Cerro Rico, the rich mountain,
Cerro Rico, vital nerve of Potosis,
Cerro Rico, the battlefield,
Cerro Rico, a synonym for wealth.
In 1545 a shepard discoverd silver on the “Cerro Rico” incidentally. The Incas who ruled the country bevor Columbus and Pizarro- the Spanish conqueror- knew about the wealth of the mountain, but as an oracle told them, this prosperity had not been intended for them, but for the Gods that would appear. The Gods did come, Spanish speaking Gods with a boundless voracity for precious metal unscrupulously giving in to it.
Potosi had been a one-horse town until then with a few houses only. Who would want to live 4000 metres aloft in the cold and with thin air? But all of them craved for a slice of the silvercake. The cake was the Cerro Rico, initially cut by the indigenous people and slaves and eaten by the Spanish. In 1610 Potosi had 160000 inhabitants and was one of the biggest cities of the western hemisphere. The price for the precious metal was vast. According to Eduardo Galeano in “The open veins of Latin America” about six millions of people lost their lives at the Cerro Rico.
However, the Cerro Rico is almost bled to death. The mountain seems like a battlefield. Still the mineros go into the mines like Adolfo.
Together with six people he founded a cooperation. They are digging tin, zinc and sometimes silver.