The Pueblo Los Reyes Culhuacán is one of 11 original barrios of the ancient town of Culhuacán. Because it was for many years the most important, it’s also considered one of Iztapalapa’s 15 original villages (pueblos originarios). The first town in the area to have a chapel, it served all of the other neighborhoods, and it’s still named for the three kings.
Like many of the towns in the area, it was partially over water for much of the colonial period. The town’s chinampas, i.e.; floating fields, were next to the Huey Apantli, today’s Canal Nacional. The canal remained a primary navigation route even through the end of the 19th century.
But Los Reyes was long a heavily divided, if not feudal, territory. By the 17th century, the Hacienda de la Estrella controlled nearly all of the surrounding territory. It was passed between a number of different owners. But the indigenous people of the town are well documented in numerous land disputes. The 18th century saw a single owner controlling nearly the entire area.
By the 19th century, the chinampas were only along the Canal in the west. Only after the Mexican Revolution would the indigenous people of Culhuacán begin demanding the return of their farmland. The 20th century is a story of land restitution, but also of growing industrialization and urban development. Los Reyes is often cited as one of the earliest to really industrialize.
Today, remnants of the towns long past are still evident in the irregular street layout. The center of the Pueblo Los Reyes Culhuacán is really the former atrium of the church (pictured). Today it’s called the Plazuela los Reyes Culhuacán. But nights, a few dance halls along the Avenida Areneses on the neighborhood’s west side are where you’ll hear the best stories of Los Reyes’ long and colorful past.
Sources cited on this page:
Wikicity.com: Colonia Pueblo Los Reyes Culhuacán,
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