St. John d'El Rey Mining Company Archives on Display
Items from the St. John d'El Rey Mining Company are on display in the main reading room of the Benson Latin American Collection. The recently processed archive contains material pertaining to the operation of the nineteenth-century gold-mining concern in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.
The Saint John d’El Rey Mining Company was established in 1830 near Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, by a group of British investors . The investors purchased several gold mines, including the Morro Velho mine in 1834. The company worked to improve the existing infrastructure and update the mining equipment.
Black slaves were the predominant workforce in the mines until Brazilian emancipation in the late nineteenth century. The company also encouraged the immigration of British citizens to Brazil to work in the mine.
The company suffered several catastrophes during its 130-year history, including fires in the mine, fraudulent business practices, and conflicts between European supervisors and Brazilian laborers. After a period of difficulty, in 1957 the company was purchased by a group of investors interested in the iron ore in the surrounding area, and the Saint John d’El Rey Mining Company came to an end.
The Saint John d’El Rey Mining Company Archives include correspondence from company officials, annual and semi-annual company reports, employee records, photographs, maps, and many more items relating to the company and its history. The collection is approximately 251 linear feet (286 archival boxes plus oversized rolled documents and volumes).
Archival materials from the St. John d'El Rey Company will be on display in the Benson through the end of March 2016.