So i arrived to Potosi yesterday, i got a local bus to the centre
I couldn't help noticing the dirt roads, which seems strange? A town that gave so much to the world, has so little, after all it funded European culture especially Spain, Italy, The Vatican, Portugal and the Renaissance, you might have heard of Leonardo Da Vince, Michelangelo the list goes on...
What paid for this chapel?
Have you been to any of these European countries? Ask yourself how they funded the buildings in these cities? Pasta, Olives, tourism, cows? Maybe they exported something when they weren´t having a siesta?
Looking at the town of Potosi, as we descended to the town, i realised the tour guides in Buenos Aires were hiding some important facts, i was asking questions.
Ok, i went on three walking tours in Buenos Aires, they told us about the great Parisian architecture, Venetian architecture and its really amazing stuff, they had palaces brought over from Europe and put together like jigsaw puzzles, an amazing vision really!
The locals in Buenos Aires, the people of the port or ´Portenos´, didn't like the colonial buildings so they knocked them all down and built the European buildings, everyone was in agreement, it was much better, very European indeed, the Paris in South America. Bravo Argentina!
Then i would ask, who paid for it? And why would anyone knock down buildings that were functional, who would pay for this? What did it cost?
If you sell a few of these cash cows, maybe you could build a replica of the Eiffel tower?
The answer i always got was through cows, and trade and the guides would start talking about something else, oh how they love their city? Love indeed, a love supreme, reminds me of John Coltranes quest for equality
I don't know too many farmers that would knock down a good building to put up something he saw on his honeymoon, do you?
Any detective will tell you...
It didn't make sense, it would never make sense and then i saw Potosi and it all made sense.
The interesting thing about crime is when you follow the money, it leads you to the guilty ones.
And one google search later shed a lot of light.
Help me i am lost, but what will you find?
To cut a lost Lama story short, what happened was:
A guy was out looking for a Lama one night, it was getting dark, he lit a fire on the side of the mountain, later he noticed silver, he realised this was the stuff the Spanish was after, so the guy and his buddy started to mine it, later he wanted to split the silver 70/30 with his friend, as he was the one that found it, his friend said, no way, i don't want any, i´m going to tell the SpanishIf you want to learn what Potosi meant to countries all over the world, check out the history of the world in a hundred objects ´Pieces of eight´
In come the Spanish, thank you very much. they arrived in 1532, they started mining about 1545 and did they hit the jackpot or what? There was a god, not for everyone else, the Spanish actually invented a devil to get their superstitious slaves working hard underground, it was so dangerous the Spanish wouldn't go in, so about eight million died in this mountain, good for Europe, too bad for slaves?
The next problem after they had after mining it, was how do we get home to Spain, why it would appear they took it VIA ´The Silver road´, and where did the road go from you might ask?
Why, it went from Potosi to Buenos Aires, it took about 50 days with Lamas, interesting what you can learn isn´t it.
So the next problem the Spanish had was to get people to work in the mines, i´ve blogged about this before, so there is no point getting into this, but as well as enslaving indigenous people from Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru they got slaves from Brazil. Interesting how two countries like Portugal and Spain that didn't like each other very much, could bury their differences to do a lucrative business in slave trading.
Portugal got the slaves from Africa, the indigenous people in Brazil would rather die than work, working is womans work, so they got them over the way from Africa, and they sent them down to their customers in Buenos Aires, since they had plenty of slaves, what was the problem.
I would never have found out this slave history had the guides in Buenos Aires had mentioned how they got the money. One lie covering a bigger lie, the truth has to come out somehow.
To me its a bit like someone winning millions in the lottery, whats the first thing they do? Sports cars, mansions, they buy everything they could ever dream of.
A dream built upon what?
And that is the story of Buenos Aires, they built their dream, but it was all stolen from the poorest people in the planet.
When i was in Argentina, all i heard was people complaining about people from Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay and how they wanted to get rid of them, it seems they should be thanking them for funding the dream that is Argentina
The tour guide today pointed out how ´AG´ is the symbol for silver, it was the land of silver except they didn't have any?
Silver (n.) – argentum (Latin); a shiny metallic element used for making coins, jewellery, tableware, etc.
Symbol: Ag; atomic number: 47
Ag Forty-Seven takes its name from the role of silver in Argentina’s founding story. When settlers first arrived, they called the place a “Land of Silver” eventually leading to Argentina’s official name
AU is the symol for gold, ahem ´Australia´, the Chinese name for Australia is ´Mountain of gold´, but thats another story...
And the list goes on... Chile, Calafornia ect.. who paid? Indegenous people and they are still paying