Chimay

State: Yucatan

Type of Hacienda: Sisal

Service: Special events, weddings

Location: This is to the south of Merida, seven kilometers from the ring road, at the end of South 42nd street. At the time, it was situated on the old “royal road” to Campeche.

History:San Pedro Chimay was at first a cattle ranch which, following the economic evolution of the State, became a sisal hacienda in the mid-19th century. It is believed to be one of the oldest haciendas in the Merida area, and was founded by the Conquistadores, which would date it to the late 16th or early 17th centuries. The first references to it are from the 18th century, when the Lara family were owners of the property. This family was descended from the Lara Bonifaz family, whose lineage, it is said, went back to the famous seven Lara children, from Spain. It is known that in 1852 Juan Miguel Castro, founder of the port of Progres, undertook the reconstruction of San Pedro Chimay in honor of his wife María de Jesús Lara. Thus we read on a marble plaque placed at the front of the building: “San Pedro Chimay. Dedicated to María de Jesús Lara, by her husband Juan Miguel Castro. Re-built in the year 1852”. The hacienda was looking its best in December 1865 to receive one of the most web-known (and polemical) figures of the history of independent Mexico: the Empress Carlota, wife of the Emperor Maximilian, who spent the night in the hacienda en route back to Campeche after visiting Merida. While she was there, she received a small homage from her hosts, the Castro Lara family, during which the youngest of their children dedicated a poem to the Carlota. The Empress, grateful at the reception she had received, placed the first stone of the altar in the chapel which is to this day known as “The Cave”, located 400 meters east of the mansion, and built in memory of this historic and noble visit. Regarding production capacity, it is said that San Pedro Chimay was one of the most productive of its time, which meant that its infrastructure needed expanding. There is no historical information on whether it ever produced much more fiber than surrounding haciendas, but on the other hand we can see it had two furnaces, unlike most haciendas, which only had one. This suggests the great amount of work that might be represented by having both functioning. Through the marriages of descendants, after belonging to the Castro Lara family, the hacienda became the property of the Cervera family, inherited by Margarita Cervera Solís when she was widowed by one of the descendants named Castro Rocher. Today it belongs to Mr. José Eduardo Seijo Gutiérrez, who acquired it in 1982 from ten financial institutions that had placed an embargo on it.