Skip to main content

Elhuyar, Juan José de (1754–1796)

Elhuyar, Juan José de (1754–1796)

Juan José de Elhuyar (b. 15 June 1754; d. 20 September 1796), Spanish chemist and mineralogist and director of mines in New Granada (1783–1796). Born in Logroño, Spain, to Juan D'Elhuyar and Ursula de Zubice, Juan José de Elhuyar studied medicine in Paris from 1772 to 1777. After he returned to Spain, the Ministry of the Navy sent him and his younger brother Fausto de Elhuyar in 1778 to study at the Mining Academy of Freiberg. Elhuyar's main objective was to learn better techniques for manufacturing cannon, but he also studied geology, metallurgy, and chemistry and visited many mining operations in Central Europe. Back in Spain the two brothers isolated tungsten and published Análisis química del volfram y examen de un nuevo metal que entra en su composición (1783).

In late 1783 Minister of the Indies José de Gálvez selected Elhuyar as director of mines for New Granada, a position he occupied for the remainder of his life. He adapted the baron von Born's barrel method for amalgamating silver ores to local conditions and worked to raise the technological level of the Mariquita silver district. Elhuyar also developed a means for isolating platinum and carried out geological explorations. His work met resistance from both colonial officials and the mine operators. He died in Bogotá.

See alsoGranada; Mining: Colonial Spanish America.


Arthur P. Whitaker, "The Elhuyar Mining Missions and the Enlightenment," in Hispanic American Historical Review 31, no. 4 (1951):557-585.

Stig Rydén, Don Juan José de Elhuyar en Suecia y el descubrimiento del tungsteno, 1781–1782 (1963).

Bernardo J. Caycedo, D'Elhuyar y el siglo XVIII neograndino (1971).

Additional Bibliography

Pelayo, Francisco. "Las actividades mineras de J. C. Mutis y Juan José Elhuyar en Nueva Granada." Revista de Indias 50:189 (May-August 1990): 455-471.

                                     Kendall W. Brown

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Elhuyar, Juan José de (1754–1796)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . 20 Nov. 2018 <>.

"Elhuyar, Juan José de (1754–1796)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . (November 20, 2018).

"Elhuyar, Juan José de (1754–1796)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Retrieved November 20, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.