Spanish immigration to Mexico
|Spanish residents abroad, 2010:  and INEGI (2010)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Guadalajara · Mexico City · Puebla · Guanajuato · Monterrey|
|Spanish · Minority speaks Galician · Catalan · Basque|
|Predominantly Roman Catholicism,
also Sephardic Judaism and Atheism
|Related ethnic groups|
|Spanish · White Latin American|
|Part of a series on|
Spanish immigration to Mexico began in 1519 and spans to the present day.
The first Spanish settlement was established in February 1519, as a result of the landing of Hernán Cortés in the Yucatan Peninsula, accompanied by about 11 ships, 500 men, 13 horses and a small number of cannons. In March 1519, Cortés formally claimed the land for the Spanish crown.
Arrival of the Spanish
The social composition of this immigration of the late sixteenth century included both common people, illiterate as aristocrats with titles of counts and marquises, all of which quickly disintegrated over the territory.
The discovery of new deposits of various minerals in the central and northern area (from Sonora to the southern province of Mexico) allowed New Spain gradually occupy a privileged position, especially in the extraction of silver. Mining allowed the development of associated activities, especially the manufactures and agriculture, that turned the Bajío region or the valleys of Mexico and Puebla in prosperous agricultural regions and incipient industrial activity.
Spanish culture in Mexico
Spanish was brought to Mexico around 500 years ago. As a result of Mexico City's central role in the colonial administration of New Spain, the population of the city included relatively large numbers of speakers from Spain. Mexico City (Tenochtitlán) had also been the capital of the Aztec Empire, and many speakers of the Aztec language Nahuatl continued to live there and in the surrounding region, outnumbering the Spanish-speakers for several generations. Consequently, Mexico City tended historically to exercise a standardizing effect over the entire country, more or less, evolving into a distinctive dialect of Spanish which incorporated a significant number of hispanicized Nahuatl words.
Bullfighting arrived in Mexico with the first Spaniards and the rest of Latin America in the 16th century. Records are found of the first bullfights debuted in Mexico on June 26, 1526, with a bullfight in Mexico City held in honor of explorer Hernán Cortés, who had just come back from Honduras (then known as Las Hibueras). From that point on, bullfights were staged all over Mexico as part of various civic, social and religious celebrations. Today, there are about 220 permanent bullrings throughout Mexico with the largest venue of its kind is the Plaza de toros México in central Mexico City which opened in 1946 and seats 48,000 people.
Spanish place names in Mexico
- Guadalajara, Jalisco, after Guadalajara, Spain,
- Mérida, Yucatán after Mérida, Spain
- Zamora, Michoacán after Zamora, Spain
- León, Guanajuato after León, Spain
- Valladolid, Yucatán after Valladolid, Spain and Morelia, Michoacán formerly named Valladolid de Michoacán
- Nuevo León named after the former Kingdom of León in Spain
- Monterrey city was named after the Countess of Monterrei (a city in Galicia, Spain), wife of the Viceroy of New Spain Gaspar de Zúñiga, 5th Count of Monterrey, Count of Monterrey, Spain.
- Salamanca, Guanajuato named after Salamanca, Spain
- Burgos, Tamaulipas named after Burgos, Spain
- Linares, Nuevo León named after Linares, Spain
- Durango, Durango named after Durango, Spain
- Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas after Laredo, Cantabria, Spain
- Córdoba, Veracruz after Córdoba, Spain
- Zaragoza, Veracruz after Zaragoza, Spain
- Zaragoza, Puebla after Zaragoza, Spain
- Medellín, Veracruz after Medellín, Spain
- Puebla de Zaragoza after Puebla de Sanabria
- Compostela, Nayarit after Santiago de Compostela
- Villahermosa, Tabasco after Villahermosa del Campo, Spain
- Reynosa, Tamaulipas after Reinosa, Spain
- Madrid, Colima after Madrid, Spain
- Matamoros, Tamaulipas after Valle de Matamoros, Extremadura, Spain
- Altamira, Tamaulipas after Altamira, Bilbao, Spain
In the 16th century, following the military conquest of most of the new continent, perhaps 240,000 Spaniards entered American ports. They were joined by 450,000 in the next century. Since the conquest of Mexico, this region became the principal destination of Spanish colonial settlers in the 16th century. The first Spaniards who arrived in Mexico were soldiers and sailors from Extremadura, Andalucía and La Mancha after the conquest of America. At the end of the 16th century both commoner and aristocrat from Spain were migrating to Mexico.
In the period 1850-1950, 3.5 million Spanish left for the Americas, and Mexico became one of the chief destinations, particularly the Northern region where Porfirio Diaz started a campaign of European immigration to supply labor.
Most recent migrants came during the Spanish Civil War. More than 100,000 Spanish refugees settled in Mexico during this era. Some of the migrants returned to Spain after the civil war, but many more remained in Mexico.
Due to the 2008 Financial Crisis and the resulting economic decline and high unemployment in Spain, many Spaniards have been emigrating to Mexico to seek new opportunities. For example, during the last quarter of 2012, a number of 7,630 work permits were granted to Spaniards.
The Asturians are a very large community that have a long history in Mexico, dating from colonial times to the present. There are about 42,000 people of Asturian birth in Mexico. The Catalans are also very numerous in Mexico. According to sources from the Catalan community, there are approximately 12,000 Catalan-born around the country.. There are also as many as 8,500 Basques, 6,000 Galicians, and 1,600 Canary Islanders.
The largest population of Spanish descent are located in the Northern region, where they make up the largest proportion of the population. Large populations are found in the states like Sinaloa, Jalisco, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Durango, Guanajuato, Mexico City, Puebla, and Veracruz. Also, Northern Mexico is inhabited by many millions of Spanish descendants. Some states like Zacatecas, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Sonora, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, have those of Spanish descent as the majority of the population.
As the Spanish royal Government doted the New Spain from Kingdoms and Territories, a great part of them followed names. So we can find lots of Basque criollos in Durango and Southern Chihuahua as those territories were part of the Kingdom of New Vizcay, Galician descendants in Jalisco being part of the Kingdom of New Galicia.
Spanish descendants make up the largest group of Europeans in Mexico. Most of their ancestors arrived during the colonial period but a further hundreds of thousands have since then immigrated, especially during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. According to CIA World Factbook, whites make up 10% of Mexico's population. The Encyclopædia Britannica states those of predominantly European descent make closer to 17% of the Mexican population.