Mahahual & Costa Maya


History of Quintana Roo

One may assume that the south of Quintana Roo is where miscegenation began and gave forth the traits that distinguish our country, it must be one of the most well known parts of Mexico. However it has been an unexplored frontier for many centuries and even now brings forth great surprises and hidden treasures.

What is now known as the municipal area of Othon P. Blanco and corresponds to the south part of the state was a largely ignored territory. It wasn’t until mid XVIII century, when the Spanish crown finally decided to defend it from English piracy  and build an enigmatic fort in San Felipe Bacalar.

The next century, the Mayan rebellion turned the area into a dead spot, and it wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that the president Porfirio Diaz decided to reintegrate it to the new and more civilized Mexico.

In 1893, Mexico and England signed a treaty which established its current borders with Belize.

The lack of knowledge of the area was such that the Mexican negotiators took Cayo Ambergris or San Pedro ( to which Madonna refers to in her song as La Isla Bonita) which was an island located in the peninsulas territory and was given to the English.  Not until later did they see that the canal that separates the peninsula was artificial and a few meters wider.

The 5 of May in 1898, a group of expeditionaries, lead by lieutenant Othon P. Blanco, founded Payo Obispo now known as  Chetumal, a modest settlement that in its first months of life functioned as a war room against the Mayan Indians. In 1901 the small populace was turned into the capital of the recently created territory of Quintana Roo however this new range never made it less accessible. During decades, the best way to arrive was via boat and later on, airplane.

Up until the seventies of the twentieth century, with the establishment of the state of Quintana Roo and the touristic development in north part of the entity, the big roads arrived.

The economic peak of the second half of the century was unable to remove its characterization as a “new land”. There are still constant discoveries of large archeological zones such as Chac-Choben and Kohunlich which were opened to the public recently in the last decade of the twentieth century, and archeologists admit that the greatest, Ichabal, a bare 20 kilometers to the west of Bacalar, can only be opened during the second decade of the twentieth century.