What does this document mean? (2006 AP world). Source: Antonio Vázquez de Espinosa, a Spanish priest, Compendium and Description of the West Indies, 1620's. The ore at Potosí silver mine is very rich black flint, and the excavation so extensive that more than 3,000 Indians worked away hard with picks and hammers, breaking up that flint ore; and when they have filled their little sacks, the poor fellows, loaded down with ore, climb up those ladders or rigging, some like masts and others like cables, and so trying and distressing that even an empty-handed man can hardly get up them. So huge is the wealth that has been taken out of this range since the year 1545, when it was discovered, up to the present year of 1628, that merely from the registered mines, according to most of the accounts in the Spanish royal records, 326,000,000 silver coins have been taken out. This does not count the great amount of silver taken secretly from these mines to Spain, paying no 20 percent tax or registry fee, and to other countries outside Spain, including the Philippines and China.

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This account was written in 1628 by a Spanish priest, Antonio Vázquez de Espinosa; it details working conditions in a silver mine in the West Indies. The most astounding detail, in my opinion, is that the 3,000 indigenous workers in the mine are required to carry bags filled with heavy ore up ladders or rigging after they finish excavating it. Vázquez de Espinosa describes the task of climbing out of the mine as difficult, even for an empty-handed person, thus the fact that workers, who have been hammering into rock all day and have to then transport the heavy loads out, proves disheartening.

Vázquez de Espinosa cites records for how much silver has been removed from the mine over the 83 years since its discovery and points out that much more silver has likely been removed in secret to avoid taxes and fees. The extreme wealth of the Spanish, who control the silver mine, is a stark contrast to the harsh working conditions of the indigenous people used to extract the ore. This account...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 545 words.)

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