Mexican people are very proud of their culture and heritage, so under-
standing the culture is extremely important. The concept of time is probably
the single most conflicting difference between the U.S. and Mexico. Mexicans
see far more value in interpersonal relations than a business deadline. It is
quite reasonable for a Mexican businessman to put off completing your proj-
ect to take care of a family matter.
History of Mazatlán: Compared to other Mexican cities, Mazatlán is not
very old. There is evidence that people lived there prior to the recording of his-
tory. Archaeologists uncovered beautiful pottery, with elaborate black and red
designs in the 1930s. The Totorames created the pottery, and were hunters, fish-
ermen and farmers. They disappeared prior to the arrival of the conquistadors.
Nuno de Guzman, a Spanish conquistador, ravaged the state of Sinaloa.
Mexican historians believe that a Nahuatl-speaking interpreter of Guzman
provided the name, Mazatlán, ("Place of the Deer").
A small village, San Juan Bautista de Mazatlán, was first mentioned in 1602,
but it is now called Villa Union. Mazatlán was used as an enclosed harbor for
French and English pirates who attacked passing galleons. Drake and
Cavendish sailed out and intercepted Spanish galleons filled with gold and sil-
ver from the mines of Copala. The colonial government countered by locating
a presidio and watchtower. The pirates disappeared by 1800, but left legends of
chests of stolen jewelry, gold, and silver stored in caves and buried in sandy
By 1820 trade restrictions had been lifted, and in 1821 independence was
won. In the 1830s the municipal government was established and Mazatlán
became an important seaport. The port grew as German immigrants moved to
Mazatlán, and helped improve international trade. Mazatlán appeared to have
a prosperous future. However, it didn't last long. The area was hit with yellow
fever, plague and cholera epidemics that devastated the population.
Mazatlán's architecture is a portrait of the substantial German, Spanish and
French merchant after Mexico's independence from Spain. Between 1835 and
1853, the Monroe Doctrine spread into Mexican territory. Mexico lost about
half her territory to the U.S., which included the present states of California,
Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Colorado. The war was initi-
ated when Mexico declared its opposition to slavery. Texas felt a need to keep
her slaves, so declared independence and later became a state in the Union. By
1846 the fight was on, and since then the Alamo has been remembered. In
1847, the U.S. Army moved down the coast and closed the port of Mazatlán.
The U.S. Navy occupied the city for several months.
Many U.S. soldiers fell in love with Mazatlán, but a naval officer, Lieutenant
Henry Wise, was most impressed. After spending six months in Mazatlán, Lt.
Char les A. Hall