By Kendall W. Brown
For twenty-five years, Kendall Brown studied Potosí, Spanish America's maximum silver manufacturer and maybe the world's most renowned mining district. He examine the flood of silver that flowed from its Cerro Rico and realized of the toil of its miners. Potosí symbolized significant wealth and incredible agony. New global bullion encouraged the formation of the 1st international financial system yet while it had profound results for exertions, as mine operators and refiners resorted to severe types of coercion to safe staff. In
many situations the surroundings additionally suffered devastating harm.
All of this happened within the identify of wealth for person marketers, businesses, and the ruling states. but the query is still of ways a lot fiscal improvement mining controlled to provide in Latin the USA and what have been its social and ecological effects. Brown's specialize in the mythical mines at Potosí and comparability of its operations to these of different mines in Latin the US is a well-written and available research that's the first to span the colonial period to the present.
Part of the Diálogos sequence of Latin American reports
Read or Download A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present PDF
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Additional resources for A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present
A priest of austere and unforgiving character who had served in the Inquisition in Spain, Nestares Marín arrived in Potosí in late 1648. He soon concluded that some of the city’s principal silver traders had Potosí and Colonial Latin American Mining 27 paid off mint officials to produce defective coins from the silver they submitted. Some of the accused sought sanctuary in the city’s main church; two others tried to flee Peru. Among the accused was Captain Francisco Gómez de la Rocha, one of Potosí’s wealthiest, most generous citizens.
Capturing and reusing the mercury was crucial, because mercury was an expensive element in the refining process. Azogueros called the porous spongelike silver that was left in the retort a piña (pineapple). Potosí and Colonial Latin American Mining 23 Royal law required the refiner to submit the piña immediately to the treasury office and pay taxes on it. 5 percent. 8 percent of his original piña. The Crown forbade the circulation of silver in its untaxed piña form. At Potosí, which had a mint, a refiner could easily exchange his piña silver for coin.
By 1700, Potosí registered only 15 percent of American silver production, and that slipped to 10 percent by 1801–1810, reflecting both Potosí’s decadence and higher levels of output elsewhere. Colonial silver mining in Mexico first centered around the capital, especially to the southwest at Zumpango, Amatepec, Sultepec, and Taxco. 21 The conquerors had little mining or metallurgical experience, and Indian servants and slaves probably found most of the early sites. They worked the surface ores, using primitive smelters to refine the silver.