Atacama virtual: English

History of the Atacama region (Chile): Mining

R. A. Philippi (1856): The village Tres Puntas

Museo Virtual, Atacama
W. Griem, 2006 - 2017

Philippi Carta del sector Trespuntas de Philippi
Ruinen eines Schornsteins in Tres Punta, Atacamawüste

 Literature: History of mining at Atacama desert

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Philippi describes the mining place Tres Puntas in a very real way. It does not gloss over anything and also makes it clear that many mines do not make a profit at all. The sale of water from the pits is often the main source of income.

From Chañaral to Trespuntas, the "silver-town", there are still 7-1/2 leguas. Trespuntas is located 5447 feet above sea level in the saddest area, in the middle of the desert, where you don't see a green stalk, where there is no drop of water. The village has only existed for a few years and may have 2-3000 inhabitants; the houses are almost only wooden huts, or dry walls near the pits; the roofs are mostly only rush mats. Perhaps 80 or more mines are being worked on, four or five of which yield an enormously rich yield, give half a dozen moderate profits, and the others are being worked on in hopes of finding silver in greater depths; the most common ore here is Proustite (Ag3AsS3; orig.: Rothgültigerz).

The gold mines are of minor importance. Some mines cover the costs by selling the mine water! but most of the water comes from 10 Ieguas far, from one place Puquios, and the mule charge costs a Spanish thaler. Each mule drinks water daily for 2 Real (10 sgr.) and eats barley daily for a Prussian thaler. Life in this charming place is almost as Pöppig of Cerro de Pasco describes it.

On the old Inca Trail, if you have a good horse, you should be able to ride in 7 hours to Copiapó, the trail will be calculated to 30 Leguas, but in our opinion it is only 19 2/3 Leguas long; we returned it in less than two days by riding at night, and arrived the 27th of February happily in Copiapó, very pleased to see a civilized man.


The original texts were digitized, converted to ASCII and edited by Dr. Wolfgang Griem. Sketches and drawings are digitally cleaned.

Malacate en Tres Puntas de Philippi
Picture from R. A. Philippi: Town of Tres Puntas in Atacama - see picture total (Chapter Pictures of Chile and Atacama) - see winches in mining (more)

Mining Atacama
History of Atacama


Content Mining
List of the districts
Mining between 1830 to 1920
Tres Puntas

Ruins of village, Cementerio
Buena Esperanza, Cobriza
Cronología de Tres Puntas
Treutler: Living at Tres Puntas
Treutler: Pub at Tres Puntas
Treutler: Interior Salvadora
Treutler: Working situation
Treutler: Minería Tres Puntas
Treutler: Terremoto Tres Puntas
Treutler: Accidente Tres Puntas
San Román: Geol. of Tres Puntas
Carta minero de Cornwall
Philippi at Tres Puntas
Philippi descripción Tres Puntas
Philippi: Historia Tres Puntas
Cartas sector Tres Puntas
Listado minas de Tres Puntas
Estadísticas de Tres Puntas

Cerro Blanco
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R. A. Philippi
Philippi en Caldera
Philippi: Imagen de Caldera
Viaje en tren Caldera a Copiapó
Philippi en Copiapó (1853)
Camino del Inca en Atacama
Philippi y Tres Puntas (1856)
Philippi y Tres Puntas (1860)
Philippi: Historia Tres Puntas
Philippi (1856) y el clima
Philippi (1856): Fenómenos del desierto

Información adicional
Cronología histórica de la Región
Minería de Atacama
El Ferrocarril en Atacama
Cartas y Mapas de Atacama
Cartas históricas de Atacama
Listado de personajes de Atacama

Mining history of Atacama
Mining in the years 1830-1920
List of minig districts Atacama
Malacate (Philippi, 1860)
Malacate con caballo (Simonin 1869)

geovirtual en english - Atacama and geology

PHILIPPI, RODULFO AMANDO (1860): Viage al Desierto de Atacama, hecho de orden del gobierno de Chile en el verano 1853-54.- 236 +6 p. 25 tablas; 7 perfiles  Halle Sajonia, Librería Eduardo Anton.

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Published (spanish): 19.9. 2017; Updated: 8.10.2017
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