Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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EDWARDS, Agnstin, Chilean capitalist, born in Serena, Chili, 13 January 1816; died in Valparaiso, 5 August 1877. He was the son of an English physician, Dr. George Edwards. At an early age he began business life as a partner in a mercantile concern of Huasco, and soon acquired quite a fortune in banking and mining operations at Copiapo. In 1850 he established at Valparaiso the first bank of Chili, and afterward contributed to the foundation of the Bank of Ossa, Bank of Bolivia, and of the Bank of San Juan, in the Argentine Republic. He was the originator and principal shareholder of the railroad, established in 1851, between Caldera and Copiapo, which was the first railway of South America. Edwards furnished to William Wheelwright the capital necessary to establish the first steamship line in the Pacific, or the Pacific steam navigation company, and, besides being connected with various South American railroads, was the originator of the road that is to run across the Andes to Buenos Ayres. He is the owner of silver mines in Copiapo and Antofagasta, and of a manufactory of nitrate of soda at Salinas. Edwards was the first speculator in Chilean copper in Europe. He was elected to congress several times, and in 1870 became senator for Valparaiso. He was also offered the portfolio of the treasury, but he declined it. At his death he was worth $30,000,000.
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