An examination of silver mining and society in Colonial Mexico in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, concentrating upon Zacatecas, the centre of the principal silver-mining region. In the first half of the book, the author describes the discovery of the mines, the establishment of the town, its role in the northward advance of the Spanish occupation of Mexico, its administration, and the sources of its supplies of essential food and materials. The remainder of the book is devoted to an analysis of the mining industry of the Zacatecas district. The author discusses techniques, labour and raw materials. He also provides statistics for silver production, suggesting reasons for their fluctuation, and explores sources of capital for the industry. Based on detailed study of archives in both Spain and Mexico, Dr Bakewell is able to provide an entirely new chronology for the development of Zacatecas and the Mexican maining industry up to 1700.
List of tables; List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Abbreviations and conventions; The setting; 1. Discovery and settlement; 2. Consolidation and expansion; 3. The city; 4. Supplies and distribution; 5. Corregidor and cabildo; 6. The circumstances of mining; 7. Mercury; 8. The production of silver; 9. Conclusion: plus extra; Tables; Graphs; Plans; Appendix; Glossary; On primary sources; Select bibliography; Index.