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Colonial Mexico

            Among the colonies established in Mexico, religion and social status played significant roles. After the initial conquest of Mexico and the successful colonization in 1522, Spain sent additional soldiers to establish a solid foothold over the region. Once colonized, Spain sent a representative of the crown, a Viceroy, to Mexico. This representation allowed for influence from both the Spanish monarchy, and the Catholic Church. Despite attempts to civilize the region, colonial life was still diverse and sometimes dangerous. Cultures clashed, social inequality led to rebellion, political interests of multiple parties were challenged, and religious strife brought on resistance as the natives tried to avoid conversion to Christianity.
             Culture and religion were a significant part of the colonial era in Mexico. When the Spanish arrived they brought their own religious views, politics, social systems, and way of life. With the arrival of Spanish missionaries, came a struggle for religious power in the region as the conquerors of the New World were challenged with subjugating the native populations and converting them over to Catholicism. This proved to be quite difficult as many of the natives held onto their cultural heritage with fierce resistance. The different native cultures included the Aztecs and Mayans as well as many smaller tribes. Despite the early resistance to conversion, it was reported that by the end of the colonial era, one and a half million natives had been baptized ("Lecture 4: Political, Economic and Social Life in New Spain".).
             The church was an influential power in Mexican society, as it was in Spain. Aside from its primary goal of converting the native Americans, the church built schools and hospitals, provided nursing care for the elderly and mentally ill, and established church based schools to convert native American children to Christianity. In addition to setting up numerous social services, the church also moved to ensure that there was unity by establishing the Office of Inquisition, which was designed to root out opposition to the church.

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