Traccion a Sangre or Pulled by Blood

Books and catalogues

What an interesting term, Traccion a Sangre, “pulled by blood.” It evokes the image of tens of thousands of slaves pulling on ropes to raise huge stones for the construction of the pyramids. 

“Traccion a Sangre” as used in Uruguay, in the more modern sense, connotes animal power, more specifically animal drawn carts, carriages, or trolleys. Patente de Rodados is a “Road License” so the combination is a vehicle license to use the roads. The hand-painted essay also indicates a separate fee charged for a license plate, “Chapa 0.80.” In the Department of Montevideo (one of 18 Departments in Uruguay), the earliest “Traccion Sangre” stamps found are dated 2nd Semester 1934. The basic semi-annual (Semestre) tax rate for a two wheeled animal drawn cart was 7.50 pesos. In 1935 annual or semi-annual registration stamps were used and depicted horses.

The annual vehicle registration fee was 6, 15 or 20 pesos. The semi-annual fee 3, 7.50, 10 or 12.50 pesos. These stamps were affixed to a license registration booklet which contained the owners name, address type of vehicle and max cargo weight as well as the various laws contained in the back pages. The license fees were determined by the imputed value of the cart, wagon, carriage etc.

When a vehicle was sold a vehicle registration stamp overprinted “Transferencia” or Transfer was also affixed. Advertising painted on the vehicle or cart required an additional stamp “Avisos” advertising painted on the sides.

The first evidence of quarterly payments is dated 1943. In 1956, the word “Acoplado” (towed) was substituted on one series of stamps.

Recently, several licenses surfaced from the Department of Tacuarembo, Uruguay. The covers of the vehicle license booklets read “Traccion a Sangre—Bicicleta y Similares.” The title suggests that “Pulled by Blood” now included not only animal drawn vehicles but human powered vehicles such as bicycles. The stamps are cancelled from 1956 through 1967. Each of the license booklet includes regulations concerning the use of animal drawn carts and bicycles. For example, vehicles operated during the hours of darkness were required to have three red lights attached, two in the front and one in the rear. Restrictions as to cart size, load, and limits on numbers of passengers carried are also covered in the booklets.

While developing a listing of 70 different values and types for the Department of Tacuarembo my curiosity was aroused by the presence of other different revenue stamps affixed and contained within the booklet titled “Asignaciones Familiares” not shown. My contact in Uruguay explained that this was a reduced rate (discount) for families with members under the age of 18. Hopefully for people.

My most recent discovery was a bicycle license from the Department of Paysandu with stamps dated 1956-60. Having located items from only 3 of the 18 Departments, the question arises whether all the Departments used this form of vehicle taxation. If so, there are more of these revenue stamps to be found. Have you found any?

The registration of animal drawn vehicles was not new in 1934. In fact animal drawn vehicle registration predates that of the automobile. An example of a 1903-1904 Patente de Rodados for 4 pesos, value of the license corresponding to a Jardines of cargo and side boards is shown:

One of the earliest vehicle registration broadsides is dated 1875. It includes…carroceria: coachwork, carreta-cart, carrera-horse race; carretera: highway-road; coche-coach;

Example of a vehicle registration (1903):


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