The Rise Of The Novohispanic Economy

The boom of the New Spain economy  began in the middle of the seventeenth century and lasted until the eighteenth century, with the growth of mining towns and cities such as Zacatecas and Taxco.

Commercial cities, such as today’s Guadalajara, Puebla and Mexico City, also began to expand. And some populations were dedicated to the production of textiles; among these stand out Querétaro, Celaya and León.

The growth of commerce in Mexico City allowed the economy of New Spain to strengthen.

By the end of the 18th century, Mexico City had more than one hundred and thirteen thousand inhabitants. This city also served as the political and commercial center of the Spanish viceroyalty.

Silver mining

In the process of economic growth, Zacatecas had a great participation after Juan de Tolosa discovered in 1546 the most important silver mine in New Spain.

From there, Zacatecas began to produce considerable income for the Royal Treasury; This area was the first place for mining production for more than 100 years.

Starting from the mining economic activity, a series of constructions began in the surroundings of the exploitation area.

The constructions were intended to connect roads, thus making it easier to transport production. 
Likewise, other activities that emerged from mining were livestock and agriculture.

These economic activities were developed in the most consolidated estates and reached a notable growth in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

In addition to this, the economic boom notably favored the construction of streets, public lighting and roads, which were of the utmost importance to communicate.

Trade growth

In the second half of the seventeenth century, trade was in full swing and became the main economic activity.

Trade focused on ports, strategic points for the export of merchandise. In these exports, silver continued to lead the market.

The Catholic Church had a great influence on the growth of the New Spain economy. In addition to putting religiosity into practice, this was in charge of higher education and hospitals.

The Catholic Church had great economic power in New Spain, since the settlers were obliged to pay tithes. In addition, he had moral dominion over the natives.

At the end of the 18th century, free trade was approved. This caused prices to fall and the internal market of New Spain to strengthen, since they were giving entry to Spanish merchandise in considerable quantities.

However, mining production was the economic activity that gave life to New Spain. It opened the way to new areas and also made a great contribution in the creation of new cities, which were built around it.

New Spain began to grow internally in economic terms, later becoming the main Spanish viceroyalty.


  1. Arias, P. (1990). Industry and state in the life of Mexico. Michoacan: The College of Michoacán AC
  2. Gomez, SO (2003). Historia de Mexico / History of Mexico: Reference text for upper secondary education. Mexico DF: Editorial Limusa.
  3. Históricas, UN (2002). New Spanish History Studies, Volumes 27-29. Mexico: National Autonomous University of Mexico, Institute of Historical Research.
  4. Quijano, JA (1984). History of the fortifications in New Spain. Madrid: Editorial CSIC – CSIC Press.
  5. Sotelo, ME (1997). Mining and War: The Economy of New Spain, 1810-1821. The College of Mexico.

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