At the end of the nineteenth century, a rich gold strike near the Mexican town of Tlalpujahua meant that for a few years in the early twentieth century, it was the largest producer of gold in the world. The mine was a huge industry, and the population grew to a quarter of a million. Then, in 1937, a major landslide buried the mine, and much of the town. The mine closed, and the townspeople were forced to go elsewhere in search of work. Within ten years, the population was under a thousand.
One of the men who left was Joquaín Muñoz Orta, who in the fifties ended up in Chicago, working in a factory making artificial Christmas trees. When he returned to Mexico, he set up a workshop making first trees, and then baubles to go with them. The baubles were far more popular, and the workshop grew into a factory... which is now the fifth largest producer of baubles in the world. There is also a second bauble factory in the town, as well as over a hundred small family workshops. The population of Tlapujahua is now back up to about a quarter of a million... and around 70% of the town's economy comes from bauble-making.
I just thought that was nice. Happy New Year.
Sunday, 1 January 2017