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.

GadA pointed wedge of a peculiar form having its sides of a parabolic figure.
GaleraA large shed, a mill-house, or grinding mill; a large building on the floor of which the treading in of the quicksilver in amalgamation takes place.
GambusinoProspector or petty miner.
GangueWaste matrix of ore.
GolpeadorA hammer man or striker.
GozzanOxide of iron and quartz, generally occurring in lodes at shallow depths.
GrassThe surface of a mine. A grass captain was therefore one in charge of surface operations.
GremioMining guild.
Griddle or RiddleA sieve.
GuanoFossilised bird droppings.
GunniesLevels or workings.

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