World's Largest Silver Deposit



Potosí is another Bolivian city whose history is tied up with the mines. In this case, the silver mines are found on Cerro Rico de Potosí (the Rich Hill of Potosí), which contains the world’s largest silver deposit. More than 60,000 tons of silver have been unearthed from here so far, and though the output has waned, evidence suggests there is still more to come.

During the colonial days, these mines proved a boon for the Spanish conquerors and the first American mint was even set up in town. But, while the mines were a windfall for the colonial rulers and the city one of the richest and largest in the Americas, the locals didn’t reap the benefits – and indeed they still don’t. They, along with imported African slaves, worked in the mines in deplorable conditions. Conditions were so bad, in fact, that an estimated two to eight million workers are thought to have died here during the three centuries of Spanish rule.

During your private tour of Bolivia’s most famous mining town, you’ll learn about the tragic history of these mines and see what the real life of a miner is like. Discover just what it is like to make your living working far down beneath the earth’s surface.

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