We all, at some time, wonder what life was like two or three hundred years ago. Here, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, these musings conjure up images of life on a Mexican hacienda.
This week, as guests of the owners, we visited Ex-Hacienda Petaca with a history that dates back to a land grant given to Don Diego de Peguero in 1566. Fast forwarding through the centuries, the hacienda was sold in 1750 to the Lanzagorta family. A son, Juan Jose Maria Francisco de Lanzagorta, figured heroically in the War of Independence from Spain. The hacienda has changed ownership only four or five times allowing much from past centuries to be preserved.
Ex-Hacienda Petaca is located on the banks of the Laja with panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside, well cared for old hacienda buildings and capillas, stables with an arena, thermal springs and old growth mesquite groves. For a visual tour of this beautiful old hacienda check out this video: https://www.facebook.com/Hacienda-La-Petaca-627016954128952/
With four sweet dogs for company, we painted the restored Capilla San Antonio de Padua which has a date of 1760 written on the interior mural. My painting of this capilla didn’t turn out (some days that happens). The nave, not including two small side rooms, measures 27 ´x 45’ and the atrium or courtyard which wraps partially around the nave 54.5´ x 81´.
Later from a photo, I painted this colorful capilla that is part of the hacienda building complex.
I am reading The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea, a mystical novel about the gritty and tragic life of a Mexican child born in the last quarter of the 19th century on a hacienda in Sinaloa. Vivid images from this novel are now scrambled in my head with images of hacienda life that seem a little more like Ballet Folklorico….and now Ex-Hacienda Petaca has been added to the mix.
The end for many haciendas started with the Mexican Constitution of 1917 that included land reform Article 27. As the twentieth century wore on, land was taken from the haciendas and became ejido land (communal lands). Between 1924 and 1984 when land reform was most active, the government expropriated and redistributed more than 77 million hectares of hacienda land, amounting to more than one-third of the national territory.
Hacienda La Petaca (currently about 57 acres) was part of this land redistribution. The following blog posts are about communities along the Laja which we have visited that were once part of Hacienda La Petaca: Los Guerrero, La Cuadrilla, El Salto, Capilla Blanca and Montecillo de Milpa.
© 2016 Lorie Topinka All Rights Reserved