Hispanic Heritage
Celebrating Independence

Celebrating Independence
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.82

     challenging words:    original, traditional, colored, Nueva, vendors, society, celebration, priest, bands, flown, gain, lasted, throne, powerful, leader, during
     content words:    Mexico City, Hernan Cortez, Nueva Espana, New Spain, Native Indians, On September, Father Hidalgo, China Poblanas, National Palace, Viva Mexico

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Celebrating Independence
By Jane Runyon

1     Hola! Welcome to Mexico City. You have arrived here on a very special day. Today is September 16. This is the day Mexicans all over the world celebrate the independence of their country. Would you like to hear the story that explains this day?
2     Many hundreds of years ago, different civilizations of Indians lived in Mexico. There were Olmecs, Toltecs, and Mayas. The most powerful of these groups was the Aztecs. In 1521, a Spanish conquistador named Hernan Cortez and 500 soldiers came to the Aztec capital city. Cortez had made friends with natives who were enemies of the Aztecs. They helped Cortez.
3     In the fall of 1521, the Spanish killed the Aztec leader. They were eventually able to take over the whole city. The Spanish now ruled a very large part of the country. They named their new country "Nueva Espana" or New Spain. The Spanish kept control of New Spain for three hundred years.
4     Life was not easy during those years of Spanish control. The soldiers were not kind to the natives of the area. They brought disease with them that killed large numbers of people. It is thought that there were 20 million Indians in the territory when the Spanish arrived. One hundred years later, only one million remained.

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