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“Those individuals that classify themselves as Mexican date the beginning back to 1821 when Mexico achieved its independence from Spain. The Spaniards introduced the Roman Catholic faith to the region to the Native Indians, but those individuals coming to Mexico as a Spanish colony originally from Spain continued their native Spanish in Mexico.”Source: familytree.com
Most individuals know the basic events chronicling the colonization of America. History tells us that the Spaniards and other Europeans came to the new world seeking fortune and a chance at a new start in some cases.
The newly colonized land was named America in 1507, because it was believed that an Italian explorer named, Amerigo Vespucci, had discovered the continent. The existing indigenous populations were also renamed, Indian, after Christopher Columbus(as the story goes) mistakenly thought he had just landed on India.
Indigenous populations declined by as much as 90% following the exposure from European diseases that they had no preexisting immunity to. What was left of their populations struggled to maintain their former way of life through a rapidly changing world and the pressures to conform to it.
Throughout the proceeding generations, many indigenous peoples survived by concealing their identity, both in an effort to blend in, but also in obedience to their new Christian faith. Overtime, the identity they tried so hard to conceal was forgotten, as new generations of indigenous peoples carried on as their recent ancestors had.
In modern times advances in DNA, combined with genealogy have had a positive awakening to peoples whose families were affected by colonization. DNA results, have been revealing to say the least to these formerly hidden natives and now they are tasked with uncovering their history and rediscovering their indigenous origins.
Recently, one of our Gualiname members and our “in house genealogist”, Juancholoa, was interviewed for this very topic, by NBC news. In the interview, Juan, discusses his upbringing and journey to discovering his own past with the use of DNA and genealogy.
His video interview can be watched below and there is also a separate article that covers the topic more extensively.