On 18 May 1911, the indigenous Mixtec peasants of Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, rose up against the local cacique and ranchers who had dispossessed them of their ancient communal lands. Thus began not only the lone agrarian rebellion in the state of Oaxaca but also the only attempt to revive a pre-Columbian indigenous empire during the Mexican Revolution. The study of this remarkable episode situates Oaxaca, a state previously thought to be peripheral to this major social upheaval, within the main currents of revolutionary activity.
As in the case of other revolutionary movements, the arrival of Maderista revolutionaries from a neighboring state, in this case Guerrero, triggered the peasant mobilization in Pinotepa Nacional, unleashing social tensions in the area. Although an overwhelmingly rural state in 1910, the Revolution in Oaxaca has generally been characterized by the absence of agrarian protest. Recent studies have found the precursor and Maderista movements in Oaxaca to be predominantly middle class, either urban or rural, seeking social mobility, wider political participation, and greater local autonomy. Nevertheless, the study of the events of May 1911 on the Oaxacan coast reveals a struggle that pitted an agrarian, indigenous movement against a middle class, rancher-style revolution.
I would like to thank Steve Stern, Héctor Martínez, William Beezley, Howard Campbell, Peter Henderson, Gilbert Joseph, Patricia Pessar, and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and comments. This article is dedicated to the memory of Mexican regional historian Ricardo Rendón Garcini. I found the 1911 indigenous protests to the state government in 1982 in the Oaxacan State Archives [AGEO hereafter] and included a section on it in my dissertation, Francie R. Chassen, Oaxaca: del porfiriato a la Revolutión, 1902-1911 (Ph.D. Dissertation, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1986), pp. 418-22. In 1992, I presented a preliminary paper with Héctor Martínez at the Rocky Mountain Council on Latin American Studies in El Paso, Texas, later published as “El retorno al milenio mixteco: indígenas agraristas vs. rancheros revolucionarios en la Costa Chica de Oaxaca, Mayo de 1911” Cuadernos del Sur no. 5 (1993). The present article introduces new research and a new conceptulization.
1 Troops from the Mixteca region of Puebla and from central Guerrero separately invaded Oaxaca, gained adherents, and converged on the city of Oaxaca. Troops from the Tehuacán, Puebla joined forces with insurgents in the Cañada region of Oaxaca. These incursions were vital to the development of the Revolution in the state, see Chassen, , Oaxaca, pp. 410 ff.; Chassen, and Martínez, Héctor G. “El movimiento maderista en Oaxaca,” in La Revolución en las regiones (Guadalajara, México: Instituto de Estudios Sociales, Universidad de Guadalajara, 1986), pp. 195–241; and Medina, Héctor Martínez “Génesis y desarrollo del maderismo en Oaxaca (1909–1912)” in Martínez Vázquez, Víctor Raúl, et al, La Revolución en Oaxaca 1900–1930 (México, D.F.: Instituto de Administración Pública de Oaxaca, 1985), pp. 88–158.
2 Following the lead of Ronald Waterbury in his comparison of Oaxacan peasants with the “revolutionary” peasants of Morelos, scholars have repeatedly labeled the former “passive” and “reactionary.” This facile condemnation has echoed down the pages of many recent volumes on the revolution while it ignores the history of campesino protest in the nineteenth century and the new literature which examines the varying facets of the revolution in Oaxaca (cited above). See Waterbury, Ronald “Non-Revolutionary Peasants: Oaxaca Compared to Morelos in the Mexican Revolution” Comparative Studies in Society and History 17:4 (1975); Ruiz, Ramon Eduardo, The Great Rebellion Mexico 1905–1924 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1980), p. 23; Jacobs, Ian, Ranchero Revolt The Mexican Revolution in Guerrero (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982) pp. ix and xx; and Brading, David A. “Introduction” Caudillo and peasant in the Mexican Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), p. 15. Even David LaFrance’s usually balanced analysis labels Oaxacan peasants “docile” in “Many Causes, Movements, Failures, 1910–13 The Regional Natures of Maderismo,” Benjamin, Thomas and Wasserman, Mark, eds. Provinces of the Revolution Essays on Regional Mexican History 1910–1929 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990), p. 25. For further discussion of this characterization, see Chassen, Francie R. “Capitalismo o comunalismo: Cambio y continuidad en la tenencia de la tierra en la Oaxaca porfirista,” in El Porfiriato: Síntesis y perspectivas, Buve, Raymond, Falcón, Romana and Rendón, Ricardo, eds., (Mexico, D.F.: Universidad Iberoamericana, forthcoming).
3 See Vázquez, Martínez, et al, La Revolución en Oaxaca; Arellanes, Anselmo, Chassen, Francie R., Martínez, Héctor G., Martínez Vázquez, Víctor Raúl, Ruiz Cervantes, Francisco José and Silva, Carlos Sánchez “Síntesis historica de la Revolución en Oaxaca” in Diccionario histórico de la Revolución en Oaxaca (Oaxaca: Instituto de Investigaciones Sociológicas de la Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca and Instituto Estatal de Educación Pública de Oaxaca, 1997), pp. 15 ff.; Ruiz Cervantes, Francisco José, La Revolución en Oaxaca El movimiento de la Soberanía (1915–1920) (México, D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1986); Garner, Paul, La Revolución en provincia Soberanía estatal y caudillismo en las montañas de Oaxaca (1910–1920), (México, D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1988).
4 See LaFrance’s, David G. analysis of disparate social groups in the Maderista revolution in Puebla, The Mexican Revolution in Puebla, 1908–1913 (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1989).
5 Traditionally, anthropologists have estimated Oaxaca to have 16 indigenous ethnic groups (Amuzgo, Chatino, Chinanteco, Chocho, Chontal, Cuicateco, Huave, Ixcateco, Mazateco, Mixe, Mixteco, Nahuatl, Popoloca, Triqui, Zapoteco, Zoque) besides the group identified as Spanishspeaking. In addition, Miguel Bartolomé and Alicia Barabas include the Afro-Mexican population of the Costa Chica and the Tacuates, a group previously not recognized separately from the Mixtecos, “Notas a la segunda edición” in Barabas, Alicia and Bartolomé, Miguel, eds. Etnicidad y pluralismo cultural: la dinámica étnica en Oaxaca (México, D.F.: Conacult, 1990), pp. xiii ff.
6 Taylor, William B., Drinking, Homicide, and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican Villages (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1979), p. 3; Guha, Ranajit “The Prose of Counter-Insurgency” in Guha, Ranajit and Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, eds., Selected Subaltern Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 63 ff. In Latin America, records were written in “a metalanguage of crime,” in Gilbert Joseph’s words, to criminalize violent or potentially violent behavior by working classes, see “On the Trail of Latin American Bandits: A Reexamination of Peasant Resistance” Latin American Research Review 25:3 (1990), 24.
7 See E. Bradford Burns’ explanation of the Quebra-Quilo Tax Revolt, 1874–75 in the Brazilian Northeast. Brazilian peasants protected “their informal title to the land by reducing to ashes the legal records. In most cases, those peasants had taken physical possession of the land and worked it over the generations without title. They faced possible eviction by anyone who could show the proper paper authenticating legal ownership,” The Poverty of Progress (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), pp. 119–120.
8 Joseph, , “On the Trail,” p. 24. Guha is more pessimistic on this account, believing that most historians, conservatives and radicals alike, have been complicit with the code of counter-insurgency, see “The Prose of Counter-Insurgency,” pp. 72 ff.
9 Alcoff, Linda “The Problems of Speaking for Others,” Cultural Critique no. 20 (1991–92), 15.
10 Chassen and Martínez consider this a millenarian movement in “El retorno al milenio mixteco.”
11 Linton, Ralph “Nativist Movements” in American Anthropologist 155:2 (1943), 230 ff. See also Wallace, Anthony “Revitalization Movements” in American Anthropologist, 58 (1956) and Barabas, Alicia, Utopías Indias Movimientos sociorreligiosos en México (México, D.F.: Editorial Grijalbo, 1989).
12 With respect to distinction of population by race, physical anthropologists have rejected race as a scientific form of classification. Moreover, as Brackette F. Williams points out, social scientists “now recognize that the prototypical features of the races of mankind were invented, transferred, and institutionalized during colonial maneuvers to justify conquest, slavery, genocide, and other forms of social oppression,” “A CLASS ACT: Anthropology and the Race to Nation Across Ethnic Terrain,” Annual Review of Anthropology 18 (1989), 431.
13 The importance of indigenous ethnic movements in Latin America today has encouraged scholars to study the historical background. However, as Kearney underlines, the present resurgence is taking place in an era of globalization and “postdevelopment,” very distinct conditions from those of 50 or a 100 years ago. The present article refers to this literature insofar as it may help explain the reality of indigenous groups in Mexico on the eve of Revolution. See Kearney, , “Introduction: Indigenous Ethnicity and Mobilization in Latin America,” Latin American Perspectives 23:2 (1996), 5–15. On recent developments of Mixtee ethnic identity outside of Oaxaca, see Kearney, , “Mixtee Political Consciousness: From Passive to Active Resistance” in Nugent, Daniel, ed. Rural Revolt in Mexico and U.S. Intervention (La Jolla: University of California at San Diego, 1988) and Nagengast, Carole and Kearney, Michael “Mixtee Ethnicity: Social Identity, Political Consciousness, and Political Activism” Latin American Research Review 25:2 (1990).
14 Urban, and Sherzer, , “Introduction” to Urban, Greg and Sherzer, Joel, eds., Nation-States and Indians in Latin America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991), p. 4; see Brackette Williams on the historical evolution of the term “ethnicity” in “A CLASS ACT,” 401 ff.; Smith, Carol A., Guatemalan Indians and the State: 1540–1988 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990).
15 Bruner, Jerome “The Language of Education,” in Actual Minds, Possible Worlds (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), p. 123. For Latin America, see Kearney, , “Introduction,” 7; Stefano Varese, “The Ethnopolitics of Indian Resistance in Latin America,” and Stephen, Lynn “The Creation and Recreation of Ethnicity: Lessons from the Zapotee and Mixtee of Oaxaca,” in Latin American Perspectives, op. cit.; Campbell, Howard Blaine “Zapotee Ethnic Politics and the Politics of Culture in Juchitán, Oaxaca (1350–1990),” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin, 1990, pp. 11–12 and Zapotee Renaissance Ethnic Politics and Cultural Revivalism in Southern Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994), pp. 242–46; Warren, Kay B. “Transforming Memories and Histories: The Meanings of Ethnic Resurgence for Mayan Indians,” in Stepan, Alfred, ed., Americas New Interpretive Essays (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 207; and Batalla, Guillermo Bonfil, Mexico Profundo Reclaiming a Civilization (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996), pp. 10 and 139.
16 Schryer, Frans J., Ethnicity and Class Conflict in Rural Mexico (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), pp. 319 ff.
17 Varese, , “The Ethnopolitics of Indian Resistance,” p. 58; see also Borah, Woodrow “Race and Class in Mexico,” Pacific Historical Review 24 (1954); Morner, Magnus, Race Mixture in the History of Latin America (Boston: Little, Brown, Co., 1957); or for Oaxaca, , Chance, John, Race and Class in Colonial Oaxaca (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1978).
18 Bonfil Batalla has noted that in contrast to the Western inclination toward specialization of knowledge, it is “difficult to establish the boundaries between what is economic and what is social” in Mesoamerican cultures, and also between “what is believed from what is known, myth from historical memory and explanation …” given the belief in the unity of humans beings and nature, Mexico Profundo, pp. 26–7.
19 “Yope” today is slang for Indian. See Campbell, , Zapotee Renaissance, pp. 242–46 and “The Cocei: Culture, Class and Politicized Ethnicity in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec” Ethnic Studies Report 7:2 (1989); Barabas, Utopías Indias; Bartolomé, Miguel A. and Barabas, Alicia, Tierra de la palabra Historia y etnografía de los Chatinos de Oaxaca (México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1982); de la Cruz, Víctor, La rebelión de Tehuantepec (Juchitán: Ayuntamiento Popular de Juchitán, 1982); Pastor, Rodolfo, Campesinos y reformas: La Mixteca, 1700–1850 (México, D.F.: El Colegio de México, 1986).
20 Taylor, Drinking, Homicide, and Rebellion; Chance, John “La dinámica étnica en Oaxaca colonial,” in Barabas, and Bartolomé, , Etnicidad y pluralismo cultural, pp. 160 ff.; Francisco, Abardía M. and Reina, Leticia “Cien años de rebelión” in Romero Frizzi, Ma. de los Angeles, ed. Lecturas históricas del estado de Oaxaca (México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Gobierno del Estado de Oaxaca, 1990), p. 435. See Stern’s, Steve “New Approaches to the Study of Peasant Rebellion and Consciousness: Implications of the Andean Experience” in Stern, , ed. Resistance, Rebellion and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), pp. 3–25.
21 Pacheco, Mardonio “Graves disturbios en Juquila en 1896” in Dominical, Magazin, El Imparcial, Oaxaca, 13 September 1953, 6 ; Martínez Medina, Héctor Gerardo “La Ley de Hacienda y la rebelión de 1896 en el estado de Oaxaca,” paper presented to the Simposio: “Las formas de la resistencia india a 500 años,” Oaxaca, September 1992, pp. 4–6 ; Miguel A. Bartolomé and Alicia M. Barabas were able to interview local people who remembered the movement, see Tierra de la palabra, pp. 42–3; Rojas, Basilio, Epístolas del Gringo Blas al Cubano José (México, D.F.: 1978), pp. 168–71.
22 So learned anthropologist Greenberg, James B. from his Chatino informants, see Santiago’s Sword Chatino Peasant Religion and Economics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), p. 50 and Blood Ties Life and Violence in Rural Mexico (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1989), p. 22; Pacheco, , “Graves disturbios,” 6; Rojas, , Epístolas, pp. 171–74; Bartolomé, and Barabas, , Tierra de la palabra, p. 43.
23 The coastal region of Guerrero to the west of Acapulco is known as the Costa Grande, see Jaime Salazar Adame, “Período 1867–1910” in Adame, Salazar, et al, Historia de la Cuestión Agraria Mexicana Estado de Guerrero 1867–1940 (México, D.F.: Gobierno del Estado de Guerrero, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, CEHAM: 1987), pp. 16–17; Velasco, Alfonso Luis, Geografía y estadística de la República Mexicana Tomo IX, Estado de Oaxaca (México: Oficina Tipográfica de la Secretaría de Fomento, 1891), p. 235; Esteva, Cayetano, Nociones elementales de geografía histórica del Estado de Oaxaca (Oaxaca: 1913), p. 194.
24 Takahashi, Hitoshi “De la huerta a la hacienda: El origen de la producción agropecuaria en la Mixteca Costera” Historia Mexicana, 30:1 (1981); Spores, Ronald, The Mixtees in Ancient and Colonial Times (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984), pp. 11–12; Ryesky, Diana “El desarrollo socio-económico de la Costa Chica de Oaxaca: Tiempos Prehispánicos hasta 1920,” in Munch, Guido, et al, El Sur de México Datos sobre la problemática indígena (México, D.F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1980); de Jordan, Barbro Dalhgren, La Mixteca Su cultura e historia prehispánicos (Oaxaca: Ediciones del Gobierno del Estado, 1979), pp. 94 ff.; Tibón, Gutierre, Pinotepa Nacional (México, D.F.: Editorial Posada, 1981), p. 17. Still today the towns of Corralero and Collantes directly on the ocean are almost entirely of Afro-Mexican population, with distinctive housing and customs, having been founded by escaped slaves.
25 Ryesky, , “El desarrollo”, pp. 49–50 ; Gracida, Manuel Martínez, Colección de cuadros sinópticos de los pueblos, haciendas y ranchos del Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca (Oaxaca: Anexo No. 50 a la Memoria Administrativa presentada al H. Congreso, Imprenta del Estado, 1883).
26 Fraser, Donald J. “La política de desamortización en las comunidades indígenas, 1856–1872” Historia Mexicana 21:4 (1972); Berry, Charles R., The Reform in Oaxaca, 1856–1876 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981).
27 See Berry, The Reform. The Central Valleys are in the heart of the state surrounding the capital city of Oaxaca. In 1878, 76 percent of the population spoke indigenous languages although by 1910, this statistic decreased to 49 percent, see Navarro, González “Indio y propiedad en Oaxaca” in Historia Mexicana 8:2 (1958), pp. 176–78; Esparza, Manuel “Los proyectos de los liberales en Oaxaca (1856–1910)” in Reina, Leticia coordinator, Historia de la cuestión agraria mexicana. Estado de Oaxaca (México, D.F.: Juan Pablos Editor, Gobierno del Estado de Oaxaca, Universidad de Oaxaca, Centro de Estudios Históricos del Agrarismo en México), p. 288. See Chassen, , “Capitalismo o comunalismo;” Regiones y ferrocarriles en la Oaxaca porfirista (Oaxaca: Carteles Editores, 1990); and “Cheaper than Machines: Women in Agriculture in Porfirian Oaxaca” in Vaughan, Mary Kay and Salamini, Heather Fowler, eds., Creating Spaces, Shaping Transitions: Women of the Mexican Countryside, 1850–1990, (Tucson: University of Arizona, 1994), pp. 27–50.
28 Esparza, , “Los proyectos de los liberales,” 292. Available statistics do not always supply the exact quantity and value of adjudicated land or the name of the buyer. The cash value that appears is unreliable because lands would be undervalued to pay the lowest possible amount of taxes, as Cayetano Esteva commented in 1913, see Nociones, p. 35; AGEO, Reparto Agrario, Grupo II, Caja 11815–1912; AGEO, Adjudicaciones, Centro, Leg. 2, Exp. 17. In 1892, Gómez was a 48-year old rancher and cotton producer, owning property worth $200,000 pesos and by 1902, more cattle than any other rancher in the district, see Tibón, , Pinotepa, p. 19; AGEO, Agosto, 1902-Febrero, 1903, Sec. de Gobierno, Fomento, Estadísticas, Centro; AGEO Padrón Comercial, 1892 in Gobernación, 1831–98, Caja Suelta. Cosme del Valle’s property in Pinotepa was valued at 100,000 pesos in 1892, AGEO, Padrón Comercial, 1892 in Gobernación, 1832–98, Caja suelta.
29 Atristáin, Darío, Notas de un ranchero Relación y documentos relativos a los acontecimientos ocurridos en una parte de la Costa Chica de febrero de 1911 a marzo de 1916 (México, D.F.: 1964), p. 17. See Silva, Luis Cossío “La Agricultura” in Villegas, Daniel Cosío, ed. Historia Moderna de México El Porfiriato, Vida Económica, (México, D.F.: Editorial Hermes, 1974) p. 94.
30 In various lists formulated in this period of major haciendas or fincas in the state, Jamiltepec would invariably show very few, running from 1 (usually Dámaso Gómez Santa Cruz Hacienda) to 4 properties. See Chassen, Martínez, and Sánchez’ table “Haciendas y fincas de importancia” in the annex to Chassen, , Oaxaca, p. 448; AGEO, Agosto, 1902-Febrero, 1903. Sec. de Gobierno, Fomento, Estadísticas, Centro; for information on the Mixteca districts, see Martínez Gracida, Cuadros; Esteva, Nociones, p. 190; Atristáin, , Notas, p. 13; López Victoria, José Manuel, Historia de la Revolución en Guerrero (Chilpancingo: Gobierno del Estado de Guerrero, 1985), p. 31.
31 Pinotepa’s artisans also gained fame for their carpentry work, fine machetes, and beautiful textiles, Atristáin, , Notas, p. 14; Esteva, , Nociones, pp. 189–90.
32 See Chassen, , Regiones, pp. 33–35.
33 A ship of the Cia. Naviera del Pacífico weighed anchor every 20 days to bring in supplies and take out the region’s products, serving as a small boon to the area’s economy, Chassen, Oaxaca, p. 185. Municipal president Francisco Carmona emphasized the ongoing Guerrero connection in a personal conversation with the author in May 1983. He insisted that Pinotepa had always had stronger ties to Ometepec and Acapulco and resented the intromission of the state government in the city of Oaxaca.
34 See the social pages of the Oaxacan newspapers EI Correo del Sur and El Avance for 1909–13. In the first years of this century, Eleazar del Valle and Alfredo del Valle, sons of Cosme del Valle and María de Jesus Parada married Flora and Josefa Gómez respectively, daughters of Dámaso Gómez and Lorenza Sánchez. I thank Francisco José Ruiz Cervantes for sharing this information with me.
35 AGEO, August 1902-February 1903, Sec. de Gobierno, Fomento, Estadísticas, Centro. Among the other actors in this story, Macedonio Díaz, a cotton and clothing merchant, had property worth $5,000. The next richest man in the town of Jamiltepec after Gómez was jefe político-to-be Manuel Iglesias, a 47-year old merchant, whose property was valued at $20,000, AGEO, Padrón Comercial 1892, Gobernación 1832-98, Caja Suelta.
36 See Ian Jacobs, Ranchero Revolt; Schryer, Franz J., The Rancheros of Pisaflores. The History of a Peasant Bourgeoisie in Twentieth-Century México (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980) and Camín, Héctor Aguilar, La Frontera Nómada, Sonora y la Revolución Mexicana (México, D.F.: Siglo XXI Editores, 1979); Garcini, Ricardo Rendón, El Prosperato Tlaxcala de 1885 a 1911 (México, D.F.: Siglo XXI Editores, 1993).
37 Atristáin, , Notas, p. 12; Tibón, , Pinotepa, p. 27; see AGEO, Mayo 1911-12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec. The documents used in this study refer to tenant farmers, sharecroppers, and peons, which attests to the various combinations of landholding and labor patterns in the region.
38 Atristáin, , Notas, p. 12; see the sources cited by Ryesky, , “El desarrollo,” pp. 50–51. For a monographic study of Afro-Mexicans on the Costa Chica, see Beltrán, Gonzalo Aguirre, Cuijla (México, D.F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1985), pp. 59 ff.
39 Busto, Emiliano, Estadística de la República Mexicana, (México: Imprenta de Ignacio Cumplido, 1880); División Territorial de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos correspondiente al Censo de 1910 Estado de Oaxaca (México: Sec. de Hacienda, 1918); Atristáin, , Notas, p. 12; Esteva, , Nociones, p. 192.
40 For instance, if the cacique Pedro Rodríguez were a descendant of the cacica Margarita Rodríguez, he assuredly would have been part Mixtec.
41 Not only the language but also customs and dress distinguished these different groups; the municipalities of Igualapa and Huehuetán had both Mixtee and Nahuatl-speaking villages. At the time of conquest, Igualapa and Ometepec were inhabited by the Ayacastecos, but according to Epigmenio López Barroso this language disappeared during the colonial period. In addition, the African population had mixed with the indigenous from an early period, to become Afro-mestizo, see Diccionario geográfico, histórico y estadístico del districto de Abasolo, del Estado de Guerrero, (México, D.F.: Ediciones Botas, 1967), pp. 91 ff., 142, and 195 ff.; Beltrán, Aguirre, Cuijla, pp. 38 ff.; and Díaz, Vicente Fuentes, Historia de la revolución en el estado de Guerrero (México: Nacional Impresora, 1960), p. 80. López Victoria and Renato Ravelo Lecuona refer to the indigenous troops in Guerrero as “indios” or “indígenas” and do not make any distinction among them according to language or culture. See Victoria, López, Historia de la Revolución, p. 31 ff. and Ravelo, , “Revolución campesina Zapatista y contrarrevolución terrateniente maderista (El caso de Guerrero)” in La revolución en las regiones, 1, pp. 159–73; “Periodo 1910–1920” in Adame, Jaime Salazar, et al, Historia de la Cuestión Agraria Mexicana Estado de Guerrero, p. 83 ff.; and La revolución Zapatista de Guerrero (México, D.F.: Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, 1990).
42 Barroso, López, Diccionario, p. 23 ff.; Victoria, López, Historia de la Revolución, pp. 35 ff. On p. 43 López Victoria identifies Centurión as a sculptor but later on p. 56 he is elevated to architect. According to Leonardo Pasquel, Centurión had received a scholarship to study art in Europe from Governor Teodoro Dehesa of Veracruz, Rivera, Diego had also been a student in this group, see La Revolución en el Estado de Veracruz (México, D.F.: INEHRM, 1971), p. 39.
43 Barroso, López, Diccionario, p. 24; Victoria, López, Historia de la Revolución, p. 43; Ravelo, , “Revolución campesina,” p. 160 and La revolución Zapatista, pp. 49–53. Atristáin also affirmed Maderista propagandists were already working in towns of Jamiltepec before the events of May 1911, Notas, pp. 17–18. Damián Flores in Guerrero reported to Porfirio Díaz rumors of seditious movements in Ometepec and Pinotepa as early as 4 March. Díaz alerted Governor Pimentel in Oaxaca who communicated with the Valle family in Pinotepa. They responded that they had no knowledge of any such problems. Colección Porfirio Díaz [hereafter CPD], Leg. 70, C. 11, Doc. 00511 ff. I appreciate the permission to use and cite this archive held by the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City. Basilio Rojas commented on the presence of Enrique Aflorve in Puebla at the end of 1910 in his daily summaries of the news of the major newspaper of the city of Oaxaca, , El Avance in Efemérides oaxaqueñas, 1911 (México, D.F.: 1962), pp. 52–53.
44 Rojas, , Efemérides, p. 38. Vital to the success of the occupation of Ometepec was the participation of a young woman, Librada Merlin, see Barroso, López, Diccionario, pp. 24–26; Victoria, López, Historia de la Revolución, pp. 57 ff.; Ravelo, , “Revolución campesina,” p. 186 and La revolución Zapatista, pp. 60 and 65; CPD, Telegramas L. 70, C. 19, Doc. 009205.
45 Victoria, López, Historia de la Revolución, pp. 57 ff.; see Ravelo, , La revolución Zapatista, pp. 53 ff. on the history of the privatization of these lands in Guerrero.
46 Barroso, López, Diccionario, pp. 26–27; Victoria, López, Historia de la Revolución, pp. 62 and 81–2.
47 Victoria, López, Historia de la Revolución, pp. 100 ff.; Ravelo, , La revolución Zapatista, pp. 64 ff.
48 Añorve was later reduced to leading a force of 200 men and by November 1911, divested of his command. Embittered, he died the following month in Puebla, see Barroso, López, Diccionario, pp. 14, 27–30 and 268; Victoria, López, Historia de la Revolución, pp. 114 ff.; Ravelo, , La revolución Zapatista, pp. 159 ff.
49 Most significant of the pro-indigenous primary sources are their protests to the governor of Oaxaca, Benito Juárez Maza, located in AGEO, Sec. de Gobierno, Mayo, 1911–12, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec. There are also a few secondary sources favorable to the Mixtees. Gutierre Tibón’s journalistic narrative, Pinotepa Nacional, reproduces his interviews with indigenous survivors or their children and with descendants of the ranchers. Renato Ravelo Lecuona, professor at the University of Guerrero, is a major source for the revolution on the Costa Chica of Guerrero. He sees the Revolution as a class war between peasants and hacendados, with ethnicity simply reinforcing class differences, see “Revolución campesina zapatista;” “Período 1910–1920,” pp. 83 ff.; and La revolución zapatista. While Ravelo has done extensive archival work on the revolution on the Costa Chica, he also leans heavily on two sources favorable to the rancher version of the revolution: López Barroso, Diccionario and López Victoria, Historia de la Revolución.
50 CPD, Tel. L. 70, C. 19, Doc. 009212; Archivo de la Secretaría de Defensa Nacional [ASDN hereafter] Exp. XI/481.5/206 C. 108, Does. 356–357 and 364.
51 There is no information on its activities after this. ASDN, Esp. XI/481.5/206 C. 108, Doc. 365; CPD, Tel. L. 70, C. 19, Docs, 009424–0099425; Rojas, Efemérides, p. 40 on the arrival of the gunboat.
52 Centurión had campaigned for Madero with Enrique Añorve in Guerrero in 1910, having been recommended to him by the Serdán brothers of Puebla. He returned to this region from Mexico City, directly after the assassination of the Serdán family, Ravelo, , “Revolución campesina,” 165 and La revolución Zapatista, p. 44 ; AGEO, Junio 1911, Sec. de Gobierno, Correspondencia; Barroso, López, Diccionario, p. 25.
53 In August 1983,1 coordinated the organization and classification of the municipal records of Pinotepa Nacional which, except for a handful of documents, dates from 1917. Local officials believed that the archive had been torched during the Revolution as is shown here.
54 AGEO, Junio 1911, Sec. de Gobierno, Correspondencia. Thdis type of declaration lead to much confusion during the Revolution. Article 3 of the Plan of San Luis stated that lands, which had been illegally obtained, would be subject to revision, and possibly returned with indemnization. But many peasants believed or were led to believe that it would abolish the effects of the Ley Lerdo of 1856, which led to the alienation of most communal lands. What would determine the return of lands was whether the stipulated legal procedures had been respected when the lands were adjudicated. Frequently they had not been, and numerous villages were illegally dispossessed of their lands. See Ravelo, , La Revolución Zapatista, p. 53.
55 The jefe político and the First District Judge were permitted to leave the region peacefully, AGEO, Junio 1911, Sec. de Gobierno, Correspondencia; AGEO, 1911, Sec. de Gobierno, Memoria, Varios Districtos; CPD, Telegramas. L. 70, C. 23, Doc. 011346. Basilio Rojas relates a much more violent occupation of Jamiltepec, , Efemérides, p. 45; Esteva, , Nociones, p. 196. Major Cruz did not remain in Jamiltepec. By mid-May, he had moved on to Putla and later united his forces with those under the command of General Gabriel A. Solís, which jointly marched on the capital city of Oaxaca. So Cruz was out of the region when the violence in Pinotepa occurred.
56 AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec. The lands in dispute evidently comprised part of the ancient communal lands of the Mixtees of the pueblos of Pinotepa, Ixcapa, Tlacamama, and Jicaltepec and were under the control of the Cacica Margarita Rodriguez, who possibly adjudicated them as her own property through the Ley Lerdo. She might have left them to the indigenous peasants if, indeed, they had formed part of the original lands of the community and were vital to their livelihood. In the same file, Iglesias says she actually left them to the town of Pinotepa not to the Indians and as per the Lerdo Law they were legally privatized. No information on this cacica has been found but considering that Pedro Rodriguez bears her surname and is considered cacique of Pinotepa, he may have been either her son or descendant, although surprisingly there is no reference to this. His violent opposition to the Mixtees recovering their lands seems to support this case.
57 In subsequent documents in the same file the Mixtees provided more information about their working conditions. They protested that whereas historically they could take salt at no cost from the mines belonging to the town, they now had to pay a fee of three pesos. Where before they could freely let their livestock graze on the town’s common pastures, they were now charged 50 centavos yearly a head. They also complained that the ranchers would let their cattle graze freely, often causing destruction of the tenant farmers’ crops, AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec; Tibón, , Pinotepa, pp. 26–28.
58 AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec. The Mixtees thought that Rodríguez was still municipal president, since he had recently held that office; nevertheless as cacique and regidor (official) he still wielded considerable power. Centurión never did return to Pinotepa, Añorve sent him to take part in the siege of Acapulco, Atristáin, Notas, p. 19.
59 Mexican National Archives [AGN hereafter] Fondo Alfredo Robles Domínguez [hereafter, FARD], Vol. VI, Exp. 27, Fojas 58–60; Atristáin, Notas, p. 19. According to Pérez the real instigator was Everardo Rivero, “Apuntes,” p. 6.
60 AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Jamiltepec, Abuso de Autoridad; Barroso, López, Diccionario, pp. 214–15. The name of this rancher from Tlacamama and defender of the Mixtees is ironic: composed of Columbus’ first name along with the surname of the conqueror of Mexico, Hernán Cortés, two men responsible for initiation of the exploitation of the indigenous peoples. Cristobal Cortés was not a poor man, but a member of the rancher class as seen above. In fact, his name appeared on a 1909 list of “principal ranchers” of the district, AGEO, Reparto Agrario, Grupo II, Caja 1,1909, Ganaderos. He may well be the same Cristóbal Cortés who was accused of being an instigator of the 1896 “War of the Pants” in Juquila who escaped before the military repression, see Rojas, , Epístolas, pp. 168–74 and Pacheco, “Graves disturbios.”
61 Filemón Nolazco, one of the indigenous leaders of Igualapa who had taken part in the recuperation of land titles, accompanied Cortés to Pinotepa to free Domingo Ortiz. Both he and Everardo Rodríguez were later killed in a shootout in Igualapa on 24 May, see Barroso, López, Diccionario, pp. 213–15. Compadrazgo is the relationship that is established between adults when one is godparent to the other’s child; they refer to each other as compadres.
62 AGEO, May, 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Jamiltepec. Pérez wrote that Melo had accompanied Cortés and was present at the shooting; and that thanks to Melo, who took charge of Cortés’ burial, Pinotepa did not suffer a worse fate, “Apuntes,” 6. Sra. Carmen López Martínez’s first recollection of the revolution was the murder of “Don Pedro” and Jesús Carmona over the question of land. Sra. López sold chile and tortillas in the market at that time. Interview, Pinotepa Nacional, 22 August 1983.
63 The males of the Baños clan who went to Ometepec numbered about 20–25, AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec.
64 Ibid. Detailed information on the whereabouts of the Baños can be found in Atristáin, Notas, pp. 21–22 and Pérez, , “Apuntes,” p. 19. Now that Rodríguez was dead, this commission became the origin of the cacicazgo later established by Juan José Baños.
65 The following narrative is constructed mainly from Tibón’s interviews with his informants in Pinotepa; Pérez, “Apuntes”; and Atristáin, Notas. Despite the understandable silence of the Mixtees on this vital factor, sources sympathetic to both sides attest to the attempt to recreate the Mixtee empire. Unfortunately no further information has been found on this fascinating chapter of the Mexican Revolution.
66 See Spores, Ronald, The Mixtee Kings and their People (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967) on Mixtee cacicazgos, pp. 110 ff., on the frequency and importance of female cacicas, pp. 134 ff. and The Mixtees in Ancient and Colonial Times, pp. 65–66 and 112; Atristáin, Notas, p. 22; Pérez, , “Apuntes,” p. 19. See Tibón, for Zárate’s description of these events, Pinotepa, pp. 26–30.
67 Tibón, , Pinotepa, pp. 30–31; Atristáin, , Notas, p. 22; Pérez, , “Apuntes,” p. 19.
68 This version assumes that Baños returned on 29 May 1911, Tibón, , Pinotepa, pp. 30–31. Atristáin wrote that Baños was away for about a week, Notas, pp. 21–23. Ravelo stated that Baños, returned on 25 May, La revolución Zapatista, p. 71.
69 AGEO, Mayo 1911–1912, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec.
70 According to the Mixtees, the only thing that Juan José Baños did, after he returned to Pinotepa Nacional, was to go around settling old scores with his personal enemies: “Eberardo Rivero was assassinated with no crime committed and no due process,” AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec. Pérez affirmed that Añorve ordered Baños to execute Rivero, , “Apuntes,” pp. 19–20 as did Atristáin, , Notas, p. 25.
71 See the Zárate account of popular memory of María Benita Mejía in Tibón, , Pinotepa, pp. 26–31.
72 The rancher’s voices can be heard in the reports of jefe político Iglesias and municipal president Amaya to the state government in the AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec and especially in the ranchers’ complaints to Añorve and the Maderista authorities in AGN, FARD, Vol. VI, Exp. 27, Fojas 58–80. As is the custom the victors, two witnesses also composed their written accounts for posterity. Darío Atristáin penned the official history in his Notas de un ranchero and Juan Evencio Pérez Aguirre, son of the rancher/merchant María Aguirre, published a series of magazine articles in the 1930s on the revolution on the Costa Chica, “Apuntes.”
73 AGN, FARD, Vol. VI, Exp. 27, Fojas 58–80. Tibón interviewed Arturo Rodríguez, son of Pedro, in, Pinotepa, pp. 14–15. Atristáin does not repeat the pillage permission story but says that the “ferocious” Cortés threatened Rodríguez that they would liberate Ortiz, any way they could, Notas, pp. 19–21 ; Pérez wrote that 200 Indians asked for two hours to sack and pillage the stores of Pinotepa, , “Apuntes,” p. 6; see Rodriguez, ’ widow’s report in AGN, FARD, Vol. 6, Exp. 27, Fojas 58–80.
74 Atristáin, , Notas, pp. 20–21.
75 AGN, FARD, Vol. VI, Exp. 27, Fojas 58–80.
76 Other itemizations can also be found in Ibid.
78 Ibid.; Atristáin, , Notas, pp. 21–22. The general pillage and sacking of Pinotepa expected by the gente de razón never did take place. Those who fled, quickly returned. The formal complaints made at the beginning of June mentioned: forced entry, threats, ill-treatment, dispossession of land titles, appropriation of arms and munitions, theft of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, but no rapes or other murders.
79 In a series of documents, the indigenous peasants narrated their story months after these events because they were still the object of constant ill treatment by landowners and had yet to receive any lands. The original of the complaint was relayed by the government official, Miguel de la Llave, a progressive liberal, to the jefe político with orders to investigate the case. The indigenous peasants were informed of this procedure on 16 October 1911. The jefe político was none other than the Porfirian politician, Manuel Iglesias, who produced only negative reports on the Mixtees, supplied by the municipal president of Pinotepa, see AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec.
80 Ibid.; see Joseph, , “On the Trail,” p. 22. It has not been possible to verify if Marcelino Ortiz was related to Domingo or not.
81 AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec.
82 See Chassen, Francie R. “Los precursores de la revolución en Oaxaca” in Vázquez, Martínez, et al, La Revolución en Oaxaca, pp. 35–90.
83 AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec.
84 The outcome of the murder case is unknown. Ibid.
85 See Medina, Martínez “Génesis,” pp. 88–158.
86 Atristáin, , Notas, p. 12. See Ruiz Cervantes, Francisco José “El movimiento de la Soberanía en Oaxaca (1915–1920)” in Vázquez, Martínez, et al, La Revolución, pp. 225–308 and La Revolución en Oaxaca; and Paul Garner, La Revolución en provincia.
87 AGEO, Mayo 1911–12, Sec. de Gobierno, Abuso de Autoridad, Jamiltepec.
88 Both Sebastián Ortiz and Che Gómez were far stronger supporters of social justice than the ranchers of Pinotepa, see de la Cruz, Víctor “La rebelión de los juchitecos y uno de sus líderes: Che Gómez” in Histórias 17 (1987), 57–71 and Martínez Medina, “Genesis”; Martínez Medina, Héctor Gerardo “La gestión de don Benito Juárez Maza: la rebelión chegomista y otros conflictos políticos-militares, septiembre a diciembre de 1911” in Memoria del Congreso Internacional sobre la Revolución Mexicana (México, D.F.: Gobierno del Estado de San Luis Potosí, Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana, 1991), pp. 261–298. Knight, Alan characterizes serrano rebellions as localist “movements deriving ultimately from resistance to centralizing pressure” of Porfirian politics and not “from a fundamental agrarian polarization,” The Mexican Revolution (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), pp. 306 ff. Knight briefly mentions Pinotepa on pp. 222–23.
89 Stephen, , “The Creation and Re-creation of Ethnicity,” p. 34.
90 Pastor, , Campesinos, pp. 447–453.
91 Pessar, Patricia “Unmasking the Politics of Religion: The Case of Brazilian Millenarianism,” Journal of Latin American Lore 7:2 (1981), 272–7. In his study of the 1891 Tomochic movement in Mexico, Paul Vanderwood also calls on us to listen to the people of Tomochic, placing their “actions within the context of their own reality as they must have envisioned it,” “None but the Justice of God: Tomochic, 1891–92” in Jaime, Rodríguez O., ed., Patterns of Contention in Mexican History (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1992), pp. 236–7.
92 See Spores, , The Mixtee Kings, pp. 67–68, and Marcus, Joyce and Flannery, Kent V. “An Introduction to the Late Postclassic” in Marcus, and Flannery, , eds., The Cloud People Divergent Evolution of the Zapotee and Mixtee Civilizations (New York: Academic Press, 1983), p. 218. Likewise, studies on eighteenth-century rebellions in the Andean world demonstrate that indigenous peoples attached their hopes for political or economic change to “an idealized pre-Hispanic past,” see Serulnikov, Sergio “Disputed Images of Colonialism: Spanish Rule and Indian Subversion in Northern Potosi, 1777–1780” Hispanic American Historical Review 75:2 (1996), 193; also various articles in Stern, Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness.
93 Victoria Reifler Bricker, however, points out there were no more Kings, Mayan after Independence, The Indian Christ, the Indian King (Austin: University of Texas, 1981), pp. 163 ff.
94 Warren, , “Transforming Memories,” pp. 201–05; Pessar, , “Unmasking the Politics of Religion,” p. 273. I appreciate Steve Stern’s suggestions on this point. Although the Mixtee leader Domingo Ortiz played a fundamental role in the decision to revive the pre-Columbian empire, information on him is very limited and everything available is included here.
95 See Ruiz Cervantes, La Revolución en Oaxaca; Garner, La Revolución en provincia; and Cruz, Leovigildo Vásquez, La Soberanía de Oaxaca en la Revolución (México, D.F.: 1959).
* I would like to thank Steve Stern, Héctor Martínez, William Beezley, Howard Campbell, Peter Henderson, Gilbert Joseph, Patricia Pessar, and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and comments. This article is dedicated to the memory of Mexican regional historian Ricardo Rendón Garcini. I found the 1911 indigenous protests to the state government in 1982 in the Oaxacan State Archives [AGEO hereafter] and included a section on it in my dissertation, Francie R. Chassen, Oaxaca: del porfiriato a la Revolutión, 1902-1911 (Ph.D. Dissertation, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1986), pp. 418-22. In 1992, I presented a preliminary paper with Héctor Martínez at the Rocky Mountain Council on Latin American Studies in El Paso, Texas, later published as “El retorno al milenio mixteco: indígenas agraristas vs. rancheros revolucionarios en la Costa Chica de Oaxaca, Mayo de 1911” Cuadernos del Sur no. 5 (1993). The present article introduces new research and a new conceptulization.
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