Ordenanzas de la fiel Executoria formadas para su Gobierno por la muy Noble, y muy Leal Imperial Ciudad de Mexico: en el año de mil setecientos y veinte y ocho: confirmadas por Real Cedula de seis de Mayo de mil setecientos veinte y quatro: reimpressas con licencia, en el de mil setecientos cincuenta y cinco. MEXICO CITY, COMMERCE.

Ordenanzas de la fiel Executoria formadas para su Gobierno por la muy Noble, y muy Leal Imperial Ciudad de Mexico: en el año de mil setecientos y veinte y ocho: confirmadas por Real Cedula de seis de Mayo de mil setecientos veinte y quatro: reimpressas con licencia, en el de mil setecientos cincuenta y cinco.

One large folding printed chart (533 x 368 mm.). Title within typographical border. 1 p.l., 62 pp. Small folio (290 x 180 mm.), modern boards, label on spine. [Mexico City]: from the folding chart: “Viuda de D. Joseph Bernardo de Hogal,” 1755.

First and only edition printed in Mexico of these important ordinances governing manufacturing, trade, and the production and commerce of food within Mexico City. This copy is complete with the extremely uncommon folding chart detailing bread costs and prices. These 117 statutes touch upon many aspects of daily life, including the large-scale production of bread; quality controls on bread; animal husbandry and the production of meat and vegetables; hygienic standards for purveyors of foods of all kinds; the sale of confectioneries on the street; regulations for tanners, knife grinders, and tradesmen in textiles, soap, and liquor; provisions on the handling of fireworks, etc., etc. A number of sections are concerned with the status of inhabitants who were mixed race, black, native Spanish, or enslaved.

This fascinating document is a reprint of an earlier set of regulations issued in Madrid in 1728. Eighteenth-century Mexico City was a vital trading center for the Spanish empire in the Americas. The city was racially diverse and, based on a census conducted in 1753, there were about 70,000 inhabitants. However, the city was prone to epidemics and floods, rife with social inequality, and regularly suffered from food shortages. The regulations laid forth in the present document were an attempt by the Spanish crown to improve conditions for the poor and combat recurrent famine and disease.

“Indeed, race as well as gender came to define culinary and social status in New Spain, even as mestizaje spread through society. Rebecca Earle has described the importance of food in differentiating Spaniards from Indians, not only in maintaining social hierarchies but in a corporeal sense as well. Colonists feared that their bodies would degenerate in the insalubrious New World environment, and they sought out wheat bread, wine, and meat to preserve their health. Urban artisans such as bakers and butchers therefore became important arbiters of colonial status, despite their low personal standing. In 18th-century Mexico City, the finest wheat bread was reserved for the colonial elite. Large commercial bakeries used lower quality wheat, maize, and other flours to produce coarse bread for the mixed-race castes. At the bottom of this hierarchy were Indians and the poorest plebeians living in slums around the city center, who consumed corn tortillas.”–Jeffrey M. Pilcher, “Taste, Smell, and Flavor in Mexico,” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History (March 2016), accessed online.

The large folding chart records bread prices in ounces, chronicling in hundreds of entries, associated costs and profitability by distance from the point of production (measured by intermediate trading posts). At the bottom of this chart are three advertencias concerning domestic seeds optimal for wheat production, instructions for producing bread, and the amount of flour dough used by Mexico in a year (“three million arrobas”). We also learn here the imprint of this document (see above).

Fine copy of a very interesting document on commercial policies of 18th-century colonial Mexico. The chart has been expertly mended on the verso along the center fold, with no loss of text. One gathering somewhat browned.

❧ Not in Palau, Goldsmiths, Medina, or Sabin. Palau 203060 refers to the 1728 Madrid edition.

Price: $7,500.00

Item ID: 6614