Have you ever heard of the city of Potosi?

I am currently reading “A Little History Of The United States” by James West Davidson. In one of the very early chapters, he makes a mention of a place called Potosi located in what is now Bolivia.

When the Spanish conquered Latin America, they discovered a huge deposit of silver at Potosi which inconveniently is located at a breathless 13,420 feet above sea level. By 1600, more than 150,000 people worked there, making the city the largest settlement in North or South America, bigger than any city in Spain itself, and on a par with London of those days.

Yet most people have never of Potosi. I confess that neither had I until I went on a holiday in South America 18 years ago. We passed through the place on a road journey from Sucre to La Paz which was the toughest journey of my life.

As I recorded at the time: “When we had originally entered our bus, Jill [our guide] had warned us that the drivers – we had two – said the journey would last some 12 hours, but she indicated that she thought they were being cautious and it was more likely to be 10 hours. In fact, as we rolled up to our hotel in La Paz, it was 4.20 am and we had been on the road for an incredible head-splitting, teeth-chattering, bone-rattling, bladder-bursting, feet-freezing 13 and half hours. We almost had to be chipped out of our seats and fell straight into our beds.”

You can read about my journey here and you can learn more about Potosi here.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>