"the Mexicans are eager to reclaim their indian blood"
18th century painting containing complete set of 16 casta combinations (racial classifications in Spanish colonies in the Americas)
Public Domain18th century painting containing complete set of 16 casta combinations (racial classifications in Spanish colonies in the Americas) - Credit: Museo Nacional del Virreinato

The major ethnic division in Mexico is between mestizos and indígenas (Indians).

Mestizos are people of mixed ancestry – usually Spanish and Indian, although African slaves and other Europeans were also significant elements. Indians are descendants of Mexico’s pre-Hispanic inhabitants who have retained their distinct identity.

Mestizos are the overwhelming majority, and together with the few people of supposed pure Spanish descent they hold most positions of power in Mexican society.

 

A representation of a Mestizo, in a Pintura de Castas from Mexico during the Spanish colonial period. The painting's caption states 'Spanish and Indian produce Mestizo'
Public DomainA representation of a Mestizo, in a Pintura de Castas from Mexico during the Spanish colonial period. The painting's caption states 'Spanish and Indian produce Mestizo' - Credit: Juan de la Cruz Cano y Olmedilla