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Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán (Spanish)
Xóot' Noj Lu'umil Yúukatan (Yucatec Maya)
Coat of arms of Yucatan.svg

La Hermana República de Yucatán
(The sister republic of Yucatán) [1] [2]
Yucatan in Mexico (location map scheme).svg
State of Yucatán within Mexico
Coordinates: 20°50′N89°0′W / 20.833°N 89.000°W / 20.833; -89.000 Coordinates: 20°50′N89°0′W / 20.833°N 89.000°W / 20.833; -89.000
Country Mexico
Capital Mérida
Largest city Mérida
Municipalities 106
Admission December 23, 1823 [3] [4]
Order 8th [lower-alpha 1]
   Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal PAN logo (Mexico).svg
   Senators [5] Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marín PRI logo (Mexico).svg
Verónica Camino PVE logo (Mexico).svg
Raúl Paz Alonzo PAN logo (Mexico).svg
   Deputies [6]
  Total39,524 km2 (15,260 sq mi)
  Ranked 20th
Highest elevation
210 m (690 ft)
 (2015) [9]
  Rank 21st
  Density53/km2 (140/sq mi)
  Density rank 17th
Demonym(s) Yucateco (a)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Postal code
Area code
ISO 3166 code MX-YUC
HDI Increase2.svg 0.773 high Ranked 20th
GDPUS$ 9,191,180.625 th [lower-alpha 2]
Website Official website

Yucatán ( /ˌjkəˈtɑːn/ , [12] also UK: /ˌjʊk-/ , [13] US: /-ˈtæn,ˌjkɑːˈtɑːn/ , [12] [14] [15] Spanish:  [ɟʝukaˈtan] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )), officially the Free and Sovereign State of Yucatán, [lower-alpha 3] is one of the 32 states which comprise the Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 106 municipalities, and its capital city is Mérida.


It is located on the north part of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is bordered by the states of Campeche to the southwest and Quintana Roo to the southeast, with the Gulf of Mexico off its north coast.

Before the arrival of Spaniards to the Yucatán Peninsula, the name of this region was Mayab. [16] In the Yucatec Maya language, mayab is translated as "flat", [17] and is the source of the word "Maya" itself. It was a very important region for the Maya civilization, which reached the peak of its development here, where the Mayans founded the cities of Chichen Itza, Izamal, Motul, Mayapan, Ek' Balam and Ichcaanzihóo (also called T'ho), now Mérida. [18]

After the Spanish conquest of Yucatán, the Peninsula was a single administrative and political entity, the Captaincy General of Yucatán. Following independence and the breakup of the Mexican Empire in 1823, the first Republic of Yucatán was proclaimed, which was then voluntarily annexed to the Federal Republic of United Mexican States on December 21, 1823. [3] On March 16, 1841, as a result of cultural and political conflicts around the federal pact, Yucatán declared its independence from Mexico. forming a second Republic of Yucatán. Eventually on July 14, 1848, Yucatán was forced to rejoin Mexico. In 1858, in the middle of the caste war, the state of Yucatán was divided for the first time, establishing Campeche as a separate state (officially in 1863). During the Porfiriato, in 1902, the state of Yucatán was divided again to form the Federal territory that later became the present state of Quintana Roo. [19]

Today, Yucatán is the safest state in Mexico [20] [21] and Mérida was awarded City of Peace in 2011. [22] [23]

Origin of "Yucatán"

The name Yucatán, also assigned to the peninsula, came from early explorations of the Conquistadors from Europe. Three different explanations for the origin of the name have been proposed.

The first is that the name resulted from confusion between the Mayan inhabitants and the first Spanish explorers around 1517:

Probably the first person to propose the "I do not understand" version was the friar Toribio de Benavente Motolinia. In his book Historia de los indios de la Nueva España (History of the Indians of New Spain) he says

because talking with those Indians of the coast, whatever the Spanish asked the Indians responded: Tectetán, Tectetán which means I don't understand you, I don't understand you; they corrupted the word, and not understanding what the Indians said, they said: Yucatán is the name of this land; and the same happened in a place, a cape, which they also called Cape Cotoch; and Cotoch in that language means house. [24]

The second proposed explanation comes from Bernal Díaz del Castillo. In his book Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España (True History of the Conquest of New Spain), he says Yucatá means "land of yucas", [25] a plant that was cultivated by the Maya and was an important food source for them. [26]

A third explanation is that the name derived from the Maya people who inhabited the region.[ citation needed ] Today the people are referred to by their Aztec name, the Chontal, but the Chontal Maya people refer to themselves as the Yokot'anob or the Yokot'an, meaning "the speakers of Yoko ochoco".[ citation needed ]


Pre-Columbian era

Temple of Kukulcan in Chichen Itza, locally called "El Castillo". Chichen-Itza-Castillo-Seen-From-East.JPG
Temple of Kukulcan in Chichén Itzá, locally called "El Castillo".

The origin of the first settlements has not been scientifically confirmed, although the presence of first humans in the area dates from the late Pleistocene or ice age (about 10,000–12,000 years), according to the findings in the Loltún caves and caverns of Tulum (Women of the Palms). [27]

The first Maya moved to the Peninsula circa 250 CE, from the Petén (today northern Guatemala), to settle the southeastern peninsula in the modern Bacalar, Quintana Roo. [28] [29] In 525, the Chanés (Mayan tribe that preceded the Itza), moved to the east of the peninsula, founding Chichén Itzá, Izamal, Motul, Ek' Balam, Ichcaanzihó (modern Mérida) and Champotón. Later, Tutul xiúes, Toltec descent, who came from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, settled in the region causing displacement of the Itza and Cocomes—a diversified branch of Itzá—and finally, after years and many battles, was formed Mayapán League (composed of the Itza, the Xiús and Cocomes), that eventually disintegrated circa 1194, [30] giving way to a period of anarchy and fragmentation into small domains which the Spanish conquistadors found in the 16th century. [31]

Exploration by Spanish soldiers

In 1513, Juan Ponce de León had already conquered the island of Borinquén (now Puerto Rico) and had discovered Florida. [32] Antón de Alaminos, who was with Ponce de León on this latest discovery, suspected that west of Cuba they could find new land. Under their influence, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, supported by the governor of Cuba, organized an expedition commanded by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba to explore the seas west of the island. [33]

This expedition sailed from port of Ajaruco on February 8, 1517, to La Habana and after circling the island and sailing southwest by what is now known as the Yucatán Channel, the expedition made landfall at the Yucatán Peninsula on March 1. There are discrepancies about where the first explorers arrived. Some say it was in Isla Mujeres. Bernal Díaz del Castillo places it at Cabo Catoche where they saw a great city which they named the «Gran Cairo». [34]

Spanish conquest

The conquest of Yucatán was completed two decades after the conquest of Mexico; by Francisco de Montejo "el Adelantado", his son Francisco de Montejo y León "el Mozo" and his nephew, Francisco de Montejo "el Sobrino". El Adelantado was in the expedition of Juan de Grijalva and was with Hernán Cortés in the third expedition that eventually became the Conquest of Mexico. [35] He was subsequently appointed for the conquest of the Maya of Yucatán, but failed in his first attempt in 1527–28. In 1529 he was appointed Governor of Tabasco, with the order to pacify Tabasco and conquer Yucatán and Cozumel.

From Tabasco, Montejo led a new campaign to Yucatán from the west (1531–35) and failed again in his attempt. Circa 1535, after many bloody battles with the natives, he reached the complete pacification of the Province of Tabasco and began planning his new foray to Yucatán.

El Adelantado was appointed governor of Honduras and then of Chiapas. Therefore, he gave his son "El Mozo", the mission to consummate the conquest of Yucatán. Francisco de Montejo y León "el Mozo" founded the cities of San Francisco de Campeche on October 4, 1540, and Mérida on January 6, 1542 (in honor of Mérida, Extremadura). The city of Mérida was founded over the ruins of the Mayan city of Ichkanzihóo (T'ho) and the stones of old Mayan pyramids were used for the new buildings. Later, government powers were changed from Santa María de la Victoria, Tabasco, to Mérida on June 11, 1542. [36] The newly founded Mérida was besieged by the Mayan troops of Nachi Cocom (overlord or 'Halach uinik' in Mayan language). It was a definitive battle for the Conquest of Yucatán. With that victory, the Spaniards consolidated their control of the western part of the peninsula.

Francisco de Montejo "El Adelantado" appointed his nephew, Francisco de Montejo "el Sobrino", to head the conquest of the eastern Yucatán, which was achieved after many bloody battles, ending with the foundation of the city of Valladolid on May 28, 1543.

Canek rebellion, during the colonial Yucatán

Oppressive policies of inequality and prejudice were imposed on the native Mayans by the Spanish colonial government. In November 1761, Jacinto Canek, a Mayan from the town of Cisteil (now located in Yaxcabá Municipality), led an armed uprising against the government, which was quickly put down. Captured insurgents were taken to Mérida, where they were tried and tortured. As a warning to the population against rebellion, Cisteil was burned and covered with salt.

This abortive rebellion was not of great consequence to the colonial regime, but it marked the history of the peninsula and clearly delineated anti-colonial tensions in the region. The uprising was a precursor to the social upheaval that would explode less than a century later, as the Caste War. The Canek rebellion is remembered today as a symbol of the racial and social conflict that predominated for centuries in the Spanish colonies.

Yucatán in independent Mexico

Yucatan in Mexico, 1824. Political divisions of Mexico 1824 (location map scheme).svg
Yucatán in Mexico, 1824.

Because of its geographical remoteness from the center of New Spain, especially from Mexico City, Yucatán was not militarily affected by the Mexican War of Independence, but the war influenced the enlightened people of Yucatán. In 1820 Lorenzo de Zavala, member of Sanjuanistas (a group of creoles who met at the church of San Juan in downtown Mérida), created the Patriotic Confederation, which eventually divided into two groups: the supporters of the Spanish government under the Cádiz Constitution and another led by Zavala, which sought outright independence from Spain. Mariano Carrillo Albornoz then Governor of Yucatán, sent Zavala and Manuel García Sosa as deputies of the Cortes of Cádiz to Madrid, while the other liberals were imprisoned. While this was happening in Yucatán, the Plan of Iguala was proclaimed in the current state of Guerrero (at that time part of the Intendency of Mexico).

On September 15, 1821, in the Hall of Councils of the City of Mérida, Yucatán declares its independence from Spain, [37] almost immediately, Governor Juan María Echeverri sent two representatives to negotiate the incorporation of Yucatán to the Mexican Empire. The incorporation to the Mexican Empire was on November 2, 1821. [38]

Republic of Yucatán

The Mexican Empire was quickly overthrown under the Plan of Casa Mata, the provinces of the empire became independent states. The first Republic of Yucatán, declared on May 29, 1823, joined the Federal Republic of the United Mexican States as the Federated Republic of Yucatán on December 23, 1823. [39] [40]

The second Republic of Yucatán [lower-alpha 4] emerged when the federal pact signed by Yucatán and endorsed in the Constitution of Yucatán of 1825 was broken by the centralist government of Mexico since 1835. In 1841 the state of Tabasco decreed its separation from Mexico and Miguel Barbachano, then governor of Yucatán, sent a commission headed by Justo Sierra O'Reilly to meet with Tabasco authorities to propose the creation of an independent federal republic from Mexico formed by the two states. The idea failed when Tabasco rejoined Mexico in 1842.

On August 22, 1846, Mexican interim president José Mariano Salas restored the 1824 constitution and the federalism. Two years later, during the government of president José Joaquín de Herrera, Miguel Barbachano ordered the reinstatement of Yucatán to Mexico under the Constitution of Yucatán of 1825. A decisive factor for the reinstatement was the Caste War, which forced Yucatán to seek outside help. In 1852 due to internal struggles between opposing political factions, was created the Territory of Campeche. On April 29, 1863, during the government of Benito Juárez, Campeche gained its current status as an independent state. [41]

Flag of Yucatán

Flag of the Republic of Yucatan, civil insignia of the Yucatecan without legal recognition. Bandera yucateca en Merida.png
Flag of the Republic of Yucatán, civil insignia of the Yucatecan without legal recognition.

The flag of Yucatán was raised on March 16, 1841. The period of the Republic of Yucatán was the only one in which the banner was officially used by the authorities of Yucatán.

Rodolfo Menéndez de la Peña, historian, describes the flag of Yucatán: "The flag of Yucatán was divided into two parts: green on left, the right, with three divisions, red up and down and white in the middle. In the green field highlighted, five stars, symbolizing the five departments that Yucatan was divided by decree of November 30, 1840: Mérida, Izamal, Valladolid, Tekax and Campeche." [42]

The flag doesn't have official recognition in the state, however, it has a strong recognition among the people of the state. [43] [44] De facto state flag, in any case, according to a convention led by former president Ernesto Zedillo, is a white flag with the shield of the state in the middle.

Caste War

The Caste War of Yucatán was a conflict that lasted from 1847 to 1901. It began with the revolt of native Maya people led by Maya chiefs Jacinto Pat and Cecilio Chi, against the population of European descent called "Yucatecos", who had political and economic control. A lengthy war ensued between the Yucateco forces in the north-west of the Yucatán and the independent Maya in the south-east. It officially ended with the occupation of the Maya capital of Chan Santa Cruz by the Mexican army in 1901, although skirmishes with villages and small settlements that refused to acknowledge Mexican control continued for over another decade.

Adam Jones wrote: "This ferocious race war featured genocidal atrocities on both sides, with up to 200,000 killed." [45]

Because of the conflict, on November 24, 1902, Yucatán had a second territorial division when Porfirio Díaz decreed the creation of the Federal Territory of Quintana Roo, [46] with capital in the port of Payo Obispo (today Chetumal). In little more than half a century, Yucatán lost more than two thirds of its original territory.

The henequen industry

Agave fourcroydes, commonly known as henequen in Yucatan, sisal elsewhere and ki in Maya language. Plantsisal.jpg
Agave fourcroydes, commonly known as henequén in Yucatán, sisal elsewhere and ki in Maya language.

In the late 19th century, the henequen industry grew to unprecedented power in the Yucatan. The henequen grown in the Yucatan was used around the world for rope and twine, and became known as sisal rope, named after the seaside town of Sisal, from where the rope was shipped. Today Sisal is a sleepy fishing village, being rediscovered by locals and visitors as a beach location for vacation homes. The henequen industry provided financial autonomy to the isolated Yucatán. The fiber of Henequén plant (known as sosquil (maya: sos kí)) was manufactured into twine and rope, used in riggings, string, sacks, rugs, and many other items. It became the chief export item of the Yucatán, making many local families very wealthy. That wealth is today evident in the architecture of the colonial city of Mérida, as well as in the more than 150 haciendas that are spread throughout the Yucatán Peninsula.

Korean immigration to Mexico began in 1905. The first Korean migrants settled in Yucatán as workers in henequen plantations. Labour brokers began advertising in newspapers in the Korean port city of Incheon in 1904 for workers willing to go to Mexico to work on henequen plantations for four- or five-year contracts. A total of more than one thousand were recruited and departed from Incheon on board a British cargo ship on 4 April 1905, despite efforts by the Korean government to block their departure. Once their contracts were up, most settled in Mexico, either continuing to work on henequen plantations or moving to various cities in the country.

Hundreds of prosperous haciendas abounded in the state until the advent of synthetic products after World War II, the cultivation of Henequén in other parts of the world and the self-serving actions of some of the leading henequen-growing families led to the gradual decline of the Yucatan's monopoly on the industry.

The incredible influx of wealth during that period from the henequen industry focused mainly on Mérida, the capital of Yucatán State. It allowed the city of Mérida to install street lights and a tram system even before Mexico City. It is said that in the early 20th century, the city had the largest number of millionaires per capita in the world. Today, Paseo de Montejo (inspired by the Parisian avenue Champs-Élysées), is lined with the elegant houses built during that time. These houses are mostly now renovated and serve as everything from private homes to banks, hotels and restaurants. Many of the haciendas today [47] have also been renovated and now serve as private homes, event venues and upscale luxury hotels.

Late 20th century

Until the mid-20th century most of Yucatán's contact with the outside world was by sea; trade with the US and Cuba, as well as Europe and other Caribbean islands, was more significant than that with the rest of Mexico. In the 1950s Yucatán was linked to the rest of Mexico by railway, followed by highway in the 1960s, ending the region's comparative isolation. Today Yucatán still demonstrates a unique culture from the rest of Mexico, including its own style of food.

Commercial jet airplanes began arriving in Mérida in the 1960s, and additional international airports were built first in Cozumel and then in the new planned resort community of Cancún in the 1980s, making tourism a major force in the economy of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The first Maya governor of Yucatán, Francisco Luna Kan, was elected in 1976.

Today, the Yucatán Peninsula is a major tourism destination, as well as home to one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico, the Maya people.


The State of Yucatán is located on the Yucatán Peninsula. It borders the states of Campeche to the southwest, Quintana Roo to the east and southeast, and the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west. As a whole, the state is extremely flat with little or no topographic variation, with the exception of the Puuc hills, located in the southern portion of the state.

Flora and fauna of Yucatán
Cactus wren in Joshua Tree NP.jpg White-tailed deer at Marymoor Park.jpg Hawksbill Turtle.jpg Lightmatter flamingo2.jpg Cairina moschata.jpg
Yucatan wren White-tailed deer Hawksbill sea turtle American flamingo Muscovy duck
Standing jaguar.jpg Meleagris ocellata1.jpg Tayassu pecari -Brazil-8.jpg Ocelot (Jaguatirica) Zoo Itatiba.jpg Boa constrictor (2).jpg
Jaguar Ocellated turkey White-lipped peccary Ocelot Boa constrictor
Ceiba pentandra 0008.jpg Arbol de Guancaste.jpg Aloe Vera.jpg Cylindropuntia spinosior, with flower, Albuquerque.jpg Bixa orellana with fruits in Hyderabad, AP W IMG 1453.jpg
Ceiba pentandra Enterolobium cyclocarpum Aloe vera Cylindropuntia imbricata Bixa orellana
Morelet's Crocodile.jpg Howler monkey20020316 cropped.jpg YucatanNeotropicalRattlesnake CincinnatiZoo.jpg Pristis pristis - Georgia Aquarium Jan 2006.jpg Iguana Manual Antonio.jpg
Morelet's crocodile Guatemalan black howler Crotalus simus Smalltooth sawfish Ctenosaura similis

Government and politics


The Constitution of Yucatán provides that the government of Yucatán, like the government of every other state in Mexico, consists of three powers: the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.

Executive power rests in the governor of Yucatán, who is directly elected by the citizens, using a secret ballot, to a six-year term with no possibility of reelection. Legislative power rests in the Congress of Yucatán which is a unicameral legislature composed of 25 deputies. Judicial power is invested in the High Court of Justice of Yucatán and its district courts.


The State of Yucatán is divided into 106 municipalities, each headed by a municipal president (mayor). Usually municipalities are named after the city that serves as municipal seat; e.g. the municipal seat of the Municipality of Mérida is the City of Mérida.


The most recent local election in Yucatán was held on June 7, 2015.

Tourism in Yucatán
Chichen Itza 3.jpg Panoramica Uxmal.jpg Dzibilchaltun.jpg Ek Balam1.jpg Temple of the Masks, Kabah (8264867094).jpg
Chichen Itza Uxmal Dzibilchaltun Ek' Balam Kabah
Anthropologisches Museum, Merida.JPG Church of the Three Kings.jpg Valladolid Mexico Cathedral.jpg Progreso Beach.jpg Izamal Convento.jpg
Mérida Tizimín Valladolid Progreso Izamal
Grutas de Loltun 1.JPG Cuzama.jpg 12Cenote Dzitnup.jpg Cenote-ik-kil.png Sacred Cenote Chichen Itza.JPG
Loltun, Oxkutzcab Bolón-Chohol, Cuzamá Dzitnup, Valladolid Ik Kil, KauaSacred Cenote, Chichen Itza


Major cities and towns

Skyline Merida Yucatan.jpg
Portada wiki.jpg
2002.12.30 07 Plaza ayuntamiento Ticul Yucatan Mexico.jpg
1 Mérida Mérida Municipality 734.1537 Umán Umán Municipality 29.135
2 Kanasín Kanasín Municipality 50.3578 Tekax Tekax Municipality 23.524
3 Valladolid Valladolid Municipality 45.8689 Hunucmá Hunucmá Municipality 22.800
4 Tizimín Tizimín Municipality 44.15110 Motul Motul Municipality 21.508
5 Progreso Progreso Municipality 35.51911 Oxkutzcab Oxkutzcab Municipality 21.341
6 Ticul Ticul Municipality 31.14712 Peto Peto Municipality 18.177
Source: INEGI [48]
Historical population
1895 [49] 298,569    
1900 309,652+3.7%
1910 339,613+9.7%
1921 358,221+5.5%
1930 386,096+7.8%
1940 418,210+8.3%
1950 516,899+23.6%
1960 614,049+18.8%
1970 758,355+23.5%
1980 1,063,733+40.3%
1990 1,362,940+28.1%
1995 1,556,622+14.2%
2000 1,658,210+6.5%
2005 1,818,948+9.7%
2010 1,955,577+7.5%
2015 [50] 2,097,175+7.2%


The most widespread indigenous language of Yucatán is Yucatec Maya, spoken natively by approximately 800,000 people in Yucatán and adjacent Quintana Roo and Campeche, especially in rural areas. The Spanish spoken in Yucatán has lexical and some phonological borrowing from Mayan and employs many words of Mayan origin, such as purux ("fat"), tuch ("navel") and wixar ("urinate").

Korean immigration

In 1905, 1,003 Korean immigrants, which included 802 men and 231 women and children, departed from the port of Chemulpo, Incheon aboard the ship Ilford to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, Mexico. The journey took 45 days, after which they took a train to Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. In the Veracruz port, another boat was taken to the port of Progreso with the final destination being the capital city of Mérida, Yucatan. [51] They arrived in May 1905, with previously signed contracts for four years’ work as indentured laborers on the Yucatán henequen haciendas. Many of these Koreans were distributed throughout the Yucatán in 32 henequen haciendas. [52] The town of Motul, Yucatan, located in the heart of the henequen zone, was a destination for many of the Korean immigrants. Subsequently, in 1909, at the end of their contracts, they began a new stage in which they scattered even further. [53] Thus, the majority of those who came were single men who made or remade their family lives with Yucatecan especially Maya women. While Korean girls were much more subject to marriages arranged by Korean parents, males had greater freedom when it came to making a family. This rapid intermarriage by Koreans, coupled with geographic dispersal, prevented the establishment of close social networks among these migrants and therefore provided the basis for Korean descendants among the Yucatan Peninsula. [52] After that 1905 ship, no further entries of Koreans into Mexico were recorded until many years later, leading to a new community of Koreans with completely different characteristics from those who entered in 1905. [54]


Newspapers of Yucatán include: Artículo 7, De Peso (Mérida), Diario de Yucatán, La I Noticias para Mí Mérida, Milenio Novedades (Antes El Mundo al Día), and Por Esto! (Yucatán). [55] [56]


Yucatecan food is its own unique style and is very different from what most people would consider Mexican food. It includes influences from the local Mayan culture, as well as Caribbean, European (Spanish), (North) African, and Middle Eastern cultures, as well as influence from the cuisine of other parts of Mexico.

There are many regional dishes. Some of them are:


A Dodge Charger squad car of the State Police. Dodge Charger 2014 SSP Yucatan.JPG
A Dodge Charger squad car of the State Police.

The Yucatán State Police is the law enforcement agency inside the state. [57] The security in the interior of the state was praised multiple times by former president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, [58] local and foreign businessmen, [59] as well as by governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco. [60] [61] [62]

See also


  1. Joined the federation under the name of Federated Republic of Yucatán, included the modern states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo.
  2. The state's GDP was 117,647,112 thousand pesos in 2008, [10] an amount corresponding to 9,191,180.625 thousand United States dollars, a dollar being worth 12.80 pesos as of June 3, 2010. [11]
  3. Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán.
  4. Usually when historians talk about of the Republic of Yucatán, they are talking about the second republic.

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The Maya peoples are an ethnolinguistic group of indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. The ancient Maya civilization was formed by members of this group, and today's Maya are generally descended from people who lived within that historical civilization. Today they inhabit southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. "Maya" is a modern collective term for the peoples of the region, however, the term was not historically used by the indigenous populations themselves. There was no common sense of identity or political unity among the distinct populations, societies and ethnic groups because they each had their own particular traditions, cultures and historical identity.

Campeche State of Mexico

Campeche, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Campeche, is one of the 31 states which make up the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Located in southeast Mexico, it is bordered by the states of Tabasco to the southwest, Yucatán to the northeast, and Quintana Roo to the east; to the southeast by the Orange Walk district of Belize, and by the Petén department of Guatemala to the south. It has a coastline to the west with the Gulf of Mexico. The state capital, also called Campeche, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997. The formation of the state began with the city, which was founded in 1540 as the Spanish began the conquest of the Yucatán Peninsula. During the colonial period, the city was a rich and important port, but declined after Mexico's independence. Campeche was part of the province of Yucatán but split off in the mid-19th century, mostly due to political friction with the city of Mérida. Much of the state's recent economic revival is due to the discovery of petroleum offshore in the 1970s, which has made the coastal cities of Campeche and Ciudad del Carmen important economic centers. The state has important Mayan and colonial sites; however, these are not as well-known or visited as others in the Yucatán.

Francisco de Montejo Spanish conquistador

Francisco de Montejo y Álvarez was a Spanish conquistador in Mexico and Central America.

Sisal, Yucatán Town in Yucatán, Mexico

Sisal is a seaport town in Hunucmá Municipality in the state of Yucatán, Mexico. It was the principal port of Yucatán during the henequen boom, later overshadowed when the more modern port of Progreso was built to the east. It lent its name to the agave-derived sisal fiber which was shipped through it.

Yucatec Maya language Mayan language spoken in the Yucatán Peninsula

Yucatec Maya, is a Mayan language spoken in the Yucatán Peninsula and northern Belize. Native speakers do not qualify it as Yucatec, calling it literally "flat/Maya speech" in their language and simply (el) maya when speaking Spanish.

Yucatán Peninsula Peninsula in North America

The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a northeastern geographic partition separating the region of Central America from the rest of North America. It is approximately 181,000 km2 (70,000 sq mi) in area, and is almost entirely composed of limestone.


Xelha is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, located on the eastern coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula, in the present-day state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The etymology of the site's name comes from Yukatek Maya, combining the roots xel ("spring") and ha' ("water").

Mérida Municipality Municipality in Yucatán, Mexico

Mérida Municipality is one of the 106 municipalities in the Mexican state of Yucatán containing (858.41 km2) of land with the head or seat being the city of Mérida. Because the archaeological remains of the Maya reminded the Spaniards of the ancient city of Mérida, Spain, which was marked by Roman archaeological sites, they renamed the site of T-hó after the Spanish city.

Republic of Yucatán Former country

The Republic of Yucatán was a sovereign state during two periods of the nineteenth century. The first Republic of Yucatán, founded May 29, 1823, willingly joined the Mexican federation as the Federated Republic of Yucatán on December 23, 1823, less than seven months later. The second Republic of Yucatán began in 1841, with its declaration of independence from the Centralist Republic of Mexico. It remained independent for seven years, after which it rejoined the United Mexican States. The area of the former republic includes the modern Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo. The Republic of Yucatán usually refers to the Second Republic (1841–1848).

Spanish conquest of the Maya Conquest dating from 1511 to 1697

The Spanish conquest of the Maya was a protracted conflict during the Spanish colonisation of the Americas, in which the Spanish conquistadores and their allies gradually incorporated the territory of the Late Postclassic Maya states and polities into the colonial Viceroyalty of New Spain. The Maya occupied a territory that is now incorporated into the modern countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador; the conquest began in the early 16th century and is generally considered to have ended in 1697.

San José Chactún Hacienda in Yucatán, Mexico

The Hacienda San José Chactún is a hacienda located in the State of Yucatán in Mexico.

Francisco de Montejo the Younger Spanish explorer

Francisco de Montejo y León, known as "El Mozo" was a Spanish conquistador, who in 1542 founded the city of Mérida, capital of State of Yucatán, Mexico. The son of Francisco de Montejo, ca. June 1527 he sailed with his father and his cousin Francisco de Montejo "the Nephew" from Sanlúcar de Barrameda to Cozumel, launching the first military campaign of the conquest of Yucatán.

Hacienda Chichén Hotel in Yucatán, Mexico

Hacienda Chichén is located in the Tinúm Municipality in the state of Yucatán in southeastern Mexico. It was one of the first haciendas established in Yucatán and was in ruins by 1847. Edward Herbert Thompson, US consul in Yucatán, purchased Hacienda Chichén, including the archaeological site in 1894. He excavated, explored and exported goods from the site to the Peabody Museum for over 3 decades. In 1926, he was charged with trafficking of antiquities but the charges were later dropped and his heirs sold the site. The purchaser, Fernando Barbachano Peon is credited with beginning the tourism industry of Yucatán and being the first hotelier to change a hacienda into a hotel.

The Mayan Train is a proposed 1,525-kilometre (948 mi) intercity railway in Mexico that would traverse the Yucatán Peninsula. The railroad would begin in Palenque in Chiapas and travel northeast towards Cancún in Quintana Roo via two routes that encircle the peninsula and a route that goes to Mexico City and stop at 15 stations. The project aims to connect tourist destinations in the Yucatán, including historic Mayan sites from which it derives its name.


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