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As the proportion of North American settlers in these lands multiplied, however, they began to request greater local autonomy, feared the possibility that Mexico might outlaw slavery, and resented the imposition of taxes from the government in Mexico City (Oscar Martínez, The Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States History, p. Sporadic insurrections occurred after a new president, General Antonio López de Santa Anna, imposed restrictive controls on commerce between the Anglos living on Mexican land and the United States, and these uprisings precipitated an armed response by the Mexican army.Santa Anna seized the Alamo in San Antonio but was later defeated in the Battle of San Jacinto.The turmoil and bloodshed motivated some people from all levels of society to flee the country, most often northward to the United States.By the early 1920s, though relative peace had been restored, the social and economic reforms that had become associated with the revolution were still unrealized, chief among them the redistribution of land to a greater percentage of the populace.To reverse this movement of manpower out of the country, future administrations in Mexico will have to continue to promote the expansion of economic growth to all regions in the country and the creation of new jobs in the public and private sectors.The Mexican government initially promoted American settlement in parts of the territory now known as Texas in the 1820s to bolster the regional economy.Over time, these early peoples built highly organized civilizations, such as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Mayan, Toltec, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Aztec societies, the majority of which were accomplished in art, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, and agriculture.In 1517 Spanish explorer Francisco Fernández de Córdoba discovered the Yucatán, a peninsula located in the southeast of Mexico.
War between Mexico and the United States ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 in which Mexico surrendered 890,000 square miles, close to one-half of its territory.
The Sierra Madre, an extension of the Rocky Mountain chain, divides into the Oriental range to the east and the Occidental range to the west.
The central highlands, where the majority of Mexico's 75 million people live, lies in between these two mountain systems. The earliest inhabitants of Mexico are believed to have been hunters who migrated from Asia approximately 18,000 years ago.
As the century ended, however, a vast majority of the nations's inhabitants had realized little if any improvement in their standard of living.
Those residing in rural areas struggled to produce enough to survive from their own small parcels of land, or, much more likely, worked under a debt-peonage system, farming lands owned by someone infinitely wealthier than they were.