The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 45, Issue 1

Article 1
The Failure of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Liberalism in Yucatán, 1855–1876

Douglas W. Richmond


This study centres on the failure of liberal ideology that much of the Yucatecan leadership accepted. Liberals insisted upon regional autonomy, suppression of the Catholic Church, free trade, and individual rights. However, they committed the fatal error of seizing Maya village lands which resulted in the largest peasant revolution in nineteenth-century Latin America. The Maya uprising continued as a French-supported Second Empire attempted to improve matters. Although the empire failed, it reformed conditions more than has been recognized in earlier studies. Eventually, the liberals returned to power during the Restored Republic Era, but once again their Yucatecan policies resulted in self-serving repression.