Silver has been mined in Taxco dating back to the Aztecs, who used it to make gifts for ceremonial purposes. In the early 1500s, Hernan Cortes established the city of Taxco due to its rich silver resources, and it soon became famous across Europe as Spain's main source of precious metals in the Americas. It wasn't until William Spratling, an American architecture professor and artist, moved to Mexico in the 1920s when Taxco silver began primarily being used for jewelry. Spratling taught local silver designers his techniques, which were inspired by the styles of pre-Columbian and Aztec art. Today, Taxco is known as the "silver capital of the world."