Definitively, geographical factors have shaped theborderland region from its earliest traces of origin to present date. The areas immense size encompasses broad international boundaries in North America from the Pacific Coast to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Southern Rocky Mountains to the foundations of Mexico’s Central Plateau. The region’s vastness is further accentuated by its mountainous terrain that divides the area into isolated subregions.Mountain ranges are as large as one hundred miles wide and twelve hundred miles long, from Arizona southward the Sierra Madre Occidental that then cuts off the Central Plateau from the Pacific Coast. From the eastern edge of the plateau the Sierra Madre divides the coast from the central regions for nearly one thousand miles. Along west Texas to California, vast mountain ranges alternate withexpansive basins throughout the land. Climate wise, the borderland is endlessly arid with insufficient rainfall for agriculture, that in turn identifies the region as an area of challenge that initially accounted for a precedent of greater struggles upon human settlement that came to be. Successful control of the borderland’s environment was vital towards its development in agricultural andindustrial wealth that established the region as a place of prominence in part of North America.
The region that now includes the U.S.-Mexico border further derives a human history as far back in time as twelve thousand years ago. At the end of the fifteenth century, the borderland region was home to approximately one million people. Most of the people in the region were nomadic hunter-gatherers insupport of relatively small populations. These people were characterized in part of small, autonomous, politically and economically independent communities. Culturally, the indigenous population was extremely diverse and identified within at least forty-five different groups. Each group possessed unique languages and dialects. In addition to aboriginal inhabitants, there were Athabaskan groups aswell that came from across the Rocky Mountains to settle their own frontier. Overall, the majority of occupants in the region were rancheria people who lived in small populations of one hundred each. These settlements scattered over large surrounding territories and relied on wild foods and planted crops. Weather permitting, more densely settled subregions existed that extended into more complexsocieties along valleys that projected to support as much as forty thousand people in highly organized villages.
Ultimately, indigenous life came to be radically altered by contact with Europeans throughout resistance to introduced changes by a strong will to preserve a cultural identity. One half of the borderland’s groups found in the area were comprised of twenty-six survived native peoplesin the early 1500s.
Initial contact with Europeans introduced a new colonial period to the frontier, in which Spanish settlers sought out civilizations matching Central Mexican culture to acquire concentrated resources for wealth through exploration. The discovery of silver satisfied a sought out source for wealth that proved an immense stimulus for northern expansion. Silver supplanted a newindustrial component to the region that in turn spurred into a vibrant internal economy. Further results of industrial establishment brought upon an influx of settlers from Central Mexico and in continuance lured both Europeans and Native Americans north. Large estates and small farms emerged to provision mines that stimulated advancement through consolidation of surrounding areas by commerce,...