Antuñano, Estevan de (1792–1847)

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Antuñano, Estevan de (1792–1847)

Estevan de Antuñano (b. 1792; d. 1847), Mexican industrialist. One of Mexico's first modern industrialists, Antuñano was born in Veracruz into a Spanish immigrant family. He was educated in Spain and in England, where he became familiar with industrial production. In the 1830s he led the modernization of the textile industry in Puebla, setting up Mexico's first mechanized spinning factory, La Constancia Mexicana, which produced cotton yarn on Arkwright spindles powered by the waters of the Río Atoyac. By the early 1840s, he owned four such factories in Puebla.

An enlightened entrepreneur, Antuñano recognized that the mechanization of spinning deprived women and children of employment and tried to alleviate the problem by turning La Constancia into a model experiment in the employment of family labor. He provided both housing and health care for his workers. Unfortunately, wages were low and people worked eleven to sixteen hours daily.

A vigorous propagandist, who authored over sixty pamphlets, Antuñano had a vision of national development. He wanted to see the traditional manufacturing center of Puebla wrest control of northern Mexican markets, then dependent on contraband. Trade with the north would revitalize Mexico's central cities and agricultural districts. Silver exports would bring in foreign exchange. His vision floundered on the realities of the scarcity of raw cotton and currency, the persistence of contraband, and national disintegration. Antuñano died of natural causes during the U.S. Army's occupation of the city of Puebla. A French merchant, to whom he owed money, acquired most of his properties.

See alsoTextile Industry: The Colonial Era .


Miguel A. Quintana, Estevan de Antuñano, 2 vols. (1957).

Jan Bazant, "Industria algodonera poblana de 1803–1843 en números," in Historia Mexicana 14 (July-September 1964): 131-143.

Guy P. C. Thomson, Puebla de los Angeles: Industry and Society in a Mexican City, 1700–1850 (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Illades, Carlos. Estudios sobre el artesanado urbano en el siglo XIX. Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Unidad Iztapalapa 2001.

Sanchez, Evelyne. "L'indépendance économique du Mexique: le parcours de l'entrepreneur Estevan de Antuñano (1792–1847)." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Toulouse, 2002.

                                   Mary Kay Vaughan