The Cornish in Latin America

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Significant numbers of Cornish miners arrived from 1824-5 to work in Latin American mines that lay derelict, abandoned and flooded due to the Wars of Emancipation raging across the continent. Backed by large amounts of British capital some mines were rehabilitated and once more became successful enterprises. In several mining regions of Latin America, such as Fresnillo and Pachuca-Real del Monte in Mexico, the signs of a Cornish industrial landscape complete with masonry engine houses with integral chimneys, betray the involvement of the Cornish in bringing the industrial revolution to those shores. 

But far less tangible evidence for their intimate connection with the Latin American mining industry exists on countless mine maps and plans, the workings often described in typically Cornish terms. For not only did the Cornish bring with them new working practices such as the tribute system, but a vast new mining terminology, some of it derived from the Cornish language. This was added and blended to a rich Ibero-American technical vocabulary resulting in a global mining language. Some of the most common terms and phrases are given; Ibero-American terms are in italics.

AbraA fissure, a considerable opening or cavity in a mountain rock or lode.
AchicarFrom the Spanish to diminish; refers to the lowering of water in a mine by an achicador.
AchicadorA person employed to perform the lowering of water in a mine (achicar).
AdemadorA mining carpenter, a timber man.
AdemeTimber work for supporting and securing the works of the mine.
AdemadorOne responsible for the interior timberwork (ademe) of a mine.
AditA horizontal level taken up at the foot of a hill, and either driven on the lode, or to intersect it, for dewatering or draining the mine at that level; and also occasionally used for bringing out the ores.
AdventurersThe individuals who have parts or shares in a mine.
AfinaciónRefining; separating the desirable metal from the undesirable material.
AlmadanetaA stamp head.
AlimentosAllowance to mine owners, as subsistence, until their mines become profitable.
AltoThe upper part.
AmparoThe maintenance of the legal right of ownership by continued possession. In mining, this can only be preserved by keeping a certain number of men at work at certain periods as determined by the mining code.
ApartadoAn establishment for parting silver and gold.
ApericadoAn ore.
AperosUtensils; also materials, such as gunpowder and paper for blasting etc.
ApireOre carrier.
ApolvilladosRich ores.
ArchA piece of ground that is left unworked near a shaft.
ArrastreSimple mill for grinding ores, consisting of a large stone at the end of a pole attached to a central pivot, dragged in circles by a horse or mule thereby pulverising the ore. Also referred to as a molienda. Employed in the process of amalgamation of silver and gold ores.
ArrastrarTo drag. Applied to where veins unite and form one
ArrieroA muleteer.
Arroba25 Spanish pounds.
Assay-houseThe house in which the ores are assayed.
Atajo abiertoApplied to a mine when worked in the manner of a quarry, or by an open cut in a rock or mountain.
AtierrasWaste from mine workings.
AttleWaste from mine workings.
Aviador or AviosThe supplies and implements necessary for mining; the person who lends funds for mining or provides supplies.
AvioFunds advanced for working mines.
AzogueQuicksilver - silver ore, adapted for amalgamation.

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