A dry, cold, desolate mountain in the high Andes seems an unlikely place for a city that had 120,000 inhabitants at the end of the 16th century and was three times the size of London. Potosí's phenomenal growth at 4,000 meters was based on huge silver deposits found in the towering Cerro Rico or Rich Hill in 1545. His reputation spread quickly and widely, with images of the city that reached into the Ottoman Empire in the 1580s and a few decades later on Chinese maps.
At the peak of production in the 1590s, approximately 200,000 kilograms of silver were mined each year. Potos & # 39; silver flooded the global market. The wealth created a stimulating demand for and the production of linen and fine fabrics from the Netherlands and France as well as silk and porcelain from China a
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