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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

20 - Caste War Casualties

from Part VI - Intricacies of Caste War Violence


The Caste War stands out from the numerous other rebellions and civil wars in Mexico in the nineteenth century due to its duration, its magnitude and its consequences. While war-related casualties added up to hundreds or even several thousands in most other conflicts, they probably amounted to tens of thousands in the Caste War. Apart from the Yaqui rebellions, the Caste War was the only rural uprising that led to the establishment of independent rebel polities lasting more than a few months or years. Leaving these particularities aside for the moment, it is evident that many features of the Caste War were far from unique but mirrored widespread patterns of violence, politics and state-building in Latin America.Political instability, gross inequality, a lingering racist ideology and rivalry for power, not least to access revenues in the context of an economy slow to recover, shaped the background against which the Caste War and other revolts and civil strifes evolved. Given the weakness of formal institutions, caudillism became the dominant pattern of politics and rule for decades after Independence, not only among Yucatecan factions and kruso’b but all over Mexico and beyond.