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Miguel and Ignacio Cornejo

At the time of the Mexican revolution the peninsula of Baja California was divided administratively into two territories. In the south the Huertista General Gregorio Osuna held out until he evacuated La Paz in March 1914 and the Constitutionalists moved in. There the need for currency to pay troops and facilitate commerce was greater and on 21 August 1914 the jefe politíco of southern Baja California, Miguel Cornejo, acting on an authorization that he had received on 30 April from General Alvaro Obregón, as chief of the Ejército del Noroeste, authorized an issue of three denominations (five, ten and twenty pesos)[text needed].

  from to total
$5   0001     includes numbers 0210 to 5534
$10         includes numbers 0590CNBanxico #5329 to 1400
$20 0001 1727 1,727 34,540 signed by Miguel CornejoAccording to Ken Tabachnick Miguel signed the $20 notes up to number 1727. Notes numbered 1728 to 4500 have Ignacio's signature.
1728 4500 2,778 55,560 signed by Ignacio Cornejo
includes numbers 4368 and 4500


These are signed by either Miguel or Ignacio Cornejo.

Miguel CornejoIn 1894 Miguel L. Cornejo was granted permission to build a railway from La Paz to El Triunfo, with the right to extend to Todos Santos or Pescadero del Pacífico. However, the concession was nullified in February 1895 because Cornejo could not provide the $5,000 surety requiredLa Patria, 5 February 1895. Miguel was also involved in the pearl trade. Together with his brothers Carlos and Ignacio, he was the owner of the Perlífera de Baja California company, which they transferred in 1897 to the English company La MangaraEl Contemporaneo, 31 December 1897, the same one that ultimately exercised the monopoly for pearl fishing. According to Juan Preciado, Miguel was part of a group headed by Gastón J. Vives that formed the Compañía Criadora de Concha y Perla de la Baja California. By 1912, Cornejo owned the maritime concession called Chamela, owned a business making pearl shell buttons and was involved in the extraction of salt in Pichilingue.

At the 1912 elections Miguel L. Cornejo was chosen as the candidate for alternate deputy for the Comité Democrático Californiano, being presented as a man with liberal and progressive ideas, of impeccable customs, hardworking and busy in the welfare of the regionEl Sermón del Cura, La Paz, núm. 9, 5 June 5, 1912. He went on to win.

Ignacio L. Cornejo was born in 1865. Like his brother he was involved in the pearl trade. He was elected as a síndico in La Paz in the elections for 1913-1914 and participated in Ortega’s meeting at Las Playitas de la Concepción.  



Carranza specifically confirmed the legitimacy of this issue when he wrote to Miguel Cornejo from Mexico City on 5 September telling him that he could continue issuing obligaciones to cover his costs until they could be exchanged for notes (Puede usted seguir emitiendo obligaciones para cubrir haberes mientras se le mandan billetes para ser canjeados). In all matters, military and political, Cornejo was to obey only Carranza himself or ObregónBoletín Oficial, Gobierno Constitucionalista de México, La Paz, 21 September 1914. Note that Cornejo's successor, Félix Ortega, in his manifesto, distinguished between issuing paper money and issuing obligaciones to state employees.

On 9 February 1915 General Brigadier Félix Ortega, the new jefe político, decreed (decree núm. 1) that these Cornejo notes were null and worthless. Annulling the Cornejo notes caused upset in La Paz and the town council (which included the leading businessmen) told Ortega that his decree would be severely detrimental because the lack of funds would means people could not buy necessities and small businesses would grind to a halt. Ortega replied that the decree was intended to avoid the economic isolation of the territory as the Cornejo notes were not accepted on the mainland opposite and that he was attempting to put into circulation a currency that would be accepted in Sonora, Sinaloa and Tepic. He added that holders of large quantities of Cornejo notes could exchange them over time for notes of general circulation (such as the sábanas and dos caritas of Chihuahua, and the issues of Sinaloa’s Riveros and the Estado de Sonora issue. Besides, the lower value cartones with the Jefatura’s resello still remained in circulation to facilitate day-to-day transactions. Finally, troops and public employees were being paid with notes of general circulation, so these would be available.

On 11 February the Presidente Municipal Interino of Todos Santos, Valente Salgado, published Ortega’s decree, as soon as he received it but asked what to do with the $450 in such notes in the Tesorería and was told to hold on to themABCS, Gobernación, vol. 642, exp. 150.

At a meeting in La Paz on 22 March a meeting of local businessmen agreed to the withdrawal of this currency, on conditions that would not affect them or their customers. They agreed that over the next two days (23-24 March) they would take in the notes at par and without restriction, and then hold them until the government could exchange them for paper money of general circulation. They also earmarked a reasonable amount in banknotes to be sent to Sonora to change for that state’s fractional currency, to be use for day-to-day transactions. For its part, the Jefatura Política agreed to produce a new issue of paper currency to redeem the existing notes, and also redeem some such deposits with coins.

On 31 March the major businessmenM. R. Armenta, Manual Avilés, Otto Bach (for A. Ruffo), Eduardo S. Carrillo, M. S. Carrillo, Mariano Carlón, G. Castro. Francisco Castro, R. R. Castro, Aparicio Contreras, I. Cosío, F. R. Cota, Gerónimo R. Cota, C. de la Peña, C. R. Díaz, M. P. Estrada, F. V. Ferrer, Susano Geraldo, L. S. Inzunza, José León, Pablo León, Teodoro León, José Lizardi, Elías Lucero, Lino Martínez, Miguel Mendoza, Miguel Moreno, Y. Moyrón, Juan I. Osuna, N. Peláez, Filemón C. Piñeda, Manuel Quijada, Rochel Ruffo y Cia., Cayetana S. de Ojeda, C. Sepúlveda, E. A. Sepúlveda (for Elena Sepúlveda de G.), Esteban Talamantos, Humberto Unzon, Antonio Usárraga, Filiberto Valdez, E. von Borstal, Guillermo Wong, Luis I. Yuan, Eugenio Yuen, León Yuen, Quong Ley Yuen again met with Ortega and his Secretario de Gobierno, Juan M. Nuño. Ortega updated them on the monetary situation and it was agreed, inter alia, that
(1) the Jefatura Política would issue bonos al portador for $5, $10 and $20, in exchange for the existing vales. These would be negociable in business and accepted in payment for 25% of charges and taxes;
(2) the casas de comercio would issue small value vales to ease transactions, in replacement for the existing small change;
(3) from the following Saturday (3 April) the Jefatura Política would exchange the current vales, both for businesses and for the general publicABCS, Gobernación, vol. 648, exp. 106; AGN, Colección Manuel González Ramírez 75/234.

Following this Ortega issued his decree núm. 7 and sent a circular to the various districtsABCS, Gobernación, vol. 648, exp. 106.

A $5 note is known with two resellos of the Distrito de Mazatlán and a stamp 'Retirado de la Circ'[image needed].