Elhuyar y Zúbice, Fausto de (1757–1833)

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Elhuyar y Zúbice, Fausto de (1757–1833)

Fausto de Elhuyar y Zúbice (b. 11 October 1757; d. 6 January 1833), Spanish scientist and director general of the Mining Tribunal of New Spain (1788–1821). A native of Logroño, Spain, Elhuyar was educated in Paris and at the famous Mining School of Freiberg, Germany (1778–1781, 1787), and taught mineralogy at the Patriotic Seminary of Vergara, Spain (1782–1786). He and his brother Juan José discovered tungsten in 1783 while experimenting with wolframite.

In July 1786, while Elhuyar was in Austria to recruit mining experts for service in Spanish America and to study the Baron Ignaz von Born's method of amalgamating silver ores, Secretary of the Indies José de Gálvez appointed him director general of the Mexican Mining Tribunal. According to Walter Howe, "the renaissance of the Tribunal may be said to have begun with Elhuyar's arrival" in 1788. As director general he was an influential and energetic advocate for the mining industry, but his bureaucratic service hindered the promise of his early scientific achievements. Elhuyar established a school of mines in 1792, the first secular academy in the Spanish colonies. With Mexican independence, Elhuyar returned to Spain in 1821 and served as director general of mining, until his accidental death in 1833.

See alsoNew Spain, Colonization of the Northern Frontier .


The most thorough treatment of Elhuyar's early years is Arthur P. Whitaker, "The Elhuyar Mining Missions and the Enlightenment," in Hispanic American Historical Review 31, no. 4 (1951): 557-585. Walter Howe, The Mining Guild of New Spain and Its Tribunal General, 1770–1821 (1949), details his labors in Mexico.

Additional Bibliography

Castillo Martos, Manuel. Creadores de la ciencia moderna en España y América: Ulloa, los Delhuyar y del Río descubren el platino, el wolframio y el vanadio. Breees: Muñoz Moya Editores Extremeños, 2005.

Ibáñez Rodríguez, Santiago. La proyección mundial de los hermanos Delhuyar en el campo de la cienica y la economía. Logroño: Universidad de La Rioja, Servicio de Publicaciones, 2002.

                                        Kendall W. Brown

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Elhuyar y Zúbice, Fausto de (1757–1833)

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