Mines of Silver and Gold in the Americas

1st Edition

Peter Bakewell

Routledge
Published May 29, 1997
Reference - 420 Pages
ISBN 9780860785132 - CAT# Y284211
Series: An Expanding World: The European Impact on World History, 1450 to 1800

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Summary

This volume focuses on Latin America, since it was mainly there that Europeans (or their colonial descendants) actually engaged in mining in the 16th-19th centuries; elsewhere they traded metals mined by others. The principal metals produced, and in prodigious quantities, were silver, in the Spanish colonies, and gold, mainly in Brazil in the 18th century. These articles analyse the volume and pattern of production and the forms of labour found in mining. Particular attention is given to the technologies of extraction and refining, notably the adoption of the mercury amalgamation process: this had a major impact, driving down silver production costs; because the mercury mines were a royal monopoly, it also handed control to the Spanish crown.

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