The state of Yucatan was once famous for its sisal plantations, which were the main income of the elite class of the region. While living in fabulous mansions in the capital, Merida, the rich sisal plantation owners also had beautiful haciendas out in the countryside. Like the southern plantations of the U.S., the success of the haciendas were built on the expanses of one’s freedom, the Maya, while only a small class was benefited, the landowners. Most of the Maya didn’t speak spanish, and like the slaves of the south of America were paid with money only valid on their “owners” own property; thus, they were tied to the property and couldn’t spend their money elsewhere.
The sisal went through a process where its fiber was isolated, once dry, the fiber was braided into ropes used on ships and exported worldwide. Another name for sisal is “henequen”; however, it was also called “green gold” because of the fortune people made with the plantations.
One can visit the remodeled mansions in the city of Merida, take a tour and learn about the history of Yucatan’s elite class; additionally, a few of the haciendas have become rural hotels/spas where people can go relax and see the beautiful countryside.