The U. S. – Mexican Border, as we know the border of Mexico and the United States is the most popular, demanding, and problematic in the world. We can define the border as a 960,000-mile-wide strip of land centered on the international boundary line, which stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The one side of the nearly 2,000-mile-long border lies the United States with California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas as neighbors. On the other side we have Mexico with Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahuas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas as neighbors.
Both countries share a large diversity of flora and fauna, also what is very important the combination or fusion of cultures between this two countries. The international boundary line was established in the mid-nineteenth century. Where before it had been just a river along which towns had naturally settled, the Rio Grande now became a dividing line; however, we still have does nonriver towns that shear the border line (University ix). To know a little more about this international border we want to go back in time.
After Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, people started to migrate to north part of Mexico; Mexico began to encourage trade. The inauguration of the Santa Fe Trail in 1821 linked Independence, in western Missouri, to Santa Fe and extended the Missouri trade into Chihuahua, a city in north central Mexico. This growing trade led the northern Mexican provinces to seek manufactured goods from the United States rather than areas in southern Mexico. People that were living in the north part of Mexico became independent from the rest of the country (Encarta 2002).
By the 1830s the population of Mexican Texas included many immigrants from the United States. These Anglo-American colonists were angry over Mexican attempts to deny autonomy to Texas and were unhappy with a law that prevented immigration from the United States into Texas. They were also wary of Catholic laws and customs. In 1835 they revolted and established Texas as an independent republic. When hostilities ceased, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (el gran pendejo) agreed to withdraw his troops across the Rio Grande and recognize the independence of Texas.
The Mexican congress rejected the agreement, and many Mexicans assumed the nation would regain Texas. However, Mexico was in no position to retake Texas by force. The Lone Star Republic, as it was known, remained independent from 1836 to 1845, when the United States Congress approved a joint resolution annexing Texas. Mexico considered this annexation an act of aggression, and the Mexican diplomat in Washington, D. C. , broke off negotiations and went home (Castai?? edo 48, 49).
With diplomatic relations broken, President Polk (1845 – 1849) sent John Slidell as a special envoy to Mexico to negotiate a dispute over the boundary between Texas and Mexico. Throughout the colonial era the western boundary of Spanish "Tejas" had been the Nueces River. During the Mexican period of Texas history, from 1821 to 1845, Spanish and Mexican maps and documents reaffirmed the Nueces River as the boundary. But the Anglos in Texas, and their backers in the United States, insisted that the western boundary was the Rio Grande.
At stake were not merely the 150 miles that separated the Nueces from the Rio Grande in southern Texas, but the thousands of square miles of territory to the northwest that also fell within the claim (including half of New Mexico, several hundred miles west of the headwaters of the Nueces River) (Raat 55,56). But when Jose Joaquin de Herrera President of Mexico discovered that Slidell also had secret instructions to negotiate for the purchase of California and New Mexico, he quickly informed Polk that he had nothing to discuss with Slidell.
Herrera was then overthrown by General Mariano Paredes, and Mexico prepared to assert its authority over Texas by mobilizing an army of 5200 troops near the mouth of the Rio Grande under the command of General Mariano Arista. After the border dispute the Mexican – U. S. War of 1846 started, and we know that in this point of history is when Mexico lost almost half of its territory (California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas). Even thought the United States won the war in 1848, they still intervened in Mexican relationships, both economically and militarily.
This point was the end of a new beginning for the border (Schmitt 71, 72). In the same year that the war was over gold was discovered in the northern regions of California, initiating the goal rush. This leaded an immense migration from Mexico to the U. S. ; however, not everyone could take part in the region' prosperity. Since many migrants did not make it to California, the population near the boarder region increased in a significant way. In 1858, the Mexican president established free zones, where goods could be transferred from the U. S.
to Mexico or vise versus with out paying tariff. Tamaulipas and Chihuahuas were the first states with free zone continuing with Nuevo Leon, and on 1885 the Mexican president implemented free zone to the entire border region (Lorey 32, 33). Political instability prevented significant economic growth for much of the 19th century. It was until the last quarter of the nineteenth century when Mexico's economy had taken off for the first time. With Porfirio Diaz at the presidency in 1876, the international border for the first time was sustained political stable.
Diaz imposed law and order with a focus on promoting the Mexican economy to grow at a greater level. But he needed capital to start his project; here is where the United States tock place. With capital from U. S. investors Porfirio Diaz started building railroads, mining operations, export agriculture, and commercial endeavors throughout the border region. Three major innovations happened in the border while Diaz was at the presidency. First, transportation by railroads revolutionized the relationship between border production and markets. Second, distant markets for border commodities had developed.
Silver, copper, salt, lead and other mineral production; lumber; commercial agricultural products such as wheat and cotton; and livestock were all in great demand as both Mexico and U. S economies grew. Third, labor and capital for extractive activities, both of which originated outside the region and created a distinctly dependent border economy, increased in quantity and flexibility. Also the railroad increased the value of the border region's natural resources by connecting them to distant processing plants, distribution centers, and markets.
During the final year of the Diaz administration, U. S. citizens owned 17 of 31 major mining companies operating in Mexico, controlling 81 percent of the industry's total capital, and British investors held 14. 5 percent (Lorey 35-38). In the Mexican Border States, the period from 1910 to 1917 was dominated by the convulsive political disturbance of the Revolution of 1910, which had great impacts for Mexico and border regions. However, the revolution did not destroy the Mexican economy.
The commercial exchange increased significantly: the value of imports from the United States trebled between 1911 to 1920. From this point and on we can see major changes that affected both countries like World War II where the U. S. border states emerged as international leaders in aircraft, defense-related, and high-tech innovations or the Spanish-Speaking Congress movement that secured the basic right for Mexican and Spanish-speaking people, but for now we will make a jump to where we are now (Lorey 82-83).