© Cornish Mexican Cultural Society
Building on Cornwall's International Heritage
The Cornish Mexican Cultural Society
Sociedad Cultural Cornish Mexicana
The advance party arrived on 11th June 1824
One of the group described his arrival at the Real or
‘where it once existed, and where it will ere long raise
its head again .... I say once existed because it now has
the air of a village sacked by a horde of Cossacks .....
the roofs are falling in, the walls crumbling down, and,
in short the whole village converted into a mass of ruins ....
The cause of this decay is obvious enough, the district has
no resources when the mines are not worked’.
4th February 1824 John Taylor formed
The Company of Adventurers in the Mines of Real del Monte
The Melpomme, the General Phipps, the Harrietand the Courier. The Melpomme arrived off Veracruz on 28th May 1825 and the other two ships in June. They carried 1,500 tons of equipment manufactured at Hayle and Perran in Cornwall including 9 steam engines with their large boilers.
In 1825 a band of 60 Cornishmen set sail from Falmouth, on the south coast of Cornwall, to seek their fortunes in the new world. On board was 1,500 tons of mining machinery.
They were leaving a Cornwall enjoying a booming mining industry and planned to travel to Real del Monte, deep in the Mexican interior, to use their skills and technology to rescue its ailing silver mining industry.
These prime Mexican mines had suffered years of neglect because of the war of independence which had been raging through Mexico.
It was to be a difficult journey for many reasons.
Following the long sea voyage they tried to put into port in Mexico, only to find that it was held by the Spanish.
They were forced to land the machinery on the beach at Mocambo and then haul it through jungle and swamp to their first depot at Santa Fe.
This was just the first of many setbacks -
Hardships and triumphs
It is largely because of the diary that we are able to follow their hardships and triumphs today.
During this haul through the jungle, the 'sickly season' started and both the Cornishmen and their Mexican helpers fell victim to the ravages of Yellow Fever. Thirty Cornish and 100 Mexicans died of the fever, forcing the survivors to abandon their equipment and head inland up into the mountains to Xalapa to try and escape the mosquitoes until the end of the rainy season.
It was three months before they were able to return to continue transporting the machinery and progress was painfully slow because they had to build their own road as they went.
It took them 14 months to travel just 250 miles -
On May 1st 1826, they finally entered Real del Monte, the highest town in Mexico at 10,000 feet above sea level.
As engineer John Buchanan reported in his diary: "After great labour and many accidents we conquered this great ascent and our convoy proceeded on our last stage to deposit its valuable cargo in Real del Monte".
The Cornish community flourished and stayed for the best part of a century -
They have never been forgotten according to Cornish descendant Ricardo Ludlow.
Cornish pasty -
They bake as many pasties here as in the whole of Cornwall, albeit spiced up for the Mexican palette, and it is said that the first game of Mexican soccer was played in the yard of the Dolores Mine!
Cornish miners football team in Mexico.
Panteon Seven hundred Cornish men and women are buried in the cemetery overlooking Real del Monte a