On October 8th, the Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo (Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo) celebrated 39 years in existence.  To commemorate the event, Profesor Velio Vivas, the oficial historian of Cozumel, has written a short summary of our state’s history

Although its history goes back almost two thousand years, the administrative division known today as Quintana Roo has been acknowledged as such only a little over a century, and not just as part of another political division.

As a matter of fact, during pre-Hispanic times our State was formed by four chieftainships: Ecab, Uaymil, Cochuá y Chactemal, from the north to the south, all of these part of the Mayan world.

During the Spanish colony (1521-1821) the area was incorporated into the Captaincy General of Yucatan; a situation that prevailed when the Independence was consummated.

The changes began on 1847 when Maya farmers, weary of centuries of exploitation, rose in arms in what has been called as the War of Castes.

For over 50 years they lived beyond the control of the Mexican government, fighting against it with the support of the authorities of the English colony of Belize. Only the recently repopulated Cozumel, Isla Mujeres and Contoy remained under Yucatecan control.

By November 24, 1901, the federal government had created the Federal Territory segregating the eastern coast of the peninsula and the islands from Yucatan with rulers arriving from the central parts of the county; and until October 8, 1974 the Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo was created.

Thus the history yet to be written of a political autonomy that this week turns just 39 years was achieved. Back then there were only 100,000 inhabitants, and now we exceed a million. Then, there were 7 municipalities, and now we are 10. How far will we go? It’s entirely up to us.

Professor Velio Vivas Valdes, the official “cronista,” or historian of the island, most notably, his publication entitled “Forjadores,” (Founders) which chronicles much of the early history of the island.  Additionally, he has written a book, which is also available on-line regarding Hurricane Wilma and Cozumel.  A Cozumel island resident since his birth here in 1943, Professor Vivas V. has published much of his writing and Cozumel’s history in his official webpage.

This story originally appeared in the weekly Cozumel 4 You NEWS – the island’s number one source of positive information about our island!  Be sure and subscribe to the weekly NEWS to find out all the island events!…

Laura Wilkinson
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