The Cornish in Latin America

Late Nineteenth Century view of the 'Colônia Inglêsa' , Morro Velho, Minas Gerais Brazil. Photograph courtesy Malcolm Jones

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My ancestors, L-R Joseph, William and James Inch, taken at Chenhall's Studio Redruth in the late 1860s, prior to their migration to Chile

My Inch family before (top) and after (below) migration to Chile. A descendant of William (centre top), Bernard Joseph Inch, is currently a Government Representative for the mining region of Potosí and served as a minister with portfolio in the Bolivian Government in the 1990s. 

The Inch brothers L-R William, James and Joseph. This photograph was taken in Chile in the late 1880s and sent to their sister Martha Harvey, my g.g.grandmother, in Cornwall

Please bookmark this site for future visits, as new information is being regularly added and the database of Cornish migrants is being constantly updated.

Welcome to this website devoted to the Cornish in Latin America. For several years I have been researching and writing about nineteenth and early twentieth century Cornish migration to South and Central America and the Spanish Caribbean. My interest was stimulated after discovering that I had several Cornish ancestors who migrated there as Mine Agents in the late nineteenth century: James, Joseph and William Inch, sons of the Mine Agent of Wheal Buller, Captain James Inch of Redruth. The former two brothers went to Chile and the latter to Chile and then Bolivia. Additionally, their brother, John Veall Inch, was a Mine Captain at Pachuca Mexico and their brother in law Richard Martin Kent migrated to Bolivia. In turn his children, Richard and Katie Kent, a nephew and a niece to the Inch brothers, migrated to Bolivia and Chile respectively. 

Much has been written about Cornish migration overseas, but I found that apart from A. C. Todd's book on Cornish miners in Mexico, there was no definitive work that might explain the migration of many thousands of Cornish who like my ancestors, went to Latin America. Intrigued and challenged, I set about addressing this lack of research that culminated in the award of PhD in the summer of 2003 at the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter.

I have amassed a great deal of information during the course of my studies and decided to make this accessible to those people, who like me, have an interest in this subject. It is hoped that this site will also further the considerable work being undertaken on migration to Latin America from other parts of the British Isles. This website contains an historical overview that seeks to answer several fundamental questions: who were the migrants, why and when did they leave Cornwall, where did they migrate from and where did they settle? Additionally, a balanced evaluation of the Cornish presence in Latin America is presented and the transnational aspect of life arising from migration which shaped the way people lived in communities on both sides of the Atlantic is not ignored.

In spite of many years of research, the data that I have presented here is merely the tip of the iceberg. But maybe you can help to augment this? Do you have information about your Cornish ancestors' migration there that you would be willing to submit, or any letters, diaries, photographs of people, places mines or headstones that you would be willing to share?

It is my intention that this website will stimulate further interest in the historic transnational Cornish connections with many parts of Latin America. I hope that in the future we will see Cornish-Brazilian, Chilean, and Mexican associations similar to those in other parts of the Cornish world and maybe even Cornish towns twinned with their counterparts in South and Central America and the Caribbean. It is time that the Cornish in Latin America are recognised as a vital part of the Cornish diaspora.

Enquiries and general comments about this website can be directed to:

Dr Sharron P. Schwartz

Visitors are reminded that the Contents of this site are protected by copyright. You are not entitled to copy, distribute or transmit any of the Content, or to incorporate any of it into any website (except by way of linkage) or other work whatsoever, nor may you broadcast, publish or facilitate any public performance of Content.

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