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(pōtōsē`), city (1992 pop. 112,078), capital of Potosí dept., S Bolivia, at the foot of one of the world's richest ore mountains. In the cold, bleak, high Andes at an altitude of c.13,780 ft (4,200 m), Potosí is one of the highest cities in the world. There is no agriculture in the region. Potosí was founded in 1545 and during its first 50 years was the most fabulous source of silver the world had ever known. Because of isolation, living discomfort, and a series of disasters, such as the flood of 1626, the mines proved unable to compete with those of Peru and Mexico. Improved technology and communications, however, have made possible the exploitation of silver, as well as tin, lead, and copper, and the revival of commercial life. Furniture, beverages, electrical equipment, and mosaics are manufactured. The city's colonial landmarks include the Mint House, a replica of Spain's Escorial. Potosí's university was founded in 1571.



a city in southern Bolivia, located on the slopes of Cerro Rico (Cerro de Potosí) in the Andes, at an elevation of 4,200 m. Capital of Potosí Department. Population, 96,800 (1970). It has a railroad station.

Potosí was founded by Spanish Conquistadors in December 1546 on the site where, in the previous year, an extensive deposit of silver had been discovered. In the 17th and the first half of the 18th century, Potosi’s mines provided approximately one-half of the world silver output, while its population grew to more than 160,000 (1650). As a result of the rapacious exploitation and exhaustion of the silver deposits, the city began declining in the second half of the 18th century. In 1825 it had a population of only 8,000. In the 20th century, Potosí has become the center of an important region for the mining of tin, wolfram, and antimony ores. There is little silver mining. The city has enterprises for the production of metal articles, soft drinks, beer, leather goods, and furniture. It has a university, which was founded in 1892.

Most of the buildings in Potosí are two story, for example, the home of the marquesses de Otavi (now the National Bank, 1750–85). Many of the structures were designed by Indian master craftsmen. Still standing are the baroque churches of San Lorenzo (c. 1548; facade, 1728–44), San Francisco (1548; facade 1707–26), and La Compañía (1590; facade and bell tower, 1700–07). Other important buildings include the mint (now the National Museum, 1759–73) and a cathedral in the classical style (1809–36).


Ibáñez, G. Potosí. La Paz, 1941.
References in periodicals archive ?
The talk was halting on the bus ride back down Cerro Rico.
La trascendencia de las alegaciones del memorial presentadas inicialmente por Guarache provocaron que el Gremio de Azogueros de Potosi respondiera directamente a cada uno de los puntos expuestos, para asi desmentir los argumentos del cacique al atacar frontalmente su gestion en el Cerro Rico.
On Tuesday a 17-year-old miner died after inhaling a lethal dose of carbon monoxide while retrieving zinc deep in the Cerro Rico hillside.
El encubrimiento del Cerro Rico de Potosi antes de 1545 ha llegado a ser tema de investigacion a partir de dos avances anteriores.
En un recorrido por el lugar se aprecia como en los cerros aledanos al de San Pedro se conserva aun flora de la region, de tipo semidesertico, pero el cerro rico en minerales muestra ya los efectos de la devastacion iniciada hace siglos.
In the shadow of the Cerro Rico, the myth-inspiring silver peak of colonial Potosi, flourished a bustling market economy through which flowed a plethora of goods and in which people from distinct socioeconomic and ethnic groups all participated--municipal officials, vendors, and consumers.
When she arrived, Lopez, president of a palliri (hand-picker) organization in Potosi, explained that she had been organizing a memorial service for one of her comrades, a palliri who was killed a day earlier while sorting through mineral tailings on Cerro Rico.
Basilio Vargas was a fatherless 12-year-old when he started working in the mines in what the Indios call "the mountains that eat men" in Cerro Rico, Bolivia.
High-altitude Potosi, meanwhile, is famous as the place where silver from the nearby Cerro Rico mine was minted for the Spanish crown.
According to 16th-century Spanish accounts, an Incan ruler who reigned nearly 600 years ago discovered Cerro Rico, a major silver deposit in southern Bolivia's Andes Mountains.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the silver mined from the Cerro Rico in Potosi made Spanish currency the common coinage throughout the Orient, sparking commercial and industrial revolutions in Europe.
It reminds me of when I worked in Potosi, Bolivia, at the Taiutou plant owned by Compania del Cerro Rico de Potosi.