The Multi-Millionaires of Merida, Yucatan

Here are some additional beautiful photos from Stephen Dennstedt as he travels in Merida.

Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge

Stephen F. Dennstedt

It is reported that at its height (1898 to around 1911) the reign of the Yucatan henequen industry created more millionaires in Yucatan than anywhere else in the world (upon reflection, however, I think this statistic refers to millionaires per capita and not total millionaires). So what is henequen? Henequen is a plant in the agave family that produces a strong fibre that can be turned into hemp and sisal for producing manila rope, twine, string and other natural fibre bindings.

During the Spanish-American War of 1898 the import of raw sisal from the Philippines to the United States was severely restricted, so Yucatan became the de facto go-to source for this natural fibre product used the world over. Within just a few years Yucatan became the wealthiest state in Mexico and again boasted the most millionaires per capita of anywhere in the entire world. The remnants…

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