in Southeastern Mexico
with Benjamin N. Colby
Although Spanish colonization of the highlands of Chiapas dates from the early sixteenth century, the region still constitutes one of the major Indian enclaves in Mexico. The state of Chiapas in southeastern Mexico is located southwest of the Yucatan Peninsula and west of Guatemala. The town of San Cristobal de Las Casas, founded in 1528, is the major center of Spanish culture in the highlands of the state. Located at 7,000 feet of elevation along the Pan-American Highway, San Cristobal had a population of 17,473 at the time of the 1950 census. 1 The climate is tropical as far as the alternation of rainy and dry seasons is concerned, but quite cool due to the elevation.
Town dwellers are almost all hispanicized to the extent of speaking only Spanish and dressing much as in the rest of Mexico. The inhabitants of San Cristobal call themselves Ladinos. 2 Genetically they range from pure or almost pure Spanish stock to pure American Indian stock. While the upper class (called clase alta, gente bien, la crema, or los blancos) is mostly white, the middle____________________