By Waltraud Q. Morales

Compliment for the former version: ...the author's devotion to Bolivia and predicament for its destiny shines through...Recommended.--Choice

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City of Silver and Silver Mining The motor of this capitalism was mining, carried on first in the footsteps of the Indians, later in deep deposits discovered by Spanish prospectors. (Wolf 1959, 176) Mining dominated the colonial economy of Charcas (Upper Peru, or modern-day Bolivia) from the 16th to the 18th centuries, making Potosí, the fabled City of Silver, into the wealthiest and most populated in the New World. In 1650, at the zenith of silver production, Potosí boasted 160,000 inhabitants (five times its current population).

When the European adventurers arrived in South America early in the 16th century, the vast Inca Empire of thousands of soldiers and millions of inhabitants was easily conquered by a combination of Spanish treachery and advanced military technology. Within a year, the great capital of Cuzco capitulated and the victorious Spanish marauders regrouped and marched against the recalcitrant Indians of Bolivia’s altiplano. 13 The Inca Huáscar, who inherited half the empire from his father, Inca Huayna Capac.

Nevertheless, despite extensive population mixing and the leveling effect of the National Revolution, discrimination based on race and ethnicity persists. Indeed, race often refers to ethnicity and “social race,” or a person’s overt physical characteristics, cultural attributes, preferred language, socioeconomic status, and degree of social mobility and education. Race has also been perceived differently in the many regions of the country. In the highlands, the whites, or blancos, who were identified with the descendants of the Spanish conquerors and the aristocratic upper class, are still considered a more cultured and elite class.

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