Important Historical Events that Affected Western Colorado

Republic of Texas and Mexican American War 1836 to 1845

Republic of Texas, and the Mexican American War, 1836-1845

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Mexico's Freedom from Spain 1821

Mexico's Freedom from Spain, 1821

The Republic of Texas 1836 to 1845

Republic of Texas, 1836-1845

Mexican American War 1845 to 1847

Mexican American War 1845-1847

Treaty of Hidalgo 1848

Treaty of Hidalgo 1848 (results)

Mexico's Freedom from Spain, 1821
Mexico's Flag and Freedom from Spain

           Just like the United States of America, the people in Spain's colony of Mexico got sick and tired of being ruled by a faraway country. Spain had set up a class system of Spaniards, Creoles, Mestizos, Native Americans, and African Americans. Each class of people had their own rights and jobs that they could do. Spaniards and Creoles had the most privelages and could be in leadership jobs, while many people like Mestizos, Native Americans, and African Americans were treated basicly as slaves. The Mexican people wanted to rule themselves and choose for themselves who could do different jobs. Mexico's War of Independence began in 1810 and was finally won in 1821. Unfortunately, not much changed after Mexico won its independence from Spain. The richest people, the Creole class of people, in Mexico liked the power and money they had gained in the old system and were scared of drastic change. The newly formed Mexican government was then ruled by the creoles, and the poorer classes still had few rights.

           Mexico's independence did lead to another major change. Spain had more power in protecting its lands in southwestern North America. Like many newly formed governments, the Mexican government was disorganized and the creole class of people was fighting over the new balance of power. The newly formed Mexican government did not have a large enough national army to defend the northern parts of their territory, now a days Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Western Colorado. Soon many settlers from the United States of America moved west into these areas. In fact, enough people settled in Texas that for a short while they formed their own country, the Republic of Texas.

 
Republic of Texas, 1836-1845
Republic of Texas fight for Freedom

           In 1823 Mexico had only about 2,500 people living in the large area of Texas. Mexico offered cheap land to get Americans to settle the land. In exchange for the cheap land, the new settlers would become Mexican Citizens, obey the Mexican government's laws, and agree to learn Spanish. However, soon there were problems and the new settlers found that they had a problem with the rules created by Mexico's constantly changing government.

In 1835 Mexico's governmnent adopted a new constitution that outlawed slavery. For the Texans that was the final straw and the Texans revolted to claim their own republic. These Texans were led by Sam Houston and wanted to be free of Mexico's laws and Mexico's president General Antonio Lopéz de Santa Anna. Santa Anna brought the Mexican Army into Texas and killed around 200 Texans at the small fort called the Alamo and killed 340 Texans in Goliad. "Remember the Alamo" and "Remember Goliad" had become battle cries for the Texans.

Even though the Texans were greatly outnumbered, the Texans ended up defeating Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. In 1836, the defeated Santa Anna signed the Treaty of Velasco giving the Republic of Texas its independence. However, the Mexican government said that the treaty was no good because Santa Anna did not get the approval from the full Mexican government. This began an uneasy relationship between Texas and Mexico for nine years.

           In 1819, the United States signed the Adams-Onis Treaty with Spain to get Florida. In return, the United States recognized Spain's borders in southwestern North America. However, when Mexico got its freedom from Spain, the Republic of Texas and later the United States government said the treaty was with Spain and not Mexico so the Adams-Onis Treaty was no longer good. So, there was an argument of where was the border between Texas and Mexico.

Republic of Texas Flag
Republic of Texas and Disputed Territory
Mexican American War, 1845-1847
Mexican American War

           In 1844, the new president of the United States of America James K Polk wanted to annex or have Texas become a new state in the U.S. In 1845, the Republic of Texas accepted the United States invitation to become one of the states. In exchange, the United States took on Texas' massive debt. However, the Republic of Texas' independence and border between Texas and Mexico weren't solved. So in 1846, the United States went to war with Mexico. In addition to Texas, the U.S. had bigger goals during the war. The U.S. sent an army to capture the important trading town of Santa Fe and parts of New Mexico. After that, the U.S. sent and army to capture California from Mexico. The U.S. wanted the sea ports for faster shipping to Asia.

           Meanwhile, there had been lots infighting between Mexicans for who was in control of the Mexican government. There had been six different changes in Mexico's president from 1844 to 1847. The United States army had been largely outnumbered by Mexico's Army in many battles. However, the chaos of Mexico's changing governments and the fact that Mexico's Army was so poorly trained and equiped helped the United States army win battle after battle. The U.S. Army ended up fighting its way all the way to Mexico City. In 1848, a treaty was signed giving the United States the lands of current day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and parts of Utah, Colorado, and Nevada. For more Information click here.

Mexican American War Map
 
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848
Treaty of Hidalgo Results and Territory Added

           In February of 1848 the United States of America and Mexico created the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The U.S. paid Mexico 15 million dollars for California and New Mexico. The U.S. also gained present-day Arizona and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah. In 1853 during the Gadsden Purchase, the United States bought the lower part of Arizona from Mexico. Mexico had lost close to 55% of its territory because of the war. Mexico had lost its main northern trading town of Santa Fe. To make matters more insulting to Mexico, large of amounts of gold were discovered in California later in 1848 causing one of the biggest gold rushes in modern history. For more Information click here.

         On a separate note, In 1846, the United States and England signed a treaty giving the Oregon Territory below the 49th parallel to the U.S.