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Interpreting the Evidence

Street Corner, Mexico City, Mexico, 1912

  • 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 Street Corner, Mexico City, Mexico, 1912 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Men and women wearing sombreros and serapes on a sidewalk outside a pulque shop in Mexico City, 1912.
Historical Context
Mexico City is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas.  In the 1300s, the Aztecs founded the city, which they called Tenochtitlan, on an island in Lake Texcoco.  In 1521, the Spanish captured the city, destroying much of it.  About 100,000 of the native population died in battle or from diseases carried by the Spaniards.  However, by the early 1600s, the city’s population had grown enough that Spanish began to drain the lake in order to expand.  Today, Mexico City is one of the world’s largest cities with more than 18 million people living in the metropolitan area. 
Essential Question
How does geography influence the development of culture and economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the role of geography?
Historical Challenges
Research traditional Mexican clothing. What functions did the different articles of clothing serve? How did clothing change throughout time in Mexico? Where are you most likely to see Mexicans wearing traditional clothing today? Is the clothing different in different parts of Mexico? Dress a doll in Mexican clothing from a time period and a location of your choice.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Create a line graph or bar graph showing the rise in population in Mexico City from the time this photograph was taken to the present.
Science: Explain why buildings in Mexico City are sinking. Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem.