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Santa Rita in Grant County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Discovery

Santa Rita Copper Mine

 
 
The Discovery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 6, 2014
1. The Discovery Marker
Inscription.  From the earliest times, surface ore in this area attracted Native Americans who used the natural copper to make ornaments, trade goods, and weapons.

In 1799, during the Spanish colonial period, an Apache Indian showed Jose Manuel Carrasco an outcrop of copper. Carrasco, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Spanish army, staked a claim and began to mine the copper in 1801.

Don Francisco Manuel de Elguea, a wealthy Chihuahua merchant, purchased most of the mining claims from Carrasco in 1804. Soon, caravans of pack mules and wagon trains took the copper to Chihuahua City, a distance of 400 miles, where it was used in the Mexican mint. Elguea died in 1806, but his estate controlled the property for more than half a century.

For nearly 200 years, miners, geologists, and engineers found this great ore body both fascinating and frustrating.
 
Erected by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraExplorationIndustry & CommerceNative Americans.
 
Location.
Marker detail: An Apache Indian showed Jose Manuel Carrasco an outcropping of copper ore in 1799. image. Click for full size.
Illustration by Fred Barraza
2. Marker detail: An Apache Indian showed Jose Manuel Carrasco an outcropping of copper ore in 1799.
32° 48.408′ N, 108° 4.392′ W. Marker is in Santa Rita, New Mexico, in Grant County. Marker is on Scenic State Road 152 1.1 miles east of State Highway 356, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located at an interpretive exhibit overlooking the open pit mine site to the south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hanover NM 88041, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Early Mining Years (here, next to this marker); Open Pit Mining (here, next to this marker); The Companies & People (here, next to this marker); Santa Rita Copper Mine (here, next to this marker); Modern Mining & Processing (here, next to this marker); Reclaiming the Land (here, next to this marker); Kneeling Nun (approx. 2.8 miles away); Ladies Auxiliary of Local 890 (approx. 2.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Santa Rita.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Santa Rita Copper Mine
 
Also see . . .
1. You’ve Never Seen Anything Like The Santa Rita Mine. The Native Americans in the area knew that there was copper here. But it wasn’t until the 18th century, that the Spanish paid attention. After discovering copper in streambeds, they enslaved the Native Americans and forced them to mine for the metal. (Submitted on October 14, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Chino Mine (Wikipedia)
Marker detail: Native Copper image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Native Copper
The earliest miners were interested chiefly in native copper, as shown here. This metallic copper was easily mined and melted.
. Carrasco recognized the rich copper deposits and began mining, but lacked the expertise to exploit the copper. He sold the Santa Rita del Cobre mine, as he had named it, to Francisco Manuel de Elguea who imported convict labor to work the mine and build a fort to house the convicts and protect them from the Apache. (Submitted on October 14, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
The Discovery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 6, 2014
4. The Discovery Marker
(leftmost of six related markers at interpretive kiosk in background)
Santa Rita Copper Mine image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 6, 2014
5. Santa Rita Copper Mine
(view into open mine pit from near marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 13, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 14, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Oct. 30, 2020