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Camborne Pachuca friendship agreement: 16 years today

    The mayors of Camborne and Pachuca at the signing of the Friendship Agreement 2008
    The mayors of Camborne and Pachuca at the signing of the Friendship Agreement, 2008

    Sixteen Years of Friendship: Camborne and Pachuca

    Sixteen years ago today (3rd July), a group of Cornish visitors stood shoulder to shoulder with Mexican friends, colleagues and relatives to witness an historic event. Camborne Mayor, Jean Charman, signed a friendship agreement with the Mayor of Pachuca, Omar Fayad Meneses, in the presence of the Secretary of Tourism of the State of Hidalgo, Cuauhtémoc Ochoa Fernández. It was particularly fitting that the event took place at the Casa Rule, the former residence of Troon mining magnate, Frank Rule. Now that’s what I call ‘giving it Camborne’!!!

    © Dr Sharron P. Schwartz


    Many people from Camborne and the constellation of mining villages surrounding it, made the City of Pachuca de Soto their home in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some of their descendants live on in the area today.

    Indeed, so popular was Mexico as a destination among Camborne folk that it was commented in a Cornish newspaper in 1902 that:

    Pachuca has a charm and acts as a magnet to nearly every Cornishman who reaches there. A Camborne man feels as much at home as if he were again at Troon or Tallywarren Street.

    Over the last thirty years I have been amassing details of Cornish mining migrants to Mexico (and elsewhere in Latin America) and entering these details into a database. This has provided unparalleled quantitative as well as qualitative data about who went where and when.

    Camborne and district consistently sent the majority of Cornish migrants to Real del Monte and Pachuca. The British-backed Real del Monte Mining Company, and its Mexican successor, the Real del Monte and Pachuca Mining Company, employed mainly Cornish labour. But neither company had to officially advertise for workmen. The reason the Camborne district was the epicentre of Cornish-Mexican migration, was primarily due to links formed at family and community levels.

    The very first mineworkers to set foot in the Pachuca district included Camborne men, led by former Dolcoath mine captain, John Rule (1784-1866), who served as the company’s Commissioner in the 1830s and 40s. See the trio of films describing the journey he and eight other Cornishmen made to the mines in 1824 here: 1, 2, 3


    Captain John Rule of Camborne and Mexico
    Captain John Rule of Camborne, known as ‘Mexico Rule’. The late Professor Charles Thomas.


    Rule came from one of Camborne’s core families who had been settled in the parish since the early seventeenth century. Over the next century, many hundreds of men directly or indirectly related to the Rules, made their way to the Pachuca mines. These men in turn provided their family members with information about job opportunities and offered financial and other assistance to aid in the migration of their kith and kin. Camborne therefore acquired a substantial reservoir of knowledge and linkages where this region of Mexico was concerned. Links at family and community level made the transnational migration of social capital possible. For more on the role of social capital transference in Latin America, see:

    Schwartz S P (2005) ‘Migration Networks and the Transnationalisation of Social Capital: Cornish Migration to Latin America, a Case Study’, Cornish Studies: 13, Exeter University Press, 256-287.

    Schwartz S P, (2017) ‘Migration networks and the transnationalization of social capital: Cornish migration to the Pacific Littoral’, Revista Izquierdas, Volumen 21, Nº 1, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, 63-108 (in Spanish).

    Hence some of the biggest names in the local mining industry hailed from Camborne: John Rule and his half-brother, William Bennett Rule; William Rabling senior and junior; Josiah Thomas, William Stoneman, Mike Abraham, and most famously, Francis ‘Franco’ Rule.

    He arrived in Pachuca in 1854 and rose to the top level of management with the Real del Monte and Pachuca Mining Company. A shrewd, well-connected, self-made man close to autocratic president, Porfirio Díaz, Rule made his wealth in mines including Santa Gertrudis, Maravillas y Anexas and La Blanca y Anexas.


    Francis rule, mexico
    Troon-born Francis Rule, El Rey de la Plata, and his wife, Mary Hoskins


    Known as El Rey de la Plata (the Silver King) he wielded enormous influence, owned several haciendas, constructed many grand buildings in Pachuca, and employed scores of Cornish migrants, many of whom were his relatives, at his mines. Lots of Camborne people brought shares in Rule’s highly successful Mexican enterprises, and in 1896 his son, Captain William Mayne Rule, stated: ‘many people in Camborne have lived for years on their dividends.’

    Francis Rule made good use of Cornish steam engine technology at his various concerns, and was responsible for the importation of the largest steam engine ever erected in the Pachuca district: the ‘monster’ 90-inch engine erected on the San Francisco shaft of the Santa Gertrudis Mining Company, built by Cornish engine makers, Bickle and Co., of Plymouth.


    Santa Gertrudis mine Mexico
    The Harvey’s of Hayle engine on the San Juan Shaft, Mina Santa Gertrudis, near Pachuca, Mexico


    Indeed, some of his company’s’ engines, including the 60-inch engine named the Carmenita for the Carmen Shaft of the Maravillas Mining Company also built by Bickles in 1896, was started by President Porfirio Díaz, who baptised it with a bottle of champagne provided by Cornish captain, Thomas Edwards. A surface tour of the mine and its reduction works followed, and afterwards the party retired to partake of a sumptuous dinner at Casa Rule, the grand mansion Rule had erected in Pachuca, and which now serves as the Ayuntamiento (City Hall) of the city. A history of Francis Rule and his elaborate mansion has been written by Sara Montes Romero, one of his descendants:

    Romero, S.M., La Casa Rule: sede del H. Ayuntamiento de Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, Pachuca Ayuntamiento, 2014.

    This year as we celebrate the bicentennial of the arrival of the first Cornish mineworkers to Real del Monte and Pachuca, now known as Mexico’s Little Cornwall, we remember the tenacious Captain John Rule, who set the whole Camborne and Pachuca ball rolling way back in 1824…


    Group photo outside Francis Rule’s former residence, Casa Rule, now Pachuca's City Hall
    Group photo outside Francis Rule’s former residence, Casa Rule, now Pachuca’s City Hall


    Sixteen Years of Friendship:
    Camborne and Pachuca

    Specialist in Cornish Mining Migration - Sharron P Schwartz

    Dr. Sharron Schwartz

    Specialist in Cornish Mining Migration and transnational communities

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