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High in the Andes, in southwest Bolivia, towering above one of the highest cities in the world, stands the cone-shaped peak of Cerro Rico —the “rich mountain”. The name was given by the Spanish Colonials for the huge quantities of silver it contained. The Spanish thought that the entire mountain was made of silver ore.

In 1545, a small mining town was established at the foot of Cerro Rico, and some 3 million natives were forced to work at the mines. Hundreds of thousands died from accidents or killed by overwork, hunger and disease. Nearly five centuries later, the Spanish overloads are long gone, but conditions deep in the bowels of the mountains appear to have changed little.

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Photo credit: TomaB/Flickr

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© Amusing Planet, 2017.


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