12 de Diciembre de 2018
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La Educación
Número: (122) III
Año: 1995

Time of Macehual Regional Autonomy (1847-1901)

The Maya arrived in the eastern rain forest of the Yucatan Peninsula in small fugitive bands where they were later joined by African slaves and Chinese indentured servants who had fled the plantations of British Honduras (present-day Belize). These three groups of people intermarried and formed the Macehual. For a half century, from 1847 to 1901, the Macehualoob were able to fend off all Mexican invasions. Macehual oral histories of this period concur with the textbook that Macehual power was different from Dzul power, but whereas the textbook identifies this rule as uncivilized, idolatrous, and primitive, women, along with men, characterize it as righteous and morally exemplary. It did not use and rob the Macehualoob, it did not deaden the Macehual spirit. Even though its punishment was “harsh,” it was based on the principle of “punishment with culpability,” and on advancing the well-being of the Macehualoob. The colonial and imperial character of Britain’s past is woven into the contours of men’s and women’s histories of this period. For men, the Macehual relationship with the British has been passed on through stories of the long walks their forefathers undertook to Belize to get weapons. Women, on the other hand, memorialize this relationship through the food that their mothers prepared for these walks, and through the fugitives from the British plantations of Asian and African descent with whom they intermarried and bore children.