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Taxco, an important Mexican silver-mining center in the state of Guerrero, especially associated with the eighteenth-century mine owner José de la Borda. Knownas Tlachco ("place of the ball court") in pre-Hispanic times, it was a source of copper for the Mexica empire. Along with some iron ore, this copper was being worked by Indians under Spanish direction in the 1520s, soon after the triumph of Hernán Cortés. The first major silver strikes were made in the 1530s, and Taxco (the Spanish corruption of "Tlachco") became one of the more productive silver-mine towns (reales de minas) of New Spain. Since it was located in the indigenous heartland, Indian tribute workers could be used to augment slave and wage labor, something that was not possible in northern mining regions. Despite a series of booms and busts, Taxco remained productive into the twentieth century. It is now a popular tourist site and the source of fine silver products.

See alsoMining: Colonial Spanish America .


There is no scholarly English-language monograph about Taxco currently available. The standard account in Spanish remains Manuel Toussaint, Tasco (1931). Brief, comparative mention of Taxco can be found in Peter J. Bakewell, Silver Mining and Society in Colonial Mexico: Zacatecas, 1546–1700 (1971).

David A. Brading, Miners and Merchants in Bourbon Mexico, 1763–1810 (1971). Forced labor in colonial Taxco is discussed in Robert Haskett, "'Our Trouble with the Taxco Tribute': Involuntary Mine Labor and the Indians of Colonial Cuernavaca," in Hispanic American Historical Review 71 (August 1991): 447-475.

Additional Bibliography

Enciso Contreras, José. Taxco en el siglo XVI: Sociedad y normatividad en un real de minas novohispano. Zacatecas, México: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1999.

Mark, Joan T. The Silver Gringo: William Spratling and Taxco. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000.

Pérez Rosales, Laura. Minería y sociedad en Taxco durante el siglo XVIII. México, D.F.: Universidad Iberoamericana, Departamento de Historia, 1996.

                                             Robert Haskett

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