Guatemala Company

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Guatemala Company

Guatemala Company, a trading company (sometimes known as the Pacific Company) formed in 1748 by a group of Guatemalan merchants in the wake of the Bourbon reform of the Sevilla-Cádiz monopoly over colonial trade. The reforms opened commerce to a wider number of Spaniards and colonists both to stimulate trade and to discourage smuggling. Inspired by the success of the Real Compañía Guizpuzcoana in the production and trade of cacao in Venezuela, the Guatemalans petitioned the crown in 1741 for the right to trade with Mexico, Peru, and Spain. The company was finally formed in 1748, and its merchants were especially interested in supplying the Honduran mining areas with Peruvian mercury and other goods, and in acting as the middlemen in the Pacific trade with Peru. Within a decade, however, the Peru trade had lost its importance for Central America, while the export of indigo to Spain, generally ignored by the Guatemalan merchants, had become lucrative. When the Guatemala Company finally turned its sights on the indigo trade, competition from Spanish merchants and Spanish capital prohibited the fledgling company from successfully entering this market. The company never got off the ground; Ramón de Lupategui exhausted the company's financial resources in Realejo, building only one of the two boats needed to launch the endeavor. This, combined with the decline of the Peruvian trade and competition from Spaniards, spelled the end of the Guatemala Company.

See alsoBourbon Reforms .


Roland Dennis Hussey, The Caracas Company, 1728–1784: A Study in the History of Spanish Monopolistic Trade (1977).

Miles L. Wortman, Government and Society in Central America, 1680–1840 (1982).

Raquel Rico Linage, Las reales compañías de comercio con América (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Bustos Rodríguez, Manuel. Los comerciantes de la carrera de Indias en el Cadiz del siglo XVIII (1713–1775). Cádiz: Servico de Publicaciones, Universidad de Cádiz, 1995.

Dym, Irene, and Christophe Belaubre, eds. Politics, Economy, and Society in Bourbon Central America, 1759–1821. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2007.

                                     J. David Dressing

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Guatemala Company

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