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Haciendas and Economic Development

Haciendas and Economic Development
Guadalajara, Mexico, at Independence

Richard B. Lindley’s study of Guadalajara’s wealthy citizens on the eve of independence contradicts the view that the wars for independence arose from creole-peninsular resentment.

September 1983
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172 pages | 6 x 9 |

Agriculture, commerce, and mining were the engines that drove New Spain, and past historians have treated these economic categories as sociological phenomena as well. For these historians, society in eighteenth-century New Spain was comprised, on the one hand, of creoles, feudalistic land barons who were natives of the New World, and, on the other, of peninsulars, progressive, urban merchants born on the Iberian peninsula. In their view, creole-peninsular resentment ultimately led to the wars for independence that took place in the American hemisphere in the early nineteenth century.

Richard B. Lindley’s study of Guadalajara’s wealthy citizens on the eve of independence contradicts this view, clearly demonstrating that landowners, merchants, creoles, and peninsulars, through intermarriage, formed large family enterprises with mixed agricultural, commercial, and mining interests. These family enterprises subdued potential conflicts of interest between Spaniards and Americans, making partners of potential competitors.

When the wars for national independence began in 1810, Spain’s ability to protect its colonies from outside influence was destroyed. The resultant influx of British trade goods and finance shook the structure of colonial society, as abundant British capital quickly reduced the capital shortage that had been the main reason for large-scale, diversified family businesses.

Elite family enterprises survived, but became less traditional and more specialized institutions. This transformation from traditional, personalized community relations to modern, anonymous corporations, with all that it implied for government and productivity, constitutes the real revolution that began in 1810.

  • Acknowledgments
  • A Note on Sources and Dates
  • Introduction
  • 1. City and Countryside
    • The City
    • Guadalajara’s Beginnings and Growth
    • The City’s Agrarian Base
    • Commerce and Mining
    • The Eighteenth-Century Boom
    • Manufactures and Other Businesses
    • Neighborhood Race and Class Patterns
    • The Oligarchy’s Size and Wealth
    • The Oligarchy’s Economic Base
    • The Countryside
    • Products of Guadalajara’s Local Economy
    • The Hacienda as Microcosm of the Regional Economy
    • The Hacienda: Economically Isolated or Integrated?
    • The Hacienda and the Rural Community
    • The Boundaries of the Local Economy
    • Relationship of City and Countryside
  • 2. Credit and Kinship
    • Credit
    • The Local Economy’s Dependence on Credit
    • Sources of Credit
    • Lack of Liquidity in Personal Estates
    • Types of Credit Transactions
    • Security to Underwrite Credit Transactions
    • Marriage Alliances
    • Kinship
    • Wealth and Privilege
    • Proof of Elite Status
    • Kinship, Credit, and the Elite Family Enterprise
  • 3. Four Elite Family Enterprises
    • The Villaseñor Entail
    • The Porres Baranda Entail
    • The Portillo Family Enterprise
    • The del Río-Pacheco Family Enterprise
  • 4. Effects of Independence
    • Independence in Guadalajara
    • Foreign Merchants
    • New Sources of Capital
    • Introduction of Business Corporations
    • Decline of Traditional Credit Sources
    • Changes in Credit Availability
    • Creation of an Open Land Market
    • Survival and Adaptation of Family Enterprises
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Appendix: Genealogies of Four Family Enterprises
  • Index

Richard B. Lindley received his PhD in history from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976.


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