In these vast estates, the indebted rural population work the plantations, orchards, and ranches for the Mexican landowners.
The term hacienda refers to a large estate dedicated to agricultural production (wine, oil, cereals, henequen, sugar, etc.) or livestock based on an independent farm system. The first haciendas appeared in Mexico at the beginning of the 16th century during Spanish colonization. Common in the territory and designed as veritable fortresses, they reflected the agricultural policy of the colonists. Considered the supreme instrument of Spanish domination, the hacienda system was finally abolished with the Mexican constitution of 1917. At the heart of these estates were large buildings that could house up to 2500 inhabitants. The house of the hacendado (the wealthy estate owner) was surrounded by a number of outbuildings: houses for employees and managers, slave lodgings, barns, stables, wells, schools, workshops, prisons, chapels, and sometimes even churches, all forming a veritable microsociety.