|In the great barranca known today as Copper
small mining town of Batopilas once experienced a silver bonanza among
the largest ever known. American investors, believing that Mexico
offered an unexploited cornucopia, began purchasing mines in the Sierra
Madre, seeking to expand their hold on natural resources outside U.S.
From 1861 until the Revolution of 1910, the men of the Batopilas Mining
Company ruled the region using their wealth, armed might, and extensive
connections. The technology, industrialism, and politics their
interests brought to this remote community tied the Tarahumara, Yaqui,
Mayo, and other peoples of the barrancas directly to the economies of
the United States and China. Local society was revolutionized, and a
dramatic tapestry of human interactions was created.
on many volumes of mining company records, The Silver of
the Sierra Madre
exposes the mentality and methods of mine owners John Robinson and
Alexander “Boss” Shepherd, vividly detailing their
exploitation of the people and the natural resources of Chihuahua.
aptly demonstrates the human and financial losses resulting from
President Porfirio Díaz’s development programs,
relied on foreign investors, foreign managers, and foreign technology.
This unprecedented work also provides a highly interesting ethnographic
and social description of one of the least-known areas of Mexico. It is
a tale of power and desperation, respect and arrogance, adventure and
tragedy, and, ultimately, triumph and survival.
The Silver of the
John Robinson, Boss Shepherd,
and the People of the Canyons
by John Mason Hart
University of Arizona Press,