currently writing a new book, entitled
Cornish Mineworkers in Latin America: Migration and Transnational
Identity and is due to be published by
Exeter University Press.
book will be the first to cover the migration of the Cornish to Latin
America and breaks new ground in that it adopts a transnational
perspective on identities, links and movement.
Much previous historical work on Cornish
migration has tended to focus on the effects of migrants’ arrival in
receiving communities. But my book is equally concerned with the less
well-studied sending side of the migration continuum and offers a close
range view from the migrants’ communities of origin. It is intended to
be an anthropological study of how Cornish migration to Latin America
was initiated, organised, and articulated with larger socio-economic
processes through time, as well as an ethnographic discourse of the
various consequences of international migration for those Cornish in
both sending and receiving communities. More soon...
The papers below are presented in Portable
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‘Professor’ in Peru: Trevithick and the Transatlantic Migration of
the Industrial Revolution (PDF Format)
Much has been written about the life and inventions of Richard
Trevithick: he is without doubt, Cornwall’s most famous son. Yet,
biographers and historians have presented his career in Latin America
where he spent over a decade after 1816, as a failure, summed up by his
penniless arrival at Hayle. However, this is to do the man an injustice.
This paper adopts a different approach and concentrates instead on the
significant ramifications that followed his arrival in Peru for the
transatlantic relationship between Britain and Latin America in the
decades that followed. It finally examines what impact Trevithick’s
time in South America was to have on the place of his birth – the
industrial region of Cornwall.
the Cult of “Cousin Jack”: Cornish Miners in Latin America 1812-1848
and the Development of an International Mining Labour Market
This essay concentrates on the pioneering
exportation of metalliferous mining skills and steam technology to Latin
America by Cornish miners, or 'Cousin Jacks', as they were
colloquially known. In doing so
it will discuss how Cornish miners established a hard won cult following in the
early nineteenth century in the mines of South and
Central America, a position that was by no means certain as they were
seriously challenged by Ibero-American and German miners for the coveted
crown of mining excellence. This essay contends that Latin America, as an early
recipient of British capital and industrial technology, was the
birthplace of the modern integrated global mining economy with its
attendant capital and labour markets. In the expanding
international mining industry Cornish miners, 'the light infantry of
capital' and flag-bearers of empire, were in the vanguard. The valuable
experience gained in Latin America equipped them well to dominate the
global mining labour market for over a century.