The history of Real del Monte, Mexico’s little slice of Cornwall – by Diana Cooper-Richet (The Conversation – December 12, 2017)

Sitting at an altitude of 2,700 metres, Real del Monte is a pretty town in the Mexican state of Hidalgo. But with its architecture, heritage of silver mining and meat pasties, it is also a little slice of Cornwall, a region in the southwest of England.

The silver mines surrounding Real del Monte were the source of more than half the silver produced during the 300 years that Spain rule Mexico (1521–1821). By 1824, however, they were in bad condition, and were bought by a group of English investors.

To get the mines working again, the investors formed the Company of the Gentlemen Adventurers in the Mines of Real del Monte, and recruited more than 130 miners and engineers from Cornwall. When they arrived a year later in Veracruz, some never got any further, falling victim to an outbreak of yellow fever.

It took the others more than a year to reach Real del Monte, hauling their Cornish steam engines through marshes and rainforests with the help of donkeys. The famous engines were used to drain the water in the Cornish mines and would do the same job in Mexico.

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