Mexico, United States of (Sp. Estados Unidos Mexicanos)
- Gerard Béhague,
- E. Thomas Stanford
- and Arturo Chamorro
(Sp. Estados Unidos Mexicanos)
North American country. Situated at the southern tip of the continent between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, it is bordered by the USA to the north and Guatemala and Belize to the south-east. It is the third largest country in Latin America (area c1,967, 000 km²). Previously the site of several indigenous cultures, notably the Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacán, Zapotec, Toltec and Aztec, the territory of Mexico was colonized by Spain after 1519. It became independent in 1821 and a republic in 1824. The majority of the population is Mestizo (of mixed European and Amerindian descent.
There were remarkable achievements in the organization of musical life around the church and in the repertories performed, as the large number of extant works in Mexican archives confirms. At the outset of the Spanish Conquest church officials emphasized music in worship. Missionaries were instructed by Juan de Zumárraga, first Bishop of Mexico, to use and teach music as ‘an indispensable aid in the process of conversion’, and the admirable aptitude and talent of the Indians in learning the European musical system was constantly discussed in 16th-century missionary chronicles. In ...