The Spanish-Americans of New Mexico: A Heritage of Pride

By Nancie L. González | Go to book overview
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Chapter IX
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

It is now recognized that Americans of Spanish descent form one of the largest and most neglected minority groups in the country. Even though the total number of Mexican-Americans or Spanish-Americans is exceeded elsewhere, no state has such a high percentage of its total population claiming this ancestry as New Mexico. Whether the problems faced by these people in New Mexico are truly comparable to those found in other southwestern states is, however, not entirely clear. It is of importance to know to what extent or in what manner the Hispanos form a distinctly recognizable social group, distinguishable not only from non-Hispanos, but from other segments of the U.S. population of Spanish descent. In order to provide information upon which a judgment can be made, a review of the social history of this state has been made, emphasizing particularly those events which seem to loom large as factors helping to mold the present-day sociocultural configuration.

During the early period of occupation in this area, the Spanish Colonial culture was profoundly modified by that of the Pueblo Indians. The latter had been successful exploiters of this semi-arid environment for hundreds of years, and the Spanish found the

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