History and Latin America

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Miners of the Red Mountain: Indian Labor in Potosi, 1545-1650

Peter Bakewell

Assumptions and speculation about the Spanish conquerors' treatment of the indigenous miners at Potisí, Peru, have long obscured the complexity of the motives in mining there. Peter Bakewell's innovative study incorporates the Indians' viewpoint, finding that they were willing to work for the Spaniards. Many of them quickly combined their technical skills and individual initiative to become the first silver mining entrepreneurs of Potosí. Although Indian entrepreneurship declined after the 1750s, a substantial portion of the native work force retained more control over its condition of labor and life than previously recognized.


Peter Bakewell is Edmund and Louise Kahn Professor of History, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He is also the author of A History of Latin America to 1825.

6 x 9 in. 232 pages 1 drawings, 4 halftones, 1 maps, 1 graphs