The Plantations or Haciendas of Yucatan isn’t something I know much about so I booked a tour at the front desk of my hostel at Hostal Catedral and off we went. They picked me up at 9am, hit a couple of haciendas and a few sink-holes that were pretty spectacular.
Yucatan has lots of history. This is where the Spanish come in… After the Spanish “discover” the Americas, the inevitable happens — They enslave the Mayans. However, the Mayans put up a good fight. The Spanish, brought disease to fight them. They poisoned their water supply, they beat them into submission, forced their catholic ways upon them and ultimately turned them into slaves. But not before doing the same in Cuba and some Asian countries.
The plantations I saw today is like walking into a living history book. The stones, carved from the Earth are all shaped by the Mayans. Since the Mayans built the pyramids, the Spanish knew they knew how to cut stone. They utilized a plant now used to make agave to slowly cut the rock into blocks.
After building these giant houses, originally built as vacation homes, they were turned into plantations where they put their Mayan slaves to work. They took the fibers from the plants they used to cut the stone and created rope factories. This was called their ‘green gold.’
Rope became the main exported good from the Yucatan. In fact they made so much money from this, they began to build mansions in the city, a road called El Paseo de Montejo, which I didn’t get a chance to see. This street is supposedly modeled after the streets of Europe and mansions from Spain and France. Ill have to see next time I come back.
Anyway, these haciendas had everything! It was a mansion in the countryside basically. Today several of them still stand and some are now restaurants. As you drive through the state to sightsee, you will notice many that are now in ruins. Haciendas make up a lot of the ruins that stand. The jungle has taken these plantations over. It’s fascinating to watch and scary to think that we’re capable of such bad things… It made me wonder about the future of the human race as it stands right now.