A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era by Kendall W. Brown

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 discovered of the toil of its miners. Potosí symbolized incredible wealth and unimaginable discomfort. New global bullion prompted the formation of the 1st global economic climate yet whilst it had profound results for exertions, as mine operators and refiners resorted to severe kinds of coercion to safe employees. 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 is still of the way a lot financial improvement mining controlled to supply in Latin the US and what have been its social and ecological outcomes. Brown's concentrate on the mythical mines at Potosí and comparability of its operations to these of different mines in Latin the US 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 experiences

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Extra info for A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present

Sample text

Toledo insisted that the Huancavelica operators had no absolute right to their claims and expropriated their mines in the Crown’s name. Despite Cabrera’s protests and lawsuits, Toledo prevailed. He contracted with some of the former claimholders to continue operations and stipulated the amount of mercury they were to produce and the price the government would pay for it. Under his system, the Huancavelica treasury office bought the mercury and shipped it to Potosí and the other silver mines for sale.

In 1801, Potosí registered fewer than forty thousand kilograms of silver, whereas it had been producing nearly eighty thousand kilograms per year in the 1790s. 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.

Potosí and Colonial Latin American Mining 31 This situation affected the nature of the labor pool. At Sultepec and Taxco the Spaniards made encomienda and enslaved Indians work in the mines. As the native population declined due to epidemic diseases, the Spanish forced the neighboring towns and villages to provide rotating labor drafts (the repartimiento) around midcentury. Forced labor was less common in the north, although the miners and refiners occasionally used slaves, both indigenous and African.

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