the mines. This system of repartimientos or distributions had already been applied and found fatal to the aboriginal inhabitants of the island of Havti; nut the Mexicans, a hardier people, did not so readily succumb. In 1528 was inaugurated the-hrsr nudwneia, with Nufio de Guzman as president, and four auditors. The arbitrary and oppressive measures of this body caused considerable discontent in the colony, which coming, the ears of the emperor, led to the suppression of the audiencias, and the establishment of a viceregal government in New Spain. The first viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoza, ruled the country from 1535 to 1550. During his administration discoveries were actively prosecuted in the north; the first money was coined in Mexico; the printing press, the first in the new world, was introduced; the university of Mexico and several colleges were founded; and numerous important reforms were effected.
Of the 64 viceroys who successively governed the country till 1821, but one was of American birth, Don Juan de Acu-na, a native of Lima (1722-34); and the most celebrated after Mendoza was Don Juan Vicente Guemes Pacheco, second count of Revi-llagigedo (1789-'94). In his time were accomplished many important improvements: the streets of the principal cities were drained, paved, and lighted, and provided with a tolerably efficient police; persons of known probity were placed in the public offices; and municipal revenues were introduced. - At the beginning of the present century, society in New Spain consisted of four classes, of opposite tendencies and interests: the pure-blooded Indians, the Creoles or pure-blooded descendants of the early Spanish settlers, the mestizos or half-breeds, from the union of whites and Indians, and the Spaniards of European birth. The condition of the Indians had but little changed under the viceroys; they were compelled to pay tribute, and were held in a sort of tutelage which only ended in the tomb. The Indian nobles or caciques were exempted from the degrading restrictions which weighed upon the others.
As for the Creoles, whose numbers were continually increasing, a policy due to ignorance of their real position in the community excluded them from all places of trust in the government, and even from the higher grades in the regular army. Upon such as had amassed great wealth titles of nobility were conferred, while conciliatory crosses were distributed to those of smaller fortunes; but the home government considered it imprudent to allow them to take part- in the public administration, and placed it exclusively in the hands of the Spaniards. This; with other grievances, caused profound discontent among the Creoles, who would probably have resented it by open rebellion, had they not been Restrained by the apprehension that the Indians, aided by the mestizos, might avail themselves of that event for the destruction of all the whites. An ineradicable antipathy had already sprung up between the Creoles and the Spaniards, whom they distinguished by the sobriquet of gachupines; yet probably no outbreak would have immediately ensued but for the events of 1808 in the Peninsula. The usurpation of Ferdinand's throne by a Bonaparte was unanimously protested against by both Spaniards and Creoles in Mexico; but the public mind was agitated by intemperate discussions concerning the provisional government which the state of things made it necessary to organize; and the excitement was not a little enhanced by the imprisonment of the viceroy, Don Jose de Iturrigaray, suspected of a design to seize the crown of Mexico (Sept. 16, 1808). After his arrest the prestige of Spanish authority sensibly declined among the Mexicans, who began to long for independence.
A conspiracy was formed, and on Sept. 15, 1810, a revolt broke out in the province of Guanajuato, headed by a priest, Don Miguel Hidalgo, a man of much talent and considerable influence among the Indians. The insurrection soon assumed formidable proportions, Hidalgo having at one time 100,000 men under arms. He finally suffered several defeats, was betrayed to his enemies (March 21, 1811), and four months later shot in company with his companions in arms Allende, Aldama, and Jimenez. The contest was continued by Morelos, also a priest, who called a national congress, which met at Chilpanzingo in September, 1813, and in November declared Mexico independent. On Oct. 22, 1814, it promulgated at Apatzingan the first Mexican constitution, which is known by the name of that place. After several defeats Morelos was captured, carried to the city of Mexico, and executed as a rebel, Dec. 22, 1815. For several years the contest was a mere partisan warfare on the part of the patriots, of whom the principal chiefs were Victoria, Guerrero, Bravo, Rayon, and Teran. These were gradually driven from the field, and were killed, imprisoned, or obliged to hide in the mountains, so that long before 1820 the authority of Spain appeared to be fully reestablished in Mexico. But in the course of that year the news of the revolution in Spain, and of the proclamation of the constitution which Ferdinand VII. had been compelled to adopt, renewed the agitation among the Mexicans in favor of a liberal government.
Don Agustin Iturbide, a native Mexican and a colonel in the Mexican army, who during the recent civil war had distinguished himself on the royalist side, now threw off his allegiance and began the second revolution by proclaiming Mexico independent, Feb. 24, 1821. The revolt of Iturbide was eminently successful. In the course of a few months the whole country recognized his authority, except the capital, and by a treaty signed at Cordova, Aug. 24, 1821, with the viceroy, Don Juan O'Donoju, he obtained possession of Mexico on Sept. 27, and instituted a regency, of which he was the head and O'Donoju one of the members. Eight months later, with the support of the army and the mob of the city of Mexico, Iturbide was proclaimed emperor on the night of May 19, 1822, under the title of Agustin I. His reign was short. On Dec. 2 Santa Anna, seconded by Bravo, Guerrero, and other chiefs, proclaimed the republic at Vera Cruz; and Iturbide abdicated on March 19, 1823, rather than see the country again plunged into civil war.
The congress, which had been dissolved by Iturbide, but reconvoked by him shortly before his abdication, appointed a new government, called poder ejecutko (executive power), composed of Gens. Bravo, Victoria, Negrete, and Guerrero. Iturbide was condemned to exile, and embarked at Vera Cruz for London in May of the same year, just twelve months after his exaltation to the throne. On Oct. 4, 1824, the congress promulgated a constitution closely resembling that of the United States, and by virtue of which Mexico was formed into a republic with 19 states and 5 territories. Gen. Don Felix Fernando Victoria, better known as Guadalupe Victoria, one of the most intrepid heroes of the war of independence, was the first president, and Gen. Bravo the first vice president. Iturbide, who had the temerity to venture back to Mexico in this year, was arrested and shot at Pa-dilla on July 19. In 1828 the candidates for the presidency were Gens. Gomez Pedraza and Guerrero; on the election of the former the opposite party took up arms, and a bloody contest ensued, which terminated in the downfall of Pedraza's government, and his flight from the country, Jan. 4, 1829. Guerrero assumed the executive functions on April 1. The year 1829 was marked by the recognition of the Mexican republic by the United States, and by an attempt made by Spain to regain possession of her lost colony.
In July Brig. Gen. Barradas with 4,000 Spanish troops disembarked at Cabo Rojo near Tampico, but he was compelled to capitulate on Sept. 11, his troops being disarmed and sent to Havana. The vice president, Gen. Anastasio Busta-mante, who was commanding a reserve corps at Jalapa for the jmrpose of repelling the invaders, pronounced against Guerrero, and, having succeeded in deposing him, was himself elected president in his stead, Jan. 11, 1830. Revolutionary disturbances continued till Feb. 14, 1831, when Guerrero, one of the principal leaders, was treacherously delivered up to his enemies and executed. His name is perpetuated in that of one of the present states of the republic. Bustamante was succeeded by Pedraza, who in turn was deposed by Santa Anna, the latter entering upon office on April 1, 1833, little more than three months after the inauguration of Pedraza. Bustamante was compelled to go into exile, and with him several other personages of political notoriety. Congress now passed laws suppressing the convents, and abolishing the compulsory payment of tithes.
It also proposed to appropriate the property of the church to the payment of the national debt, but this measure led to insurrections and to further complications, which ended in 1835 in the abrogation of the constitution of 1824 and the conversion of the confederation of states into a consolidated republic, of which Santa Anna was nominally constitutional president, and practically dictator. This revolution was acquiesced in by all parts of the country except Texas, where several thousand American colonists had settled. The refusal of the Texans to submit to the centralized government, which they pronounced a usurpation, induced Santa Anna to inarch against them in the beginning of 1836 with an army, which was defeated and annihilated at San Jacinto, April 21, the Mexican president himself being taken prisoner. In the previous month a convention of delegates assembled at the town of Washington had declared Texas an independent republic. The captivity of Santa Anna threw Mexico again into confusion.
Bus-tamante, who had returned from exile, became president April 19, 1837; but in the latter part of his term the power was virtually in the hands of Santa Anna, who, after a visit to President Jackson at Washington, had been sent back to Mexico in a United States ship of war in 1837. He held olhce as revolutionary provisional president from March to July, 1839, when Nicolas Bravo became president for a week. A long period of confusion followed, during which the constitution was suspended, and the government became a dictatorship, at the head of which were alternately Santa Anna, Bravo, and Canalizo (the two last as substitutes du-ring the frequent absences of the first), from Oct. 10, 1841, to June 4, 1844. Constitutional government was resumed in 1844 with Santa Anna as president, under a constitution promulgated June 12, 1843. He was deposed and banished by a revolution, and was succeeded, Sept. 20, 1844, by Canalizo, who was deposed by a revolution in December. His successor, Herrera, was also driven from office by a revolution, Dec. 30, 1845. During his administration war commenced with the United States, in consequence of the annexation of Texas to the American Union. Ilerrera was succeeded by Gen. Paredes. In May, 1846, Gen. Taylor crossed the Rio Grande, and after a series of engagements in which the American arms were uniformly successful.
Santa Anna, who had returned from exile, retrained the presidency, and taken personal command of the army, was completely overthrown. By the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in February, 1848, the war was ended, and California and New Mexico were ceded to the United States. Santa Anna again left the country, but after the new administration of Ilerrera, and that of Arista, he was recalled in 1853, and was for the fifth time elevated to the presidency, though for a short season only; for having attempted to secure the office for life with the right to appoint at his death his own successor, he was deposed in August, 1855, by a revolution under Alvarez, governor of Guerrero, who was at, once appointed to take his place. The latter resigned in favor of Comonfort in December of the same year, and a series of revolutions ensued, chiefly instigated by the so-called church party, whom the president made his implacable enemies by a law recommended by him arid adopted in June 1856, for the sale of the church lands ana the freedom of religious belief.
In March, 1857, a new and very democratic constitution was promulgated by congress, and Comonfort was constrained to accept it; but, owing to strenuous opposition from the church party, it did not come into operation till May. Meantime the repudiation of an acknowledged debt to Spain seemed likely to involve the republic in a war with that power; the president sought in vain for aid from the United States, and conspiracies multiplied on every side. Comonfort, although confirmed in the presidency under the new constitution in September, announced in December a change of government and of constitution; and in January, 1858, he was superseded by Zuloaga, who for a while had been his supporter, and was forced to take refuge in the United States. Zuloaga was immediately opposed by Benito Juarez, who, as chief justice of the supreme court, was by the provisions of the constitution the late president's lawful successor. Juarez was defeated; but he went to Vera Cruz, and there established himself as constitutional president on May 4. Zuloaga was constrained to abdicate in favor of Miguel Miramon, his own general-in-chief, Jan. 1, 1859. Miramon, a successful soldier rather than a good statesman, relied solely upon the fortune of arms for the subjection of Vera Cruz. Leaving Zuloaga as provisional president, he set out upon a series of campaigns, which terminated in that of Calpnlal-pam and the triumphal entry of Juarez into the capital on Jan. 11, 1861. Much of Juarez's success was due to the recognition of him as the head of the government by the United States. While still at Vera Cruz he began the series of reformts which rendered his administration so popular on the one hand, but on the other paved the way for foreign invasion.
Among them stand most prominent the making marriage a civil contract, the abolition of perpetual monastic vows and of ecclesiastical tribunals, the suppression of monasteries, and the appropriation of church property to the service of the state, the total value of which was estimated at rather more than $300,000,000, or nearly one half the value of all the landed property in the country. These measures were soon followed by the complete separation of church and state. But the church party had resolved upon the destruction of Juarez's government, although national liberty should be sacrificed for its accomplishment. A favorable opportunity soon offered. Spain, France, and England urged claims for the reparation of injuries and losses alleged to have been sustained by their subjects resident in Mexico; and no satisfaction having been obtained from Juarez, he was informed that a joint expedition from the three powers would be sent to demand it, a measure agreed upon by the convention of London, Oct. 31, 1861. Early in December Vera Cruz was occupied by Spanish troops from Cuba, commanded by Gen. Prim, and in January, 1862, by French and British forces.
But it was soon discovered that the English and Spanish claims could be settled by negotiation; it was agreed that a portion of the customs receipts should be appropriated to their liquidation; and in May the forces of both these powers were withdrawn from the country. The French army remained in the republic, thereby tacitly avowing their intention to overthrow the existing form of government in Mexico. This-determination appears to have been solely prompted by Almonte and other agents of the church party sent to Europe for that purpose, and it was readily concurred in by Napoleon III. The French refused to treat with Juarez, and war was declared on April 16,1862. Almonte, appointed president by the Vera Cruz authorities, who had revolted against Juarez (June 3), was deposed and his government dissolved on Oct. 2 by a decree of Gen. Forey, the French commander. Hostilities began with an attack on Puebla by the French, who were then defeated, but who, after a number of subsequent engagements of varying success, occupied Mexico city on June 10, 1863, Juarez and his ministry having removed to San Luis Potosi. A regency was formed on the 24th; on July 8 an assembly of notables was convened, with power to decide upon the form of the future government of Mexico; and on the 10th it resolved, by 250 votes against 20, upon a hereditary monarchical government under a Roman Catholic emperor.
The crown was accepted by the archduke Maximilian of Austria, with the title of Maximilian I., emperor of Mexico. He arrived at the capital on June 12, 1864. The republican president, continually pursued by the imperialists, arrived by successive retreats at El Paso in September, 1865, and remained there until the commencement of the following year. On March 25, 1866, the Juarist troops captured Chihuahua, and that victory was followed by a number of others. After repeated remonstrances from the United States government, the French troops, under Bazaine, were withdrawn from Mexico early in 1867, the last detachment embarking at Vera Cruz on March 16. Maximilian, now left to his own resources, deemed it expedient to leave the capital and proceed northward. Toward the end of February he set out at the head of about 5,000 men, and reached Queretaro, which was at once besieged by Gen. Escobedo with an army of 20,000 Juarists; Mexico, Puebla, and Vera Cruz being simultaneously invested by other divisions of the republican forces.
The ill-fated emperor was captured (May 15), tried by court martial, condemned, and shot, together with his two generals, Miramon and Mejia, on June 19. Juarez reentered the capital on July 16, and was reelected president in the following October. During his flight before the imperial forces in the north his term of office had expired; but he issued a decree prolonging his exercise of the presidential functions until it should become possible to summon the representatives for a new election. The work of reconstruction was interrupted for a short time by an attempt on the part of Santa Anna to occupy some of the gulf ports and promote a conspiracy against Juarez, who had rejected his oifer to assist him in driving out the invaders. He was captured at Sisal on July 12, 1867, tried at the castle of San Juan de Ulua, and condemned to banishment for eight years. The years 1868 and 1869 were marked by insurrections, pronunciamientos, and revolutions, the most formidable of which was the pronuncia-miento of Angel Santa Anna, who was taken, after four months of depredations and bloodshed, and shot, in company with his followers.
President Juarez was again elected in 1871, the opposing candidates having been Gen. Por-firio Diaz and Don Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada. Juarez is remarkable as having been the first president of Mexico who held power during his full term of oflice. He died on July 18, 1872, and was succeeded by Lerdo de Tejada. The republic is at present (1875) in a state of comparative peace; the laws are more faithfully observed, or at least less disregarded; the military seem to be reconciled to the idea of enduring a civilian at the head of the government; public education is in a prosperous condition; internal improvements are in progress; brigandage is gradually disappearing; and mining is likely to be extended before long by the adoption of suitable machinery. - See Solis, His-toria de la conquista de Mexico (Madrid, 1684; new ed., Paris, 1858; translated into English, 2 vols., London, 1724); Boletin de la sociedad de geografia de Mexico (1854 et seq.); Pimentel, Cvadro descriptiro y comparative de las lemguas indigenas de Mexico (2 vols., Mexico, 1862); Orozco y Berra, Geografia de las lenguas de Mexico (Mexico, 1864); Pay no, Historia de Mexico (Mexico, 1871); Clavigero, Storia antica del Messico (4 vols. 4to, Cesena, 1780-83; translated into English, 2 vols. 4to, London, 1787; Spanish, London, 1824); Humboldt, Es-sais politiqaes sur la Nouvelle Etpagne (revised ed., 4 vols. 8vo, Paris, 1827); Lord Kings-borough, "Mexican Antiquities" (9 vols, fol., London, 1831-'48); Prescott, "History of the Conquest of Mexico" (1843; revised ed., 3 vols., Philadelphia, 1874); BrantzMayer, "History of the War between Mexico and the United States" (New York, 1848), and "Mexico, Aztec, Spanish, and Republican" (1852); Mansfield, "The Mexican War" (New York, 1848); Kendall, "The War between the United States and Mexico" (New York, 1851); Helps, " The Life of Hernando Cortes, and the Conquest of Mexico" (London, 1871).