Paper Money of Chihuahua

.. by Simon Prendergast

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Home The History The minor concessions

The minor concessions

Banco Minero de la Candameña

A decree issued on 21 July 1879 gave José Gutiérrez approval from Angel Trias’ administration to establish a bank in the mining centre of Candameña and issue up to 500,000 pesos in twenty-five and fifty centavos and one peso notes, payable at the bank’s choice either in silver bullion or in silver pesos (en plata ensayada ó en pesos fuertes á elección del Banco)Periódico Oficial, 27 July 1879. The historian Francisco Almada implied that this bank did in fact issue notes but none survive and Creel, in his reminiscences on Mexican banking, mentioned only the Banco de Chihuahua, Banco de Santa Eulalia, Banco Mexicano, Banco Minero and Banco de HidalgoEnrique C. Creel, Los Bancos de México, 1920. Though El Norte, 5 July 1900, in listing banks of the earlier period, mentions the Banco de Batopilas.

Banco Mercantil Mexicano

On 31 July 1882 José María Sánchez (representing the shareholders José and Jesús González Treviño) and Félix Francisco Maceyra, representing the Banco Mercantil Mexicano, a bank recently established in Mexico City, were given permission to establish one or more branches and agencies of the bank within the state of Chihuahua. The branches' notes would be voluntarily accepted in all the state's offices, and by the public, for their face value in hard cash or with an 8% discount on the legal tender in use in the state (en pesos fuertes á la par ó con el 8 p% de cambio sobre la moneda legal que circule en el Estado)Periódico Oficial, 5 August 1882. The bank was given six months in which to establish at least one branch: otherwise the concession would lapse.

The Banco Mercantil Mexicano did open offices in Guanajuato, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz but does not seem to have reached Chihuahua. Soon after, in 1884, it merged with the Banco Nacional Mexicano to form the Banco Nacional de México. J. González Treviño Hermanos closed their casa comercial in Chihuahua in December 1883, to protests from Felix Francisco Maceyra and the Banco Mexicano Periódico Oficial, 15 March 1884.

José María Sánchez: Born in Coahuila in 1850, Sánchez moved to Monterrey and became an employee of the business house of González Treviño y Compañía. When the brothers set up in Chihuahua in 1873 Sánchez moved with them though later he established his own business, selling clothes, groceries, glassware, crockery and spirits. When Terrazas took over the governorship in 1903, Sánchez became Treasurer General (Tesorero General) and later was substitute governor for Enrique Creel on various occasions. When the Maderista revolt broke out in 1910, President Díaz felt that it would be better if the governorship was in the hands of a Terrazas and Sánchez renounced in favour of Alberto Terrazas. He died in 1940.

Félix Francisco Maceyra: Maceyra was born in Chihuahua City in 1832 but after studying in Paris he set up in business in the mining town of Jesús María (now Ocampo). He became "one of the leading capitalists in the state, enjoying unlimited credit in Mexico and the United States"Francisco Almada, Gobernadores de Chihuahua, Chihuahua, 1980. In 1880 he was one of the founding shareholders of the Banco Mexicano and served as manager. He was substitute governor in 1885 and afterwards represented Chihuahua in the Senate for three terms. He died in 1897.

In the second half of 1883 it was proposed to reform the federal constitution so that mining, commerce and banking became the exclusive preserve of the federal government. As such an amendment needed to be approved by the Chambers of Deputies, the Senate and a majority of the state legislatures, the authorities in Chihuahua were able to delay its passage (the amendment was promulgated by President Manuel González on 14 December 1883; Governor Terrazas endorsed it on 7 January 1884 and it was published in the Periódico Oficial on 15 March) and had time to add to the existing local concessions and grant new ones.

Hence a few concessions were rushed through whilst the constitutional reform was making its passage into law.

As such the concessions can be seen as taking out options or establishing negotiating positions and it is hardly surprising that nothing came of them. They are of more interest in determining the political and financial influence of the various concessionaires than in adding to the history of paper currency, though as the concessions related to the north-eastern area of Chihuahua they are evidence of the mining boom in that area.

By this time concessions had more detailed provisions about the ratio of notes in circulation to cash in hand, the guarantees required by the state and the time limit within which the bank had to start operating. Notes also had to carry the signature of the Administrador General de Rentas or a counterstamp showing that they had been registered in his office, where a record of the number of notes in circulation and their value was to be kept.

El Banco de Guerrero

On 16 November 1883 Francisco A. Sáenz was granted a concession to establish a bank in Ciudad Guerrero under the title ‘Banco de Guerrero’ and permitted to issue up to 100,000 pesos in notes of twenty-five centavos, fifty centavos and one peso, payable in Mexican pesos at par (en pesos del cuño mexicano a la par)Periódico Oficial, 15 December 1883.

Francisco A. Sáenz: Sáenz, from Guerrero, fought against the conservatives during the war of Reform, and helped in the recovery of Hidalgo del Parral, Nazas, Durango and Guadalajara. In 1876 he was a Comandante de Batallón of the tuxtepecanos and taken prisoner by the federals at Saucillo. 
Sáenz built up a farming and cattle empire and at his death in 1904 owned the Hacienda del Saucito in Cusihuiriachic and the Haciendas de San José, Santa Rita y Anexas in Guerrero.

El Banco Protector Industrial Mexicano

On 20 November Anastasio Roybal was permitted to set up a bank, El Banco Protector Industrial Mexicano and authorised to issue 500,000 pesos in notes of 25c, 50c, $1 and $10 payable at par in Mexican pesos or, for values less than one peso, in copper coinage (á la par en pesos del cuño mexicano y los menores de un peso en moneda de vellón)Periódico Oficial, 24 November 1883. Although the bank could establish itself and its branches in any part of the state, it had to establish one branch within the canton of Rayón, which was the mining area centred on Jesús María (now Ocampo).

Anastasio Roybal: Born in 1825 in the Presidio of San Elzeario, Roybal had spent his youth in Jesús María, becoming proprietor of the mines in Candameña which he worked on a regular basis. He had been secretario de la Jefatura Política in 1850 and afterwards was jefe político several times and a state deputy. He died in Chihuahua in 1897.

El Banco Mercantil

On 6 December José Dolores Solís, and the firm of Rembez y Besaury y socios were given permission to establish El Banco Mercantil. The bank could issue up to a million pesos, in notes of 25c, 50c, $1, $5 and $10 payable in silver pesos or, for amounts of less than one peso, in copper (pagaderos al portador á la vista en pesos del cuño mexicano y los fracciones de un peso en moneda de vellón)Periódico Oficial, [           ].

José Dolores Solís: Solís was also based in Jesús María and involved in mining. The Solis family sold the Santa Eduwiges mine to J. Tabor in 1883 but Dolores Solís retained a 16% share in the Compañía Minera de Santa Eduwiges. He was also a shareholder in the Banco Comercial de Chihuahua, jefe político of Rosales and several times a deputy. He died in 1891.

The first Banco Comercial

Finally, on 19 December the state granted a concession (slightly modified on 8 January 1884) to establish the first Banco Comercial. Juan H. Turman and Juan N. Zubirán received permission to issue notes in twenty-five centavos, fifty centavos, one, two, five, ten and twenty pesos denominations up to a total of a million pesos again payable in Mexican pesos or, for the smallest values, in copper (a la par en pesos del cuño mexicano y los menores de un peso en moneda de vellón)Periódico Oficial, 23 December 1883.

Juan N. Zubirán: Born in Durango in 1822, Zubirán was Mexican vice-consul in Texas and New Mexico in 1851, then lived in Chihuahua. He was in charge of the Chihuahuan customs posts (Administrador de las Aduanas Fronterizas de Ciudad Juárez y Ojinaga), Administrador General de Rentas del Estado de Chihuahua from at least 1863 to 1877, jefe político of Iturbide (i.e. Chihuahua) from 1880 to 1883, and a deputy in several legislatures. He died in Chihuahua in November 1888.

This first Banco Comercial was possibly used as a shell company when the Banco de Santa Eulalia was reorganised.