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Oruro (ōrōˈrō) [key], city (1992 pop. 183,422), capital of Oruro dept., W Bolivia. It is Bolivia's railroad center. Oruro's economy is based on exploitation of the region's tin, tungsten, and copper. Because of the altitude (12,146 ft/3,702 m), agriculture is almost nonexistent. Oruro was founded in 1595 to exploit the rich silver deposits nearby. When silver production declined in the 19th cent., it became almost a ghost town. It expanded with the development of other mineral resources.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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