The Ciénega de Chapala region lies to the south of the great lake of Chapala on the north-west corner of Michoacán state, the capital city of which is Morelia, on the border with the state of Jalisco, whose capital city is Guadalajara. The two local towns in the Ciénega are Jiquilpan and Sahuayo.
In the past, the Ciénega de Chapala was a sugar cane growing area, although its mill, which was turned into a peasant cooperative by the radical government of President Lázaro Cárdenas in 1936, closed in 1944, and all remaining comercial sugar cultivation in the region ceased. Los Reyes, to the south, on the border with the Hot Country of the Southern part of the state, remains a cane growing region, with two sugar mills, Santa Clara and San Sebastian, which were transferred from state to private ownership in 1990 by the neoliberal government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari. For the discussion of Los Reyes, I gratefully acknowledge the fieldwork of Kathy Powell, who wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the political culture of the cane growers of the region, and also took some of the still photographs that I have used in this section. Any errors of fact and interpretation are, however, my responsibility.
The state of Michoacán, Western Mexico
Authored by John Gledhill. For Manchester University Social Anthropology Department and the ERA consortium.
Last Revised: 29 March, 1998 .