My interest in this list of Colonial era post offices of Mexico is part of an effort on my part to identify the post offices which were operating at the time of Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821/1824. Joesph Schatzkes, in his work on early cancellations of Mexico: 1856-1874, mentions in his Introduction that Samuel Chapman, another early stamp collector and postal historian of Mexico, had reported that in 1824, there were 17 district offices and 383 others (for a total of 400 offices).
Keeping in mind that the independence was in 1821 these office quantities (17 and 383) could have no relation to the latest colonial ones. Three years and the building of a new organization could boost the number of post offices. I would check the official decrees and orders of the new government for these years (1821-24) in order to figure out the changes made in the former post organization or at least to visualize wether the reorganization of the post organization was a priority in these years.
In the meantime, I've been looking for an approach (short of traveling to Mexico City) to try and reconstruct such a list. It had occurred to me that the list of post offices at the beginning of Mexico independence would be quite similar to the list at the end of the Spanish Colonial period.
Again, I would not be so sure of that. What I expect to be almost the same -if not the same- is the structure of major routes and main disrtict offices.
I have completed a preliminary comparison of the two lists and attempted to consolidate the results into a single list. One of the difficulties encountered is the variations in both the spellings of town/post office names, and the changes in these names over time.
Yes, that's one of the first things to be changed when changing a government. Further geographical investigation through colonial and post-independence maps will be required.
The preliminary results are:
From the List in Colonial Inventorio 1819, there were a total of 214 post offices identified.
From the list in Prefilitelica Espana, there were a total of 212 post offices.
From these two lists, I was able to only identify only 110 post offices that were common to both lists, leaving some 100 additional post offices on each list that were unique to the one list. If one assumes that I did not miss connecting post offices between the two lists, there there were only a total of 326 post offices on my consolidated list, still short by 74 post offices based on the Chapman/Schatzkes post office count cited earlier.
I wouldn't presume that these unrelated 110 are not common, most probably are mostly the same under different names, keep in mind that the numbers are very close. The Inventario list comes from the IRS and therefore contains the accounting nuclear items. The Tizon list comes from the gathered postal marks.
I'd presume that the information from Inventario and Tizon states for the major post offices, the ones with own post mark and duties on account reporting, disregarding the minor offices... which were raised to this category by Chapman due to the post-independence organization changes.
The number of district offices (17 in 1824 vs 14 pre-independence) is quite similar, it would be enough the category raising of a couple of large offices (i.e. Mexico DF, Veracruz...) to match the numbers. The other is too different (383 vs about 200) and it doesn't look like possible to reach by creating new offices from scratch in such a tumultuous period of three years.
At last, supporting this approach we could find the last sentence of Tizon:
Se hace la observación que durante el período colonial existieron muchas otras Administraciones que no ha sido posible relacionar en las listas precedentes
what in a free translation means:
It should be noted that during the colonial period there were many other post offices that could not be detailed
This is certainly a start, but it is far from complete.
Yes, you will get a lot of fun
One bibliographic question. From which edition/year was thisPrefilitelica Espana list taken? I'd like to be able to document the sources correctly.
TIZON, Manuel. Prefilatelia Española. Third Edition. Madrid-Barcelona: Edifil, 2004. ISBN 84-95019-19-1
As for 2nd edition:
TIZON, Manuel y GUINOVART, Jorge. Prefilatelia Española. Second Edition. Barcelona. 1983. ISBN 84-398-0133-5
(contains the same introductory information and lists)
Don't have the first edition, sorry.