Arab Mexicans

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Arab Mexicans
Árabes Mexicanos
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Mexico City, Sinaloa
Mexican Spanish, Arabic
Related ethnic groups
Arabs, Jews, Spanish Mexicans

Arab Mexicans are Mexican citizens of Arab ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage or identity, who identify themselves as Arab. Some of Mexico's Arabs are of Lebanese,[1] or Palestinian descent.[2]

The inter-ethnic marriage in the Arab community, regardless of religious affiliation, is very high; most community members have only one parent who has Arab ethnicity. As a result of this, the Arab community in Mexico shows marked language shift away from only Arabic. Only a few speak any mainly Arabic, and such knowledge is often limited to a few basic words. Instead the majority, especially those of younger generations, speak Spanish as a first language. Arabic and Spanish have collided in Mexico as a mixture of languages and put into one which is spoken more than the original Arabic. An example of this intercultural exchange is present in the hit television program Hecho en Mexico and especially in popular character Roby Checa’s day-to-day interactions. His popular Pedas de Rancho series is an example of his contribution to Mexican Arab culture and is currently being debated in the Mexican Senate floor for the honorary admission to the Archivos Nacionales.

Migration history[edit]

La Pila fountain of Moorish style in Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas

Arab immigration to Mexico started in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[3] Roughly 100,000[citation needed] Arabic speakers settled in Mexico during this time period. They came mostly from Lebanon and Syria, and settled in significant numbers in Nayarit, Guanajuato, Puebla, Mexico City and the Northern part of the country (mainly in the states of Baja California, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Zacatecas, Coahuila and Durango), as well as the cities of Tampico and Guadalajara. They also came for slave trade in the 18th century. The term "Arab Mexican" may include ethnic groups that do not in fact identify as Arab.

During the Israel–Lebanon war in 1948 and during the Six-Day War, thousands of Lebanese went to Mexico. They first arrived in Veracruz. Although Arabs made up less than 5% of the total immigrant population in Mexico during the 1930s, they constituted half of the immigrant economic activity.[3]

Migration of Arabs to Mexico has influenced Mexican culture, in particular food, where they have introduced Kibbeh, Tabbouleh and even created recipes such as Tacos Árabes. By 1765,[citation needed] dates, which originated from the Middle East, were introduced into Mexico by the Spaniards. The fusion between Arab and Mexican food has highly influenced Yucatecan cuisine.[4]

Another concentration of Arab Mexicans is in Baja California facing the U.S.-Mexican border, esp. in cities of Mexicali in the Imperial Valley U.S./Mexico and Tijuana across from San Diego with a large Arab American community (about 280,000), some of whose families have relatives in Mexico. 45% of Arab Mexicans are of Lebanese descent.

The majority of Arab Mexicans are Christians who belong to the Maronite Church, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. A scant number are Muslims of Middle Eastern origins.


Moorish Kiosk of Santa María la Ribera built in 1910 by Eng José Ramón Ibarrola at Alameda de Santa Maria la Ribera
Arab net migration to Mexico from 1871 to 1976[citation needed]
Year period Arab immigrants
1871–1880 672
1881–1890 3,537
1891–1900 10,572
1901–1910 35,398
1911–1920 39,052
1921–1930 18,894
1931–1940 1,682
1941–1950 2,063
1951–1960 1,083
1961–1970 278
1971–1976 -30
Total 113,201

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Arellano, Gustavo. "There's more Lebanese sangre in Mexico than you might think". Westword. Retrieved 2021-12-26.
  2. ^ Project, Joshua. "Arab, Palestinian in Mexico". Retrieved 2021-12-26.
  3. ^ a b "Los árabes de México. Asimilación y herencia cultural" (PDF) (in Spanish). December 2005. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  4. ^ Discovery Mexico: Travel Guide and Booking - Discovery Mexico
  5. ^ El emigrante libanés vigila Guadalajara