This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Our readers will probably already have heard about the silver ingot found by a diver at the bottom of Getaria bay — it’s a great example of of the smuggling of precious metals that was common in the 16th and 17th centuries between the areas in the Americas where those metals were produced and Basque ports.  Today we’re talking about it because we found an interesting article about the silver from the ingot’s homeland.

This story is chock full of Basques, silver, and a Potosí.  But this time it’s actually San Luis de Potosí, in the heart of modern Mexico, where Basque surnames shine bright.  The story comes to us by Adriana Ochoa (what a Basque surname) in the San Luis Pulso, and covers information reported by the San Luis de Potosí city chronicler Isabel Monroy Castillo in a conference.

In many of the most important precious mining centers in the colonies of the Crown of Castile in the Americas, Basques had a predominant presence and role in the “New World”  This situation even resulted in conflict when they wanted the Basques out of the business.  The clearest example might be that of the Basque-Vicuña War, in Potosí in the Viceroy of Peru.

Basques have traditionally not been too friendly to customs and tariffs and “free trade” limitations, which might explain why, until the 19th century, customs was on the Ebro and not on the coast, or why smugglers have had a constant presence throughout our country’s history.

This story shows that the smuggling traditions were maintained quite well by the Basques in the new possessions of the Crown of Castile.

El Pulso – 4/11/2018 – Mexico

Ligan plata de hallazgo submarino con S. Luis

on motivo del aniversario fundacional de la ciudad, ayer, la cronista del municipio de San Luis Potosí, Isabel Monroy Castillo, ofreció una conferencia sobre las migraciones y el crecimiento de la ciudad. Al hablar sobre el alcalde mayor Bernardo Iníguez del Payo y su tiempo, enmarcó que no toda la producción de metales se quintaba; buena parte escapaba al control virreinal de contrabando hasta Europa.

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