A hacienda ( or ; Spanish: [a'?jenda] or [a'sjenda]), in the colonies of the Spanish Empire, is an estate (or finca), similar to a Roman latifundium. Some haciendas were plantations, mines or factories. Many haciendas combined these activities. The word is derived from the Spanish word "hacer" or "haciendo", which means: to make or be making, respectively; and were largely business enterprises consisting of various money making ventures including raising farm animals and maintaining orchards.
The term hacienda is imprecise, but usually refers to landed estates of significant size. Smaller holdings were termed estancias or ranchos that were owned almost exclusively by Spaniards and criollos and in rare cases by mixed-race individuals. In Argentina, the term estancia is used for large estates that in Mexico would be termed haciendas. In recent decades, the term has been used in the United States to refer to an architectural style associated with the earlier estate manor houses.
The hacienda system of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, New Granada, and Peru was a system of large land holdings. A similar system existed on a smaller scale in the Philippines and Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, haciendas were larger than estancias, ordinarily grew either sugar cane, coffee, or cotton, and exported their crops outside Puerto Rico.
Haciendas originated in the Spanish colonization of the Americas as conquests followed a similar pattern in many places. As the Spanish established cities in the middle of conquered territories smaller plots of land were distributed in nearby while far-away areas were granted as large landholdings to conquistadores becoming haciendas and estancias. Distribution of land hapened in parallel to the distribution of indigenous people who entered servitude. New haciendas were formed in many places in the 17th and 18th century as most local economies moved away from mining and into agriculture and husbandry.
Haciendas were developed as profit-making, economic enterprises linked to regional or international markets. Although the hacienda is not directly linked to the early grants of indigenous American labor, the encomienda, many Spanish holders of encomiendas did acquire land or develop enterprises where they had access to that forced labor. Even though the private landed estates that constituted most haciendas did not have a direct tie to the encomienda, they are nonetheless linked. Encomenderos were in a position to retain their prominence economically via the hacienda. Since the encomienda was a grant from the crown, holders were dependent on the crown for its continuation. As the crown moved to eliminate the encomienda with its labor supply, Spaniards consolidated private landholdings and recruited free labor on a permanent or casual basis. The long term trend then was the creation of the hacienda as secure private property, which survived the colonial period and into the 20th century. Estates were integrated into a market-based economy aimed at the Hispanic sector and cultivated crops such as sugar, wheat, fruits and vegetables and produced animal products such as meat, wool, leather, and tallow.
Haciendas originated in Spanish land grants, made to many conquistadors and crown officials, but many ordinary Spaniards could also petition for land grants from the crown. The system in Mexico is considered to have started when the Spanish Crown granted to Hernán Cortés the title of Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca in 1529. It gave him a tract of land that included all of the present state of Morelos. Cortés was also granted encomiendas that gave him access to a vast pool of indigenous labor.
In Spanish America, the owner of an hacienda was called the hacendado or patrón. Most owners of large and profitable haciendas preferred to live in Spanish cities, often near the hacienda, but in Mexico, the richest owners lived in Mexico City, visiting their haciendas at intervals. Onsite management of the rural estates was by a paid administrator or manager, which was similar to the arrangement with the encomienda. Administrators were often hired for a fixed term of employment, receiving a salary and at times some share of the profits of the estate. Some administrators also acquired landholdings themselves in the area of the estate they were managing.
The work force on haciendas varied, depending on the type of hacienda and where it was located. In central Mexico near indigenous communities and growing crops to supply urban markets, there was often a small, permanent workforce resident on the hacienda. Labor could be recruited from nearby indigenous communities on an as-needed basis, such as planting and harvest time. The permanent and temporary hacienda employees worked land that belonged to the patrón and under the supervision of local labor bosses. In some places small scale cultivators or campesinos worked small holdings belonging to the hacendado, and owed a portion of their crops to him. In a number of places, the economy of the 18th century was largely a barter system, with little specie circulated on the hacienda.
Stock raising was central to ranching haciendas, the largest of which were in areas without dense indigenous populations, such as northern Mexico, but as indigenous populations declined in central areas, more land became available for grazing. Livestock were animals originally imported from Spain, including cattle, horses, sheep, and goats were part of the Columbian Exchange and produced significant ecological changes. Sheep in particular had a devastating impact on the environment due to overgrazing. Mounted ranch hands variously called vaqueros and gauchos (in the Southern Cone), among other terms worked for pastoral haciendas.
Where the hacienda included working mines, as in Mexico, the patrón might gain immense wealth. The unusually large and profitable Jesuit hacienda Santa Lucía, near Mexico City, established in 1576 and lasting to the expulsion in 1767, has been reconstructed by Herman Konrad from archival sources. This reconstruction has revealed the nature and operation of the hacienda system in Mexico, its labor force, its systems of land tenure and its relationship to larger Hispanic society in Mexico.
The Catholic Church and orders, especially the Jesuits, acquired vast hacienda holdings or preferentially loaned money to the hacendados. As the hacienda owners' mortgage holders, the Church's interests were connected with the landholding class. In the history of Mexico and other Latin American countries, the masses developed some hostility to the church; at times of gaining independence or during certain political movements, the people confiscated the church haciendas or restricted them.
Haciendas in the Caribbean were developed primarily as sugar plantations, dependent on the labor of African slaves imported to the region, were staffed by slaves brought from Africa. In Puerto Rico, this system ended with the abolition of slavery on 22 March 1873.
In South America, the hacienda remained after the collapse of the colonial system in the early 19th century when nations gained independence. In some places, such as Dominican Republic, with independence came efforts to break up the large plantation holdings into a myriad of small subsistence farmers' holdings, an agrarian revolution. In Argentina and elsewhere, a second, international, money-based economy developed independently of the haciendas, which sank into rural poverty.
In most of Latin America, the old holdings remained. In Mexico, the haciendas were abolished by law in 1917 during the revolution, but remnants of the system affect Mexico today. In rural areas, the wealthiest people typically affect the style of the old hacendados even though their wealth these days derives from more capitalistic enterprises.
In Bolivia, haciendas were prevalent until the 1952 Revolution of Víctor Paz Estenssoro. He established an extensive program of land distribution as part of the Agrarian Reform. Likewise, Peru had haciendas until the Agrarian Reform (1969) of Juan Velasco Alvarado, who expropriated the land from the hacendados and redistributed it to the peasants.
The first haciendas of Chile formed during the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. The Destruction of the Seven Cities following the battle of Curalaba (1598) meant for the Spanish the loss of both the main gold districts and the largest sources of indigenous labour. After those dramatic years the colony of Chile became concentrated in Central Chile which became increasingly populated, explored and economically exploited. Much land in Central Chile was cleared with fire during this period. On the contrary open fields in southern Chile were overgrown as indigenous populations declined due to diseases introduced by the Spanish and intermittent warfare. The loss of the cities meant Spanish settlements in Chile became increasingly rural with the hacienda gaining importance in economic and social matters. As Chilean mining activity declined in the 17th century more haciendas were formed as the economy moved away from mining and into agriculture and husbandry.
Beginning in the late 17th century Chilean haciendas begun to export wheat to Peru. While the inmediate cause of this was Peru being struck by both an earthquake and a stem rust epidemic, Chilean soil and climatic conditions were better for cereal production than those of Peru and Chilean wheat was cheaper and of better quality than Peruvian wheat. Initially Chilean haciendas could not meet the wheat demand due to a labour shortage, so had to incorporate temporary workers in addition to the permanent staff. Another response by the latifundia to labour shortages was to act as merchants, buying wheat produced by independent farmers or from farmers that hired land. In the period 1700 to 1850, this second option was overall more lucrative. It was primarily the haciendas of Central Chile, La Serena and Concepción that came to be involved in cereal export to Peru.
In the 19th and early 20th century haciendas were the main prey for Chilean banditry. 20th century Chilean haciendas stand out for the poor conditions of workers and being a backward part of the economy. The hacienda and inquilinaje institutions that characterized large parts of Chilean agriculture were eliminated by the Chilean land reform (1962-1973).
In the Philippines, the hacienda system and lifestyles were influenced by the Spanish colonization that occurred via Mexico for more than 300 years. Attempts to break up the hacienda system in the Philippines through land reform laws during the second half of the 1900s have not been successful. There were protests related to the Hacienda Luisita.
Haciendas in Puerto Rico developed during the time of Spanish colonization. An example of these was the 1833 Hacienda Buena Vista, which dealt primarily with the cultivation, packaging, and exportation of coffee. Today, Hacienda Buena Vista, which is listed in the United States National Register of Historic Places, is operated as a museum, Museo Hacienda Buena Vista.
The 1861 Hacienda Mercedita was a sugar plantation that once produced, packaged and sold sugar in the Snow White brand name. In the late 19th century, Mercedita became the site of production of Don Q rum. Its profitable rum business is today called Destilería Serrallés. The last of such haciendas decayed considerably starting in the 1950s, with the industrialization of Puerto Rico via Operation Bootstrap. At the turn of the 20th century, most coffee haciendas had disappeared.
The sugar-based haciendas changed into centrales azucarelas. Yet by the 1990s, and despite significant government fiscal support, the last 13 Puerto Rican centrales azucares were forced to shut down. This marked the end of haciendas operating in Puerto Rico. In 2000, the last two sugar mills closed, after having operated for nearly 100 years.
An "estancia" was a similar type of food farm. An estancia differed from an hacienda in terms of crop types handled, target market, machinery used, and size. An estancia, during Spanish colonial times in Puerto Rico (1508 - 1898),[a] was a plot of land used for cultivating "frutos menores" (minor crops). That is, the crops in such estancia farms were produced in relatively small quantities and thus were meant, not for wholesale or exporting, but for sale and consumption locally, where produced and its adjacent towns. Haciendas, unlike estancias, were equipped with industrial machinery used for processing its crops into derivatives such as juices, marmalades, flours, etc., for wholesale and exporting. Some "frutos menores" grown in estancias were rice, corn, beans, batatas, ñames, yautías, and pumpkins; among fruits were plantains, bananas, oranges, avocados, and grapefruits. Most haciendas in Puerto Rico produced sugar, coffee, and tobacco, which were the crops for exporting. Some estancias were larger than some haciendas, but generally this was the exception and not the norm.
In the present era, the Ministerio de Hacienda is the government department in Spain that deals with finance and taxation, as in Mexico Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, and which is equivalent to the Department of the Treasury in the United States or HM Treasury in the United Kingdom.