This volume focuses on Latin America, since it was mainly there that Europeans (or their colonial descendants) actually engaged in mining in the 16th-19th centuries; elsewhere they traded metals mined by others. The principal metals produced, and in prodigious quantities, were silver, in the Spanish colonies, and gold, mainly in Brazil in the 18th century. These articles analyse the volume and pattern of production and the forms of labour found in mining. Particular attention is given to the technologies of extraction and refining, notably the adoption of the mercury amalgamation process: this had a major impact, driving down silver production costs; because the mercury mines were a royal monopoly, it also handed control to the Spanish crown.
'European and Non-European Societies and Christianity and Missions along with the other volumes in An Expanding World should become a standard collection for any academic library. The invaluable bibliography, the variety of themes, and the historical problems will engage students of all levels, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral, in many aspects of early modern and world history for years to come.' Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXX, No. 1 'This volume…contains important information on numerous aspects of early modern American history. Moreover, the book presents a unique vantage point from which to view crucial building blocks of an emerging global economy…It is a ’must-buy’ for every academic library in the world.' Journal of World History
Contents: Introduction; Wangara, Akan and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries, Ivor Wilks; Aboriginal metallurgy and metalworking in Spanish America: a brief overview, Robert C. West; Early silver mining in New Spain, 1531-1555, Robert C. West; Technological change in PotosÃ: the silver boom of the 1570s, Peter Bakewell; Bartolomé de Medina: the patio process and the 16th-century silver crisis, Alan Probert; Forced and free labour in late colonial PotosÃ, Enrique Tandeter; Notes on the Mexican silver mining industry in the 1590’s, Peter Bakewell; Wages, ore sharing, and peasant agriculture: labour in Oruro’s silver mines, 1607-1720, Ann Zulawski; Long-term silver mining trends in Spanish America: a comparative analysis of Peru and Mexico, Richard L. Garner; The Mexican mining industry in the 18th century, John H. Coatsworth; Silver production in the viceroyalty of Peru, 1776-1824, John Fisher; Mexican silver mining in the 18th century: the revival of Zacatecas, D. A. Brading; Colonial Brazil: the gold cycle, c. 1690-1750, A.J.R. Russell-Wood; Index.