Potosí (1545- ), formerly of Peru, now of Bolivia, was one of the largest and richest cities in the world in 1650. By 1573 it was already bigger than Paris or Rome. Now a poor city with old baroque churches and palaces, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Potosi lies at the foot of Cerro de Potosi, a reddish mountain 4,000 metres up in the high Andes. In 1500 it had twice as much silver as all of Europe.
The silver is gone, though it still has some tin and zinc. At its height in the late 1500s and early 1600s, it produced most of the world’s silver. In “Don Quixote” (1605) they say that something is “worth a Potosi”.
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