Acculturation is the process of cultural and psychological change. It occurs when traits which are alien to the indigenous people diffuse into the society in a large scale. It occurs as a result of interaction of people from diverse cultures. Acculturation leads to changes in culture, customs and institutional changes of a people. In México, things were no any different with the coming of the colonialists (Mehler 2009). Our culture was significantly changed. Some of the major changes that took place include the following:
A) Introduction of the Spanish Language
Mexico was colonized by the Spanish. They imposed on us the Spanish language. Prior to this, the Aztec language was spoken especially in the Mexican capital. With the coming of the Spanish colonialist, Spanish became the principal language and most of the Aztec words had to be Hispanicize. The Spanish language which was alien to us became part of us. We had to learn the new language to enable us communicate with our colonial masters.
B) Introduction of New Religion in Mexico
In Mexico prior to the coming of the colonialists, Christianity did not exist. The Mayan religion was the main religion being practiced in our land. The Spanish introduce us to a new faith in the name of Christianity which had different beliefs from ours. The new religion was imposed on us and we had to adopt it as our new faith. Catholicism became part of life since the Spanish were predominantly Catholics. A few aspects of our religion were however modified to fit into Christianity. The colonial power felt the need to civilize and to evangelize the native people. They termed our faith as out dated and evil. They wanted us to be Europeanized.
C) Introduction of New Food and Animals in Mexico
Traditionally, corn and beans were our staple foods in Mexico. With the coming of the colonialists, new food stuffs and animals were brought to Mexico. Food crops such as barley, wheat, grapevines, olives, peaches, quinces, pomegranates, cabbages and radishes were introduced in Mexico by the Spanish. This changed the dishes of the natives who were originally used to their indigenous foods like corn and beans. Use of olive oil and garlic became a norm in our society. Some non indigenous animals such as sheep, pigs, horses and domesticated fowls were brought to Mexico by the Spanish. The horses usually belonged to the upper class of the society.
D) Socio-Economic Structures
The Spanish brought in new socio-economic structures that never existed in Mexico. Mercantilism was introduced. The colonial powers focused on enriching their mother countries at our expense. A levy known as the “quinto”, which meant the royal fifth was imposed on all our production to enrich the colonialists. To protect the manufacturers and merchants of Spanish origin, trade duties were imposed on indigenous Mexicans. This new rules made life unbearable and most of us had to work on slavery to earn a living and to pay taxes to the colonial masters.The society became stratified according to the race and wealth of individuals. This led to the emergence of three main classes in the society namely; the whites, the “castas” also known as “mestizos” and the natives. Each of these groups enjoyed certain privileges unique from each other. The upper class enjoyed various privileges unlike the lower classes (Trafzer 2000). They were to be tried by their peers and did not pay taxes. The obligation to pay taxes was left to the poor who belonged to the lower class.
E) New Architectural Designs
With the coming of the Spanish colonialists new architectural design that never existedin our land came into being. The Spanish people started new architectural designs in Mexico. Spanish designs such as the Iberian architecture become common in our land. They brought new decorations styles such as the Spanish baroque and herrerian style. This brought about structures with new looks. Famous architects such as Juan de Villanueva and his disciples influenced many lives in Mexico.
F) Emergence of Alien Diseases to Native Mexico
The colonialist brought with them a number of diseases which were indigenously absent in Mexico. Diseases such as the smallpox, typhus, influenza and measles are among the main diseases that changed our way of life. The mortality rate went high especially for the native Mexicans who had no proper health care. The human population for the native Mexicans dropped significantly due to the high death rate brought about by the new diseases. During this period we lost around 20 million citizens with the native accounting to about 95% of the victims (Mosley 2010).
The main reason why these changes in our lives took place is because the Mexicans were unable to resist the powerful European colonists who turned us into slavery and then imposed on us a new way of doing things. The natives also associated the European way of life with superiority and hence abandoned most of their practices in favor of the new civilization.
The Most Significant Effect of European Presence in My Life
The most significant effect of the European presence of my life is the cultural changes I have experienced since their invasion. I have adopted to new food delicacies which were not my indigenous food. I had to learn Spanish language and adopt it. I have seen my original religion being eroded away by Christianity which I have since adopted as my new faith.