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 wonderful wealth and unimaginable discomfort. New international bullion motivated the formation of the 1st international economic system yet whilst it had profound results 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 is still of the way a lot fiscal improvement mining controlled to provide in Latin the United States and what have been its social and ecological outcomes. 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 experiences
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Extra resources for A History of Mining in Latin America : From the Colonial Era to the Present
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. Potosí and Colonial Latin American Mining 29 Silver Production Elsewhere in Colonial Spanish America In the late 1500s, Potosí’s flood of silver was so great that it obscured the output of other mining districts.
From 1350 to 1500 silver output lagged but demand for bullion grew because of heightened commercial activity. Trade with the Levant for goods from India and the Far East intensified, as did the import of fine furs from Russia through the Baltic. This drained bullion out of Europe, which was forced to use gold and especially silver to pay off its commercial deficit. 29 As a result, gold’s worth declined against silver from 1350 to the time of Columbus but then rose once the Spanish American silver mines began producing.
Europe’s gold and especially its silver, much of it obtained from the New World, flowed to India, China, and the Spice Islands as payment for silks and spices. 5–7:1, whereas in Spain, as indicated above, the ratio was 12–14:1. ”32 Although Europeans traded some woolen textiles, metal products, and other goods for the luxuries of the East, Asian demand for European goods was not nearly as strong as the European taste for Eastern luxuries. Given this negative balance of trade, European merchants often had to pay for 40 to 50 percent of their purchases in silver.