Page images
PDF
EPUB

iv. 21 and 244 degrees. The celebrated mines of Guanaxuato are only distant in a straight line from those of San Luis Potosi 30 leagues : from San Luis Potosi to Zacatecas the distance is 34 leagues ; from Zacatecas to Catorce 31, and from Catorce to Durango 74 leagues. It is remarkable enough that this metalliek wealth of Mexico and Peru, should be placed at an almost equal distance in the two hemispheres from the equator.

In the vast extent which separates the mines of Potosi and la Paz from those of Mexico, there are no others, which throw into circulation a great mass of the precious metals, but Pasco and Chota. Advancing from the Cerro de Gualgayoc northwards, we find only the gold washed down at Choco, and in the province of Antioquia, and the recently discovered silver veins of Vega de Supia. It is the same with the Cordillera of the Andes, as with all the mountains of Europe, in which metals are very unequally distributed. The province of Quito, and the Eastern part of the kingdom of New Granada, from the go of South latitude, to the age of North latitude; the Isthmus of Panama, and the mountains of Guatimala, contain for a length of 600 leagues, vast extents of ground in which no vein has hitherto been wrought with any degree of success' It would not, however, be accurate, to advance that these countries which have in a degree, been convulsed with volcanos are entirely destitnte of gold and silver ore. Numerous metalliferous depositories may be concealed by the super-position of strata of basalt, amygdaloid, porphyry with greenstone base, and other rocks comprehended by geo-logists, under the general name of trappformation.

With respect to the Mexican minés in particular, they may be considered as forming eight groups (Erz-refiere) which are almost all placed either on the ridge or on the Western slope of the Cordillera of Anahuac.

The first of these groups is the most considerable in produce; it includes the contiguous districts of Guanaxuato, San Luis Potosi, Charcas, Catorce, Zacatecas, Asientos de Ybarra, Fresnillo, and Sombrerete. The mines situated to the West of the town of Durango, as well as those of the province of Cinaloa, belong to the second; for the mines of Guarisamey, Copala, Cosala, and Rosario are near enough to one another to be classed under the same geological division. The third group, the most' northern of New Spain, is that of Parral, which comprehends the mines of Chihuahua and Cosiguiriachi. It extends from the 27° to the 29° of latitude. To the northnorth-east of Mexico, the Real del Monte or Pachuca, and those of Zimapan, or the Doctor, may be stiled the fourth, and fifth groups. Bolaños. (in the Intendancy, of Guadalaxara) Tasco, and Oaxaca are the central points of the sixth, seventh, and eighth groupes of mines of New Spain. This general view is sufficient to prove that this kingdom, like the antient Continent, contains vast extents of country, apparently almost totally destitute of metalliferous veins. No considerable, operation has been hitherto carried on in the Intendancies of Puebla and Vera Cruz, or in the plains of secondary formation, situated on the left bank of the Rio del Norte, or in New Mexico.

The following table indicates not the relative wealth, or unequal distribution of the metals considered in a geographical point of view, but the quantity of money which in the present state of the mines, is extracted from the different parts of the kingdom of New Spain. We have classed the mines, according to the order already laid down, indicating the name of the chief place which is the central point of the group, and the surface of the country in which the different works are to be found. Several groupes are naturally divided into districts which form so many subdivisions or particular systems.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Marcs of silver

Mean Produce of the Mines of New

Spain, including the Mines of the
northern part of New Biscay, and
those of Oaxaca, above

2,500,000

We shall afterwards compare the produce of the silver mines of Mexico, with that of the different mines of Europe. It will suffice in this place to observe, that the two millions and a half of marcs of silver annually exported from Vera Cruz, are equal to two thirds of the silver annually extracted from the whole globe. The eight groups into which we have divided the mines of New Spain, occupy a surface of 12,000 square leagues, or a tenth of the whole extent of the kingdom. When we look at the immense wealth of a very small number of mines, for example, the mine of Valenciana, and that of Rayas at Guanaxuato, or the principal veins (vetas madres) of Catorce, Zacatecas, and Real del Monte, we easily perceive that more than 1,400,000 marcs of silver are produced in an extent of surface, not equal in size to that of the district of the mines of Freiberg.

If the quantity of silver annually extracted from the mines of Mexico is ten times greater than what is furnished by all the mines of Europe, on the other hand, gold is not much more abundant in New Spain than in Hungary and Transylvania. These two last

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »