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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.
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.
Chapter 6 races the reader through the remaining 50 years of the 17th century in 17 pages, outlining the downturn in fortune of Potosi's urban market, the boarding up of stores, and the plummeting urban population resulting from the decline in silver production and the failure of the mita system to meet the continued labour demands of the Cerro Rico.
Four centuries before comparable Incan operations, Bolivia's Tiwanaku culture probably launched silver mining at Cerro Rico and the large-scale smelting of silver ore, say Mark B.
These miners, who are direct descendants of the Quechua enslaved during the colonial period, successfully resisted the destruction of their culture, and over the centuries they have developed powerful symbolic ways of interacting with the Cerro Rico and with their own past.
The Company announced earlier that the mine plan was adjusted during a temporary suspension of mining above 4,400 meters while stability studies of the Cerro Rico Mountain were undertaken by COMIBOL, the Bolivian state-owned mining organization.
The fact that we were able to do this partnership with COMIBOL on the CERRO RICO MINE is phenomenal," stated Jaime Melgarejo.
OTC Pink Sheets:FMNJ), working through two Bolivian subsidiaries, is today confirming that a Letter of Intent has been signed with COMIBOL for mining operations at the Cerro Rico Mine in Potosi and that a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) for construction of a gas-to-liquid refinery in the Santa Cruz department.
Additional information on company operations including Cerro Rico Mine photographs and articles can be found on our website http://franklinmining.
LAS VEGAS -- Franklin Mining, Inc (Pink Sheets: FMNJ)--The discovery of ore in silver-rich Cerro Rico by Diego Huallpa in 1544 led to the founding of Potosi, Bolivia and the building of what was to become the world's largest industry complex of the 1600's.
When fully operational, the Joint Venture will increase silver mining productivity of the Cerro Rico Silver Mine in Potosi, Bolivia.
When fully operational, the Joint Venture could substantially increase silver mining productivity of the Cerro Rico Silver Mine in Potosi, Bolivia.