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“Cortez the Killer” est une chanson de Neil Young qui se trouve sur l’album studio Zuma de 1975. En voici la version live à Rio en 2001 :

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La chanson parle d’Hernán Cortés (dont le nom de famille est écorné dans le titre de la chanson), le conquistador qui a conquis le Mexique pour l’Espagne au XVIème siècle.

“Cortez the Killer” fait également référence au dirigeant Aztèque Moctezuma II et à d’autres évènements qui se sont déroulés lors de la conquête espagnole du Nouveau Monde.

Au lieu de décrire les batailles de Cortés avec les Aztèques, les paroles du dernier vers changent soudainement d’un récit à la troisième personne à un récit à la première personne, avec une référence à une femme dont on ne connait pas le nom:

And I know she’s living there
And she loves me to this day.
I still can’t remember when
or how I lost my way

Ces paroles suggèrent une histoire d’amour perdu et apportent une touche personnelle à ce qui était autrement un récit historique, suggérant une connexion entre des relations interrompues et l’invasion impérieuse par quelqu’un d’autre. Neil Young avait rompu avec Carrie Snodgress à l’époque de l’écriture de la chanson.

Ce vers peut aussi simplement faire référence à La Malinche (Doña Marina), conseillère et amante mexicaine de Cortés, qui s’est avéré être une source de savoir local précieuse pour les Espagnols.

Enfin, une autre interprétation possible est que “she” représente le principal temple Aztèque, le Templo Mayor. Dans la littérature méso-américaine, le temple est souvent désigné par le pronom “she” puisque les hommes comme les femmes y étaient sacrifiés et une partie considérable du temple était dédiée au dieu aztèque de la pluie, souvent décrit comme étant femme.

Le Templo Mayor a été découvert en 1978, soit trois ans après la sortie de l’album, après avoir été enterré sous la ville de Mexico pendant près de 500 ans.

Paco de Lucia, l’un des plus grands guitaristes de flamenco, vient de s’éteindre.

paco-de-lucia

Le guitariste espagnol de flamenco Paco de Lucia est mort d’une crise cardiaque au Mexique à l’âge de 66 ans, a annoncé mercredi 26 février la mairie d’Algeciras, sa ville natale du sud de l’Espagne.

Né le 21 décembre 1947 à Algeciras, non loin de Cadix, il su moderniser le flamenco traditionnel en l’associant avec le jazz et en puisant son inspiration dans divers horizons musicaux.

Las Vegas m’a donné envie de renouer avec les cocktails donc il est possible que je laisse quelques unes de mes recettes préférées ici ! Commençons par celle de la margarita.

Histoire de la Margarita

recette de la margaritaLa Margarita a été inventée en 1948 par la mexicaine Margarita Sames. Margarita Sames et son mari (un riche homme d’affaires) recevaient régulièrement des invités venus des quatre coins du monde dans leur maison à Acapulco.

Fréquemment, Mme Sames leur servait un mélange composé de tequila, de jus de citrons verts frais et de Cointreau. Séduits par ce cocktail, ces invités le baptisèrent de son prénom, lui rendant hommage par la même occasion : la “Margarita” était née.

Une petite vidéo de football – nous sommes à Mexico, sur les toîts des favellas :

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A westward expansion

Expansion is both commercial and territorial. American expansion was always as sort of global attitude involving territorial growth and commercial expansion, exactly like a body that grows. America has always been perceived as a body. The growth is so huge that nobody can do anything about it: unlimited development, though only extending to the West.

In 1800, the Western Boundary/Border was the Mississippi River. Beyond it, standed great areas of land, not very known: 600 miles to the Rocky Mountains. Louisiana was still a French territory (and France was then ruled by Napoleon). Napoleon sold Louisiana to the Americans for 15 million dollars to make war in Europe with Britain. As Louisiana was a huge territory, the American territories doubled over the night. Thanks Napoleon !

Jefferson had sent explorers to the West to find an easy way to the Pacific. Louis and Clark left in 1804 and set off up the Missouri River. They marched for 10 weeks in the Rocky Mountains and ate their horses. They finally reached the Columbia River, on which they floated down to the Pacific. In December 1805, they reached the Pacific, after 4 000 miles. They failed to find an easy way but they showed the journey was possible and indirectly favored expansion thanks to the useful information they brought back.

Oregon was a territory stretching from Alaska to California and to the Rocky Mountains to Louisiana. In 1804, it was claimed by 4 countries: US, Britain, Spain (owning California) and Russia (owning Alaska). The US and Britain had the strongest positions because they had sent people scout to recognize the land and to settle trading posts. Among those people, there were trappers (called “mountain men”) who spent their lives wandering for furs. In the 1830″s, Britain had more settlements than the Americans:

  • FEAR !
  • American politicians made great effort to persuade Americans to start farms in Oregon.

The journey was terrible, expensive and lasted for months. In 1832, settlers began travelling by land. The route was called the “Oregon Trail”, the first overland route to the Pacific and to the American expansion.

It was not an easy journey because of the many dangers: floods, blizzards, prairie fires, accidents, diseases and starvation took many lives. But settlers continued.

In 1843, the Oregon Fever came to many parts of the US and contaminated thousands of people who set off in the West with wagons. Gradually, they grew and outnumbered the British. It is typical of the process the Americans are going to use to claim that the territories are potentially theirs:

  1. settling down
  2. outnumbering the opponents
  3. indexing territories

Manifest destiny

“Manifest Destiny” was an expression coined by O”Sullivan in 1845. It will become the motto of the American expansion. The idea existed before the phrase was coined: it expressed the fundamental belief in America that the destiny of America was special because of the overruling Providence. The fate of America is planned by God: it consists in expanding naturally. The first stage of this ideology is religious, Calvinistic (chosenness and election). Then it is a secular ideal: instead of being divine, it becomes manifest so that everybody can see it.

Manifest Destiny became the natural ideology of the expansionists, demanding that the US should take the whole of Oregon to Alaska (54° 40″). Another motto was “54-40 or fight!”.

In 1844, James K. Polk was elected President on a Manifest Destiny platform. In his inaugural address, he said that “the American claim of the whole of Oregon is clear an unquestionable”.

At war with Mexico and Britain

As a result, a double war with Mexico and Britain broke out. In June, Polk agreed to divide Oregon in 2 parts on the 49th parallel of latitude. In 1846, the Americans were at war with Mexico. That was the first real colonial war and it grew out of events having taken place in Texas. Thousands of Americans had settled in Texas, which was ruled by Mexico since the 1830″s. Texan Americans gradually opposed the Mexican rules and rebelled in October 1835. The Texans won against the Mexicans in 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas became an independent republic. Most Texans did not want their independence to last too long: they wanted to join the American territories. In 1845, Texas is part of the US.

In April 1846, there are some fights between American and Mexican soldiers along the Southern border between Texas and Mexico. American soldiers invaded Mexico and defeated the Mexican army and occupied Mexico City in September 1847. That Tex-Mex war ended in February 1848. Mexico lost big stretches of territory: California, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

This indexation completed the Manifest Destiny of the US and the process of continentalization. The result is the USA but the process is not yet completed.