Cayetano Rubio: the businessman behind the El Hércules factory

Cayetano Rubio is widely recognized as the entrepreneur behind the founding of the El Hércules factory, and his life is that of one of the most prominent capitalists of the 19th century. Originally from the old port city of Cadiz, he emigrated with his brothers to New Spain in 1806 at the age of 13. However, his New Spain dream was interrupted due to the insurgent struggle, in which he participated on the royalist side. The conversion of this territory into a new country called Mexico opened up opportunities that a peninsular might not even have been able to imagine under the colonial regime.

For one thing, in the midst of civil wars, foreign invasions and the competing interests of various ideological camps, it was clear that the government, regardless of faction, needed funding. Cayetano, previously a simple merchant dedicated to transporting goods from the port of Tampico to Mexico City, became part of the agios guild. Each political crisis represented for him a loan, followed by a government debt to him. Since the government was rarely able to pay, Cayetano obtained concessions and shares in strategic sectors such as tobacco and mining.

On the other hand, Mexico’s Independence transformed the business dynamics in the national territory. During the colony, especially after the Bourbon reforms, the role of New Spain was reduced to the provision of raw materials to the more industrialized nations. However, liberation from the Spanish yoke and the creation of Mexico as an independent country changed the economic paradigm. It was essential for everyone, without exception, to drive growth, make scientific and technological advances, and then apply them to industrial production, just as had occurred during the Industrial Revolution in England.

His foray into the textile industry began with the acquisition of the Molino Colorado in Querétaro, which today is known as the former El Hércules factory. To carry out this impressive textile enterprise, Cayetano Rubio took advantage of his prominent position among the political elites and Mexico’s commercial openness to import English technology and machinery, which at the time was unknown in the country. To this day, we can still appreciate the infrastructure that Cayetano Rubio imported and used to develop his company in the form of the El Hércules factory.

In summary, Cayetano Rubio was an outstanding 19th century businessman whose vision and astuteness allowed him to become a key figure in Mexico’s economic history. Through his involvement in politics and commerce, as well as his foray into the textile industry, he left a lasting legacy that is still visible today. His contribution to Mexico’s economic transformation and his ability to navigate the challenges of his time make him a character worthy of study and admiration in the country’s business history.


José Oscar Ávila Juárez (2018). Cayetano Rubio, la compañía Hércules y la industrialización queretana en el siglo XIX. UAQ: Querétaro.


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