K'ajchas, trapiches y plata en el cero de Potosí en el período colonial

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article is a contribution to the history of the k’ajchas or self-employed workers that produced 20 to 35% of Potosí’s silver in the 18th century. The paper began remembering the contribution of Gunnar Mendoza and other authors to the study of the k’ajchas. For the mine owners, they were simple “thieves” who stole their ore. The analysis is centered then, in the property rights to the mines because these k’ajchas undoubtedly challenged and questioned the ownership and exploitation of the ores. These ores were amalgamated in the trapiches or rudimentary mills. This is why the analysis is centered in the ensemble k’ajcha-trapiche that meant the emergence of a quasi-parallel economy that burst into the scene with considerable energy. This is also an example on how workers did not just resist but struggled to have their part in the new economy. In the conclusions there are some thoughts about the consequences of the k’ajchas/trapiches to approach the labour system in Potosi in a different way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-320
Number of pages57
JournalAnuario de Estudios Bolivianos, Archivísticos y Bibliográficos
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Labour History, Self-Employed
  • Technology
  • Production of silver
  • Social History
  • Workers
  • Trapiches


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