Chapter Three Mine Development

The Silver Rush in this part of Spain was nearly as lawless as the American Gold Rush. While fraudsters and hucksters made their killing, the laws governing Spanish mining activity were almost as damaging. The "get rick quick" approach to mining was all pervading.

The coming of the foreigners, in this case La Compañia de Águilas with its Rothschild backers, had its impact. Gradually, the malacates, or horse whims, were replaced by steam powered winches, and steel cables replaced esparto ropes. You can look down the pozos, or mine shafts, and look up at the elegant castilletes de mampostería, or masonry pulley supports that stand like guardians of the valleys.