Florentino Chan (18 ?? - 18 ??) was a Mexican Mayan caudillo , who along with Jacinto Pat , José Venancio Pec , Cecilio Chi and Manuel Antonio Ay led the Mayan rebels during the so-called Caste War . At first, Chan was Cecilio Chi's lieutenant and later, with Venancio Pec, he founded an independent Mayan state called the Cruzoob , from the town of Chan Santa Cruz in the eastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula . [ 1 ]
The indigenous Mayans had been religiously, culturally and physically subdued during the 300 years that followed the conquest of Yucatán . In the nineteenth century , after the independence of Yucatan , there was still a tight social control in the Yucatan peninsula of all social groups that were not Spanish or Creole. There were some areas of Yucatán , such as the Valladolid region and in general in the eastern part of the Yucatán peninsula , where social control was expressed with greater severity. [ 2 ]
The Creole population was the one that most favored this structure. The structure that could have been called castes: ( peninsular , creole , mestizo , black , and their various combinations), persisted, and the truth is that in this scheme the indigenous Mayans always occupied the lowest place in the social scale. It was from these realities that one of the fiercest processes of rebellion and revolt that took place in independent Mexico well into the 19th century was incubated and forged : the Caste War . [ 2 ]
The Mayan uprising began on July 30, 1847, after the execution of Manuel Antonio Ay , once a conspiracy against the power and authority instituted in Yucatán in the mid- nineteenth century was discovered, when a letter from Cecilio was found. Chi , in which questions about the strategy of the Mayan struggle that they wanted to undertake against the whites and mestizos who were subjugated were discussed. [ 2 ]
The shooting of Ay was what precipitated the start of hostilities, when the Yucatan government army entered Tepich looking for its accomplices, burning the houses and severely punishing the Mayan population of the town. That was what decided the rebels to enter the warlike action as they had planned. The Mayan leaders met in Columpich on August 7, 1847, summoned by Jacinto Pat, who was also attended by José Venancio Pec , Cecilio Chi , Florentino Chan and Bonifacio Novelo.. From then on, hostilities became general in a war in which the Mayans came to corner the majority white population in the western part of the Yucatan peninsula and in which virtually the only important stronghold that did not fall into their hands was the city of Merida [ 2 ]
When the rebellious Mayans realized that the extermination of the Yucatecan population of European origin could not be carried out, they channeled the idea of establishing an independent and autonomous society by organizing the insurgent peoples of the eastern Yucatan Peninsula . Florentino Chan and Pec captained this independence project from October 1849. The rebel peoples named their "kings and other leaders" according to the old custom, giving themselves an indigenous government and began to form settlements in the rebel territory with capital in the town of Chan Santa Cruz . [ 1 ]
It did not take long for the eastern Mayan state to organize itself. In 1850 the rebellious Mayans occupied various settlements in the eastern jungle that would eventually become their region of refuge for half a century. The rebel José María Barrera , in search of a place to take refuge, found, near a cenote located in an abandoned ranch, a mahogany tree on which a cross that was considered "holy" was engraved. On this site, Barrera made a cross that he placed on a platform and with the help of Manuel Nahuat, who was a ventriloquist, made people believe that the cross communicated with her. With this method he exhorted the rebels to continue their fight against the whites. The indigenous people believed in the power of this talking cross and settled there, founding the town of Chan Santa Cruz . With this, the company called the Cruzoob began . The settlement grew and came to be recognized by the other ranches established by the rebels. [ 1 ]
In this way, the Chan Santa Cruz of Venancio Pec and Florentino Chan, was placed in the center of the alliance of the rebellious Mayas rebellious and from its foundation transformed the caste war of Yucatan into a confrontation of two different groups: the "whites "based in Mérida and the Cruzoob whose capital was Chan Santa Cruz and which spread to the southeast until reaching Bacalar and, in a northwest direction, to the ancient Mayan city of Tulum , on the Caribbean coast . [ 1 ]
The Mayan nation, with its own army and government, founded among others by Chan, existed for more than half a century with its capital in the city of Noj Kaaj Santa Cruz X Baalam Naj or Chan Santa Cruz , today called Felipe Carrillo Puerto , until the year of 1902 when it was reduced by the Mexican army commanded by General Ignacio A. Bravo . [ 1 ]
Cecilio Chi died at the hands of his secretary for a murky affair of infidelity by Chi's wife. Jacinto Pat was assassinated by Venancio Pec accusing him of betraying the rebel movement, after the Tzucacab treaties . The latter died in combat when resisting the forces of the Yucatecan colonel Novelo, in Chan Santa Cruz , at the end of 1852. The fate of Florentino Chan is unknown but it is known that at the culmination of hostilities in 1902, this Mayan leader already had passed away. [ 2 ]
- Campos García, Melchor (1997). Caste War in Yucatan. Its origin, its consequences and its current state, 1866 . Mérida: Autonomous University of Yucatán. p. 55. ISBN 978-968-68-4380-4 . Retrieved June 4, 2012 .
- Lanz, Manuel A. (1905). Campeche history compendium . The Fenix. p. 393 . Retrieved June 4, 2012 .
- The machete and the cross: The peasant uprising in Yucatán. Don E. Dumond Accessed June 4, 2012.