A Cup of Chiapas Culture: In Addition to Its Colorful History and an Abundance of Natural Resources, This Region of Mexico Also Produces a Wide Variety of Eco-Friendly Coffee

By Bianco, Adriana | Americas (English Edition), November-December 2008 | Go to article overview

A Cup of Chiapas Culture: In Addition to Its Colorful History and an Abundance of Natural Resources, This Region of Mexico Also Produces a Wide Variety of Eco-Friendly Coffee


Bianco, Adriana, Americas (English Edition)


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

MEXICAN WRITER ROSARIO CASTELLANOS describes the tropical forest of her native Chiapas as a mysterious paradise. Indeed, as the beautiful landscape of this Mexican "Coffee Route" state unfolds before us, paradise does seem an apt description. Chiapas is a place of green and sun, of rivers and starry skies; it is full of the mystery of nature, living and exuberant.

The Maya once inhabited a large part of the region. They knew about everything from hydraulic systems to the natural wealth of the jungle, and they built some of the area's most beautiful cities: Palenque, Bonampak, Yaxchilan, Izapa, Toning, Chinkultic, Lacaja, and Tenan Puente. When the Mayan civilization "collapsed," the sacred centers were abandoned and their splendor remained hidden in the jungle. Years later, the Spanish met fierce resistance from the indomitable descendents of the early Maya. Legend has it that the indigenous peoples of Chiapas threw themselves into the great river canyon rather than surrender.

The name Chiapas comes from Chiapan, which meals "waters below the mountain." In 1528 the conquistadors used the name "Chiapas" in the founding of two primary cities: Chiapa de los Indios (known today as Chiapa de Corzo) and Chiapa de los Espanoles (now San Cristobal de las Casas). The town of San Marcos de Tuxtla, founded in the late sixteenth century, is now called Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of the state. On September 14, 1824, after the wars of independence, the people of Chiapas announced their freedom from the Spanish crown and formally became a part of Mexico.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Located in southeastern Mexico, Chiapas borders the country of Guatemala and the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Tabasco. It is a region with great geographic diversity. From the air, we can see the ocean, the lovely Pacific coast, mango orchards, and the blue-green mountains of the Sierra Madre. With an area of just over 29,000 square miles, Chiapas is Mexico's eighth largest state. It is also one of the largest producers of coffee, mango, banana, and cacao in the country.

As our plane descends, the imposing Tacana volcano appears. Tacana means "house of fire" in the indigenous language. This lava-capped peak, 13,425 feet high, is the highest point in Chiapas and has recently become a protected area with the status of "biosphere reserve." In accordance with an 1882 treaty, the dividing line between Mexico and Guatemala goes right over the summit of the Tacana volcano.

In the Tapachula airport, a soldier with a ski-mask over his face is a reminder of the days of Subcomandante Marcos, but he is actually a member of the national security force. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) that rose up in Chiapas in the 1990s signed peace accords with the government in 1996, and things have been quiet since then. The music of the marimba, a traditional instrument in the region, takes our minds away from the years of guerrilla war and announces that Tapachula is preparing for its annual festival, complete with parades, music, regional products, bullfights, and delicious food.

The so called "Coffee Route" starts to take shape about an hour from Tapachula on a mountainous road in the Soconusco area. After we have gone up in elevation nearly 5,000 feet, we begin to see coffee fields surrounded and protected by tall trees.

Coffee, originally from southeast Asia and eastern Africa, was taken to Europe and then later to America where it prospered. Chiapas itself has more than 400 coffee farms and communal coffee cooperatives that grow nearly 568,000 acres of coffee, generating thousands of jobs as well as income for the state. In 1846, Jeronimo Manchinelli brought 1,500 coffee seedlings from Guatemala and planted them on his farm, La Chacara. He was followed by another early coffee grower, Carlos Gris, who planted more coffee trees on his farm, Majagual. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Cup of Chiapas Culture: In Addition to Its Colorful History and an Abundance of Natural Resources, This Region of Mexico Also Produces a Wide Variety of Eco-Friendly Coffee
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.