History lecturer Nicholas Robins, an expert on the environmental history of South America, exposes modern day consequences of silver-mining practices used by 16th century Spanish conquistadors in his guest blog series on NC State’s Abstract. In “Spanish Colonialism’s Environmental Legacy,” Robins reviews the history of mining in South America and its transformation into a modern day environmental concern which is exclusive to these historic mining communities—extremely high and dangerous concentrations of mercury which remain embedded in the soil more than 400 years later.
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They were brought to St Helena Island from West Africa as slaves to work the land and when they were finally freed, the Gullah Geechee bought the island. Now descendants of these former slaves, continue to live as their ancestors did – speaking the same Creole language and preserving their culture and traditions. But now their way of life is being threated by strengthening hurricanes, sea level rise and erosion caused by climate change. They risk losing their culture as the land disappears.