Looking for a New Potosi: Silver beyond the Cerro Rico in the 17th Century

Thursday, January 3, 2019: 4:10 PM
Spire Parlor (Palmer House Hilton)
Kris E. Lane, Tulane University
Ghost towns today, the mines of Aullagas, Carangas, and San Antonio del Nuevo Mundo were among the silver mining camps of 17th-century Bolivia that sustained hope as the Cerro Rico de Potosi fell on hard times. How were these camps developed and supplied with labor, mercury, and other necessities? Who ran them and who governed them? What was their relation to the Imperial Villa and to other hubs such as Oruro or Chuquisaca? Finally, how did these satellite mines contribute to environmental degradation beyond the much-studied mines and refineries located around the city of Potosi? The paper argues that the story of "Old" Potosi is better understood in relation to these failed "New" Potosis.