THE MERCURYMINES IN ALMADÉN …in the footsteps of the Fuggers and Welsers in Spain

As part of the Europe Weeks of the City of Augsburg, a lecture on the topic “THE MERCURYMINES IN ALMADÉN…on the footsteps of the Fuggers and Welsers in Spain” took place at the Fugger-Welser Erlebnis Museum in Augsburg.

Katharina Dehner M.A., who visited Almadén in October 2023 together with the project group of the Jakob-Fugger-Gymnasium, made the historical connections between the Fuggers and the Quecjsilberminen in Almadén, among others. Almadén (Spain) was home to the richest mercury mines in the world. In return for Charles V’s financial support, the Fuggers and Welsers were given the lease over them in the 16th century. Today, the Parque Minero there is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Almagro, also a town in Castilla-La Mancha, the Fuggers maintained a trading post. The lecture also showed why mercury was so sought after and how trade flows were worldwide. Despite the great mineral resources, riches flowed to Madrid and Augsburg.

Afterwards, students from the Jakob Fugger Gymnasium reported on their exchange with Almadén and addressed the dangerous work in the mines, which still causes health problems for the inhabitants today. Another topic was how Almadén, also with the help of the EU, can stop the demographic change after the mines close and could benefit more from the world heritage status.