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Interpreting the Evidence

Fruit Stand at a Market in Merida, Mexico, 1925

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Global History and Geography

  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:


  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Fruit Stand at a Market in Merida, Mexico, 1925 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
A fruit stand at a market in Merida, a large city in Mexico's Yucatan, 1925.

Historical Context
Merida, the "White City," is the capital city of the state of Yucatan in Mexico.  It was founded in 1542 by the Spaniard Francisco de Montejo on the site of a Mayan city.  The city is known for its colonial buildings, including the oldest cathedral in the Americas.  Today, Merida has a population of about one million.  

The photograph shows a fruit stand in Merida.  About 1/4 of Mexico’s workers are employed in agriculture.  Coffee and sugar are major export crops.  Fruits and vegetables, such as the ones in the photograph, are also important in Mexican agriculture.  Oranges, corn, tomatoes, bananas, peppers, lemons, limes, mangoes, avacados, watermelons, papayas, and pineapples are some of larger fruit and vegetable crops grown in the country.  Other important crops include wheat, beans, cotton, and vanilla.

Essential Question
How does geography influence the development of culture and economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the role of geography in Mexican culture and economy.
Historical Challenges
Why is Merida called the White City? Is this an appropriate name for the city today?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: About 25% of Mexican workers are involved in agriculture, 30% are employed in service jobs, and 12% work in manufacturing. Use this data to create a pie chart showing how the Mexican workforce is divided into different kinds of jobs.
Math: Look at the prices of fruit in the grocery store. Which of the fruits in the photograph is most expensive? Is the fruit sold by weight or by how many you buy? Do you think you get a better deal if you buy fruit by weight or by number? Explain your answer.
Science: Research the climate and soil around Merida. Why do you think the farmers chose to grow the fruits in this photograph?
English Language Arts: Create a poster encouraging people to buy the fruit at this stand.