History of Chetumal, Where Mexico begins.
Chetumal is not only the capital of Quintana Roo but also the port of entry for Centroamerica to this country and has always been a strategic point of importance for this states history. Its name comes from the Mayan word, Chaktemal, meaning “ place where Chakte (red tree) is abundant”. Chaktemal was the Mayan cacicazgo that dominated the south of Quintana Roo and the north of Belize. Its historical importance is undeniable, it was the melting pot of miscegenation and the cultural center for many archeological sites in the region.
Originally what is today the youngest state capital in Mexico was born with the goal of consolidation of territorial rights of the country and the region would hold on to its sovereignty by regulating commerce, boats and weapons during the War of the Casts. All of this was under Vice Admiral Othon Pompeyo Blanco Nunez de Caceres who founded the village of Payo Obispo in 1898 which was an authentic wooden village and was Mexicos last frontier.
This area was surrounded by a beautiful bay that was inhabited by farmers and adventurers that came from different parts of this country, Libia and Belize. This village grew rapidly and in 1936 received the name Chetumal from a village close by that was once named Chaktemal.
Its growth was evident. The houses were made of wood in an English style, due to the British influence in Belize, they began to be populated by people from different areas of the country, farmers and other nations that found this area to be a great opportunity.
The physiognomy and history of this city changed drastically in 1955 in consequence to hurricane “Janet” that took everyone by surprise causing death and the destruction of many constructions. After the tragedy is was necessary to rebuild the city which implicated a relative rebirth of Chetumal, that 19 years later, in 1974 would be declared the capital of Quintana Roo. In this new chapter, the splendour of commercial activity was registered seeing as to how it was a free zone it brought in many merchants from all over the world which caused a rapid development and stability of the city.
When the tax free area was ended, the city where the three powers of state; Congress, Judicial and Executive has had a certain bureaucratic vocation that has modified and impulsed its vast potential in tourism, but not a fast development, it has been an environmentally friendly development that has taken into account the natural treasure that surrounds this capital, where Mexico begins.