Every year on June 4, Valldolid celebrates La Chispa of 1910, "The Spark of the Revolution," when locals reenact the first battle between federal soldiers and campesinos who were fed up with the thirty-year rule of President Porfirio Diaz.
Founded on March 24, 1545 on the site of a centuries-old Mayan city by the nephew of Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo, Valladolid was named after the city that was then the capital of Spain. Fierce battles with local Maya warriors for control of the area ended temporarily one year later, when Montejo the Nephew received the aid of his uncle's troops from Mérida and many indigenous allies. Montejo and his followers tore down pyramids and temples and used their smoothly surfaced stones to build the new town.
For the next three centuries, the encomienda system, dominated by the 45 founding families, ruled the land, with the Spanish enslaving the local population and forcing them to work on expansive haciendas. Rebellion came regularly, only to be put down forcefully. The unrest came to an end in one of the bloodiest wars in the Americas, The War of the Castes. Indigenous Maya forces, beginning in 1847, gradually gained control of most of the cities in the peninsula. They were close to victory when it time came for them to return home and prepare their fields for planting, a yearly necessity for millennia. The Yucatán government forces, backed up by considerable federal troops, slowly began recapturing the countryside. But, the resistance was strong and the Yucatán came under full Mexican control only in 1901, over 50 years after the war began.