Mexico Haciendas - Grand Colonial Architecture Estates
with links to historic estates for sale and hacienda resorts
Grandes Haciendas Historicas - Historische Kolonialstil Landgüter
Dear visitors, I run this website because I am an afficionado of historic estates and to offer as realtor farmland and historic estates (below left), In a blog manner I on and off add a bit, I am not afiliated to any of the tourist ventures mentioned below.
and something a few 1000 miles further south but a serious farmland investment :
Guest Ranches / Tourist Haciendas
and one more, northern mexican for change, Hacienda San Diego in Chihuahua State, 1880s to 1900s, would be my guess.
just two nice images extracted somewhere of apparently very beautyful and very upmarket Hacienda San Antonio in Colima
Haciendas in Mexico
extracted from mexconnect.com, which again quotes from the book "Casa Mexicana" (see on the left).
The haciendas were the landed estates of Mexico, some with territories as big as Belgium. For visitors to Mexico, they conjure up surreal images of ruined palaces; still possessing a faded grandeur, dominating a desolate landscape of cactus and agave. Before the revolution of 1910, when their lands were confiscated, the haciendas (a term which referred either to the estate or the often huge house of the owner) made up a high percentage of Mexico's agricultural land, and their collective power was enormous. Each one was a rural, autonomous social unit with its own history, and for each, myths accumulate over the centuries.
...Haciendas usually concentrated on one particular agricultural product, depending on the region: mescal in Zacatecas, sugar in Morelos, sisal in Yucatan, pulque (the alcoholic beverage produced from the agave plant which, when further distilled, becomes mescal) in hidalgo, and cattle in Querétaro. Around the haciendas, and administered by them, were smaller ranches which supplied grain and other seasonal crops...
The haciendas grew in size during the centuries of colonial rule. In 1821 Mexico became an independent nation, but lapsed into a period of decline and economic upheaval. From 1864 to 1867 the French occupied Mexico with Maximillian and his wife Carlota installed as Emperor and empress. This intervention was brief, but it began a period of French influence in architecture and culture which lasted will into the twentieth century.
From 1876 until 1911 Porfirio Díaz ruled Mexico as dictator, restoring it to economic strength by the use of capitalist measures and the encouragement of foreign investment.
Earlier in t he nineteenth century there had been failed attempts by liberals to dissolve the haciendas and restore their land to the Indians. Díaz did the opposite, making extra land available to establish new haciendas and increasing the size of many existing ones. During his rule many haciendas were given a face-lift, usually in the form of a proud neoclassical style reflecting the new national confidence.
Meanwhile, living conditions declined further for the majority of Indian peons working on the haciendas during the Díaz regime. It is a situation best described by Henry Bamford Parkes, in his book A History of Mexico. "Courteous, sensual, and decadent, with charming manners and with nothing to live for except pleasure, the hacendados lived in the City of Mexico, or more often in Paris, drawing revenues from the lands which their ancestors had conquered or stolen from the Indians and leaving them to be managed by hired administrators... When, once or twice a year, they visited their estates, the peons were given a holiday, and the owner and his wife would distribute gifts and pride themselves on the happy faces of their dependents. Of the actual lives of their peons, of how the administrators would beat them and torture them and claim feudal rights over their wives and daughters, these absentee owners remained blissfully unaware."
The revolution of 1910 - 1920 finished the haciendas. The enlisted troops of Pancho Villa, Venustiano Carranza, and Emiliano Zapata roamed the country, burning and pillaging every hacienda they could find. The lands were restored to the Indians and landowners subsequently were allowed only 200 acres.
Haciendas today are often still owned by descendants of the older hacendados. Others have been bought since the Revolution by Mexicans from the city wishing to have a place in the country, and some have become hotels and conference centers. Most of those which are occupied today have undergone complete renovation, since the burnings and sackings of the evolution left some with little more that the basic walls.
The Legend of Zorro was shot at Hacienda Gogorron (above)
The Sisal /Henequen Haciendas of the Yucatan Peninsula:
Sisal (the plant), in local spanish "henequen" is the plant of which the fibre was prossesed,
that, before the advance of plastic, most ropes and strings were made from.
The haciendas of Yucatan emerged in the XVII century on the initiative of the families that, since Colonial times, had possessed great territorial expanses. Some of these haciendas were established as cattle ranches, while others began to process heneken fiber. This was exploited on a grand scale, turning it into a highly profitable business that lasted until the beginning of the XX century, and the appearance of synthetic fibers.
Heneken created a completely new panorama, changing the surroundings and buildings of the hacienda, and even the workers' living quarters. It was a vast world of modern, contradictory images. The main house was the residence of the owner and reflected his taste, incorporating its own church and chapel. The modern machine house was often conceived as a temple or work palace. The masonry and tile of the workers´houses placed the humble laborer in the new affluent world of the owner, which stretched as far as the eye could see.
Today, it's interesting to walk around these old haciendas, which have fortunately been saved from becoming piles of rubble, and instead, been converted into hotels, restaurants or luxury tourist stops and museums. The haciendas of Yucatan that have been refurbished, share one special attribute: a new life for the natural surroundings in which they are found.
In the 1920's an observer writes about the Mexican Haciendas
George M. McBride, The Land Systems of Mexico, (New York: American Geographical Society, 1923) :
The Haciendas of Mexico are the most conspicuous feature of the land system of the country. They give to agricultural Mexico its distinctive cast, and, by their great size, create the impression that the entire land is divided into vast rural estates. These properties, indeed, are the only type of agricultural holding immediately visible to the traveler in many parts of Mexico, just as the hacendado is the only type of agriculturist whose interest reach beyond the immediate neighborhood of his home. . Many of the haciendas are of very great extent; it is estimated that 300 of them contain at least 25,000 acres each...The Mexican hacienda seldom contains less than 2,500 acres--whether situated in the arid plains of the north, where land is worth little or nothing, or in the densely settled areas of the Mesa Central.
The haciendas are settlements complete in themselves. Indeed, few of these estates have less than a hundred, while many of them have as many as a thousand inhabitants. . . Furthermore, the haciendas are all named; they appear on the maps; and they are important units of public administration, often being incorporated as municipios. They include all the customary accessories of an independent community, such as a church, a store, a post office, a burying ground, and sometimes a school or hospital. Workshops are maintained, not only for the repair but even for the manufacture of machinery and of the numerous implements on the estate. The permanent population consists of an administrador, one or more majordomos, a group of foremen, and the regular peons, together with the families of these individuals. Besides these, there are several classes of hangers-on, less permanently attached to the farm. Among the latter are usually a priest or two, clerks, accountants, storekeepers, hired shepherds and cattlemen, and often a number of families who rent small pieces of land from the hacienda. Over this aggregation the owner presides in a more or less patriarchal manner, the degree of paternal care or of tyranny varying with the character of the individual and with that of his superior employees.
The typical Mexican landowner spends relatively little of his time within this citadel [his house]. He usually maintains a residence in the capital or some other large city, where he spends the greater part of the year. If the income of his property makes it possible, he may go to Europe or the United States. Only during the most active seasons--planting or harvesting--does he long remain on his estate....The hacendado is, therefore, less an agriculturist than a landowner, less a farmer than an absentee landlord, and his interest in the property is due less to its economic possibilities than to its character as an ancestral estate.
The laborers on the haciendas, in most parts of Mexico, are of Indian blood or are mestizos in whom the Indian element predominates. . . The peons upon a Mexican hacienda are theoretically free...As a matter of fact, however, many of them are
held upon the estate in bondage no less real because it is sanctioned only by custom and enforced only by economic conditions. . . By a system of advance payments, which the peons are totally unable to refund,
the hacendados are able to keep them permanently under financial obligations and hence to oblige them to remain upon the estates to which they belonged. . .
In the eyes of the Mexicans the value of an hacienda does not lie in the money return yielded by the annual crops. The actual return in money is often very small. With intensive cultivation the broad acres might be made to yield a large income; but,
with an absentee owner, a hired administrator, and poorly paid peons, the typical Mexican hacienda yields little more than enough to feed its numerous population.
Peer Voss, Costas del Milan, 94100 Casupá, Uruguay, email@example.com