Early View of POTOSI, BOLIVIA, c. 1671 - Montanus View


Largest city in the Western Hemisphere during the 1600’s

“POTOSI.” from De Nieuwe en Onbekende Weereld by Arnoldus Montanus.  Amsterdam, 1671. Original copper-plate engraving from “the first encyclopedia of the Americas” (Schwartz & Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America, p.118). (Image: 10 ¾ x 13 ¾”) 

This detailed view depicts every-day life in the city of “POTOSI” in the mid 1600’s. By 1650 Potosi, Bolivia was the largest city in the Western Hemisphere! The Spaniards, whose main interest was precious metals, discovered in 1544 rich silver deposits in a mountain at the foot of which they founded the settlement of Potosi. By the end of the sixteenth century, Potosi had a population of 120,000 & by the early 1700’s exceeded 160,000.

The views from this important series served as an illustrated compendium of the discoveries, conquests, and settlements in the New World. (Reference: Deák, Picturing America, #50-51).

This item is presented in archival matting (16 x 20").

  • Inventory# V-641