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.

ParadaA relief or change of men, mules or horses.
PareA gang or party of miners.
Partido busconesThose who mined the ore wherever it looked promising and hired tenateros to carry it to the surface. Miners received half the ore - partido - raised in this way.
PatioA yard, a court, floor of a court, on which the ores pass through the process of amalgamation.
PeonadaAccount of daily labour.
PepenaPicked ore of the best quality; rich ore.
PertenenciaExtent of 200 varas upon the course of a lode to which a title is acquired by denunciation; the breadth varies according to the underlay of the vein from 112.5 varas to 200 varas.
PesoUnit of currency equivalent to one contemporary American dollar.
PicaMiner's pick; a hard tipped iron hammer of about 8 to 12 pounds in weight
Piedras de manoOre of sufficiently good quality to be taken away by hand.
Pilares or PilarejasPillars of a mine.
PillarA support for the roof, of timber, stone, or other material.
PiņaThe cake of silver left after the quicksilver has been distilled off.
PitchLimits of the piece of ground set to tributers who agree with the Mine Captain to work it at a pre-negotiated price.
PitmanOne employed to look after the lifts of pumps and the drainage of the engine shaft.
PitworkThe pumps and other apparatus of the engine shaft.
PlanTo work de plan is to dig downwards, plan meaning floor.
PlanesThe deepest part of the mine.
PolvillonesRich ores.
PozoA sink on the inclination of the vein; a pit, a well.
Purserhe cashier or paymaster at the mines.

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