When Mexico gained independence from the Spanish Crown, the Mayan peoples of the Yucatan Peninsula were living in a situation of poverty and marginalization. This fact did not change in the following decades, in fact, the cultivated land was worked without plows and the only force used was the arms. Caste War
Over time, the lands and hills of the Mayan communities ended up in the hands of Creole or white farmers. At the same time, the Mayan peoples continued to be subject to the cultural and religious plan.
The natives of Yucatan worked in conditions of submission to a farmer and the latter forced them to purchase their products in their own establishments at an exorbitant price. In short , the Maya lived within a context of poverty and social inequality . Caste War
The armed insurrection was sustained for over 50 years
The Mayan natives took up arms from white and Creole settlers in July 1847. The first armed uprising took place in the town of Culumpich, 40 kilometers from Valladolid. The leader of the revolution was arrested and later hanged in a public square.
Indigenous leaders continued their struggle and came to dominate the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. However, due to heavy rains in July and August, the Mayans abandoned military posts and returned to work on their land. It can be said that their customs and rituals were stronger than the thirst for revenge. Caste War
The government of Mexico supported the farmers so that they could fight the rebels and in this way recover several places initially lost by the Mayan occupation.
However, the official government of Yucatán was permanently threatened by the Mayan rebels, for this reason they asked for military support from several nations, including Spain, the United States, Cuba and Jamaica.
In turn, the Mayans tried to negotiate by proposing the cultivation of corn in arid lands without the need to make any kind of payment.
Initially the indigenous proposal was accepted and a peace treaty agreed, but some Mayan leaders refused to make peace and hostilities began again. Fighting continued until in 1901 federal troops occupied the last Mayan stronghold, the city of Chan Santa Cruz. Caste War
Main consequences and the inappropriate use of the word caste to describe the conflict
The population of Yucatan was significantly reduced, both by military casualties and by disease or migratory movements. On the other hand, several Mayan locations were totally devastated, as well as the disappearance of the incipient sugar industry.
In relation to the concept of “caste” used by the chroniclers of the conflict, it has been questioned because it does not fit with the reality of the facts. In this sense, on the Yucatan Peninsula there was no caste system , simply a submissive people. Caste War