Geology as a Profession and Geoethics in Colombia

  • Michel Hermelin Arbaux
  • Orlando Navas
Part of the The Latin American Studies Book Series book series (LASBS)


At the time America was discovered, three activities related to Earth Sciences were carried out by the native Indians (Amerindians would be a better term) in what is now the Colombian territory: gold and emerald mining and salt extraction; the first one is recognized as the main motivation for Spaniards to conquer the entire mainland and to oblige Indians to work in gold mines; this servitude, together with the new diseases brought from Europe and the occupation of croplands by cattle and horse raising, caused the reduction of indigenous people in 90%, as it was demonstrated by historians as Colmenares (Historia económica y social de Colombia, 1537–1719. Universidad del Valle, Cali, 1973). This situation motivated Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas to obtain from the Council of Indies to bring of African slaves, who were more resistant than Indians to work in the gold mines. The main argument behind was de las Casas conviction that Indians had a soul and thus should be considered as “true human beings.” This episode, which signified the forceful translation of hundreds of thousands of Africans to America, should deserve a mention in a topic as “Geoethics.”


Geology and geoethics in Colombia History 


  1. Colmenares G (1973) Historia económica y social de Colombia, 1537–1719. Universidad del Valle, CaliGoogle Scholar
  2. Hermelin, M. 1998. Actualización y modernización de la currícula en Ingeniería Geológica y Geología. In: Actualización y modernización del currículo en Ciencias de la Tierra en Colombia, Ed: ICFES, 1:14–34. ISBN: 958-680-028-8Google Scholar
  3. Peppoloni S, Di Capua G (2014) The meaning of geoethics. In: Wyss M, Peppoloni S (eds) Geoethics, ethical challenges and case studies in Earth Science. Elsevier, Amsterdam, p 450Google Scholar
  4. West RC (1972) La minería de aluvión en Colombia durante el periodo colonial. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, BogotáGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Consejo Profesional de Geología, CPGBogotáColombia
  2. 2.BogotáColombia

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