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.

MaceraHe who has the charge of direction of crushing and grinding the ore previous to amalgamation.
MacizoaA solid or untouched part of the lode.
MagistralCopper pyrites, used in amalgamation.
MalacateA horse whim.
MandónMaster miner or overseer.
MangaLevel divided for ventilation; air pipes; a bag or strainer used to separate the quicksilver from the pella.
Marco8 ounces, or one Spanish pound.
Marquesitas'Mundic' or iron pyrites.
MazaStamp head for pounding the ores.
Medidas de minaThe boundaries of the mine. Until 1783 ordinary Spanish silver mines were 120 varas by 60 varas, except that the discoverer of the lode could claim 160 by 80 varas. Ordinary Spanish gold mines were 80 varas by 40 varas, and the discover's 100 by 50 varas. After 1783 Spanish claims were 100 varas square.
MinaA mine. The first mine discovered on a lode is named the descubridora; all others are known as ordinaries.
MineralOre, mineral; applied to a mining district, formerly referred to as Real del Minas.
MoliendaThe act of grinding or pounding the ores. Sometimes used to designate the ore ground 'la molienda'.
Molino or MorteroStamping mill.
MolonqueA piece of very rich ore with a metallic content of over half of that desired.
MontonA heap of ore, a batch under the process of amalgamation, varying in different districts: At Catorce, 36 quintals; at Guanajuato, 35 quintals; at Real del Monte, Pachuca, Sultepec and Tasco, 30 qunitals; Zacatecas and Sombrerete, 20; Fresnillo, 18; Bolaños, 15 and at Valenciana, 32.
MundicIron Pyrites.

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