Cintillo vistas exterior 

Hacienda San Francisco was founded around 1857. The founding of the hacienda was due to the purchase made by Albino Manzanilla Cámara of and old orchard, which according to local tradition, belonged to the Franciscan monks of Santa Clara convent in Dzidzantún. Continuous purchases of land over the years made it grow as big as 23,700 acres, that extended along what we now refer to as the municipalities of Dzidzantún, Dzilam and Temax.

Plano hacienda

Terrenos de San Francisco Manzanilla y sus anexas, con más de 9600 has, hacia 1930.

As a liberal, progressive and illustrator, Albino Manzanilla Cámara, provided the hacienda with an electric plant, phone service, school, ball room, chapel, tortilleria, a tienda de raya (where basic goods of daily consumption for the peons were sold which could only be bought using the money acquired trough labor in the hacienda, money that could only be spent inside the hacienda). By 1904 a hospital of sober neoclassical style had been added, which consisted of an administration department, four pavilions, and operation room and a physician’s house.

Pabellones y quirófano

Pabellones y quirófano

During its best years, Don Albino had a whole township to house the hacienda’s 2000 plus workers. The township was built in a reticulate shape with octagonal corners and a public well in each crossroad. The township was divided in neighborhoods, within them, qualified, semi-qualified workers inhabited, which were made out of Maya, Yaquis, half-breeds and Korean workers.


Dedicated primordially to the exploitation of henequen, it diversified its activities to the raising of cattle (at a point in time it had eleven cattle ranches), selling grain (corn), fur,  fruits (coconuts and oranges), lumber, coal,  and sea salt. Thanks to the introduction of powerful machinery, henequen production rose in such a way that at a given moment in time the hacienda was considered the most productive hacienda in all of Yucatán, producing over 600 thousand cladodes of henequen a day (Bracamonte, 1990). Therefore, just to name an example, the accounting book of 1993 (few years before being fractioned), states that by that year it was calculated that:

“ … 54,088,530 leafs of henequen would be taken from 2,163,541 henequen plants along an extension of 18,030 lengths of rope, calculating around 120 matas by rope assuming a 25 leafs per mata yearly with a general average of 28 kilograms of henequen fiber per thousand leafs, for all of the beds inside San Francisco’s hacienda. This leafs will produce around 7,767 cladodes of 195 kilograms of tread each, in other words 1,514,565 kilograms of product.”

Visita de autoridades (c1930)

Visita de autoridades (c1930)

However, according to what can be found in the surviving accounting books, by the early XXth century, a great deal of the hacienda’s income came from the selling of salt to Veracruz, México and New Orleans. By then the hacienda had its own pier and ships. An army of workers mostly men, but including women and children, moved every year along the coast to extract salt from the mines the hacienda had along the shore part of its extension. Mina de Oro, the famous salt ranch, which still has ruins that stand along the coast, became year by year in a bustling town during the salt harvest season. In 1937 alone, 3000 thousand tons of salt were estimated to be sold.

Mina de Oro

Bodegas de Mina de oro”; a sus lados se observan los cerros de sal, y al frente las ciénagas de donde se extraía.

The expropriation of land by the Mexican government to endow peasants with land (action which left the hacienda with less than 740 acres), the fractioning derived from family division of the land, and the fall of the henequen business due to the invention of synthetic fibers, caused its imminent ruin. The hacienda ended up being sacked by inhabitants and foreigners. Chicago vanes, Austrian furniture, French floors, Belgian beams, Marseillesque tiles, and English machinery became a simple memory in people’s mind.

Tras la expropiación

 Terrenos de San Francisco Manzanilla (300 has), hacia 1940, tras la expropiación agraria.

After 23 years living in abandonment and ransacking it was purchased by the Ruz Sosa family, who since 1995 have consolidated the architectural structures that still remain afoot, planting over 12 acres of endemic plants and others that fit local climate, rehabilitating the sowing fields so as to recover part of its functionality of old.


© Derechos reservados, 2011. Hotel hacienda San Francisco Tzacalha.