By Kendall W. Brown
For twenty-five years, Kendall Brown studied Potosí, Spanish America's maximum silver manufacturer and maybe the world's most famed mining district. He examine the flood of silver that flowed from its Cerro Rico and realized of the toil of its miners. Potosí symbolized brilliant wealth and incredible agony. New global bullion encouraged the formation of the 1st international economic climate yet even as it had profound effects for exertions, as mine operators and refiners resorted to severe types of coercion to safe staff. In
many circumstances 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 continues to be of the way a lot monetary improvement mining controlled to provide in Latin the US and what have been its social and ecological results. Brown's concentrate on the mythical mines at Potosí and comparability of its operations to these of alternative mines in Latin the United States is a well-written and obtainable research that's the first to span the colonial period to the present.
Part of the Diálogos sequence of Latin American reports
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Additional resources for A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present
Another shortage occurred when Napoleon invaded Spain in 1808 and the French seized Almadén. The Bank of San Carlos did not run out of mercury completely, but supplies were very short. 16 Meanwhile, the fight for independence began, with patriot and royalist armies ravaging the region. The Bank of San Carlos no longer had funds to make credit available to refiners, only a handful of mills continued to grind ore, and mercury, when available, was much more expensive. In 1820 Potosí registered only twenty-seven thousand kilograms of silver, and its mining industry was nearly moribund.
At century’s end, the amount was nearly three times greater. Although New Spain (as the Mexican viceroyalty was called) had no Potosí within its territory, several conditions favored its long-term supremacy. First was simply the greater abundance of rich lodes of silver-bearing ores throughout its jurisdiction. Second, whereas most Andean mines lay above 3,500 meters, Mexican diggings were lower, at 2,000–2,500 meters. Workers at Potosí confronted the oxygen-poor atmosphere of 4,500 meters, 2,000 meters higher than Zacatecas and 2,500 meters above Guanajuato, two of the chief Mexican mining districts.
On the one hand, it could not jeopardize confidence in Spanish coinage by allowing the adulteration to continue. But on the other hand, if it removed and arrested everyone suspected of the crime, it might upset Potosí’s delicate credit market. Potosí’s mine operators and azogueros depended on working capital they obtained from several of the silver merchants who were accused of involvement in the mint scandal. Finally, the council sent Francisco de Nestares Marín to investigate and clean up the mess.
A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present by Kendall W. Brown