higher high school graduation rates, higher per capita income, lower poverty rates, a greater proportion of exclusively English speakers, and smaller family sizes.This reminds me of East Timor. This was a Portuguese colony within mostly Dutch Indonesia, and when Indonesia became independent, they tried to become their own country. However, then dictator-run Indonesia sent in its army and conquered the place with ease. The East Timorese never gave up, though, and they kept agitating for independence. In 1999 by then democratic Indonesia let them go. The basis of East Timorese identity, I have read, is that they are fanatical Catholics and Indonesia is mostly Muslim. And if you're wondering how they got to be Catholics, well, remember what you know about Mexico and Peru.
Sometimes coercion works very well.