History of the
Parral Mining District
Before the advent of modern mining techniques in the second half of the 20th Century, Parral Mining District, which also includes the neighbouring Santa Barbara and San Francisco del Oro mining Districts, was home of many Silver, Lead and Zinc mines with a rich history. For hundreds of years before the Spanish exploration in Mexico, silver had been mined in this region. The city of Parral gained its wealth from mines like the La Prieta, Veta Colorada and the La Palmilla. La Palmilla mine was owned by the family of Pedro Alvarado, who were wealthy enough to offer to pay off Mexico's national external debt in the early 1900s. As history says, Juan Rangel de Biezma picked up a rock on the Cerro la Prieta (La Prieta Hill), licked it and stated “There is a mineral deposit here.” The La Prieta mine produced silver for 340 years. This is often recognized as the pivotal point in Parral's history, defining it as a major mining settlement. Influenced by the historic presence of Spaniards, the city is recognized as one of the most European-fashioned cities in Mexico.
In its heyday, the town had a population of about 30,000, mostly immigrant miners. The district has produced more silver than any other area of comparable size and has important historical associations with the early economic development of both Mexico and the southwest United States.