Biography •  History and Latin America

The Silver King: The Remarkable Life of the Count of Regla in Colonial Mexico

Edith Boorstein Couturier

Pedro Romero de Terreros, the first Count of Regla, was born in Spain in 1710. When he was twenty-one, his parents sent him to live with an uncle in New Spain and to assume control of the family's businesses. He married the daughter of a wealthy noble family in Mexico City and continued to build on the combined fortunes as a merchant and a mining entrepreneur.
From the mid-eighteenth century until his death in 1781, Regla was admired for his philanthropy, the recipients of which included colleges and monasteries and he helped establish a banking institution that enabled both rich and poor to pawn goods for cash. Regla's life also illustrates many of the problems facing Mexico today including struggles in the workplace between those who supply the capital for production and those who supply the labor.
Edith Boorstein Couturier uses Regla's career to address the growing social tensions of the eighteenth century, showing how Spanish immigrants could ascend in Mexican society, how entrepreneurship permitted such social climbing, how women sustained their kinsmen, and how elite families rose and fell in New Spain.

Part of the Diálogos Series of Latin American Studies


Edith Boorstein Couturier holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. She has served as a Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities and has held teaching positions at SUNY, Albany, the University of Maryland, and The American University. She resides in Washington, D.C.

Lyman L. Johnson is professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is also the general editor for UNM Press's Dialogos series.


". . . if you are fascinated by the history of colonial Mexico, you'll discover a wealth of fresh insights between the covers of this book."


Southwest BookViews

"This excellent biography by Edith Couturier provides a mature analysis of manuscripts from Spanish and Mexican archives and, most importantly, Regla's papers which cover both his public and private life. . . . Using Regla's archive, Couturier can go beyond the already well-known facets of the count's mining career to examine his private life. Her chapters on his family life, home, and charitable activities are truly rewarding and provide important nuances to Regla's often hard-edged, rapacious, and callous story."


The Americas

". . a work of social and historical interest that brings to life Regla and the Mexico he inhabited, leaving the reader with a clearer picture of life in colonial Mexico and a vivid image of a memorable man."


British Bulletin of Publications

6 x 9 in. 240 pages 17 halftones, 7 maps