Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/46

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houses here were built two hundred years ago, and their beams and rafters are as hard as iron. The most ancient of these old buildings is one erected in the year 1549, by the Adelantado, Don Francisco Montejo, the conqueror of Yucatan. Its fa├žade is a grotesque combination of Moorish-Indian architecture, representing knights in armor trampling upon prostrate Indians.

The lamented archaeologist, J. L. Stephens, whose writings on the ruins of Central America and Yucatan have secured him permanent fame, resided here forty years ago, in company with his artist, Mr. Catherwood, and Dr. Cabot, of Boston. The house he then occupied, and rented at four dollars a month, is now leased for sixty dollars. A corresponding rise in real estate has been steady, and now it is next to impossible to find a house to let or for sale. Business is active, prices ranging about the same as in Havana. To summarize a comprehensive glance over the State, the following figures are appended: Capital and largest city, Merida; port of entry, Progreso;

Number of other cities 7
Towns 13
Villages 143
Abandoned settlements 15
Haciendas 333
Ruined cities 62

Many of the "cities" are beginning to decay; many of the "towns" are composed entirely of thatched huts, and many of the haciendas comprise enormous estates, with mile on mile of territory; so that Yucatan, though dotted with indications of civilization on the map, is yet mainly a wilderness, with perhaps less territory developed than when Cordova landed here, or when Montejo conquered its aboriginal inhabitants.