A Brief History of Taxco De Alarcon

The word Taxco comes from the Nahualt word “Tlachco”, meaning, “The place of the Ball Court”. It was designated with this name in what is now Taxco el Viejo, 10 kilometers from the current city of Taxco. The region was inhabited by these same “Tlahuicas”. 

The Aztecs had invaded these locals since the days of Izcóatl, the 4th King of Tenochtitlan, from 1427 through 1440.  It wasn’t until 1445 though, that a governor was appointed by the Aztec empire, and there the seat of one of the 7 tax provinces was established. The Mexicans then incorporated this region into the current Guerrero state territory.

After the Spanish conquest, the legends of the rich mineral wealth to be found in and around Taxco began to spread. The first historical reference of this mineral wealth was found in the fourth letter of the Relationship of Hernán Cortés to Carlos V, which dates from October 5, 1524. This letter informed Carlos V, that because he needed tin for his artillery, Cortez had sent explorers out to these areas where it was said Metal could be found.  One of those places was Taxco. There they found a rich tin deposit called “El Socavón del Rey” and which is in what is now called, the hill of Bermeja, within the current city of Taxco itself.

The current site of Taxco was founded and based in the place known as “Tetelcingo”, which means in Nahuatl “Small Hill”. The Spanish preferred to settle in this place because of its’ proximity to minerals and the mild climate.  In 1529, the small population was formed by merchants, government officials of the Colony, and some friars of the Franciscan convent of Cuernavaca. 

Don Celso Muñoz, says that the Spaniards brought Indians to work the mines. These were established in two neighborhoods: San Miguel (Tlachcotecapan) and Guadalupe (Acayotla).

In the description the Archbishop of Mexico made in 1570, three reals of mines are mentioned: Real de Minas de Tetelcingo, Real de Minas de San Miguel and Real de Minas de Acayotla. Apparently, the Real de Tetelcingo grew to absorb the other two, which ended up then being called, Taxco de Alarcon.

For almost two hundred years Taxco lay largely forgotten.   It wasn’t until in the 18th century, when the city had reached its peak Colonial development, that José de la Borda, “The Phoenix of the Rich Miners of America”, ​​discovered that very important deposit of silver.  

The silver trade then exploded, and from which, Jose de la Borda made his great fortunes from Alarcon Jewelry. The construction of the exquisite Church of Santa Prisca was financed by Don José de la Borda in gratitude to God for his fabulous wealth accumulation with the silver mines, and coining from what was then the motto of his house: “God gives to Borda, Borda gives to God”.

Two centuries later, in 1929, the North American architect William Spratling formed the first silver jewelry workshop in Taxco, promoting an industry, that over time and thanks to the school left by its founder, the city became the “World Capital of The Silver “.

Today Taxco is listed as a historical monument and one of the designated pueblos magicos of the country, Mexico.