Place names: The state's name comes from Andrés Quintana Roo (1787-1851), politician, writer, poet and journalist. He was a senator and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence of Mexico. He was the husband of Leona Vicario. He died in Mexico City.
The history of Quintana Roo, as a state, begins in 1902 when the Federal Territory of Quintana Roo was created; however, for a greater understanding of the historical processes that led to the creation of Quintana Roo as an independent territory, it is necessary to reference some of the main chapters of its existence.
The region that now covers Quintana Roo was settled by the ancient Maya people. Currently some ethnic groups survive and there are many archaeological sites that demonstrate the demographic concentration that the area had in the past, among them Chacchoben, Chakanbakán, Chamax, Coba, Dzibanché, Ichpaatán, Kohunlich, Muyil, Oxtankah, Tankah, Tulum, Tupac, Xel-Há and Xcaret. 3
In the late nineteenth century, Yucatán lacked the means to subdue the Mayan rebels in the eastern part of the peninsula. President Porfirio Díaz sought economic and political control of the border with Belize and the exploitation of these lands rich in natural and forest resources. On 24 November 1902 the Federal Territory of Quintana Roo was created with an area of 50,000 km².
A few years later, Major General José María de la Vega was appointed first political head of Quintana Roo fulfilling his role from Camp General Vega, which operated in practice as the capital of the emerging territory. During the administration of José María de la Vega, the division of the area into three districts according to their geographical location: north, center and south was decided. From 1903 to1911 General Ignacio A. Bravo served as political head of the territory. By that time the region was characterized by the increasing arrival of political prisoners, who were opponents of the regime, to the penal colony called “Cuerpo de Operarios” (Body of Workers). Between April and May 1903 the first elections were held in the Territory of Quintana Roo to form local councils in Payo Obispo, Bacalar, Xcalac, Camp General Vega and Isla Mujeres; in Cozumel a municipal board was installed.
On February 27, 1904, the Official Journal of the Federation published The Political Organization and Municipal Federal Territory of Quintana Roo Act, in which it was specified that the capital of the Territory would be Santa Cruz de Bravo.
In 1911 General Manuel Sanchez Rivera was sent by the government of President Francisco I Madero to replace Ignacio A. Bravo in power. In June 1913, Venustiano Carranza decreed the annexation of the Territory of Quintana Roo to Yucatan. In June 1915 the governor of Yucatán, Salvador Alvarado, decided to return the town of Santa Cruz to the Mayas, moving the capital to Payo Obispo. On June 26, in Veracruz, Carranza issued another decree repealing the one of 1913 and reintegrating the Territory of Quintana Roo. In 1918, Carranza awarded Francisco May the rank of constitutional general, which meant he controlled and monopolized the trade of all gum production in the area and consolidated substantial political power.