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The Spread of Cornish Mining around the Globe

The spread of Cornish Mining: Wallaroo PitmenCornwall has long been known as a starting point for famous sea journeys and adventures – but some of the most extraordinary stories are those of ordinary miners seeking fortune far and wide.

Take a trip with mining machinery and manpower

A map of part of the world with 

arrows spreading out from Cornwall to different regions of the world   
Find out how the mining culture of Cornwall affected different parts of the world.

Harvey's Pumping 

At the start of the 19th century, Cornwall’s mining industry was thriving. The industrial revolution and the development of high-pressure steam power meant Cornish mining was becoming world-renowned for its sophistication.

Hughes Engine House, Moonta Mines, South Australia   
Many Cornish emigrants came to settle in Australia’s developing mining regions in the mid-19th century. Nearly half of all immigrants in South Australia by 1865 were Cornish. Cornish workers had a big impact not only on Australia’s mining industry but also on the culture we associate with the country today.

During the 1800s, Kimberly in South Africa saw the world’s greatest ever diamond rush. Hard rock mining techniques were required to extract the precious stones and so Cornish immigrants flooded in to try and make their fortune.

San Pedro, Mexico   
The mines of Latin America were amongst the first to attract Cornish miners overseas in the early 19th century. Latin America had started recruiting from Cornwall by the 1820s and continued to do so right up until the 1930s.

Mineral Point, USA   
When the 19th century mining boom hit the American West, the Cornish were considered some of the best hard rock miners in the world. Many of them subsequently migrated and settled in North America’s many mining regions.

Wheal Coates 

Stamps Engine House   
Mines across Latin America were amongst the first to attract significant Cornish labour away from the British Isles.

A ship at 

Charlestown by Ainsley Cocks    
Cornish miners had been migrating in limited numbers from Cornwall to other parts of the UK from the early 1700s. In particular, their skill was to be increasinly in demand in the mining regions of Wales, northern England and Ireland over the next 200 years.