I’m always intrigued by stories of Spanish mines, because there are stories of Spanish and Mexican mines stretching from North Georgia to California. Some of these are obviously more myth than fact, but some, like one in Southern Colorado, apparently existed, but has been completely lost to history.
There is no doubt that the Spanish were able to establish and run successful mines from Columbus on, but nailing down the location of Spanish mines in the United States is always problematic and I am always dubious about these “lost” mines. For one thing, knowing how much the Spanish conquistadors loved gold, it is hard to imagine that they would not have been able to fight and defeat the native peoples anywhere that they really discovered rich Gold deposits. Conquistadors didn’t take kindly to lost gold flakes much less lost gold mines.
However, this classic essay on the early days of the California gold rush by Donald Cutler discusses how little attention the pre-Sutter gold strikes in Mexican California actually generated. I knew that their had been some significant finds in what is today Los Angeles County, but I never realized how large the strikes actually were.
Anyhow, here is the-discovery-of-gold-in-california
Strike It Rich!