Preliminary Guide to the John Jay TePaske Papers, 1500s-1988
The following overview was compiled almost completely from the 1999 accession of the TePaske Papers, although the 1993 accession contains more of the same types of materials.
This collection consists of summaries of the fiscal records of the royal treasuries of key regions in colonial Spanish America. Represented in these records are present-day Mexico (New Spain), Peru, Upper Peru (Bolivia), Rio de la Plata (Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay), Chile, Ecuador, and Cuba. The scope of the records is broad and comprehensive, offering in most cases virtually complete series of fiscal data for the colonial era, from the sixteenth century through the early decades of the nineteenth century.
Variously known as sumarios, cartas cuentas, tanteos or relaciones juradas, the account summaries list all the revenues and expenditures in the account period for each particular treasury district. The royal treasuries (cajas) collected taxes and made disbursements. Tax receipts (cargo) included levies on silver production, sales and port taxes, Indian tribute, and royal monopolies on commodities, (tobacco, mercury, stamped legal paper) and legal transactions. Expenditures (data) included the salaries and upkeep of the district's royal bureaucracy, defense expenses, and support for the missionary activities of the church. Surplus revenue generally found its way into the viceroyalty's coffers to help defray costs related to governmental activities. Each summary synthesizes an account period's worth of transactions in each particular caja or treasury. As such, these documents provide a window into both the fiscal organization of the Spanish empire and the fiscal state of each district, and also help elucidate the diversity of economic life in the various treasury districts.
Most of these records come from the Archivo General de Indias in Sevilla, Spain. Originally organized into bundles or legajos, the account summaries were scattered in various sections of the Sevilla repository. The Contaduría section holds most of the accounts related to the period prior to the mid-eighteenth century. After that, the records are dispersed within the various Audiencia sections for each jurisdiction. For example, the records for the Lima treasury appear in the Audiencia of Lima section of the archive, and so on. The following list offers a broad overview of the location of the holdings in the Archivo General de Indias:
Peru: Up to 1760: Contaduría (legajos 1679-1873); After 1760: Audiencia of Lima (legajos 38-50); Audiencia of Cuzco
Upper Peru: Up to 1760: Contaduría (legajos 1795-1850); After 1760: Audiencia of Charcas (legajos 627-671); Audiencia of Lima (legajos 1301 and 1415)
Chile: Up to 1750: Contaduría (legajos 1854-1858, and 1860); After 1750: Audiencia of Chile (legajos 339-351, 395-415)
Rio de la Plata: Contaduría (legajos 1845, 1846, 1884, 1886A, 1887A, 1894A, 1894B); Audiencia of Buenos Aires (legajos 393-399, 401-409, 442, 445-446, 448, 450-451, 453-455, 457-458, 460-462, 464-466, 484, 619-620, 701-703); Audiencia of Lima (legajo 1416)
Ecuador: Contaduría (legajos 1377, 1539-1540, 1576-1577); Audiencia of Quito (legajos 140-141, 173, 165, 407, 413, 415-429, 469-475, 477, and 497)
Mexico: Up to 1760: Contaduría (legajos 677-940); After 1760: Audiencia of Mexico (legajos 2027-3198); Audiencia of Guadalajara (legajos 436-496)
These archival materials were originally collected for a collaborative research project designed to compile comprehensive fiscal data on the former Spanish American colonies. Except for the Cuban accounts, the majority of these sources have already been published in book format as the list below attests:
A. Mexico (New Spain) and Mexico City:
John J. TePaske and Herbert S. Klein. Ingresos y egresos de la Real Hacienda de Nueva España. 2 vols. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1986-1988.
John J. TePaske and José y Mari Luz Hernández Palomo. La Real Hacienda de Nueva España: la Real Caja de México, 1576-1816. México: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, SEP, Departamento de Investigaciones Históricas, Seminario de Historia Económica, 1976.
B. Peru, Upper Peru (Bolivia), Rio de la Plata (Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay), Chile, and eighteenth-century Ecuador:
John J. TePaske and Herbert S. Klein. The Royal Treasuries of the Spanish Empire in America. 4 vols. Durham: Duke University Press, 1982-1990.
(Note: The fourth volume in the series on Ecuador was compiled by professors Alvaro Jara and John J. TePaske.)
We strongly encourage researchers to first read the introductions to the published accounts before consulting these records. In the introduction to each volume, researchers will find useful background information about the development of the royal treasury system in the districts for which there is fiscal data. The introductions also concisely explain the organization and operation of the treasuries, the structure of the account summaries and the terminology used in them, the use of multiple units of currency, and other important details about bookkeeping in colonial times.
Although the published account summaries faithfully replicate the originals, there are slight variations. The authors made minor changes to make the data more manageable. Monetary units were rounded off and the entries on both the income and expenditure sides of the accounts were standardized and arranged in alphabetical order. For more information on these and other methodological issues, please see the introduction to the volumes.
The TePaske collection consists of colonial Spanish American fiscal records in both microfilm and print. The printed materials are duplicates of the originals in microform.
caja real = royal treasury
cargo = income, revenue
data = expenditure, disbursement
legajo = bundle of documents
ramo = income/expenditure category
sumario = accounts, account summary (also carta cuenta, tanteo, relación jurada)
tesorero = treasury official (also contador)
- Collection Number
- John Jay TePaske papers
- TePaske, John Jay
- 11.9 Linear Feet, 9000 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
Use & Permissions
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], John Jay TePaske Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
This original accession contains summaries of the fiscal records of the royal treasuries of various regions in colonial Spanish America. The records cover the 16th century through the early 19th century. The districts, cities and towns represented in these records are in present-day Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Panama. The majority of the records are copies of the original documents. Interspersed with the copies are transcriptions of records as well as notes. This container list enumerates the regions, cities, or towns represented in each box and the general time span covered by the records. For the most part, records for a particular place are found together. However, the records for one place may also be in more than one group within and among the boxes. The date ranges for each entry within a box reflect the time span covered by all the material found in that box for that entry, even when records for the place are found in more than one group within the box. The date ranges given do not imply that records for every year within the range are present.
This addition to the collection includes Professor TePaske's raw data files on diskette. He also sent copies of the Latin American Economic History Newsletter which can be used as a guide to much of the collection.
Professor John J. TePaske is Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University and a distinguished scholar of colonial Latin American history.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
Collection was received as gifts from Dr.TePaske in 1993 and 1999.
Preliminary processing by Lisa Stark, Ali Poffinberger, and Debbera Carson; finding aid by Luis Gonzáles
Completed February 24, 2000
Encoded by Lisa Stark
This collection is unprocessed: materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.