I have always found Latin Americans to be an interesting bunch, particularly Mexicans, as this is the group most English-speakers (at least Americans) are familiar with. However, they are not very familiar with them, and this is the paradox. Mexicans and Americans have been neighbors since 1803, when the US acquired the Louisiana Territory from France and brought its western frontier to the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain, where the independent nation of Mexico would be created in 1821. Yet, after 208 years of being neighbors, most Americans still have a false idea of what race Mexicans are. The average American (even Mexican-Americans and other Latin Americans in the US) thinks that either Mexicans belong to the “Hispanic/Latino” ‘racial’ group or that they are of the “Mexican race”. A minority think Mexicans are Spaniards or Aztecs & Mayans or a mixture of both. Many Americans don’t even know that the Spaniards are white Europeans and that the Aztecs and Mayans are American Indians (and that the Aztecs and Mayans are only two of the many Amerindian groups in Mexico).
Note: American Indian = Amerindian = Indigenous = Indian = Amerind
So a bit of education seems to be necessary here.
Most Mexicans are mestizos, meaning they are a racial mixture of Europeans and Amerindians. A large minority of Mexicans are either “pure” Amerindian or “pure” white European. I put the word pure in quotation marks since genetic studies have revealed Mexican Indians and white Mexicans to be admixed in varying degrees, particularly the Indians.
Now, most of the European component in mestizo Mexicans comes from the Spanish, but there are also minorities of French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Irish, and very small minorities of British, Swedish, Greek, Romanian, Polish, Russian, Albanian, Yugoslavian, Armenian, and Turkish (if you consider these last two European), and European Jews.
Here, British means: English, Scottish, Welsh, and Cornish. Also, here, Yugoslavian refers to: Serbians, Kosovars, and Muslim & Christian Bosnians.
The Jewish presence in Mexico dates back to the first conquistadors, some of whom were Crypto Jews (Sephardim). Many more Sephardic Jews (as well as Muslim Spaniards, North Africans, and Arabs) arrived in Mexico during the first century of colonization, since they were trying to flee the Spanish Inquisition. Sadly, many perished in Mexico as the Spanish extended their inquisition into their colonies, yielding the Mexican Inquisition. Even more Jews (including Ashkenazim; or were [I am not sure about this] mostly Ashkenazi Jews) settled in Mexico during the 1930s and 1940s (and beyond).
The Spanish have been settling Mexico since 1511 when two Spanish survivers of a shipwreck washed up on Cozumel and the Yucatan, where they were taken up by Mayans and fostered Mexico’s first mestizos. Millions of Spaniards settled all over their colonies Americas during the colonial era (around half of these to Mexico). A massive wave of Spaniards then arrived to escape the horrors of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. The French arrived after Mexico gained independence. Many more (including an unknown number of Austrians and Belgians) arrived by the thousands to Mexico after France colonized Mexico and set up Maximilian the Habsburg as emperor of Mexico. Large numbers of other Europeans (mainly Italians and Germans) came to Mexico during World War II and the Cold War. The Cold War also brought new European refugees and immigrants to Mexico, like the Slavs. White Americans heavily settled Mexico’s Alta California and Texas – which didn’t end too well for Mexico. However, Mexico-friendly white Americans have since arrived in Mexico (as a matter of fact, Vicente Fox, who served as Mexico’s president from 2000 – 2006, is descended from German/Irish American immigrant who came to Mexico during the American Civil War). Whites from Canada also came; whites from Argentina have begun a recent trend of immigration to Mexico City and central Mexico (obviously avoiding violent northern Mexico and poverty-stricken southern Mexico). The Irish came to Mexico for common religion. There was even a group of Irish and German Catholic immigrants in the US who created the Saint Patrick’s Battalion and fought for Mexico during the Mexican-American War after mistreatment and discrimination by Protestant American officers. German and Dutch Mennonites who speak Plattsdiestch (an old German dialect) came to Mexico from Canada, Swedish Mennonites came to Mexico’s state of Chihuahua, Russian Molokans came to Mexico’s Baja California recently, Scottish immigrants founded a town in northern Mexico, and a special group of Italian immigrants who speak an old dialect, Venetian, founded the town of Chipilo in Puebla. Interesting to note: Cornish miners who immigrated to Mexico introduced soccer; Germans immigrants’ polka music heavily influenced the creation of northern Mexico’s ranchero music; many Mexican dishes and pastry were created and based on French and other non-Spanish European cuisine during the French rule in Mexico, and during this time period, Mariachi music was born (Mariachi is a corruption of the French word mariage, or marriage). Almost all the non-Spanish European immigration to Mexico occured after Mexico gained independence.
The indigenous component in Mexicans is diverse and depends on location. Indigenous groups that Mexican mestizos are descended from include: Nahuas, Mayans, Zapotecs, Mixtecs, Zacatecs, Mazatecs, Coahuiltecs, Tamaulipecs, Yaquis, and many more. Some Mexican mestizos in what is today the Southwestern United States have descent from the Chumash, Pueblos, Navajos, Hopis, Zunis, and even the Apaches. Though most of these mestizos never identify with any of those groups, they identify as Mexican, and many identify as Spanish, not Mexican. I digress, but the so-called “Hispanos” or “Spanish-Americans” of the Southwest are really Mexican mestizos whose ancestors lived in the Southwest when the U.S. took it over in 1848. They started to identify as “Spanish” to distance themselves from the Mexican immigrants who started arriving during the Mexican Revolution.
Most people (even most Mexicans) don’t know this, but there is an occult 3rd, 4th, and 5th root in mestizo Mexicans.
The 3rd root is the (sub-Saharan) African root. The black presence in Mexico dates back to the beginnings of colonization where blacks were brought as enslaved soldiers. Later during the colonial era, blacks were imported from Africa to ports in eastern Mexico to serve as slave laborers. These slaves were distributed to work in Veracruz, Tabasco, Tlaxcala, Guerrero, and Oaxaca. Most mixed with Mexicans of other races because their children could be legally free if one of the kid’s parents was free. Therefore, in short time, the black slaves ‘s population decreased, and many part-black Mexicans came to being: mulattos (mixed European-African), zambos (mixed Amerind-African), and triracials. Many of these part-black Mexicans became among the first settlers in modern-day northern Mexico and Southwestern USA. Today, blacks and part-blacks form about 1% of Mexico’s population and are limited to villages along the coasts of eastern and southwestern Mexico. Interesting to note: Mexico’s second president, Vicente Guerrero, was part-black.
The 4th root is a root that Mexicans had already inherited from the Amerindians: (East) Asians. Amerindians originally descend from East Asians who came across the Bering land bridge that once connected Siberia to Alaska. However, the Asian root is deeper than just the Amerindians. Not content with bringing enslaved Africans, the Spaniards also imported people from their colony in Asia – the Philippines. Filipinos worked as indentured servants and slaves along the coasts of western Mexico (particularly in Guerrero). Following the blacks’ example, the Filipinos also mixed out with other races in Mexico. Moreover, during the early 20th century, besides the new Korean and Japanese immigrants to central Mexico, waves of Chinese immigrants came to Baja California, Sonora, and Sinaloa. In those days, many towns in Baja California were more Chinese than they were Mexican. Heavy Chinese populations were also located in Tijuana, Mexicali, and Mexico City. Sadly, in the 1930s, most of the Chinese were sent back to China following a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment in Mexico. Though, today there are large Chinese or part-Chinese populations in places like Mexicali and even Mexico City.
The 5th root is the Arabian root. Now, I am aware that the Arabs are Caucasians like the Europeans, but they are still not Europeans. The funny thing though, is that many Arabs in Mexico do look like Europeans (and are also light-skinned). This is because most all of the Arab immigrants were Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Jordanians, and Egyptians. Most came during World War I when the Ottoman Empire was collapsing and performing attrocities on non-Turkish, non-Muslim populations within their empire. Since they came from Turkey (Ottoman Empire), many Mexicans called them “Turks”. But most were not Muslims, they were Christians escaping religious persecution back home. Although they might not admit it, the only real Arabs are Saudis, Yemenis, Omanis, Emiratis, and Bedouins. The rest of the peoples in the Middle East and North Africa who identify as “Arab” are just assimilated Arabs, who identifiedas Arabs after they were conquered and/or converted to Islam. Genetic studies have already proved this. Digressing, the Palestinians, for example, are descended from indigenous peoples of the Levant (eastern Mediterranean) and not from the Arabian peninsula, though they identify as Arabs. This is why Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians, and Iraqis are generally lighter-skinned than Arabs from the Arabian peninsula. Anyways, the Arab influence in Mexico is deep. For one, they introduced foods like the tacos al pastor. Also, they are deeply rooted in the political and economic life of Mexico. Examples: the richest man in Mexico and the world is Carlos Slim, a Mexican of Lebanese ancestry; Salma Hayek is also of Lebanese ancestry.
Mexico’s population can be divided into the following percentages (the first three are uncertain):
White European: 15-20%
Black, mulatto, or zambo: ±1%
Asian, or part-Asian: ±1%
Arab: ±1% (Part Arab: ?%)
Note: “Mestizo” is difficult to measure since many mestizos can look European, others can look Amerindian. Some who claim to be mestizo are really Hispanicized Indians, while others are whites in-denial.
Many people base their percentage of Mexico’s population on the CIA World Factbook’s statistics of 60% Mestizo, 30% Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian, 9% White, and 1% Other. However, this statistic was taken off the 1921 Mexican census, which was the last census in Mexico to record race. The CIA distorts the percentages somewhat, the 1921 census recorded the following: 59% Mestizo, 29% Amerindian, 10% White, 2% Other, Foreigner (regardless of race), or chose to ignore race. Since 1921, large numbers of Spanish and other Europeans arrived in Mexico during the Spanish Civil War and World War II (and even the lengthy Cold War). They somewhat changed the racial demographics of Mexico.
Moving on to genetics:
In northern Mexico, mestizos have European ancestries ranging from 44-79%, and in southern Mexico the mestizos have Indian ancestries ranging from 51-76%. African ancestry is strongly present in Veracruz and Guerrero. Veracruz Mexicans tend to have an African admixture that varies from 12-18%. Guerrero Mexicans have African admixtures of 7-22%. Some studies (using old admixture-determining techniques) have produces African ancestries of about 25% in Veracruz, about 20% in Tabasco, and about 33% in Campeche. These percentages are based on my interpretation of circle graphs that show these results, but I have found out from a study that mentions them that the actual percentages are between 20-40%. This level of admixture is doubtful however, as this would mean that Mexicans from those states would have an appearance similar to that of mulatto Dominicans or Brazilians. Veracruz mestizos tend to look more Indian, Tabasco mestizos tend to appear more Caucasian, and Campeche mestizos have a variety of appearance. African appearances in the three states are uncommon, but not rare. Only one study so far has shown any discernible East Asian admixture in the general Mexican population – 1%. At a certain point, it is difficult to measure, since Amerindian and East Asian genetics are similar (they are both of the larger Mongoloid race) and what can be perceived to belong to one group really belongs to the other. What is apparant though, is that Amerindian ancestry overwhelmingly predominates over any East Asian ancestry in mestizos. Now, Arab ancestry is more difficult still to determine in mestizos, since both Arabs and Europeans are of the larger Caucasoid race. Obviously however, European ancestry is the almost-total Caucasian ancestry in mestizos.
Studies on the ancestral contributions that Caucasians, Amerindians, Africans (and Asians) have on Mexicans is variable and (I think) never totally correct. For one, many studies take individuals from only certain states and produce results dramatically different from previous results of mestizos from the same states. Others take mostly states that are heavily Indian, others don’t select mestizos, they randomly select Mexicans (usually states where there are more “pure” Indians). Most of the studies use these things called ”foci” (I am still trying to determine how that works) to determine the racial ancestry in Mexican mestizos. One study using some type of foci got an average European ancestry for mestizos of 59%, another got 54%. One got an African ancestry for mestizos of 9%, another got 3%. So as you can see, they are variable, and I don’t think they provide a really good picture of what Mexicans are.
One study is confounding, it is a study done by the INMEGEN organization of Mexico. It randomly chose 300 self-identified mestizos from Guanajuato, Sonora, Veracruz, Zacatecas, Yucatan, and Guerrero. It was the “Mexican Genome Project”. It showed that Mexican mestizos are on average 65% Indian, 34% White, and 1% Black. What confuses me is that this was the reported result by one person who conducted the study. The official website of the INMEGEN itself reported the findings of the same study as indicating that Mexicans are 55% Indian, 42% White, 2% Black, and 1% East Asian. First of all, 300 Mexicans does not equal 112,000,000 Mexicans. Second of all, 6 of Mexico’s states don’t equal 31 of Mexico’s states plus the Federal District (Mexico City). And third, they classed 80% of Mexicans as mestizos, who knows how they calculated that from 300 randomly-selected Mexicans. They also took Mexico’s one of Mexico’s most indigenous states (Guerrero), two very indigenous and slightly more indigenous states (Veracruz and Yucatan, respectively), one ”even” state (Guanajuato), and two heavily white and Euro-mestizo states (Sonora and Zacatecas, respectively). The study found that Zacatecas had a white admixture of 40%, even though most studies have produced white ancestries of 70-80%. Sonora was only 58-61% white in this study, while in other studies it has been found to be 70% white. 300 Mexicans from 6 states means that, if divided equally, there would be 50 people from each state. I believe the study is inaccurate due to its findings on the states (particularly Zacatecas).
One study though, showed Mexicans to be 59% Caucasian, 31% Indian, and 10% Black. I believe that this study is inaccurate in terms of the Amerindian ancestry (which should be higher) and the African ancestry (which should be lower). Another study found that Mexicans are 52% White, 45% Indian, and 4% Black. This is about correct I believe, but the stats percentages add up to 101%, so this is also strange. And yet another study found Mexicans to be around 50-55% White, 40-45% Indian, and 3-5% Black. The percentages for the aforementioned study are based on my interpretation of the bar graph showing the admixture results.
Mexico’s Indians have varying degrees of intermixture with whites and blacks. The Zapotec Indians in Guerrero, for example, have a general admixture of 98% Indian, 1% White, and 1% Black. The Huastec Indians of north-central Mexico have a general admixture of 63% Indian, and 37% White & Black (exact percentages for white and black admixture individually is not shown in the study). The interesting thing is that some self-identified Indians have less Indian blood than certain self-identified mestizo populations. I have seen several videos, such as this one: , where self-idenfitied Indians who speak Indian languages look very European. But this comes to show that most, if not all, of Mexico’s Indians are mixed to one degree or another. It seems that for some populations, they are racially the same, except one (mestizos) are Hispanicized and the other (Indians) keep pre-Hispanic traditions.
Historically, most Mexican Americans (pre-1848 and post-1848) in the Southwest have had ancestors from the following states: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, Nayarit, Jalisco, and Michoacan. The mestizos in most of these states are Euro-mestizo (meaning they’re more white than Indian). This is reflected in studies that have shown Mexicans in the Southwest to be 65-67% White and 35-33% Indian (breaking the Chicano myth of Mexicans, particularly Mexican-Americans being “80% Amerindian”). The Southwest here is understood to be Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. California Mexicans were 68% White, 30% Indian, and 2% Black in a 1984 study. A study in 2000 revealed them to now be 47% White, 41% Indian, and 12% Black. This may be due to intermixture with Indo-mestizos (mestizos who are more Indian than white) from Central America and/or even some intermixture with African-Americans. It may also be due to intermixture with newer Mexican immigrants (who tend to be Indo-mestizo or even Indian, at least in California). On the subject of newer Mexican immigration. Nowadays, economic meltdowns (as the one in 1994-1995 Mexican peso devaluation crises) left 1 million Mexicans jobless in places like the industrial centers in Mexico’s core (Mexico City, Mexico state, Puebla, Hidalgo, Morelos, Tlaxcala). This drove thousands of Mexicans to the US from places where migration to the north was unusual. Few job opportunities, narco violence, and poverty in the south of Mexico have made more migrants to the US. These new immigrants come from: Mexico state, Mexico City, Hidalgo, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Veracruz, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Yucatan. However, narco violence in the north of Mexico has provoked migration to the USA out of security issues. These migrants come from some of the old sending states (Baja California, Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuila).
Basically, Mexicans in the American East (perhaps except in Florida and Georgia) and the American Northwest (particularly Washington state) tend to be Indo-mestizos or Indians. Chicago Mexicans tend to be around evenly mestizo. Mexicans from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado are Euro-mestizo. Mexicans from California are about evenly mestizo (in the north they are Euro-mestizo). Nevada Mexicans tend to be Indo-mestizo. Today, the Mexican sending states to Texas and Arizona are mostly Euro-mestizo state, the sending states to California are the most various, while the sending states to Nevada, Virginia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, the Carolinas, and New Jersey are mostly Indo-mestizo. Other states I am not so sure about.
Mexico’s north is mostly Euro-mestizo, while the south is mostly Indo-mestizo. Some of central Mexico (including Mexico City) is “true” mestizo. However, while most of Mexico’s territory is inhabited by Euro-mestizos, most of Mexico’s population is located in the south (including Mexico City). This leads more Mexicans to be Indo-mestizo and “true” mestizo than Euro-mestizo. Coahuila is barely Indo-mestizo. Although the states of the Yucatan peninsula have large indigenous populations, many of these historically haven’t mixed with the mestizos there, while the peninsula’s unexpectedly large number of whites have. This is since many of the Indians there live in relative isolation, and there has been historical antagonism between mestizos and Indians in the Yucatan; there was even a race war there, where different Mayan tribes united to drive out the mestizos and whites from the Yucatan, which drove large numbers of whites and mestizos over the border into Guatemala and Belize. Race relations are now way more relaxed, but even then, a decent amount of those who identify as Indians in the Yucatan are really mestizos who speak Yucatec Mayan and/or are un-Hispanicized.
Now, perhaps I may have no right to do this. I will classify Mexicans into racial classifications much like the ones found in “The Major and Minor Races of Mankind” by Robert Lindsay. http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/the-major-and-minor-races-of-mankind/ The racial classifications of Mexicans are based on what Indians the mestizos were descended, what Spaniards (Galicians, Extremadurans, Castillians, Leonese, Basques, etc.) mestizo populations were descended from, and what the proportions of Indian and European blood mestizos had (African and Asian also taken into account). But the classifications are not the best, but they were made out of fun and curiosity and for a (even if wrong) model for Mexican populations. Some modern-day US states with old, historic Mexican mestizo populations (mixed with newer immigrant ones) are included.
* = significant genetic distance from most other groups
** = major genetic distance from most other groups
*** = extreme genetic distance from most other groups
Mexican Mestizo Major Race***
Northern Pacific Mestizo Race (California – Baja California – Baja California Sur)
Mountain Mestizo Race (Nevada – Utah)
Northwestern Mestizo Race (Arizona – Sonora – Sinaloa)
Desert Mestizo Race (Chihuahua – Durango)
Northeastern Mestizo Race (Coahuila – New Mexico – Nuevo Leon – Tamaulipas – Texas – Colorado)
Northern Central Mestizo Race (Zacatecas - Aguascalientes – San Luis Potosi)
Central Pacific Mestizo Race (Nayarit – Jalisco – Colima)
Southern Central Mestizo Race (Guanajuato – Queretaro)
Tarascan Mestizo Race (Michoacan)
Nahua Mestizo Race (Hidalgo – Mexico state – Morelos – Mexico City – Tlaxcala – Puebla)
Southern Pacific Mestizo Race (Guerrero – Oaxaca)
Veracruzan Mestizo Race (Veracruz)
Tabascan Mestizo Race (Tabasco)
Yucatec Mayan Mestizo Race (Campeche – Yucatan – Quintana Roo)
Chiapanec Mayan Mestizo Race (Chiapas)
Caucasian Mexican Major Race***
Spanish Mexican Race* (Mexico – USA)
French Mexican Race (Mexico)
Chipilo Venetian Race* (Puebla)
Germanic Mennonite Race** (Chihuahua – Durango – Zacatecas)
Russian Molokan Race* (Baja California)
General European Mexican Race*** (Mexico)
Arab Mexican Race (Mexico)
Jewish Mexican Race*** (Mexico)
Mexican Amerindian Major Race*
California Indian Race (Baja California – Baja California Sur)
Southwest Indian Race (Northern Mexico)
Mesoamerican Indian Race* (Southern Mexico)
African Mexican Major Race***
General Afro-Mexican Race*** (Veracruz – Tabasco – Campeche – Guerrero – Oaxaca)
Asian Mexican Major Race*
Northeast Asian Mexican Race* (Baja California – Jalisco – Mexico City – Puebla – Chiapas – Yucatan)
Southeast Asian Mexican Race* (Guerrero)