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History of mining - Atacama Region, Chile


Mining 1830 - 1920
W. Griem, 2006
Beazley, anuncio en Caldera

 Introduction to mining history 1830 - 1920

español  / deutsch / english

Cause or result? Globalization advanced strongly at that time - on the one hand mining products (copper, gold, silver, saltpeter) sought an international market - only globalization allowed a mine located in Chile to compete directly with a mine in Germany or England; on the other hand the technical development of mines and infrastructure can only be guaranteed in a globalized world.

During this period of time, a first wave of globalization began, also as a consequence of the worldwide technification, especially in the mining sector. Between 1840 / 1850 a strong activity in research trips can be detected.  But European entrepreneurs are also increasingly coming to the Atacama region to initiate mining activities. Examples are Darwin, Domeyko Edwards, Treutler, Schwartzenberg, Gay.  

Infrastructure improvements such as the construction of the railway could only be achieved in cooperation with countries such as the USA or England.

A major step forward was the completion of the telegraph lines, which were able to establish a connection with the USA or Europe using submarine cables. Now the mine owners in Copiapó were able to obtain information about, for example, the International Copper or Silver prices directly. The acquisition of machines abroad was also much easier.


Cables Submarinos en 1883
Map of submarine cables in the years around 1883 (modified from:"Chile im Jahre 1883; Polakowski (1884)")
in large


Literature and Links, Bibliographical reference:

TREUTLER, PAUL (1882): Fünfzehn Jahre in Südamerika an de Ufern des Stillen Ozeans. - 3 Bd., Seite 50; Weltpostverlag, Leipzig. (Collection W. Griem)

Carta completa en inglés: agradecimientos: Thanks to Sharron P. Schwartz (University of Exeter) - por el permiso de incorporar la traducción de la carta.


Polakowsky (traductor) (1884): Chile im Jahre 1883. aus dem spanischen übersetzt von Dr. H. Polakowsky. - Thormann & Goetsch (Berlin 1884) (Colección W. Griem)

Guía SudAmericana (1910-1912) y General de Chile. - 3ª Edición para 1910 - 1912; Valparaíso (Chile) (Biblioteca Museo Regional de Atacama)

SIMONIN, L. (1867): La vie Soutterraine ou les mines et les mineurs. - Paris, Libraire de L. Hachette et G. (Collection W. Griem)

Mining Atacama
History of Atacama


History of mining 1830-1920
Intro epoch 1830-1920
Technical innovations
Scientific innovations
Social conscience
Educational impulse
Mine safety
Records of the period::
Gilliss: Apires and barreteros
Work conditions of miners
Los Mineros (Tornero 1872)
Apires y barreteros - Tornero

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Mining history of Atacama, Chile
© Dr. Wolfgang Griem, Chile - all rights reserved  (Mail a Wolfgang Griem Uso de las páginas de y
Published: 8.10.2017; updated: 8.10.2017, 15.7.2018
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