Haciendas in México

Hacienda Peotillos, San Luis Potosí
foto Jaime Cortez

Haciendas, large all-inclusive agriculture estates or plantations developed in México beginning with land grants to Spanish conquistadors and settlers in the 16th and 17th centuries. With independence from Spain in 1820 through their break-up with land reform after the Mexican revolution in the 1920’s they were a great and diverse source of wealth to the new economic power and then a nation in conflict in search of social democracy.

Iglesia, Pozo del Carmen

During the 18th through early 20th centuries until the Mexican Revolution, each haciendas produced, imported and exported all the necessities of life, similar to feudal Europe these were self sustaining ranches with stores, church, school for the owners and elite, their own horse and transport systems as well as residences for all social strata. EDIT AND ADD ON, from the owners and their families who were frequently absentee – possessing grand mansions in the state and country capitals and even residing in Europe. The Hacienda Administrator was responsible for the economics, hiring of workers, communications and managing the entire operation.

Silvestre Franco, seated, was the administrator late 19th C of Hacienda Peotillos. He is seen here with his crew and peones awaiting assignments.
Photo US Library of Congress.
Señor Franco was a great great uncle of Psychologist Rosa Lopez of LA, CA we found out recently. Photo – US Library of Congress

Iconic figures of Mexico emerged in the hacienda era: the charro: the romantic representation of freedom and physical prowess. Like knights in European feudal times the charros were freelancers, they were special talent who could get work and were needed from one hacienda to another, horses were transportation, they were entertainment and recreation as well as used for working the fields and hauling goods from the mines.

Peasants, or peones in Spanish, were the bottom level of manual labor of haciendas.

about workers and conditions

types of hacienda mining/ranching etc….

more peotillos history, Muriel interview or below