A look at Pedro de Sandoval's mining empire-building tactics

Pedro de Sandoval became well-known and controlled the silver market in New Spain after striking a partnership with one of New Spain's most influential families.

A look at Pedro de Sandoval's mining empire-building tactics
The measures Pedro de Sandoval took to fortify his mining business. Photo by Deon Hua / Unsplash

Pedro de Sandoval was one of the Spaniards who worked the silver mines at Taxco. He married Isabel Ruiz so he could do business with Lorenzo de Tejada, which helped his haciendas grow even more. Because family ties were very helpful, Pedro tried to get his children and those of Luis de Villanueva married. By making friends with one of the most powerful families in New Spain, he gained respect and took advantage of the chance to keep the Tejada family out of the silver business.

Mining was one of the most important things to do in New Spain because there was so much silver there. In the first few years after Tenochtitlan fell, most of this metal came from the mines of the Provincia de la Plata, which included the territories of Zultepec, Zacualpan, and Taxco, and to a lesser extent, the mines of Zumpango and Tlalpujagua, which were found around 1524.

This led to the creation of one of the first marketplaces of the time, which was run by the Sandoval family in Taxco. Pedro de Sandoval and other Spanish conquistadors came to the Province of La Plata around 1530. He quickly became one of the richest and most important miners in New Spain by starting the mines La Gran Compañía and El Resquicio.

Pedro met a young woman named Isabel Ruiz. A few months later, he decided to marry her in a formal ceremony. Through this marriage, he was able to do business with Lorenzo de Tejada, a relative of his wife who worked as a mediator for the Royal Audience in Mexico City.

The family business that Lorenzo and Pedro started grew and grew, and they were able to buy land and silver-making equipment. In their haciendas, Tenango el Bajo and Tenango el Alto, they built houses for the Sandoval family and smaller houses for the 79 slaves brought from Africa. They used hydraulic devices to grind the silver and move the bellows of the smelting furnaces, and they hired more workers.

Pedro de Sandoval and Lorenzo de Tejada agreed that family ties were the key to keeping the business they had started going. They tried to connect their sons with members of other important families in New Spain, that of the ombudsman Luis de Villanueva.

Pedro de Sandoval's children married into the Villanueva family, which gave him a lot of political, social, and economic power. By doing this, he kept the Tejada children from getting into the silver business and solidified his place among the elite of New Spain by making a connection with one of the most important families.

Source: AGN