Charles Lambert (1793–1876) was a Franco-British entrepreneur who made a fortune in copper and silver mining—and smelting—in nineteenth-century Chile. Sent to Chile by a British mining company that soon afterward failed, and with which he quarreled acrimoniously, Lambert developed his own independent business interests with remarkable success. His introduction of new copper-smelting technology had a decisive impact on the Chilean mining industry, which enjoyed a long boom in the mid-nineteenth century, prior to its takeover in the early twentieth century by large U.S. corporations.Lambert's personal journal from 1825 to 1830 came to light in Chile in 1975. It is an extraordinary day-to-day record of the first stage of a successful businessman's career, starting with an account of his arduous journey from England to Chile in 1825. It covers the disagreements with his British employers, his final dismissal by the directors, and the great variety of deals that accompanied his move into independent entrepreneurship. The journal gives us a fascinating from-the-ground-up picture of how business was done in the Norte Chico of Chile in the 1820s and chronicles Lambert's relationships with miners, traders, landowners, and politicians, his connections with the British trading community, and his occasional political roles.The manuscript of the journal has been edited and annotated by two experts on nineteenth-century Chile, Dr. John Mayo and Professor Simon Collier, who also set the scene in a substantial introduction. This book will be of interest not merely to scholars of nineteenth-century Latin America but also to historians of mining and business.
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John Mayo is a professor at the University of the West Indies, Barbados. Simon Collier is a professor of history at Vanderbilt University and the author of several books on Latin America and the Caribbean.
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