11 Things You Should Know About Potosi in Bolivia Before You Visit

Flickr: Adam Jones

1. Indian Diego Gualpa stumbled was the first person to discover the mountain of silver in 1545.

2. From a small community to 3000 within 65 years the town had swelled to 160,000.

3. At 4,000 the town of Potosi is one of the highest in the world.

4. In Spanish it is also known as Cerro Rico or Rich Mountain.

5. Indigenous workers were paid very little but made much wealth for the city.They were called mitayos.

6. At its peak over 13,000 people a year were lost in the silver mines.

7. When the mitayos finally resisted, African slaves were brought across the  Atlantic to continue mining.

8. Over 300 years more than 62,000 tons of silver was mined from Cerro Rico with the cost of an estimated 8,000,000 African and indigenous were lost their lives.

9. The city’s motto is ‘I am rich Potosi. Treasure of the world. King of all mountains and the envy of all kings.’

10. Miners still risk their lives today in search of the big find, most barely scratching enough of a living to put food on the table.

11. UNESCO gave it World Heritage status in 1987.

RELATED: 9 amazing places to visit in Bolivia

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