5. Black Lung

And so the hospital is full of Indians, and every day fifty die, because of this wild beast which swallows them alive.

-Luis Capoche,
General Account of the Imperial City of Potosi, 1585

We know how much one bad night can break the most robust and well fed man. For these unhappy ones every night is extremely bad. They climb up and down overburdened by a load of 46 kilograms, through caverns of horror and risk that appear to be the habitats of demons. The metal vapor they inhale breaks them down to such a degree that, along with these heavy tasks, and the copious sweat which the subterranean heat provokes and the excessive cold that they recieve upon leaving the mine, they greet the dawn so languid and mortal that they appear to be cadavers.

- Pedro Vicente Canete y Dominguez,
Chronicles of the Imperial City of Potosi, 1714

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