All this talk about SB 1070 and its potential impact on Mexican and/or Hispanic/Latino Americans has made me research the history of Arizona. Here’s some information from wikipedia about the Mexican period of Arizona:
In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain after a decade of war. The revolution had destroyed the colonial silver mining industry and had bankrupted the national treasury. Along the northern frontier, funds that had supported missions, presidios and trading routes were reduced. As missions began to wither without military protection, Mexico began auctioning off more land (land grants). The revolution also impacted the relationship between the Europeans, Pueblos and non-pueblo natives such as the Apache and Navajo.
The Mexican period came to a close with the influx of Americans. In 1846, the annexation of Texas led to the Mexican-American War, ultimately resulting in the Mexican Cession, in which the United States acquired the region of Arizona north of the Gila River in 1848. The California gold rush brought more Americans through Arizona. The Mexican period closed with the Gadsden Purchase in 1854 and the last of the Mexican army leaving Tucson in 1856.
Arizona officially became the U.S. Territory of Arizona from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when it was admitted to the Union as the 48th state.
That was almost 100 years ago.
Currently about 30.8% (2009 estimate) of the State of Arizona has individuals claiming to be of Hispanic origin, but we are awaiting the official 2010 Census results. Many local Mexican-American families here in Tucson are 5th generation Americans, like District 5 Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias‘ familia.
Blogger Hugh Holub has a recent report on Arizona’s 6.4 million population. “Hispanics are the fastest-growing demographic group in the state, as well as in the country.”
Other Hispanic politicians in Southern Arizona: Congressman Raul Grijalva (CD 7), Pima County Supervisor Chair Ramon Valadez (District 2), Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez, Tucson Councilmembers Regina Romero (Ward 1) and Richard Fimbres (Ward 5), LD 27 Senator-elect Olivia Cajero Bedford, LD 27 House Rep.-elect Dr. Macario Saldate, TUSD Governing Board members Adelita Grijalva (Raul’s daughter), & Miguel Cuevas.
So therefore, based on Arizona’s history as having been once Spanish-speaking Mexico and the current increasing ethnic population figures, my Christmas message this year is “Feliz Navidad”. I always sing along when I hear Jose Feliciano‘s popular song with that title (written by him in 1970) on the radio.
Happy holidays everyone.
Feliz Navidad, prospero año y felicidad.