Exploring the development of California and the relationship between the built environments of the mercury-mining industry and the emerging ethnic identities and communities in California, Mercury and the Making of California brings mercury to its rightful place alongside gold and silver in their defining roles in the development of the American West. In this pioneering study, Andrew Johnston examines the history of California’s mercury-mining industry—and its defining role in the development of the American West.
Mercury was crucial to refining gold and silver; therefore, its production and use were vital to creating and securing power and wealth in the west. The first industrialized mining in California, mercury mining had its own particular organization and structure shaped by powers first formed within the Spanish Empire, transformed by British imperial ambitions, and manipulated by groups made wealthy and powerful by controlling it. In addition, the landscapes of work and camp and the relations among the many groups—Mexicans, Chileans, Spanish, British, Irish, Cornish, American, and Chinese—throughout the industry’s history illustrate the complex history of race and ethnicity in the American West.
Combining rich documentary sources with a close examination of the existing physical landscape, Andrew Johnston explores both the detail of everyday work and life in the mines and the larger economic and social structures in which mercury mining was enmeshed, revealing the significance of mercury mining to Western history.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
University Press of Colorado
September 18, 2013
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.