José Miguel de Tagle was a successful creole merchant from northern Argentina whose long life (1756-1846) witnessed the end of the viceroyalty and the painful adjustments to independence. His correspondence reveals how he adapted to the changing political and commercial environment, and what prospects a creole merchant had in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Beginning as a royal tax collector and situadista in Jujuy and Potosí in the 1780s, Tagle later became associated with an important Spanish merchant, José Martínez de Hoz who lived in Buenos Aires. Tagle continued to travel throughout the interior to handle Martínez de Hoz’ business affairs, in the same way he had travelled for the crown. Eventually Tagle found it convenient to relocate in Córdoba, where he married into the local aristocracy. There he remained until his death in 1846.
The Tagle-Martínez de Hoz correspondence provides valuable economic data on trade in the Argentine interior during these crucial moments, and the letters have been carefully reprinted in their entirety. Lilians Betty Romero Cabrera’s careful introduction traces Tagle’s family and business background, and summarizes the content of the documentary appendix. Though it is left to others to analyze the data, the Instituto de Estudios Americanistas and Lilians Betty Romero Cabrera have offered a useful contribution to the study of the impact of independence in the Argentine interior.