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Perched high in the Andes, the city of Potos has spent its tempestuous history in the shadow of the Cerro Rico - a mountain so abundant in precious metals that it was said to be made entirely of silver. In the sixteenth century, the mines of Potos bankrolled the Spanish empire, the mountain was given the epithet "the rich mountain," and the city grew to be larger than modern-day London. But today, Potos is a shell of its former self. Its inhabitants are among the poorest in South America, and the mountain itself has been so extensively plundered that its summit is at risk of collapsing completely. So many people have working died in the mines that the Cerro Rico is no longer "the rich mountain," but "the mountain that eats men.

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