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Interpreting the Evidence

Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico, 1928

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Era:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Global History and Geography

  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:


  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico, 1928 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
The old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, in Mexico City, 1928.
Historical Context
Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism, is the religion of the vast majority of the Mexican population.  The religion was brought by Spanish missionaries who worked to convert natives to Christianity.  In the 1500s alone, more than 100,000 churches were built in New Spain (which is what the Mexican territory was called at the time). Many churches built by missionaries during Spanish rule are still standing.

The old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Bascilica de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, in Mexico City was constructed from 1531 to 1709. It was built near the place where legend says Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, an Aztec convert to Christianity, saw the Virgin Mary in 1531. A new basilica was built from 1974 to 1976, because the old basilica was sinking into the ground. The old basilica in the photograph has been repaired and is open to the public again.

Essential Question
How does movement of human populations influence the development of culture?
Check for Understanding
Describe the building in the photograph and explain the role of exploration in the existence of this building.
Historical Challenges
Describe one of the religions that was practiced in Mexico before Christianity.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: If the basilica in the photograph was completed in 1709, how old is it? How long did it take to build?
Science: What caused this building to sink into the ground? Why are other buildings in Mexico City also sinking? Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem.
English Language Arts: Write a paragraph or a poem about your religious beliefs or about values you think are important.