Barba, Alvaro Alonso; A Collection of Scarce and Valuable Treatises upon Metals, Mines, and Minerals...2nd edition, London, 1740. Octavo, pp. 16, 319, frontispiece.
Contemporary calf, raised spine bands, shelf scuffing, very light foxing to frontispiece, very good.
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A Spanish priest; Barba was sent by the Church in 1588 to the rich silver region of Potosi in Peru to study mineral deposits and mining methods. While there he developed processes of silver ore amalgamation which enabled Potosi to become a wealthy mining region. He wrote the above work in Spanish in 1640 and the Spanish government; hoping to keep Potosi's wealth a secret, tried to keep the book from the public's eye. The book is the first major work on metals to be written in Spanish. By the turn of the century Potosi recognition and mineral wealth had made it the largest city in the world, with a population of 120,000. Barba's collection of six works on metals was first printed as a set in English translation in 1739 and was quickly out of print. A second edition was published immediately in 1740.