Mennonite Colonization in Mexico and the Pendulum of Modernization, 1920-2013

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date



In 1921, the settlement of Canadian Old Colony Mennonites in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua served as a tool for reconstructing the region's agricultural economy following the devastating Revolution of 1910. In exchange for their colonization and investment in Mexico, Mennonites received guarantees that exempted them from Mexican land, education, health, and military laws. By the 1980s, however, Mexico undertook constitutional and economic reforms that rendered Old Colony exemptions from law obsolete and their agricultural model a relic of the past. While some Mennonites chose to flee for other locations in Latin America, others remained to face the challenges of security concerns and climate change. In the twenty-first century, these challenges are driving innovative apiculture and community negotiation that are returning Mennonites to their earlier position as paragons of economic progress in northern Mexico.


This article was originally published in Mennonite Quarterly Review. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Mennonite Quarterly Review


Copyright 2014 Mennonite Historical Society