- Latino Migration Project
Xocen, located in the milpa area of the Mexican State of Yucatán, is situated 12 kilometers southeast of Valladolid and about 200 miles southwest of Cancún. Xocen is a very ancient town. When the Spanish arrived it figured among the 36 towns of the Province of Cupul…
Together with Kanxoc the inhabitants fought hard against the Spanish conquerors such as Montejo and Pedro de Alvarado. People of Xocen talk of this resistance with great pride, and to this day it serves as a focal point of their identity.
In the nineteenth century, Xocen played a key role in the Caste War (1847-1905), both spiritually as well as militarily. The Caste War was not only the largest and most successful of Mexico’s nineteenth-century rural rebellions, but also the conflict was the central event in the Yucatán peninsula’s modern history. During the first part of the war the Maya population of the Yucatán, after centuries of subjugation, fought their way across the peninsula and came very close to driving their Euro-Mexican oppressors out of their land, and very nearly local Mexican government authority itself. After laying siege to Mérida, the Maya rebel host departed to tend to their cornfields upon the appearance of flying ants, signaling the start of the rainy season. During the reprieve afforded by the Maya tending to the crops essential to their agrarian society, Mexican forces went on the counter-offensive from Mérida, in a reconquest lasting into the twentieth century. The insurgent Maya were led into battle by the Talking Cross, which became the most important symbol of the Caste War. Many books have been published about the Talking Cross and the Yucatán’s Caste war. According to Xocen villagers today, years before the Caste War there was a stone cross in Xocen that was situated on the outskirts of town. The cross talked to and assisted the milperos on their way to the milpa and in return, was worshiped by the people of Xocen. The Talking Cross of Xocen is considered the original cross that left Xocen to become the Talking Cross of the Caste War.