Road Stories

Mexico's viceroyalty period

Illustrations © Instituto Mexicano del Transporte

As viceroyalty society and commerce developed in the 16th century, different goods and raw materials were needed to supply changing production and exchange systems. Roads were opened to meet these nascent needs. Discovery and exploitation of natural resources also required new communication networks. One of Spain's principal interests was extraction of precious metals: silver and gold. New regions were colonized and mines developed, mainly for silver extraction. Roads were built to access these mine fields, supply them with inputs and export the products. Supplying the mines' needs led to growth in other productive sectors such as agriculture, ranching, manufacturing to meet demand for basic goods, and commerce.