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Avio, a form of credit and investment used in mining, but also employed in other forms of economic activity. In mining, the aviador (financier), who supplied the avios, furnished mine owners with cash, mercury, salt, and magistral (crushed copper pyrites) for the general purposes of mining or refining silver. When mine owners were unable to repay these debts because of floods, lack of labor, or exhaustion of veins, aviadores frequently acquired ownership of the enterprise. In the south of New Spain, merchants used avios to lend money to aspiring Alcalde Mayor candidates who needed substantial resources to purchase the post. In order to repay the loan, the alcalde or his lieutenant would force the indigenous people to purchase mules or luxury commodities for which they had to pay by producing cochineal and cotton.

See alsoMining: Colonial Spanish America .


Two sources on the avios in mining are Peter Bakewell, Silver Mining and Society in Colonial Mexico-Zacatecas (1971), and David Brading, Miners and Merchants in Bourbon Mexico (1763–1810) (1971). Brian Hamnett's Politics and Trade in Southern Mexico, 1750–1821 (1971) has a thorough discussion of the system of avios and repartamiento of merchandise.

Additional Bibliography

Hoberman, Louisa Schell. Mexico's Merchant Elite, 1590–1660: Silver, State, and Society. Durham: Duke University Press, 1991.

                                         Edith Couturier