Oruro, 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.

Oruro is a city in Bolivia with a population of over 215, 660 (2001), located about equidistant between La Paz and Sucre at approx. 3710 meters above sea level. It is the capital of the department of Oruro.

The city was first founded in 1606 as a silver-mining-center in the Urus region. At the time, it was named Real Villa de Don Felipe de Austria after the Spanish monarch Philip III. It was eventually abandoned as the mines became exhausted, but was reestablished in the late nineteenth century, this time as a tin-mining-center. For a time, the La Salvadora tin-mine was the most important source of tin in the world. Gradually, this resource was also exhausted, and Oruro again went into a decline. The city does manage, however, to attract tourists to its carnival, the Carnaval de Oruro, considered one of the great folkloric events in South America for its masked "devil-dances".

Oruro was named after the native tribe "Uru-Uru".

The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oruro.

The Oruro Symphony Orchestra is based in Oruro.

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