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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 impressive wealth and unimaginable discomfort. New international bullion motivated the formation of the 1st global economic system yet whilst it had profound outcomes for hard work, as mine operators and refiners resorted to severe different types of coercion to safe employees. 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 the way a lot monetary improvement mining controlled to provide in Latin the USA 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 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

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Clandestine trade with the Portuguese in Brazil also offered untaxed silver another outlet. It is hard to determine the extent of such illegal silver refining. Let us assume, however, that Peter Bakewell’s estimate of 12 percent contraband is correct for 1635. That would mean that azogueros were producing about 150 marks of silver for each hundred pounds of mercury they purchased, even though the official correspondencia was only 130 or so marks. 9 This would have meant, however, that ore quality had not declined during the intervening years, and this was unlikely.

Its ores and output of refined silver experienced a gradual decline. The Crown’s other American revenues also had limits, as Philip II’s successors learned in the 1600s, when their domestic and international commitments outstripped Spain’s economic resources. Neither did Potosí continue to dominate New World silver production. Its portion of total silver output subsided as mining expanded in other parts of Spanish America, particularly in Mexico. 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.

Mining districts of South America problem with flooded pits. Furthermore, because they lay near the surface, extraction costs were relatively low: mine owners did not have to dig expensive tunnels to reach them. The negrillos, on the other hand, were more complicated, although not impossible, to refine, and because they usually lay below the water table, drainage problems made their extraction costly. The Lure of Gold, the Wealth of Silver 11 Some Mexican and Andean districts also refined small quantities of gold found in the silver ore.

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