Past Event

Kris Lane - Pandemic in Potosí (Bolivia), 1719

January 29, 2021
12:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Event Description

In 1719, a highly infectious disease swept through the silver mining city of Potosí, Bolivia, killing between a third and a half of its inhabitants, most of them Indigenous Andeans. The gran peste, as it was called, had begun in mid-1717 in Buenos Aires - contemporaries blamed it on English slavers - and would continue north from Potosí to devastate Cuzco and Arequipa, Peru, in 1720, dissipating only in 1722. This presentation relies on eyewitness accounts and other documents to place this excruciating episode in local, regional, and global contexts. It also offers tentative comparisons with the Great Marseille Plague of 1720, word of which arrived in South America just as the gran peste died out.

Event Speaker

Kris Lane, France V. Scholes Chair in Colonial Latin American History at Tulane University

Event Information

Free and open to the public; please email [email protected] to receive Zoom link and password. 

Hosted by the Center for Early Modern History at the University of Minnesota as part of the Panic and Plague in 1720 and 2020 series.