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Yucatecan library unlocks files on historic 1906 visit by Porfirio Díaz

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Mérida, Yucatán — Twenty-five original photos, letters and other documents from Porfirio Díaz’s 1906 presidential trip to Mérida will be on display at the Biblioteca Yucatanense.

After seizing power in an 1876 coup, Díaz ruled Mexico for 35 years, a period known as the Porfiriato.

The exhibit foreshadows the eventual end of Mérida’s gilded age. The visit occurred only nine years before a revolution, upending Mexico’s power structure, reached Yucatán.

The Porfirian regime brought stability after decades of conflict, but grew unpopular for its repressive policies. Diaz privileged his circle of allies and foreign investors, and allowed wealthy landowners to expand their property holdings at the expense of workers who were unable to make a living.

The letters, files and photographs document the six-day visit more than 100 years ago when the president was received as a national hero.

Mérida, still a staggeringly wealthy city, feted the president with parties, banquets, dances and parades both in the city and in various countryside haciendas.

The artifacts on view come from photographers, authors and journalists from Yucatán, and contain varying perspectives on the moment.

The exhibition also includes new works, specifically a book published by the historian Hector Victoria Ojeda, an expert on this period of history in Yucatán.

The exhibit will be on display 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays from Monday, July 17 until Monday July 30 at the Biblioteca Yucatanense, Calle 60 between 65 and 67. Admission is free. 

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