|Plurinational State of Bolivia|
|Motto: "¡La unión es la fuerza!"()
"Unity is (the) strength!"
|Anthem: Bolivianos, el hado propicio()
|Wiphala of Qulla Suyu:
|Capital||Sucre (constitutional capital)
La Paz (seat of government)
|Largest city||Santa Cruz de la Sierra
and 34 other native languages
|Ethnic groups||55% Amerindian (Quechua and Aymara), 30% Mestizo, 15% White|
|Government||Unitary Presidential Republic|
|-||Vice President||Álvaro García|
|-||Declared||6 August 1825|
|-||Recognized||21 July 1847|
|-||Total||1,098,581 km2 (28th)
424,163 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||10,907,778 (84th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2009 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2009 estimate|
|Gini (2006)||59.2 (high)|
|HDI (2010)||0.643 (medium) (95th)|
|Drives on the||Right|
Bolivia (), officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Spanish: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, ), is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, and Chile and Peru to the west.
Prior to European colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire - the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called Upper Peru and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain's South American colonies. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on 6 August 1825. Bolivia has struggled through periods of political instability, dictatorships and economic woes.
Bolivia is a Democratic Republic that is divided into nine departments. Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country, with a Medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level around 60%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin.
The Bolivian population, estimated at 10 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, and Africans. The main language spoken is Spanish, although the Aymara and Quechua languages are also common and all three, as well as 34 other indigenous languages, are official. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.
The word Bolivia is derived from Bolívar, the last name of the South American Libertador Simón Bolívar. The name came about when Antonio José de Sucre was given the option by Bolívar to either keep Upper Peru (present-day Bolivia) under the newly formed Republic of Peru, to unite with the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, or to formally declare its independence from the Viceroyalty of Peru that had dominated most of the region. Sucre opted to create a new nation and, with local support, named it in honor of Simón Bolívar.
However, the original name given to the newly formed country was Republic of Bolívar. The name would not change to Bolivia until some days later when congressman Manuel Martín Cruz proposed: "If from Romulus comes Rome, then from Bolívar comes Bolivia" (Spanish: Si de Rómulo Roma, de Bolívar Bolivia). The name stuck and was approved by the Republic on 3 October 1825.
The region that is now known as Bolivia has been constantly occupied for over 2,000 years, when the Aymara arrived in the region. Present-day Aymara associate themselves with an advanced civilization situated at Tiwanaku, in Western Bolivia. The capital city of Tiwanaku dates as early as 1500 BC as a small agriculturally based village.
The community grew to urban proportions between AD 600 and AD 800, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes. According to early estimates, at its maximum extent, the city covered approximately 6.5 square kilometres, and had between 15,000 – 30,000 inhabitants. However, satellite imaging was used recently to map the extent of fossilized suka kollus across the three primary valleys of Tiwanaku, arriving at population-carrying capacity estimates of anywhere between 285,000 and 1,482,000 people.
Around AD 400, Tiwaaku went from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state. Tiwaaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. However, Tiwaaku was not a violent culture in many aspects. In order to expand its reach Tiwanaku became very political creating colonies, trade agreements (which made the other cultures rather dependant), and state cults.
The empire continued to grow with no end in sight. William H. Isbell states that "Tiahuanaco underwent a dramatic transformation between AD 600 and 700 that established new monumental standards for civic architecture and greatly increased the resident population." Tiwanaku continued to absorb cultures rather than eradicate them. Archaeologists have seen a dramatic adoption of Tiwanaku ceramics in the cultures who became part of the Tiwanaku empire. Tiwanaku gained its power through the trade it implemented between all of the cities within its empire.
The elites gained their status by the surplus of food they gained from all of the regions and then by having the ability to redistribute the food among all the people. This is where the control of llama herds became very significant to Tiwanaku. The llama herds were essential for carrying goods back and forth between the centre and the periphery as well as symbolizing the distance between the commoners and the elites. Their power continued to grow in this manner of a surplus of resources until about AD 950. At this time a dramatic shift in climate occurred.
At this point in time there was a significant drop in precipitation for the Titicaca Basin. Some archaeologists even venture to say that a great drought occurred. As the rain became less and less many of the cities further away from Lake Titicaca began to produce fewer crops to give to the elites. As the surplus of food ran out for the elites their power began to fall. The capital city became the last place of production, due to the resiliency of the raised fields, but in the end even the intelligent design of the fields was no match for the weather. Tiwanaku disappeared around AD 1000 because food production, their main source of power, dried up. The land was not inhabited for many years after that.
Between 1438 and 1527, the Incan empire, on a mass expansion, acquired much of what is now western Bolivia. The Incans wouldn't maintain control of the region for long however, as the rapidly expanding Inca Empire was internally weak. As such, the Spanish conquest would be remarkably easy.
The Spanish conquest began in 1524 and was mostly completed by 1533. The territory now called Bolivia was then known as "Upper Peru" and was under the authority of the Viceroy of Lima. Local government came from the Audiencia de Charcas located in Chuquisaca (La Plata—modern Sucre). Founded in 1545 as a mining town, Potosí soon produced fabulous wealth, becoming the largest city in the New World with a population exceeding 150,000 people.
By the late 16th century Bolivian silver was an important source of revenue for the Spanish Empire. A steady stream of natives served as labor force (the Spanish employed the pre-Columbian draft system called the mita). Upper Peru was bounded to Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. Túpac Katari led the indigenous rebellion that laid siege to La Paz in March 1781, during which 20,000 people died. As Spanish royal authority weakened during the Napoleonic wars, sentiment against colonial rule grew.