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About Us, or Why We Do What We Do

The Name

The year 1492 represented a turning point in the world history, and a start of the Renaissance and the modern era. On October 12th, Christopher Columbus and the western Europeans had the first glimpse of the American continent, the island they called San Salvador. Only six decades later, in 1565, the famous Manila Galleon would head for the first time across the Pacific Ocean, connecting the Mexican port of Acapulco with Asia through the Philippines, closing the circle around the world for the following 250 years.

Mexico 1492 - pre-Columbian art and wild Veracruz nature
Columbus’s discovery is considered to be the beginning of some of the bloodiest and most tragic historical developments for the indigenous civilizations of the Americas, but it also meant the beginning of the migration, cultural immersion, customs spreading, produce sharing, both from the New to the Old World and back. It led to the colorful, exhilarating, abundant cultural and culinary fusion we know today.
Mexico 1492 - some of the gifts of Mexico to the world: chili peppers, cacao, chayote, squash, corn
In this exchange, Mexico offered countless treasures to the rest of the world. What would our life be without vanilla or chocolate? Imagine Europe without corn, the Italian cuisine without the paradisiac tomato, the red, ripe fruit with a belly button, or the world cuisine without the exciting, spicy chili peppers. At the same time, Mexico gained from the influence from Europe and Asia that arrived on ships and contributed to the birth of some of the most emblematic Mexican jewels, originated in this cultural mix: Spanish Majolica and the blue and white porcelain from China met at the crossroads in Puebla and the Talavera Poblana was born; the world famous, colorful Olinalá trays and trunks from Guerrero, carved with tropical birds, flowers and animals were built with the characteristic Asian lacquer technique and the admiration for red; Papel Picado, the most cheerful element of every Mexican fiesta, originated when the caravans carrying Asian goods from Acapulco to the port of Veracruz brought the thinnest, finest Chinese paper to San Salvador Huixcolotla, Puebla, where the local artisans became enamored with the novelty, and made it their own by chiseling the paper to create such a unique piece of Mexican folk art we love today.
Mexico 1492 - the typican Mexican craft influenced by Asia and Europe: Cantoya balloon, Talavera, Olinala, Papel Picado

There is, however, something we’d like to remind you of: even though the American continent was discovered in 1492, Mexico was not found until a couple of decades later. In that late 1492, Mexico was still an unexploited, pristine, tropical paradise, bursting with riches and the civilization that will have a lot to offer to the world, and change it for better.

This moment in time, and the dawn of the world fusion, mutual cultural and culinary enrichment, is what we decide to focus on and celebrate with this project.

Mexico 1492 - Piñatas, Papantla Flyers, banana plantation in Veracruz, Xochimilco trajineras

The Purpose

The purpose of the Mexico 1492 brand is to share the wonders of Mexico, their artists and artisans while creating a better life and opportunities for Mexican women in rural communities through ethical approach and fair trade. In addition, our company pledges to invest 15% of our profits into community projects and scholarships, toward women and girls’ educational and economic development.

The World Economic Forum states that the investment in girls and the inclusion of women in the workforce makes the country more competitive. Not only that – the income generated by women largely improves the quality of life for the whole family, through investment in health, education and better nourishment.

Mexico 1492 - examples of craft by Mexican women artisans

All women in rural communities in Mexico work, and work hard. It is seldom a formal employment - they work in the fields, at home, in the community, and they are usually not paid for their labor. The only direct source of income for many is the artisanal work, products sold at local markets on Sundays or holidays. The purpose of building the Mexico 1492 store is to acknowledge their true worth by opening another, balanced sales channel, that will offer a steady income flow, less dependent of seasonality or geographical proximity to larger cities or tourist destinations. We pay fair rates, respecting the time and effort that goes into every creation.

Mexico 1492 also carries items made by men, couples or small artisanal communities. However, the women artisans are the ones who can benefit greatly from this sales channel, through the fair prices, formality and regular, consistent sales that can follow their capacity to produce throughout the year.