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Thread: Questioning the Spanish and old timers

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  1. #1

    Aug 2017
    Georgia/Alabama
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    Questioning the Spanish and old timers

    Has anybody ever wondered how the Spanish were so good at finding gold? It appears that wherever the Spanish had mined, the old timers stumbled upon those same sights 250-300 years later. But when you try to look into the knowledge that these old timers possessed, it seems to have been either lost or covered up, or taken to the grave.

    What made these prospectors between the 1500's and 1800's so darn good?

    They say that they worked the placers first, and then moved into hard rock. Surely, gold couldn't have been that prominent. Take Georgia for example. Although I HIGHLY disagree with it, history tells us that the Spanish was unsuccessful in finding gold in Georgia. But if placers and nuggets were so profound and could be seen sitting on top of the ground by the whites in the early 1800's, then how did the Spanish miss it?

    In any event, something told the Spanish to come to Georgia for gold...so they had to have known it was here. And I think somehow the later while settlers learned about the Spanish hunts, and looked in those same areas, but were 200 years to late. Either way, it's almost like there was hidden knowledge that the Spanish had to find these deposits. They mined in all the gold rush areas, years and years, before the 1800's gold rushes.

    With travel as hard as it was back then, with Spain and other European countries as far away as they were...thats a big gamble to just decide to ship off to sea to get the gold in the new world. They had to have known something. Which also makes me question the validity of the fountain of youth. Now, I don't usually believe in fairy tales, but if these Spaniards were willing to sail across hellish seas for the gold they KNEW wad here, it really makes you wonder if the fountain of youth was in fact real. But that's a whole other question.

    I get on side rants, but I'm mostly wondering about this ancient knowledge of gold mining. Surely, not everybody was a geologist. So how did they know!
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  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    rooster

    Nov 2013
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    if you will get the book de re metallica written in latin in 1556 by agricola it will explain many of your questions you can buy this book on line or from action mining this book was translated to english in 1950 by herbet clark hoover and was reprinted by dover publications inc. new york it is well worth the cost . rgb1

  3. #3
    us
    Amature Historian and World Traveler.

    Feb 2013
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    They just ask questions when coming here. The information on location was given to them. From there, the searched for and enslaved the people to find. Nothing 'good" about this.


    There are no ancient secrets to decoding the past, there is only great research and applied logic.


  4. #4
    bug
    bug is offline

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    Well they were not that good. They missed one of the largest gold deposits in the world- the California Motherload belt

  5. #5
    us
    www.FindingGOLDinColorado.com

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    Questioning the Spanish and old timers

    Quote Originally Posted by bug View Post
    Well they were not that good. They missed one of the largest gold deposits in the world- the California Motherload belt
    Similarly here in central CO they walked right past rich gold placers to dig silver lode deposits. A hundred years later the US gold rush prospectors for conquistador armor in the tunnels...and “pound diggin’s” a mile away! (Near central city CO)
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  6. #6

    Aug 2017
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    I don't think they did miss the gold. They might have enslaved people to find it...but how did they know to head straight for FL/GA and straight for the east coast. Okay, set the Spaniards aside. How were the old timers so good at finders not only placers, but veins as well. They recovered MICROSCOPIC gold. How did they know it was there. The geological surveying was done AFTER all the placer, rock, and hydraulic mining. So, it's not like they had geology bulletins to read. And surely they weren't all geologists. Mining universities didn't even start until WAY after the gold rushes...but yet, somehow, they knew where it go.
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  7. #7
    bug
    bug is offline

    Jun 2008
    Nor Cal
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    By the sweat of their brows. The hoards of miners were hard working people and did whatever it took to get to the gold. No regulations, nothing to stop them. In the California Motherload foothills, every creek was prospected, and as they followed the pay, it led to discoveries of veins and seams. Their minds were also sharp and unpolluted and all energy was spent in the search for gold.
    Prior to the goldrush in California, wildfires swept through the forests and grasslands on a regular basis, cleaning the underbrush and leaving the land clean.
    This made finding veins and hidden placers much easier after the winter rains came and washed the land surface clean.

  8. #8
    us
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    The Spanish were good at finding gold because they came here before any other prospectors and had untouched deposits to pick from.
    The old timers were good at finding gold because it was their profession. Their lives or at least the quality of their lives depended on their ability to find gold. If they sucked at it they starved.
    Today 90% of prospectors do it for the fun of it. If we had motivation like the old timers or opportunities like the Spaniards then prospecting would certainly be more interesting.

  9. #9
    us
    RRJ

    Aug 2013
    Ormond Beach
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    The Spanish also chopped the hands and feet off the Indians while asking where the gold was.
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  10. #10
    us
    Hardrock prospector

    May 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_rich View Post
    The Spanish also chopped the hands and feet off the Indians while asking where the gold was.
    Chopping off hands and feet can get a lot of answers very quick any where.
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  11. #11
    us
    Oct 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonaro View Post
    The Spanish were good at finding gold because they came here before any other prospectors and had untouched deposits to pick from.
    The old timers were good at finding gold because it was their profession. Their lives or at least the quality of their lives depended on their ability to find gold. If they sucked at it they starved.
    Today 90% of prospectors do it for the fun of it. If we had motivation like the old timers or opportunities like the Spaniards then prospecting would certainly be more interesting.
    90% do it for fun because we can't afford to do it as a profession. If you dont have millions in cash to buy up land, and millions more to pay a team of lawyers to fast track the sea of bureacracy you are left (if you are lucky) to get a single claim that you are allowed hobby level equipment to work it.

    The claim system is part of the problem too. If you find paying ground and want exclusive work on it, a claim is a good thing. But now the vast majority of claims are simple land grabs. The ground hasnt been so much as panned in decades and there are no plans to work. The holder just keeps it and passes it on to family, preventing anyone else from touching it.

  12. #12
    us
    Jul 2004
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    The Jesuit priests who founded all the missions up and down the California coast were very well educated people.These same priests also traveled all throughout the new world with the spanish conquistadors looking for silver and gold Yet for reasons unkown they did not prospect the California motherlode gold country or the later gold areas above Sacramento.It was the Mexicans and Chileno's who first did the hard rock mining and later on the Cornishmen(cousin jacks),...and the coal and Iron ore miners from the midwest and east.Italians,Cornishmen and Serbs were most prominent in the California hardrock mines.
    Last edited by dave wiseman; Feb 11, 2018 at 09:12 AM.
    embrym, bug and Clay Diggins like this.

  13. #13
    us
    Hardrock prospector

    May 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason in Enid View Post
    90% do it for fun because we can't afford to do it as a profession. If you dont have millions in cash to buy up land, and millions more to pay a team of lawyers to fast track the sea of bureacracy you are left (if you are lucky) to get a single claim that you are allowed hobby level equipment to work it.

    The claim system is part of the problem too. If you find paying ground and want exclusive work on it, a claim is a good thing. But now the vast majority of claims are simple land grabs. The ground hasnt been so much as panned in decades and there are no plans to work. The holder just keeps it and passes it on to family, preventing anyone else from touching it.
    May have something to do with the very few "Mineral Surveys" taking "Place" after say 2002. How is the "Mineral deposit" going to be "Recognized". "Discoveries" can help.

  14. #14

    Nov 2013
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    I'd like to make a few comments "for the record"

    The Jesuits founded the missions in Baja California, it was the Franciscans that founded the missions in Alta California (San Diego northward) after the Jesuits were expelled from Spain and its possessions in 1767. The Franciscans were just as intelligent and well educated as the Jesuits, and possibly even more interested in mining. I say this because it was in the Franciscan territory of New Mexico that the Pueblo revolt of 1670 took place. It is believed that the cause of the revolt was due to Indian enslavement in the mines.

    The Spanish did not chop the hands and feet off the Indians that refused to tell them where the gold was. Juan de Oñate was a conquistador and the colonial governor of Santa Fe de Nuevo México. In 1599 there was a dispute with the Acoma people that led to the deaths of 11 Spainards, including Juan de Zaldíva, Oñate's nephew. In retaliation, he ordered Acoma distroyed. Maybe 1000 Acoma were killed and of the 500 or so survivors, those men and women over the age of 12 were sentenced to 20 years of forced "personal servitude." In addition, Oñate ordered that all men over the age of 25 have a foot cut off (24 individuals). Oñate was eventually banished from New Mexico and exiled from Mexico City for 5 years for "using excessive force against the Acoma people."

    Ever since Hernan Cortés invaded Mexico in 1519, Mexico's history is filled with one gold/ silver rush after another. Most of this mining was done by the colonists and soldiers using Indian labor. This enslavement of the Indians was made possible by the "encomienda," which was a grant from the Spainish crown to Spanish colonists allowing for the enslavement of a certain number of "indigenous peoples." Commonly, far more Indians were enslaved than the encomiendas allowed. I believe this is where the Indians originally got their knowledge of gold/ silver mining. There are also stories of whole areas of Mexico becoming depopulated because of the inhabitants chasing off after a gold or silver rush. I'm sure this created many Spaniards in New Spain with an expert knowledge of precious metal prospecting/ mining. That plus the fact that they were 1st on the scene is why I think they were so good at finding gold, silver and copper.
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security deserves neither and shall lose both -Benjamin Franklin

  15. #15
    us
    May 2009
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    As always so many myths.

    The Spanish were terrible miners. There are actually very few "Spanish Mines" most were created by legend not pick and shovel

    The vast majority of gold and silver (they really wanted silver) taken shipped (sunk) and hoarded by the Spaniards was taken from people who had already dug it out of the ground.

    They followed hint and rumor trying to find sources and they pretty much never found it.

    If they were any good at it they wouldn't have spent time out of Mexico because they just like the modern Mexican government have barely scratched the surface of Mexicos vast untapped reserves.

    They didn't go to Florida and Georgia for gold they heard of they ended up there because there maps ran out of water and they had to figure out why.


    The Spanish were terrible miners and most of the prospectors and miners in the 19th century sucked about half as much as the Spanish.


    People have no actual idea of how rich many of the surface placers and veins were when the Ca. Gold Rush happened. guys were literally picking gold off of bedrock in many. many, many places.

    So, much so that many of the early guys actually thought they knew what they were doing
    audigger53 likes this.

 

 
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