|Impact of the Mexican Revolution||Previous||Next|
|Digital History ID 3250|
In 1810, a Mexican priest, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, led a short-lived revolt against Spanish rule. It was the beginning of Mexico's struggle for independence, which was achieved in 1821.
The collapse of Spanish authority opened the Southwest to American economic penetration and settlement. By 1848, white Americans made up about half of California's non-Native American population.
Mexican independence also led to the demise of the California mission system. Under this system, priests forced Native Americans to live in mission communities, where they were forced to work in weaving, blacksmithing, candlemaking, leatherworking, and agriculture. In 1833 and 1834, the Mexican government confiscated California's mission properties and sold or gave the property away to private landowners called rancheros. These ranchos were run like feudal estates. The death rate of Native Americans who worked on the ranchos was twice that of southern slaves.