The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 15, No. 1 Spring 1988
John T. S. Melzer
THE RISE IN THE PRICE OF WHEAT FOR THE "BAKERY IN THE STREET OF THE FISHMARKET" IN THE CITY OF LIMA 1812-1821
Abstract: This article analyzes the information found in the newly discovered account book in the Lima National Archives on bulk wheat prices paid by a centrally located bakery for the nine year period 1812 to June 1821. The conclusion is that the price of wheat per bushel paid by this Lima bakery rose more than eleven hundred percent between 1812 and 1821 and that the profits shown after the bakery paid these increased wheat costs would indicate a rise in the price of bread to cover the increased cost of the wheat. Ships carrying wheat noted in the account book are listed.
If one looks in the Lima archives among the legajos (bun-dles of documents) for the Consulado de Comercio de Lima, he can find the account book for a bakery in the Street of the Fishmarket in Lima. The searcher may consider it of real importance on two counts. First, because almost nothing in particular is known about the food prices in Lima just before the onset of Peruvian Independence in 1821. Second, the bakery accounts should reflect direct price changes because of the location of the business. The Street of the Fishmarket ran alongside the Viceroy's Palace (the Palace of Government now) and was, and is, one of the principal streets at the administra-tive heart of the Old City. It was only one block long, but it began on the thoroughfare which crossed the Rimac River just behind the Palace on the only bridge over the river and ran one block to open onto the city's main square. This square was directly in front of the Palace and was the most important plaza in the city. It still is.1
1Map 8, "Plano de la ciudad de Lima en 1821," Doering, 1983. See also Gamio, 1971, passim. Viceroy Pezuela (1816-1821) calls this main plaza, the "Plaza Maior." Pezuela, 1947, p. 763.