Copiapó is known for its silver mining industry. Of course, all of this had to start somewhere, and the entire industry can actually be attributed to a single man: Juan Godoy.
Godoy was born in a village near Copiapó in 1800. His life was quite typical for the place where he lived, but things turned around in 1832, when he found and registered a massive silver deposit close to Copiapó.
This mine promised great wealth and fortune to him and his brother. But sadly, Godoy was not a good businessman and let himself be bought out of his deed for a mere 8,245 pesos—a large sum that he could live off of for a while, but less than 0.5 percent of the mine’s profits.
Godoy unfortunately wasted most of the money he earned from the sale. He fell into poverty and was eventually forced to take a job in the very mine he once owned. He worked there for a few years until he had enough money to buy some land in La Serena, where he became a farmer.
A decade after his death, the city decided to honor him with a statue, which was completed in 1851. In 1863, it was moved to its current location. In 2005, the mineral juangodoyite (Na2Cu(CO3)2) was named to honor him.
Know Before You Go
The statue is freely accessible.