The Making of a Market: Credit, Henequen, and Notaries in Yucatán, 1850–1900

Paperback | April 30, 2012

byJuliette Levy

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During the nineteenth century, Yucatán moved effectively from its colonial past into modernity, transforming from a cattle-ranching and subsistence-farming economy to a booming export-oriented agricultural economy. Yucatán and its economy grew in response to increasing demand from the United States for henequen, the local cordage fiber. This henequen boom has often been seen as another regional and historical example of overdependence on foreign markets and extortionary local elites. In The Making of a Market, Juliette Levy argues instead that local social and economic dynamics are the root of the region’s development. She shows how credit markets contributed to the boom before banks (and bank crises) existed and how people borrowed before the creation of institutions designed specifically to lend. As the intermediaries in this lending process, notaries became unwitting catalysts of Yucatán’s capitalist transformation. By focusing attention on the notaries’ role in structuring the mortgage market rather than on formal institutions such as banks, this study challenges the easy compartmentalization of local and global relationships and of economic and social relationships.

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During the nineteenth century, Yucatán moved effectively from its colonial past into modernity, transforming from a cattle-ranching and subsistence-farming economy to a booming export-oriented agricultural economy. Yucatán and its economy grew in response to increasing demand from the United States for henequen, the local cordage fiber...

Juliette Levy is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:176 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.41 inPublished:April 30, 2012Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271052147

ISBN - 13:9780271052144

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Acknowledgments

1 Introduction

2 The Local Becomes Global: From Caste War to Henequen Boom

3 Usury, Ethnicity, and the Market: National Laws and Local Effects

4 What Do Notaries Do? The Formal and Informal Roles of Notaries

5 Credit the Wife: Marital Property Regimes and Credit Markets

6 Monopoly, Continuity, and Change: The Case of José Anacleto Patrón Zavalegui

7 Conclusion

Appendix

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Juliette Levy's study of informal credit networks before the rise of formal financial institutions and their role in the development of Yucatán's commercial agriculture makes an important contribution not only to Mexico's economic history but also to the understanding of the role of traditional personal finance in other premodern economies, such as the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. In addition, the book successfully integrates hard economic analysis based on rigorous research in the archives with socio-legal history, highlighting the role of women and notaries in a web of interpersonal financial transactions. As such, this book makes a unique contribution to economic and social history on a global scale.”—Fariba Zarinebaf, University of California, Riverside, author of Crime and Punishment in Istanbul, 1700–1800