Potosí, the highest and poorest city in the world

Potosí is not only the highest city in the world (equal with Lhasa in Tibet at 4000 metres) and the poorest (according to the United Nations quality of life indices). It was also once the richest.

The pyramidical hill in the background kept Spain going as a world power for two centuries while it was mined of its immense veins of silver. Cerro Rico ("Rich Hill") used to be 300 metres higher.

Of course the local indentured labour didn't see a penny of it and many of them died from overwork, accidents or silicosis. These trends continue, though if a profitable strike is made, the proceeds are shared equally among the men.

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