viernes, 4 de septiembre de 2009

Mexican Haciendas in the State of Guanajuato

Historic Background

During the Spanish Conquest, Mexico had several drastic changes that transformed the way of life of its citizens. Besides imposing new laws and new culture the Spanish conquest of Mexico also attracted new adventures into the land. The land property regime was established by the Royal Spanish Crown, this authoritarian political system had absolute possession of all the conquest territories, giving the inhabitants and some of the most outstanding soldiers and royal pioneers only “permit-of-use” estates.

These encomiendas (right-of-use estates) were small, but throughout the years some (property) fusions, through marriages, illegal possession, or commercial operations took Haciendas to a massive-property-possessions system. Thus, it became the basic cell of the Colonial economic system. For the nature of this document, we emphasized two types of haciendas in the country, the agriculture haciendas and the Metal-Processing haciendas, (de beneficio).

Metal Processing (Beneficio) Haciendas

This type of haciendas had an important activity of processing (benefit) mine ores by using mercury to extract silver. Since the city of Guanajuato had some of the richest mines in the world a massive arrival of mining workers began to take place in the area. The processing haciendas held a secondary type of economy, the basic food and fiber products were provided by the Agricultural haciendas.

As time went by, the processing haciendas lost importance due to reduce silver extracting quantities. The growth in housing demand also caused these haciendas to loose their activity, leading to division of the haciendas to provide initial settlement for new cities and neighborhoods. Some of these haciendas have been absorbed by the development of human settlements and new cities. Only a few walls and old ruins are standing, some even have been used as basis or parte of new houses giving the cities a unique age fusion. The advantage metal processing haciendas give for a touristic project is that their appearance is attractive to tourist and they are located in cities. There are several restaurants and hotels constructed based on the old hacienda style most of them in old mining towns.

Agricultural Haciendas

One of the most important changes in Colonial Mexico as mentioned before was the property of land regime. The first states given by the Spanish Crown were rather small, since their only purpose was to populate the new territory. The growth of these economic cells was based on fusions, acquisitions, some illegal possessions and inheritances.

But what where Haciendas really like? The self-sufficient feudal like production system had a basic area called Casco, where housing facilities such as the Casa Grande in which the Patrones lived, were located a wekk as some more modest houses for administrative employees and house workers, a catholic chapel, although in some haciendas there were two chapels on order to have “social rules” (of division) respected, corrals, storing silos, mills and storage facilities called eras. Some of the haciendas also had complementary production depending on the region, such as a vineyards and wine factory.

During the splendor of Hacienda regime the State of Guanajuato was so important at the end of the 18th century that it was known as the grain provider of the Colonial New Spain. The explorer Alexander von Humboldt would describe the areas as the most attractive and best harvested fields of Mexico. He also added that these fields could only be compared to the outstanding beautiful French fields. In those times, Guanajuato was the second most populated area of the Spanish Colonies surpassed only by the Mexico City Valley.

The hacienda system survived successfully until the beginning of the 20th century. The social unrest of the world also influenced the Mexican society thus, initiating the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The excess of land ownership and power developed during the last three centuries provoked the hacienda system to enter in a painful agony. The landlords lost part of their properties because of Agricultural property reform leading to land re-distribution to the new born “Ejido”. The hacienda owners were able to keep their houses and a small property of land depending on the kind of soil, the rest of the land was distributed to workers in ejidos. But some owners abandoned their properties, since they were not able to continue their way of life. Some of the new ejido owners had destructive behavior targeted the Casa Grande that once belong to their old masters. Some of the buildings are still standing but vandalizing has damage them. In other cases, ejidos have played for the houses to be restored and maintained.

A few of these buildings were kept by their owners that recovered and converted them into private homes now. Some have been recovered as hotels or multiple housing facilities. This project gives old haciendas owners, who seek to support their project with a joint-ventures or sale of their properties, some hope to recover and use them in a touristic activity.

Text: Federico Vargas Somoza free selection from Isauro Rionda's book: Haciendas de Guanajuato, Guanajuato State Government, 1985. Translation: María Eugenia Olivares Navarrete. From the book: Haciendas del Estado de Guanajuato, Gobierno del Estado de Guanajuato, 1992.

Pictures were taken at Hacienda de San Diego del Jaral de Berrio, municipality of San Felipe Torresmochas, State of Guanajuato.

1.- Cone Silos form 18th Century
2, 6 & 7.- Trojes (grains story areas)
3.- Back door with access to attendants and server personnel for Hacienda owners.
4.- Glass Factory
5 & 10- Stable
8.- Silos with eras in the front.
9.- Chapel reserved for owners of the Hacienda
11.- Adobe walls still in use

3 comentarios:

  1. Belleza, Lujo, Tradicion, Linaje, Identidad,Poder y sobre todo Estilo de Vida
    Viva Mexico!!! Señores...

  2. las haciendas en Mexico y America del sur son muy imprecionantes bellas y llenas de historia de una economia para reactivar la industria del campo a nivel mundial en la materria de ecomomia,con los conocimientos ecologicos de nuestros indigenas y sin mafufadas de los modernismos mafufos de los que segun lo saben todo, lo importente es estar en equilibrio con todo lo crreado que es nuestro Dios poderos y eterno en cual nos envio a el Salvador Jesus y su Espiritu Santo. en el todo esta dicho en el y para el.