Aramayo Family

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Aramayo Family

Aramayo family, a wealthy silver and tin dynasty of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Bolivian oligarchy. The first members in the New World were a Spanish silver miner, Diego Ortiz de Aramayo, from Navarre, and a Chichas landowner, Francisco Ortiz de Aramayo. Francisco's son, Isidoro Ortiz de Aramayo, was the father of José Avelino, born on 25 September 1809 in Moraya, a small town in the province of Sud Chichas. A mining industrialist, writer, and public servant, José Avelino founded the tin dynasty. A self-made man and a mining innovator, he bought silver mines in Potosí and, with European associates, began mechanizing Bolivian silver mining. As a writer and national deputy, he opposed the crude military despotism of Manuel Isidoro Belzu, Mariano Melgarejo, and Agustín Morales. At his death in Paris on 1 May 1882, he reportedly left more debts than riches to his descendants.

On 23 June 1846, José's son Félix Avelino was born in Paris. In the family tradition he became a mining industrialist, writer, and noted diplomat. In 1901, while serving as Bolivia's ambassador to London, he gave an Anglo-American company, the Bolivian Syndicate of New York, concessionary rights to the rubber-rich Acre region to prevent further Brazilian encroachments. War ensued, however, and Bolivia ceded the territory to Brazil in the 1903 Treaty of Petrópolis. As part of Félix Avelino's modernization of the family tin and bismuth mines, he incorporated the Aramayo, Francke Company in London in 1906. Before his death in 1929, he passed control to his son Carlos Víctor, who internationalized family holdings by founding the Compagnie Aramayo des Mines de Bolivie in Geneva in 1916.

Carlos Víctor was born in Paris on 7 October 1889, and died there in April 1981. One of Bolivia's three tin barons (with Simón Patiño and Mauricio Hochschild), he epitomized the Aramayo dynasty's zenith. Critics charged that the family's wealth, second in the country, benefited neither the state nor the mine workers. Although their share of national tin output averaged only 7 percent, the Aramayos exerted enormous political influence. Carlos Víctor bankrolled the Republican Party and owned La Paz's reactionary newspaper, La Razón. He successfully plotted with Hochschild and Patiño against reformist governments of the 1930s and 1940s, but failed to prevent revolution and expropriation in 1952.

See alsoTin Industry .


Ernesto O. Rück, Centenario de Aramayo (1909).

Adolfo Costa Du Rels, Félix Avelino Aramayo y su época, 1846–1929 (1942).

David Fox, The Bolivian Tin Mining Industry (1967).

Alfonso Crespo, Los Aramayo de Chichas, tres generaciones de mineros bolivianos (1981).

Additional Bibliography

Albarracín Millán, Juan. El poder financiero de la gran minería boliviana. La Paz, Bolivia: Ediciones AKAPANA, 1995.

Arce, Roberto. Desarrollo económico e histórico de la minería en Bolivia. La Paz, Bolivia: Plural Editores, 2003.

                               Waltraud Queiser Morales