1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pachuca

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

PACHUCA, a city of Mexico and capital of the state of Hidalgo, 55 m. direct and 68 m. by rail N.N.E. of the city of Mexico. Pop. (1900), 37,487. Pachuca's railway connexions include the Mexican, the Hidalgo and the Mexican Oriental, besides which it has 5 m. of tramway line. The town stands in a valley of an inland range of the Sierra Madre Oriental, at an elevation over 8000 ft. above the sea, and in the midst of several very rich mineral districts—Atatonileo el Chico, Capula, Potosí, Real del Monte, Santa Rosa and Tepenené. It is said that some of these silver mines were known to the Indians before the discovery of America. Pachuca has some fine modern edifices, among which are the palace of justice, a scientific and literary institute, a school of mines and metallurgy, founded in 1877, a meteorological observatory and a public library. Mining is the chief occupation of its inhabitants, of whom about 7000 are employed underground. Electric power is derived from the Regla Falls, in the vicinity. The city's industrial establishments include smelting works and a large number of reduction works, among which are some of the largest and most important in the republic. It was here that Bartolomé de Medina discovered the “patio” process of reducing silver ores with quicksilver in 1557, and his old hacienda de beneficio is still to be seen. Pachuca was founded in 1534, some time after the mines were discovered. Here Pedro Romero de Terreros made the fortune in 1739 that enabled him to present a man-of-war to Spain and gain the title of Count of Regla. Pachuca was sacked in 1812, and so keen was the desire to possess its sources of wealth, in common with other mining towns, that mining operations were partially suspended for a time and the mines were greatly damaged. In 1824 the Real del Monte mines were sold to an English company and became the centre of a remarkable mining speculation—the company ruining itself with lavish expenditures and discontinuing work in 1848. The mines in 1909 belonged to an American company.