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 really good wealth and unimaginable agony. New global bullion inspired the formation of the 1st international economic climate yet while it had profound results for exertions, as mine operators and refiners resorted to severe kinds 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 ways a lot fiscal improvement mining controlled to supply in Latin the United States 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 United States is a well-written and obtainable examine that's the first to span the colonial period to the present.
Part of the Diálogos sequence of Latin American experiences
Read Online or Download A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present PDF
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Additional info for A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present
Slow improvement began in 1736, when the Crown halved the principal mining tax from a fifth to a tenth (diezmo), hoping the lower tariff would stimulate silver output by increasing the industry’s profitability. Despite the poor quality of ore, silver production increased gradually, reaching seventy thousand to eighty thousand kilograms per year from 1770 to 1800. A number of factors enabled the modest recovery. The Crown supplied more mercury and by the 1770s had dropped its price to the refiners.
The state also monopolized the distribution and sale of mercury. It collected the royal fifth on the Huancavelica distillers’ mercury, but sold the quicksilver at cost plus the expense of transporting it to the silver mines. To make quicksilver more accessible to refiners, the treasury sold it on credit. Some azogueros never paid for the mercury advanced to them, creating huge fiscal deficits. In the late seventeenth century, the Potosí refiners owed the treasury more than a million pesos in mercury debts, most of which the Crown never collected.
Besides the great Mexican silver boom of the 1700s and Potosí’s modest recovery, other areas of Spanish America produced substantial amounts of the metal as well. Several sites in Chile, Central America, and especially Peru added to the bonanza. Around 1800, in fact, azogueros at Cerro de Pasco in Peru surpassed the output of Potosí. Sites such as Hualgayoc, Cailloma, and Huantajaya also added to the Andean total. Most of these strikes, however, were small compared with the discoveries at Potosí, Zacatecas, or Guanajuato, and within a couple of decades their ores were in general exhausted.
A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present by Kendall W. Brown