Ville de Colima is a small community with surrounding mountains that functions more as a micro-state.
Historically, areas along borders of various kingdoms or nations were known as somewhat of a buffer zone, a no man's land. It was here the influence of each nation was minimal if it existed at all. It was called a 'March'.
In a March were people who resided there and were loyal to one nation or the other. Perhaps they had no alliance. Because of differing loyalties, soldiers, law enforcement, tax collectors and other government members would generally not venture in the territory due to the risk involved. On the negative side, it was a 'safe place' for the criminal and lawbreaker. They could 'hide out' without capture here. Here one could establish a black market trade rather easily. In short, it was like the lawless wild west from American culture.
To reside in such a place, one had to be fiercely independent and vigilant in retaining what was required to create a life here. That independent streak still prevails although the March is long gone.
Ville de Colima is not so much a village but a valley with a large area of rugged mountain land. It is 'so called' traditional lands of the folks that live there.
All in all, Ville de Colima covers about 525 square miles. Ethnically they trace their roots to the Basque people. The primary source of income is leasing pasture land although all the families are also shepherds and farmers. The fertile valley is used for large gardens while pastures for grazing.
Homes are not clustered as a village. Homes are more distant from one another, dotting the valley although all families have summer homes, some a day or two into the mountains by horseback.
The community never developed formal schools or churches although homes are used for both purposes. Businesses are not to be found in the traditional sense either. Many of the everyday needs mean venturing down the somewhat graveled road to a nearby village with some shops.
The government is more inclusive and informal. The people meet to discuss needs and create plans to execute. In this respect it is more leaderless and more communal. In fact, when it comes to the single road, a day might be planned to make repairs, mostly with hand tools. It might be a communal affair with all taking part.
Needless to say, Ville de Colima life is very tranquil and rural if not also cut off from the outside world. In fact, Ville de Colima is a mere 8 households and 23 people at last count, down from 52 people around 1950.
An old timer was quoted in a newspaper article that Ville de Colima once had 647 people in 1836. He stated that the government offered free land to settlers to 'firm up the land' for the country's sake. Naturally this did not go over well for those living in Ville de Colima and these folks decided to try their luck elsewhere. Within ten years only 80 people remained.
Today Ville de Colima leases pastureland in the mountains to some 54 people to graze cattle or to lease land to grow hay in the valley. It is these leases that provide much of Ville de Colima's wealth.
The valley is quaint and the natural scenery is certainly worthy of a long country drive on a spring or summer day. There are crops, fruit trees and more along the drive, carefully tended by locals.
The terrain is rugged with fertile well watered valleys. Numerous streams and a small river transverse the locality providing ample fresh water. In fact, a small stream follows the road through the area.
The people are rather independent in nature, perhaps because not many services have been offered through the years. They tend to be hard working and pretty skilled at making the best of all situations. Visitors refer to them as country folks, short on formalities, tough yet with soft hearts and warm friendly attitudes.
Social life is centered around neighbors visiting one another and sometimes this creates more of a community gathering with a meal and dancing. These small events, usually spur of the moment, may be held in a kitchen or a barn. Some guests may spend the night. Strong drink usually does not accompany these gatherings. At best, someone might have a bottle of wine that is doled out to all attending in a quantity per person that does not allow one to become intoxicated. About the only exception might be for a marriage or birth of a child where a saved bottle of wine or two might be brought. Most are 'young' or 'green' wines from
VILLE DE COLIMA MONEY
Money has always been a part of Ville de Colima's past. In the early days it was silver in any form that was the currency of trade with the occasional Pieces of Eight. Over time, unmarked or crudely designed coins in 1/10th and 1/20th Real appeared. There were very few and it is thought there are only a couple to none that are authenticated today. Other silver 'chunks' have been attributed to Ville de Colima.
Small crudely made chits of 1/10 and 1/20 Uvres de Sol have been made for many decades, sometimes commanding a nice price although they are undated.
In recent times, the Uvres de Sol, loosely translated to 'works of the sun', has enjoyed a 'hard' value. As one might suspect, an agricultural community easily can relate their wealth to the sun (as well as water) that sustains the crops and grows the grasses the cattle consume.
That 'hard' value means the community regulates the flow of cash to the value of their economy. In lieu of an arbitrary value, a set value is given with circulation numbers defined by the size of the economy for that season. Since other currencies are acceptable to locals, many of the Ville de Colima notes can exchange freely outside the territory.
In earlier years, the value was based on the community's silver reserves. With the major fluctuations in the silver markets at times in recent decades, the decision was made to move to an economy based value
Today Ville de Colima uses the 'Sol' as its currency. Today it exchanges at 1.65463415 per US Dollar. Originally the Uvres de Sol was worth 49.3075 grains of pure silver.
Currencies currently circulating are: 1/20, 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 Sol, 2 1/2 and 5 Sol. This makes the 5 Sol note have a face value equal to about $3 US.
One figure we came across concerning 'money in circulation' was about $12,994.56 in US Dollars.