Quintana Roo

Quintana Roo

Infobox Settlement
name = State of Quintana Roo
other_name =
native_name =
nickname =
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flag_size = 140px

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image_shield = Escudo de Quintana Roo.pngshield_size = 70px

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map_caption = Location within Mexico

mapsize1 = 150px
map_caption1 = Municipalities of Quintana Roo

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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = MEX
subdivision_type1 = Capital
subdivision_name1 = Chetumal
subdivision_type2 = Municipalities
subdivision_name2 = 8
subdivision_type3 = Largest City
subdivision_name3 =Cancún
subdivision_type4 =
subdivision_name4 =
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =Governor
leader_name =Félix González Canto (PRI)
leader_title1 = Federal Deputies
leader_name1 =PRI:2
leader_title2 =Federal Senators
leader_name2 = PRI: 1
PRD: 1
leader_title3 =
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leader_title4 =
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Ranked 19th
area_total_km2 = 50212
area_land_km2 =
area_water_km2 =
area_total_sq_mi =
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area_urban_km2 =
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area_metro_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
area_blank1_title =
area_blank1_km2 =
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population_as_of =2005
population_footnotes =
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population_total =1,135,309 (Ranked 26th)
population_density_km2 =
population_density_sq_mi =
population_metro =
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timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
latd= |latm= |lats= |latNS=
longd= |longm= |longs= |longEW=
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m =
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postal_code_type =
postal_code =
area_code =
blank_name =HDI (2004)
blank_info =0.8238 - high
Ranked 6th
blank1_name =ISO 3166-2
blank1_info =MX-ROO
blank2_name =Postal abbr.
blank2_info =Q. Roo
blank3_name =
blank3_info =
website = http://www.quintanaroo.gob.mx
footnotes =

Quintana Roo (pronounced|kinˈtana ˈro) is a state of Mexico, on the eastern part of the Yucatán Peninsula. It borders the States of Yucatán and Campeche to the north and west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the nation of Belize to the south.

The capital of Quintana Roo is the city of Chetumal. Quintana Roo also contains the resort city of Cancún, the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, the towns of Bacalar, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Juárez, Akumal, Xcalak, and Puerto Morelos, as well as the ancient Maya ruins of Chacchoben, Chakanbakán, Chamax, Coba, Dzibanché, El Meco, Ichpaatán, Kohunlich, Muyil, Oxtankah, Tancah, Tulum, Tupak, Xel-Há, and Xcaret. The Sian Ka'an national park is also in Quintana Roo.

The state covers an area of km2 to sq mi|50351, and the 2005 census reported a population of 1,135,309. The statewide population is currently expanding at a rapid rate due to the construction of hotels and the demand for workers. Many immigrants to the state come from Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco, and Veracruz. The state, known as a resort area, is frequently hit by severe hurricanes due to its exposed location.


The area that makes up modern Quintana Roo was long part of Yucatán, sharing its history. With the Caste War of Yucatán starting in the 1840s, all non-natives were driven from the region and the independent Maya nation of Chan Santa Cruz was centered on what is now the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. The region was for a time dominated by the religion of the "Talking Cross": in a church was a cross guarded by Maya priests that was said to speak and give them orders. The Mexican government continued to have very little control over this region until the early decades of the 20th century.

Quintana Roo was made a territory of Mexico by decree of President Porfirio Díaz on November 24, 1902. It was named after an early patriot of the Mexican Republic, Andrés Quintana Roo. The Mexican army succeeded in defeating most of the Maya population of the region during the 1910s, and in 1915 the area was again declared to legally be part of the state of Yucatán. In 1931 the territory of Quintana Roo was again separated from Yucatán.Quintana Roo was granted statehood within the United Mexican States on October 8, 1974. It is the Mexican Republic's youngest state. Around the same time Cancún, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel were developed as tourist destinations.

During the 1990s, Quintana Roo was governed by Mario E. Villanueva Madrid. His administration was alleged to be so corrupt it developed relations with drug traffickers in Colombia. By 1998 the state had become the first "Narco-Political Subdivision" in Mexico. Villanueva was such a problem for Mexican-American relations that the Mexican Government of Ernesto Zedillo began seeking indictments against Villanueva once the governor left office in 1999. Villanueva fled the country but was finally arrested and returned to Mexican soil to face justice in 2001. [ [http://www.dea.gov/pubs/pressrel/pr062702.html DEA press release] ] [ [http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/August05/marquezplea333.pdf DOJ website] ] Since that time Quintana Roo has recovered and has become an ever more popular tourist destinationFact|date=February 2007.

Archaeology and History of Cross SymbolismThe traditions and religious practices of ancient lowland Maya have remained present in their immediate ancestors. The ancient Maya [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_civilization] ideological and cosmological view of the world was reflected through the long high reaching branches of the Ceiba tree [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceiba] . The roots of the Ceiba tree extended and reached towards the ancient Maya underworld known as, Xibalba. When these unique patterns are put into place it forms an equilateral cross that is considered absolutely sacred to them as a reflection of the cosmological world. The sacred cross symbolism of the ancient Maya is not only reflected as the sky scrapping Ceiba tree but also as an axis mundi or center point of the world. Several Maya ceremonial centers reflect the axis mundi site plan. This type of site plan is centered on an axis mundi which indicates the center point of the four cardinal directions. This quadrangle-like site setup reflects the four corners of the Maya world as well as the four cardinal directions. However the cardinal directions also have religious meaning placed upon them in terms of settlement patterns. Each cardinal direction has an associated color and symbol behind it. North is represented by the color white and is associated with ancestry. South is represented by the color yellow and is associated with the afternoon sun. East is represented by the color red and is associated with the rising morning sun. West is represented by the color black and is associated with the idea of night, death and setting sun. With each of the four directions and their individual symbols the four points of the equilateral Maya cross is formed. The cross symbolism is then reflected in the settlement patterns and household groupings of the ancient Maya as determined by a structure's placement within a site (Harrison: 1981).The ancient Maya created an array of sacred cross sculptures, murals and planned the construction of their cities to reflect this sacred cross symbolism (Freidel: 1993). There are a multitude of Classic Maya sites that have the sacred cross depicted through various art forms. Sites such as; Palenque, Copan, and Tikal have similar depictions of the sacred cross. Follow the link to see the foliated cross at the ancient Maya site of Palenque: [http://www.tierramayaimports.com/TOC1.html]

Syncretism of the Maya Cross symbol The ancient lowland Maya remembered the importance of the cross symbolism and passed those ideas on to the subsequent generations that followed. When the Spanish conquistadores came to the New World carrying with them a totem that held one of their most sacred of symbols of ancient Maya many of them slowly began to convert to Roman Catholicism. However, in the end the Maya still held tenaciously to their own beliefs and religious practices by incorporating the Roman Catholic symbolism with their own. This syncretism of the old and of the new religion is still witnessed throughout much of the contemporary Maya lowlands. The contemporary Maya practice many of the same rituals that were practiced by their ancestors. However now there is an infusion of Christian beliefs along with the ritualistic practices of the Maya. The combination of Maya and Christian beliefs has to a certain degree altered their religious identities. Two different crosses formed from this infusion of Roman Catholicism and ancient Maya religionFollow the link to see the foliated cross with quetzal bird of the ancient Maya: http://www.famsi.org/reports/99034/images/fig04.gifFollow the link to see the Roman Catholic cross of the contemporary Maya of Quintana Roo and Yucatan: [ http://www.famsi.org/reports/99034/images/fig23.jpg]

The Contemporary Maya of Quintana RooIn the Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Yucatan there is a strong presence and sacredness placed upon the cross symbol. At present the cross reflects more of a Roman Catholic tradition amongst the contemporary Maya then that of the ancient Maya's equilateral sacred cross. The contemporary Maya of Quintana Roo assert that the cross is one of the most sacred symbols from their point of view. The contemporary lowland Maya of Quintana Roo see the cross symbol present in their everyday lives ranging from the intersection of a streets, to the beams in their household's structures and even see it in the Southern Cross which fixes itself low along the horizon of the night sky throughout the Yucatan Peninsula (Villa Rojas: 1945). The contemporary Maya people living in Quintana Roo and Yucatan pass the knowledge of the sacred cross to ensure the continuation of their rituals and beliefs.

Tradition of the Talking CrossIn Quintana Roo, there is a very dynamic and hierarchical view of the sacredness of different crosses within a community. The crosses throughout a community can range from the patron cross which is believed to hold miraculous powers acting as a conduit to God to the smaller domestic crosses that are used in the home to protect and take care of the family members under its care. The Talking Crosses of Quintana Roo have been likened to saints or Santos and have been said to speak the word of God. Within the communities where Talking Crosses have been located, they have been found in association with shrine structures that only a few male elders are allowed to enter into. The elders of each lineage within a community are the eldest male within said lineage. This position within their family and community is passed down from father to son and is considered to be a great honor as acting figure head of your family's lineage. There is thus far no account that shows a woman being the head of a family lineage in Quintana Roo. The older men within a lineage are the ones who usually carve the crosses for a family. The lineage crosses are normally made from cedar but have also been made out of ebony and caoba wood. These specific species of the wood are considered sacred or more powerful conduits of the religious power (Dumond: 1985). Crosses that carry extra special religious meaning are called miraculous crosses because they exhibit qualities of a Talking Cross and these crosses are never removed from their associated shrines. However, identical substitute crosses are carved and used in rituals that involve a procession of people through the streets of a community, at the church or in the domestic arena of the home. These substitute domestic crosses are called, fiadoras (Villa Rojas: 1945). The crosses that have been found to have the miraculous gift of speech speak only to the community elders and are there to act a conduit straight to God and as a representation of Jesus Christ. Community elders that are allowed into the sacred shrines that shroud the view of the Talking Crosses ask questions to the cross asking it for guidance as well as asking it to protect and aid the community in future endeavors. The Talking Crosses of Quintana Roo and Yucatan have been a source of religious sustenance for the contemporary lowland Maya. These miraculous crosses are also a way for the people to highlight not only their newly acquired Roman Catholicism but to also infuse these new beliefs with their ancestors' rituals and religious practices from ancient Maya lowlands.

External links

*en icon [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceiba]
*en icon [http://www.tierramayaimports.com/TOC1.html]
*en icon [http://www.famsi.org/reports/99034/images/fig04.gif]
*((en icon)) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_War_of_Yucat%C3%A1n]
*((en icon)) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncretism] References Cited [Dumond, Don E.1985 The Talking Crosses of Yucatan: A New Look at their History. Ethnohistory 32(4):291–308.] [Freidel, David., Schele, Linda., et al. 1993 Maya Cosmos: Three thousand years on the Shaman's Path. New York: W. Morrow] [Harrison, Peter D. 1985 Some Aspects of Preconquest Settlement in Southern Quintana Roo, Mexico. Lowland Maya Settlement Patterns edited by Wendy Ashmore Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, A School of American Research Book.] [Villa Rojas, Alfonso. 1945 The Maya of East Central Quintana Roo:The Pagan-Christian Religious Complex. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution.] Additional Readings [Brannon, Jeffery T. and Gilbert M. Joseph. Eds. 1991 Land, labor & capital in modern Yucatán: essays in regional history and political economy. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.] [Dumond, Don E. 1997 The Machete and the Cross. Campesino Rebellion in Yucatan. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.] [Hervik, Peter. 1999 Mayan People Within and Beyond Boundaries: Social Categories and Lived in Identity in Yucatan. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers] [Rugeley,Terry. 2004 Yaxcab´a and the Caste War of Yucat´an: An ArchaeologicalPerspective. Rani T. Alexander. Albuquerque:University of New Mexico Press] [Villa Rojas,Alfonso 1945 The Maya of East Central Quintana Roo: The Cult of the Cross Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution]


The State of Quintana Roo is divided into 9 municipalities ( _es. municipios), each headed by a municipal president.

Major communities

*Felipe Carrillo Puerto
*Isla Mujeres
*Playa del Carmen

Tourism, ecotourism, and globalization

Issues of tourism and globalism in Quintana Roo

Of the many catch phrases today both in popular society and in the social sciences, 'globalism' is one that is widely interpreted. Many experts talk about the advances and developments of globalism; they choose to focus on the improvements that have resulted from our more all-encompassing international connectedness Encyclopedia Britannica 2008. "Quintana Roo". Encyclopedia Britannica Online. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9062295. Retrieved February 21, 2008.] . Others focus on loss of autonomy, economic pressures and cultural extinction that can be the result of an international culture of McDonald's Juarez, Ana M. 2002. "Ecological Degredation, Global Tourism, and Inequality: Maya Interpretations of the Changing Environment in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Human Organization 61.2, 113-124.] . In terms of a region such as Quintana Roo, the tourist boom beginning in the 1970s Anderson, E. N. and Felix Medina Tzuc. 2005. Animals and the Maya in Southeast Mexico. University of Arizona Press. Tucson, Arizona.] can be viewed from both angles. Firstly, the tourism of the coastal hotels and resorts, in addition to the ecotourism of the inland and coastal regions, have increased the development of the region as well as increased the gross domestic product Daltabuit, Magali and Oriol Pi-Sunyer. 1990. Tourism Development in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Cultural Survival Quarterly 14.2, 9-13.] . Quintana Roo ranks sixth among Mexican states according to the United Nations Human Development index (HDI) . Alternately, the influx of capital only serves to increase the wealth of the wealthy and simultaneously destroys the environment.

Geopolitical information on Quintana Roo

Quintana Roo is one of thirty-one federal entities, states, of Mexico. It occupies the eastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. It shares its southern border with Belize. The Caribbean Sea defines the eastern coastline, while the northern tip touches the Gulf of Mexico. The entities of Campeche and Yucatán define the western border. Quintana Roo is the youngest entity of the country, declared by the Federal Territory to be 'Estado Libre y Soberano', a free and sovereign state on October 8, 1974. Generally considered to be sparsely populated, Quintana Roo had an official population of 1,135,309 in 2005, up from 874,963 in 2000 .

Biotic crisis of the Yucatán Peninsula

The Yucatán Peninsula is one of the most forested areas of the world when considering biotic mass per hectare . Yet, anthropological, biological and governmental experts have determined that Quintana Roo is 'facing a faunal crisis' . Many medium to large game animals are disappearing due to hunting and habitat loss. Animals dependent on old growth forests are quickly becoming extinct. While its population is relatively small, Quintana Roo is experiencing both a migratory population influx and an increase in tourism . This only increases the pressure on the plants and animals native to Quintana Roo. The effects of globalization are rapidly affecting the entire globe, and the ecosystems of Quintana Roo are no exception.

Ecosystems and animals of Quintana Roo

There are four generalized ecosystems in Quintana Roo—tropical forests, or jungle, savanna, mangrove forests, and coral reefs. One of the byproducts of traditional and large-scale agriculture is the creation of additional habitats, such as second growth forests and fields/pastures Villa Rojas, Alfonso. 1945. The Maya of East Central Quintana Roo. Carnegie Institute of Washington Publication 559. Washington D.C.] . Tourism has caused Quintana Roo to become famous around the world in the last thirty or so years for its beaches and coastline. Biological experts consider the coastline of Quintana Roo one of the best manatee habitats worldwide Schlesinger, Victoria. 2001. Animals and Plants of the Ancient Maya--A Guide. University of Texas Press. Austin, Texas.] . Queen conchs are also noted for their inhabitation of coastal territory . The wide variety of biotic organisms such as these has decreased drastically in the last fifteen years . The animals most severely affected were those game animals routinely hunted.

Avifauna of Quintana Roo

Also affected by the loss of habitat due to both agriculture and development, birds are one of the regions most varied animal assets . Hundreds of species reside in Quintana Roo permanently, with still hundreds of others either wintering there or using it as a stop over on the long journey into South America . As a result, many birders come to the area annually search of the rare and unexpected .

Environmental damage in Quintana Roo

Many debates on the cause of the environmental damage in Quintana Roo look to point a finger, either at the regional government or to outside investors . Some say that the investment in hotels and resorts along the Caribbean Sea caused the drastic increase in population which in turn resulted in issues of sanitation. Others say that that very problem is the fault of the government for not enforcing and or expanding sanitation codes . Still others point to Swidden agriculture, shifting the pointing finger to natives practicing subsistence agriculture.

Effects of tourism in Quintana Roo

Tourism is a double-edged sword. Resorts and hotels have created jobs and increased the general economic activity, which in turn has resulted in dramatic growth for Quintana Roo . Many credit ecotourism for both saving and supporting the ecological beauty and variety . However, growth without planning can have drastic consequences. Tourism often results in rapid development. Often government cannot or will not respond fast enough to the created demand . This in turn often results in health and safety issues concerning construction, sanitation and transportation . The effects for humans manifest as disease. In terms of flora and fauna, whole species are easily wiped out during periods of urban expansion or development. Additionally, niche conquest is made easier for invasive species, who have now acquired roads and tourists and other organisms or technologies that make relocation much easier .

Tourism projections and the native Maya

Projections for the tourism economy of Quintana Roo were exceedingly optimistic. It houses multiple tourist attractions from the Maya ruins to the lush forests to the beautiful beaches. However, long-term effects were not calculated or foreseen. The effect on the local environment was not properly considered. Economic stresses of development and population were virtually ignored . The effect on the native population was not properly considered. The 'economic marginalization' of the Maya has had drastic effects on their sense of place and identity . For tourism to truly benefit the region of Quintana Roo, attention must go to both the environment and the area's original occupants. Due respect must be afforded to the Maya, their needs, and their conceptualizations of the world.

Further reading

*Daltabuit, Magali and Oriol Pi-Sunyer. 1990. Tourism Development in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Cultural Survival Quarterly 14.2, 9-13.
*Juarez, Ana M. 2002. "Ecological Degradation, Global Tourism, and Inequality: Maya Interpretations of the Changing Environment in Quintana Roo, Mexico". Human Organization 61.2, 113-124.
*Pi-Sunyer, Oriol and R. Brooke Thomas. 1997. Tourism, Environmentalism, and Cultural Survival in Quintana Roo. "In" Life and Death Matters: Human Rights at the End of the Millennium. Barbara R. Johnston, ed. p.187-212. Walnut Creek, California. Altamira Press.
*Anderson, E. N. and Felix Medina Tzuc. Animals and the Maya in Southeast Mexico. University of Arizona Press. Tucson, Arizona. 2005.
*Barton Bray, David, Marcelo Carreon, Leticia Merino, and Victoria Santos. "On the Road to Sustainable Forestry: The Maya of Quintana Roo are Striving to Combine Economic Efficiency, Ecological Sustainability, and a Democratic Society." Cultural Survival Quarterly 17.1, 38-41. 1993.
*Encyclopædia Britannica 2008. "Quintana Roo". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9062295. Retrieved February 21, 2008.
*Forero, Oscar A. and Michael R. Redclift. "The Role of the Mexican State in the Development of Chicle Extraction in Yucatán, and the Continuing Importance of Coyotaje." Journal of Latin American Studies 38.1, 65-93. 2006.
*Gabbert, Wolfgang. Becoming Maya--Ethnicity and Social Inequality in Yucatan Since 1500. University of Arizona Press. Tucson, Arizona. 2004.
*Hervik, Peter. Mayan People Within and Beyond Boundaries--Social Categories and Lived Identity in Yucatan. Harwood Academic Publishers. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 1999.
*Jones, Grant D. Maya Resistance to Spanish Rule--Time and History on a Colonial Frontier. University of New Mexico Press. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 1989.
*Morely, Sylvanus Griswold. The Ancient Maya. Stanford University Press. Stanford, California. 1947.
*Morely, Sylvanus Griswold and George W. Brainerd. The Ancient Maya, 3rd ed. Stanford University Press. Stanford, California. 1956.
*Roys, Ralph L. The Political Geography of the Yucatan Maya. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 613. Washington, D. C. 1957.
*Schlesinger, Victoria. Animals and Plants of the Ancient Maya--A Guide. University of Texas Press. Austin, Texas. 2001. Sharer, Robert J. The Ancient Maya, 4th ed. Stanford University Press. Stanford, California. 1983.
*Villa Rojas, Alfonso. The Maya of East Central Quintana Roo. Carnegie Institute of Washington Publication 559. Washington, D. C. 1945.
*Young, Peter A, ed. Secrets of the Maya. Hatherleigh Press. Long Island City, New York. 2003



* [http://www.inegi.gob.mx/est/contenidos/espanol/sistemas/conteo2005/localidad/iter/ Link to tables of population data from Census of 2005] INEGI: Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática

External links

*es icon [http://www.quintanaroo.gob.mx/ Quintana Roo State Government]
*es icon [http://cp.alternativo.net/qr.php Towns, cities, and postal codes in Quintana Roo]
*es icon [http://www.noticaribe.com.mx News from Quintana Roo]

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