this paper analyzes the effect of anti-usury laws on the yucatan mortgage market during the nineteenth century henequen boom. we show that the reform laws that ended the restrictions on interest rates in mexico transformed the legal credit market and initiated a new phase in mexico's financial history. before the creation of banks in mexico, private mortgages recorded by notaries were one of the few formal long-term debt instruments in the country. this paper uses these notarial sources to demonstrate the effects of a specific law decreed by president benito juarez in 1861 on the yucatan mortgage market, as well as the role that notaries played in private credit transactions. this analysis is based on approximately one thousand mortgage contracts recorded between 1850 and 1900 collected in the general archive of the state of yucatan.