Chapter

Debt peonage and regional export development: Pichucalco, Chilón, Palenque and Soconusco, 1876–1914

Sarah Washbrook

in Producing Modernity in Mexico

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780197264973
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754128 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264973.003.0009

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Debt peonage and regional export development: Pichucalco, Chilón, Palenque and Soconusco, 1876–1914

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This chapter examines the relationship between debt peonage and regional export development between 1876 and 1914 in four departments of Chiapas: Pichucalco, Chilón, and Palenque in the north of the state and Soconusco on the Pacific coast. All of these departments underwent considerable commercial development during the Porfiriato based on the production of tropical agricultural commodities such as coffee, cacao, rubber, and hard woods, and Soconusco, Palenque, and Chilón were recipients of significant foreign capital. However, the impact of market development on labour relations was not uniform: whereas in Soconusco plantation agriculture tended to undermine labour coercion, in the other departments these years saw the intensification and spread of servile peonage. The chapter shows that such changes were principally the product of regional market conditions and the capacity of the state to intervene in the process of labour contracting.

Keywords: market development; labour relations; plantation agriculture; labour coercion; servile peonage; labour contracting; state

Chapter.  23090 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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