The Caste War of the Yucatan

THE “WAR OF THE CASTES” in Yucatan is one of those little-known regional
wars that was particularly bloody and drawn out (1848-1901) as the Spanish settlers,
called “Ladinos”, moving into Yucatan clashed with the Mazehuals, descended from the
As the Ladinos, governed by the Spanish Crown from Cuba, moved to subjugate the
Mazehuals, a bloody revolt broke out in 1848 that was actively fought for at least seven
years and never won by either side. Cities were sacked and inhabitants mutilated and
killed to the last man, woman, and child. Even after the stalemate, guerrilla raids and
killings continued until 1901. An estimated 50,000 people died.
To this day, the Yucatan, which was eventually annexed by Mexico, remains a land
of mystery and unique culture – a fitting setting for the brooding and long-abandoned
mountain city-state of Palenque.
(I leaned heavily upon the excellent account of The Caste War of the Yucatan, by
Nelson A. Reed in depicting the plight of Caleb, Shanni and the Huastecs as they traveled
through this region to reach Palenque in Anasazi Triumph. JG.)


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