Food Shortage in Colonial Mexico

Maize, food policies and the construction of a modern political culture, 1785–1807

Authored by: Sarah Bak-Geller Corona

The Routledge History of Food

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  October  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415628471
eBook ISBN: 9781315753454
Adobe ISBN: 9781317621133


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Each year, the inhabitants of the viceroyalty of New Spain anxiously waited for the day of the Holy Cross, Santa Cruz, to watch the first rains of the season fall. On May 3, 1785, however, not even a drop of rain appeared, nor was there a cloud in the sky. Days and weeks then passed with no sign of water, thus ushering in a drought that would bring devastation to much of the territory. The situation worsened with a freeze in September, which ended up destroying crops and leaving residents without their principal sustenance: maize. The scenario was characterized by colonists as the worst famine in the history of the realm.

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