The Modern Maya

The Cruzob - The Rebel Maya

X-Cacal, 1974


The Cruzob (literally "People of the Cross") are descendants of the rebel Maya who, in 1848, almost succeeded in driving everyone else out of the peninsula during the Caste War of Yucatán. The rebel Maya retreated deep into the jungle and set up their own society. They created their own religion featuring a speaking cross that talked to them in Maya and helped direct their war effort. The Caste War was the first native rebellion in the Americas where the natives hadn't lost. It wasn't military might but chewing gum that ended the Caste War. Wrigleys of Chicago sought chicle, the sap of the zapote tree. In 1917 the Cruzob granted concessions for chicle collecting in their jungle. For the first time, instead of killing outsiders, they worked for them as chicleros, making very good incomes. However, the Cruzob never officially surrendered and continue to this day to threaten to rise up again against all outsiders. Of all the Maya in Yucatán, they are the most resistant to change. They continue to practice their modern-day Maya religion, worshipping their crosses at sacred shrine villages. The Cruzob struggle to retain their cultural autonomy. Their world view is characterized by an ethnic identity of "us" versus "them" (anyone else). Each shrine village has its own sphere of influence, with dependant villages that assist in ceremonies, fiestas, and guard duty, and together they make up the remnants of the Maya nation.


Milperos and Maize - The Foundation of a Culture
Chicleros - A Season in the Jungle
The Changing Role of a Maya Woman
Henequen - The Decline of an Industry
Cowboys - Corn to Cattle

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