Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Bit of Cornwall in Mexico

In 1825, sixty Cornish miners sailed from Falmouth to the port of Vera Cruz in Mexico, and from there travelled by horse and cart along rough roads to a small town called Mineral Del Monte in Hidalgo state, 10,000ft up in the arid mountains. Cornwall had been enjoying a tin-mining boom and so the men had been hired, along with 1,500 tons of state-of-the-art equipment, to help re-invigorate Hidalgo's silver mining industry. In effect they were bringing the industrial revolution to Mexico.
After a while their families joined them, and then more, so that by 1910 there were some 350 Cornish families living in Mineral Del Monte. At the same time they married locals, and introduced football, cornish pasties and Methodism into the area. There are still people around with surnames like Pascoe, Pengelly and Ludlow. 
Liz being Cornish, we've been meaning to visit for ages, and finally made the trip today. But what really hurried its up was finding out, only recently, that Liz's Great Great Grandmother's nephew was one of those miners who came out in the 19th century. He was called John Gundry (the son of a famous Cornish wrestler as it happened). 
The town has four mines, two of which are well preserved and have been converted into museums. We visited one and in the main square sampled a cornish paste, as they're called here: savoury ones with meat & potato (spiced up a bit with cilli) and sweet ones with fruit puree. 
We then found the Pantheon Ingles (English cemetery) in which there are some 300 English graves, mostly Cornish. And there we found John Gundry. And his son, Tom (who died down a mine aged only 21). It was a touching moment. So here's Liz with her very distant relative.

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