History in Cancun

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Cancun history is rich in culture and heritage. Cancun dates all the way back to the pre-Columbian Mayan times, when it was originally known as "Ekab" which means, "Black Earth." Nearby Chichen Itza still boasts of one of the greatest Mayan settlements in Mexico. Located in what is now the hotel zone in Cancun, was a Mayan settlement named, "El Rey" by the Spanish, and an even larger settlement just outside the city limits near Punta Sam. Former Mayan settlements in and around the Cancun area are Chichen Itza, El Rey, Coba, Muyil, Pole (now Xcaret), Kohunlich, Kinishna, Dzaibanche, Oxtankha, Tulum and Chacchoben.

Bernal Diaz del Castillo

When the Spanish conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo arrived in the Yucatan, the people of the area still spoke Maya and worshiped a sun god by offering ritualistic sacrifices. Within the next few years following the conquest, most of the Mayan people in the area had either left the area, or died from warfare or diseases brought over by the Spanish to which the Maya had no immunity.

Inter-American Development Bank

With the exception of a few small fishing villages (with the population totaling 117), a military base and one coconut plantation that was home to only three residents, Cancun remained relatively untouched until 1967. In 1967, the Mexican government, through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank, funded a development project building nine hotels, with the hope of bringing much needed tourism dollars to the area.

Hotels

The first hotels built in the early 1970s were government funded and consisted of the Hyatt Cancun Caribe and the Playa Blanca (then changed to the Blue Bay and currently known as Temptations).

Population Growth

Since the 1970s Cancun has grown incredibly, with people coming from all over the Yucatan, Mexico and internationally to inhabit the city. After the development of the hotel zone on the peninsula, Cancun's downtown area grew quickly in order to accommodate the growing number of workers who moved to Cancun to take up jobs in the burgeoning tourism sector. More currently, the city is faced with problems of how to provide basic services to its growing number of residents, with an estimated 10-15% of which are living on the outskirts as squatters.

Hurricane Wilma

Recently, in 2005, Cancun was hit by hurricane Wilma. Many hotels, homes, and places of business were damaged. In addition, with the strong winds and tides, most of the famous Cancun beaches were washed away. In 2010 the city and hotels funded a project to dredge sand off the ocean floor and relocate it onto the beaches, which provides them with more than 50 additional meters of beach.

Contributors
February 07, 2010 new by robin_8000
February 11, 2010 change by ctanios
February 26, 2010 change by schitti

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