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Print Celebrating Independence Reading Comprehension
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 5 to 7
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||reenact, conquistador, vendors, society, original, Nueva, traditional, priest, mariachi, celebration, throne, Hola, flown, plaza, guacamole, gain
||Mexico City, Hernan Cortez, Nueva Espana, New Spain, Native Indians, On September, Father Hidalgo, China Poblanas, National Palace, Viva Mexico
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.
5 The Spanish believed that there was a difference in the types of people living in New Spain. They had their own ideas of who should be in what class of society. Of course, the people born in Spain were to be considered the highest class of people. Next were the children born to the Spanish in the new world. They were called Criollos. Under them were the children born to Spanish and Indian parents called Mestizos. Native Indians were near the bottom of society. They were called Indios. Lastly, there were the African slaves brought to the new world to do heavy labor. They were called Negros.
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