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Producing Modernity in MexicoLabour, Race, and the State in Chiapas, 1876-1914$
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Sarah Washbrook

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264973

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264973.001.0001

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Debt peonage and regional export development: Pichucalco, Chilón, Palenque and Soconusco, 1876–1914

Debt peonage and regional export development: Pichucalco, Chilón, Palenque and Soconusco, 1876–1914

Chapter:
(p.288) 8. Debt peonage and regional export development: Pichucalco, Chilón, Palenque and Soconusco, 1876–1914
Source:
Producing Modernity in Mexico
Author(s):

Sarah Washbrook

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264973.003.0009

This chapter examines the relationship between debt peonage and regional export development between 1876 and 1914 in four departments of Chiapas: Pichucalco, Chilón, and Palenque in the north of the state and Soconusco on the Pacific coast. All of these departments underwent considerable commercial development during the Porfiriato based on the production of tropical agricultural commodities such as coffee, cacao, rubber, and hard woods, and Soconusco, Palenque, and Chilón were recipients of significant foreign capital. However, the impact of market development on labour relations was not uniform: whereas in Soconusco plantation agriculture tended to undermine labour coercion, in the other departments these years saw the intensification and spread of servile peonage. The chapter shows that such changes were principally the product of regional market conditions and the capacity of the state to intervene in the process of labour contracting.

Keywords:   market development, labour relations, plantation agriculture, labour coercion, servile peonage, labour contracting, state

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