Coordinates: 16°42′43″S 64°39′58″W / 16.712°S
64.666°W / -16.712; -64.666
Plurinational State of Bolivia
Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia (Spanish)
Tetã Hetãvoregua Volívia (Guaraní)
Buliwya Mamallaqta (Quechua)
Wuliwya Suyu (Aymara)
Coat of arms
Motto: "La Unión es la Fuerza" (Spanish)
"Unity is Strength"
Anthem: Himno Nacional de Bolivia (Spanish)
Location of Bolivia (dark green)
in South America (grey)
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
17°48′S 63°10′W / 17.800°S 63.167°W / -17.800;
36 indigenous languages
Eastern Bolivian Guaraní
Wichí Lhamtés Nocten
Ethnic groups (2009)
Unitary presidential constitutional republic
• Vice President
Álvaro García Linera
Plurinational Legislative Assembly
• Upper house
• Lower house
Chamber of Deputies
Independence from Spain
6 August 1825
21 July 1847
• Current constitution
7 February 2009
1,098,581 km2 (424,164 sq mi) (27th)
• Water (%)
• 2018 estimate
10.2/km2 (26.4/sq mi) (224th)
$88.529 billion (92nd)
• Per capita
$41.030 billion (95th)
• Per capita
medium · 118th
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
Sucre is the constitutional capital,
La Paz is the seat of the
government as member of the UCCI and the de facto capital. See below.
Bolivia (/bəˈlɪviə/ ( listen);
Spanish: [boˈliβja]; Guarani: Mborivia [ᵐboˈɾiʋja];
Quechua: Buliwya [bʊlɪwja]; Aymara: Wuliwya [wʊlɪwja]), officially
known as the Plurinational State of
Bolivia (Spanish: Estado
Plurinacional de Bolivia), is a landlocked country located in
western-central South America. The capital is
Sucre while the seat of
government is located in La Paz. The largest city and principal
economic and financial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on
the Llanos Orientales (Tropical lowlands) a mostly flat region in the
East of Bolivia.
It is constitutionally a unitary state, divided into nine departments.
Its geography varies from the peaks of the
Andes in the West, to the
Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is bordered to
the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the
south by Argentina, to the southwest by Chile, and to the northwest by
Peru. One-third of the country is within the Andean mountain range.
With 1,098,581 km2 (424,164 sq mi) of area,
the 5th largest country in
South America and the 27th largest in the
The country's population, estimated at 11 million, is
multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and
Africans. The racial and social segregation that arose from Spanish
colonialism has continued to the modern era. Spanish is the official
and predominant language, although 36 indigenous languages also have
official status, of which the most commonly spoken are Guarani, Aymara
and Quechua languages.
Before Spanish colonization, the Andean region of
Bolivia was part of
the Inca Empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were
inhabited by independent tribes. Spanish conquistadors arriving from
Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century.
During the Spanish colonial period
Bolivia was administered by the
Royal Audiencia of Charcas.
Spain built its empire in great part upon
the silver that was extracted from Bolivia's mines. After the first
call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the
establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar. It has been
landlocked since the annexation of its
Pacific coast territory by
Chile following the War of the
Bolivia is a charter member of the UN, IMF, NAM, OAS, ACTO,
Bank of the South,
ALBA and USAN. For over a decade
Bolivia has had
one of the fastest economic growths in Latin America, however it
remains one of the poorest countries in South America.  It is
a developing country, with a medium ranking in the Human Development
Index, a poverty level of 38.6 percent, and it is one of the top
three safest countries in Latin America. Its main economic
activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and
manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and
Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially
2.2 Colonial period
2.3 Independence and subsequent wars
2.4 Early 20th century
2.5 Late 20th century
2.6 Democratic transition
4 Politics and government
4.2 Law and crime
4.3 Foreign relations
5 Administrative divisions
6.1 Foreign-exchange reserves
6.2.1 Air traffic
6.4 Water supply and sanitation
7.2 Ethnic and Racial Classifications
7.2.1 Indigenous peoples
7.5 Largest cities and towns
8.2 Artistic and popular references
11 See also
14 External links
Bolivia is named after Simón Bolívar, a leader in the Spanish
American wars of independence. The leader of Venezuela, Antonio
José de Sucre, had been given the option by
Bolívar to either unite
Charcas (present-day Bolivia) with the newly formed Republic of Peru,
to unite with the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, or to formally
declare its independence from
Spain as a wholly independent nation.
Sucre opted to create a brand new nation and on 6 August 1825, with
local support, named it in honor of Simón Bolívar.
The original name was Republic of Bolívar. Some days later,
congressman Manuel Martín Cruz proposed: "If from
Romulus comes Rome,
Bolívar comes Bolivia" (Spanish: Si de Rómulo Roma, de
Bolívar Bolivia). The name was approved by the Republic on 3 October
1825. In 2009, a new constitution changed the country's official
name to "Plurinational State of Bolivia" in recognition of the
multi-ethnic nature of the country and the enhanced position of
Bolivia's indigenous peoples under the new constitution.
Main article: History of Bolivia
Tiwanaku at its largest territorial extent, AD 950
The region now known as
Bolivia had been occupied for over 2,500 years
when the Aymara arrived. However, present-day Aymara associate
themselves with the ancient civilization of the
Tiwanaku culture which
had its capital at Tiwanaku, in Western Bolivia. The capital city of
Tiwanaku dates from as early as 1500 BC when it was 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,[when?] the city covered approximately 6.5 square
kilometers (2.5 square miles) at its maximum extent and had between
15,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. In 1996 satellite imaging was used
to map the extent of fossilized suka kollus (flooded raised fields)
across the three primary valleys of Tiwanaku, arriving at
population-carrying capacity estimates of anywhere between 285,000 and
Around AD 400,
Tiwanaku went from being a locally dominant force to a
Tiwanaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and
brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru,
Bolivia, and Chile.
Tiwanaku was not a violent culture in many
respects. In order to expand its reach,
Tiwanaku exercised great
political astuteness, creating colonies, fostering trade agreements
(which made the other cultures rather dependent), and instituting
The empire continued to grow with no end in sight. William H. Isbell
states "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 note a dramatic adoption of
Tiwanaku ceramics into the
cultures which became part of the
Tiwanaku empire. Tiwanaku's power
was further solidified through the trade it implemented among the
cities within its empire.
Tiwanaku's elites gained their status through the surplus food they
controlled, collected from outlying regions and then redistributed to
the general populace. Further, this elite's control of llama herds
became a powerful control mechanism as llamas were essential for
carrying goods between the civic centre and the periphery. These herds
also came to symbolize class distinctions between the commoners and
the elites. Through this control and manipulation of surplus
resources, the elite's power continued to grow until about AD 950. At
this time a dramatic shift in climate occurred,[page needed]
causing a significant drop in precipitation in the Titicaca Basin,
believed by archaeologists to have been on the scale of a major
As the rainfall decreased, many of the cities farther away from Lake
Titicaca began to tender fewer foodstuffs to the elites. As the
surplus of food decreased, and thus the amount available to underpin
their power, the control of the elites began to falter. The capital
city became the last place viable for food production due to the
resiliency of the raised field method of agriculture. Tiwanaku
disappeared around AD 1000 because food production, the main source of
the elites' power, dried up. The area remained uninhabited for
Inca Expansion (1438–1533)
Between 1438 and 1527, the Inca empire, during its expansion from its
capital at Cuzco, Peru. It gained control over much of what is now
Bolivia and extended its control into the fringes of the Amazon
The Spanish conquest of the
Inca empire began in 1524, and was mostly
completed by 1533. The territory now called
Bolivia was known as
Charcas, 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 under the brutal, slave conditions of the Spanish
version of the pre-Columbian draft system called the mita. Charcas
was transferred to the
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 and
the people from Buenos Aires, the capital of the Viceroyalty, coined
the term "Upper Peru" (Spanish: Alto Perú) as a popular reference to
the Royal Audiencia of Charcas.
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.
Independence and subsequent wars
History of Bolivia
History of Bolivia (1809–1920)
The struggle for independence started in the city of
Sucre on 25 May
1809 and the
Chuquisaca Revolution (Chuquisaca was then the name of
the city) is known as the first cry of Freedom in Latin America. That
revolution was followed by the
La Paz revolution on 16 July 1809. The
La Paz revolution marked a complete split with the Spanish government,
Chuquisaca Revolution established a local independent junta
in the name of the Spanish King deposed by Napoleon Bonaparte. Both
revolutions were short-lived and defeated by the Spanish authorities
in the Viceroyalty of the Rio de La Plata, but the following year the
Spanish American wars of independence
Spanish American wars of independence raged across the continent.
Bolivia was captured and recaptured many times during the war by the
royalists and patriots. Buenos Aires sent three military campaigns,
all of which were defeated, and eventually limited itself to
protecting the national borders at Salta.
Bolivia was finally freed of
Royalist dominion by Antonio José de Sucre, with a military campaign
coming from the North in support of the campaign of Simón Bolívar.
After 16 years of war the Republic was proclaimed on 6 August 1825.
The first coat of arms of Bolivia, formerly named the Republic of
Bolívar in honor of Simón Bolívar
In 1836, Bolivia, under the rule of
Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz,
Peru to reinstall the deposed president,
General Luis José de
Bolivia formed the Peru-Bolivian Confederation,
with de Santa Cruz as the Supreme Protector. Following tension between
the Confederation and Chile,
Chile declared war on 28 December 1836.
Argentina separately declared war on the Confederation on 9 May 1837.
The Peruvian-Bolivian forces achieved several major victories during
the War of the Confederation: the defeat of the Argentine expedition
and the defeat of the first Chilean expedition on the fields of
Paucarpata near the city of Arequipa.
At the outset of the war, the Chilean and Peruvian rebel army
surrendered unconditionally and signed the Paucarpata Treaty. The
treaty stipulated that
Chile would withdraw from Peru-Bolivia, Chile
would return captured Confederate ships, economic relations would be
normalized, and the Confederation would pay Peruvian debt to Chile. In
Chile, the government and public rejected the peace treaty. Chile
organized a second attack on the Confederation and defeated it in the
Battle of Yungay. After this defeat, Santa Cruz resigned and went to
Ecuador and then Paris, and the Peruvian-Bolivian
Confederation was dissolved.
Following the renewed independence of Peru, Peruvian president General
Agustín Gamarra invaded Bolivia. The Peruvian army was decisively
defeated at the
Battle of Ingavi
Battle of Ingavi on 20 November 1841 where Gamarra was
killed. The Bolivian army under
José Ballivián then mounted
a counter-offensive, capturing the Peruvian port of Arica. Later, both
sides signed a peace treaty in 1842, putting a final end to the war.
A period of political and economic instability in the
early-to-mid-19th century weakened Bolivia. In addition, during the
War of the
Chile occupied vast territories rich
in natural resources south west of Bolivia, including the Bolivian
Chile took control of today's
Chuquicamata area, the adjoining
rich salitre (saltpeter) fields, and the port of
other Bolivian territories.
Thus, since independence,
Bolivia has lost over half of its territory
to neighboring countries. It also lost the state of Acre, in the
Acre War, important because this region was known for its production
of rubber. Peasants and the Bolivian army fought briefly but after a
few victories, and facing the prospect of a total war against Brazil,
it was forced to sign the
Treaty of Petrópolis
Treaty of Petrópolis in 1903, in which
Bolivia lost this rich territory. Popular myth has it that Bolivian
president Mariano Melgarejo (1864–71) traded the land for what he
called "a magnificent white horse" and Acre was subsequently flooded
by Brazilians, which ultimately led to confrontation and fear of war
with Brazil. In the late 19th century, an increase in
the world price of silver brought
Bolivia relative prosperity and
Early 20th century
History of Bolivia
History of Bolivia (1920–64)
Bolivia's territorial losses (1867–1938)
During the early 20th century, tin replaced silver as the country's
most important source of wealth. A succession of governments
controlled by the economic and social elite followed laissez-faire
capitalist policies through the first thirty years of the 20th
Living conditions of the native people, who constitute most of the
population, remained deplorable. With work opportunities limited to
primitive conditions in the mines and in large estates having nearly
feudal status, they had no access to education, economic opportunity,
and political participation. Bolivia's defeat by
Paraguay in the Chaco
War (1932–35), where
Bolivia lost a great part of the Gran Chaco
region in dispute, marked a turning-point.
Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (MNR), the most historic
political party, emerged as a broad-based party. Denied its victory in
the 1951 presidential elections, the MNR led a successful revolution
in 1952. Under President Víctor Paz Estenssoro, the MNR, having
strong popular pressure, introduced universal suffrage into his
political platform and carried out a sweeping land-reform promoting
rural education and nationalization of the country's largest tin
Late 20th century
History of Bolivia
History of Bolivia (1964–82)
12 years of tumultuous rule left the MNR divided. In 1964, a military
junta overthrew President Estenssoro at the outset of his third term.
The 1969 death of President René Barrientos Ortuño, a former member
of the junta who was elected president in 1966, led to a succession of
weak governments. Alarmed by the rising Popular Assembly and the
increase in the popularity of President Juan José Torres, the
military, the MNR, and others installed Colonel (later General) Hugo
Banzer Suárez as president in 1971. He returned to the presidency in
1997 through 2001.
The United States'
Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been active
in providing finances and training to the Bolivian military
dictatorship in the 1960s. The revolutionary leader
Che Guevara was
killed by a team of CIA officers and members of the
Bolivian Army on 9
October 1967, in Bolivia. Félix Rodríguez was a CIA officer on the
team with the
Bolivian Army that captured and shot Guevara.
Rodriguez said that after he received a Bolivian presidential
execution order, he told "the soldier who pulled the trigger to aim
carefully, to remain consistent with the Bolivian government's story
that Che had been killed in action during a clash with the Bolivian
army." Rodriguez said the US government had wanted Che in Panama, and
"I could have tried to falsify the command to the troops, and got Che
Panama as the US government said they had wanted", but that he had
chosen to "let history run its course" as desired by Bolivia.
Elections in 1979 and 1981 were inconclusive and marked by fraud.
There were coups d'état, counter-coups, and caretaker governments. In
Luis García Meza Tejada carried out a ruthless and
violent coup d'état that did not have popular support. He pacified
the people by promising to remain in power only for one year. At the
end of the year, he staged a televised rally to claim popular support
and announced, "Bueno, me quedo", or, "All right; I'll stay [in
office]." After a military rebellion forced out Meza in 1981,
three other military governments in 14 months struggled with Bolivia's
growing problems. Unrest forced the military to convoke the Congress,
elected in 1980, and allow it to choose a new chief executive. In
Hernán Siles Zuazo again became president, 22 years
after the end of his first term of office (1956–60).
History of Bolivia
History of Bolivia (1982–present)
Former President, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada pursued an aggressive economic and social
reform agenda. The most dramatic reform was the "capitalization"
program, under which investors, typically foreign, acquired 50%
ownership and management control of public enterprises in return for
agreed upon capital investments.
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada ran for president in alliance with
the Tupac Katari Revolutionary Liberation Movement, which inspired
indigenous-sensitive and multicultural-aware policies. In 1993,
Sanchez de Lozada introduced the Plan de Todos, which led to the
decentralization of government, introduction of intercultural
bilingual education, implementation of agrarian legislation, and
privatization of state owned businesses. The plan explicitly stated
that Bolivian citizens would own a minimum of 51% of enterprises;
under the plan, most state-owned enterprises (SOEs), though not mines,
were sold. This privatization of SOEs led to a neoliberal
The Law of Popular Participation gave municipalities the
responsibility of maintaining various infrastructures (and offering
services): health, education, systems of irrigation, which stripped
the responsibility away from the state.[when?]
The reforms and economic restructuring were strongly opposed by
certain segments of society, which instigated frequent and sometimes
violent protests, particularly in
La Paz and the Chapare coca-growing
region, from 1994 through 1996. During this time, the umbrella
labor-organization of Bolivia, the
Central Obrera Boliviana (COB),
became increasingly unable to effectively challenge government policy.
A teachers' strike in 1995 was defeated because the COB could not
marshal the support of many of its members, including construction and
In the 1997 elections,
General Hugo Banzer, leader of the Nationalist
Democratic Action party (ADN) and former dictator (1971–78), won 22%
of the vote, while the MNR candidate won 18%. At the outset of his
government, President Banzer launched a policy of using special
police-units to eradicate physically the illegal coca of the Chapare
region. The MIR of Jaime Paz Zamora remained a coalition-partner
throughout the Banzer government, supporting this policy (called the
Dignity Plan). The Banzer government basically continued the
free-market and privatization-policies of its predecessor. The
relatively robust economic growth of the mid-1990s continued until
about the third year of its term in office. After that, regional,
global and domestic factors contributed to a decline in economic
growth. Financial crises in
Argentina and Brazil, lower world prices
for export commodities, and reduced employment in the coca sector
depressed the Bolivian economy. The public also perceived a
significant amount of public sector corruption. These factors
contributed to increasing social protests during the second half of
Between January 1999 and April 2000, large-scale protests erupted in
Cochabamba, Bolivia's third largest city, in response to the
privatisation of water resources by foreign companies and a subsequent
doubling of water prices. On 6 August 2001, Banzer resigned from
office after being diagnosed with cancer. He died less than a year
later. Vice President Jorge Fernando Quiroga Ramírez completed the
final year of his term.
Current President, Evo Morales
In the June 2002 national elections, former President Gonzalo Sánchez
de Lozada (MNR) placed first with 22.5% of the vote, followed by
coca-advocate and native peasant-leader
Evo Morales (Movement Toward
Socialism, MAS) with 20.9%. A July agreement between the MNR and the
fourth-place MIR, which had again been led in the election by former
President Jaime Paz Zamora, virtually ensured the election of Sánchez
de Lozada in the congressional run-off, and on 6 August he was sworn
in for the second time. The MNR platform featured three overarching
objectives: economic reactivation (and job creation), anti-corruption,
and social inclusion.
In 2003 the
Bolivian gas conflict
Bolivian gas conflict broke out. On 12 October 2003 the
government imposed martial law in
El Alto after 16 people were shot by
the police and several dozen wounded in violent clashes. Faced with
the option of resigning or more bloodshed, Sanchez de Lozada offered
his resignation in a letter to an emergency session of Congress. After
his resignation was accepted and his vice president, Carlos Mesa,
invested, he left on a commercially scheduled flight for the United
Evo Morales' inauguration as President
The country's internal situation became unfavorable for such political
action on the international stage. After a resurgence of gas protests
Carlos Mesa attempted to resign in January 2005, but his
offer was refused by Congress. On 22 March 2005, after weeks of new
street protests from organizations accusing Mesa of bowing to U.S.
corporate interests, Mesa again offered his resignation to Congress,
which was accepted on 10 June. The chief justice of the Supreme Court,
Eduardo Rodríguez, was sworn as interim president to succeed the
outgoing Carlos Mesa.
The indigenous population of the Andean region was not able to benefit
from government reforms.
Evo Morales won the 2005 presidential election with 53.7% of the
votes, an absolute majority, unusual in Bolivian elections. On 1 May
2006, Morales caused controversy when he announced his intent to
re-nationalize Bolivian hydrocarbon assets. Fulfilling a campaign
promise, on 6 August 2006, Morales opened the Bolivian Constituent
Assembly to begin writing a new constitution aimed at giving more
power to the indigenous majority.
In August 2007, more conflicts arose in Sucre, as the city demanded
the discussion of the seat of government inside the assembly, hoping
the executive and legislative branches could return to the city, but
the assembly and the government said this demand was overwhelmingly
impractical and politically undesirable. In May 2008,
Evo Morales was
a signatory to the
UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South
American Nations. In the 2009 national general elections, Evo Morales
was re-elected with 64.22% of the vote. His party, Movement for
Socialism, also won a two-thirds majority in both houses of the
Main article: Geography of Bolivia
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Satellite image of Bolivia
Salar de Uyuni
Bolivia is located in the central zone of South America, between
57°26'–69°38'W and 9°38'–22°53'S. With an area of 1,098,581
square kilometres (424,164 sq mi),
Bolivia is the world's
28th-largest country, and the fifth largest country in South
America, extending from the Central
Andes through part of the Gran
Chaco as far as the Amazon. The geographic center of the country is
the so-called Puerto Estrella ("Star Port") on the Río Grande, in
Ñuflo de Chávez Province, Santa Cruz Department.
The geography of the country exhibits a great variety of terrain and
Bolivia has a high level of biodiversity, considered one of
the greatest in the world, as well as several ecoregions with
ecological sub-units such as the Altiplano, tropical rainforests
(including Amazon rainforest), dry valleys, and the Chiquitania, which
is a tropical savanna. These areas feature enormous variations in
altitude, from an elevation of 6,542 metres (21,463 ft) above sea
Nevado Sajama to nearly 70 metres (230 ft) along the
Paraguay River. Although a country of great geographic diversity,
Bolivia has remained a landlocked country since the War of the
Bolivia can be divided into three physiographic regions:
The Andean region in the southwest spans 28% of the national
territory, extending over 307,603 square kilometres
(118,766 sq mi). This area is located above 3,000 metres
(9,800 ft) altitude and is located between two big Andean chains,
the Cordillera Occidental ("Western Range") and the Cordillera Central
("Central Range"), with some of the highest spots in the
as the Nevado Sajama, with an altitude of 6,542 metres
(21,463 ft), and the Illimani, at 6,462 metres (21,201 ft).
Also located in the Cordillera Central is Lake Titicaca, the highest
commercially navigable lake in the world and the largest lake in South
America; the lake is shared with Peru. Also in this region are the
Altiplano and the Salar de Uyuni, which is the largest salt flat in
the world and an important source of lithium.
The Sub-Andean region in the center and south of the country is an
intermediate region between the
Altiplano and the eastern llanos
(plain); this region comprises 13% of the territory of Bolivia,
extending over 142,815 km2 (55,141 sq mi), and
encompassing the Bolivian valleys and the Yungas region. It is
distinguished by its farming activities and its temperate climate.
The Llanos region in the northeast comprises 59% of the territory,
with 648,163 km2 (250,257 sq mi). It is located to the
north of the Cordillera Central and extends from the Andean foothills
Paraguay River. It is a region of flat land and small plateaus,
all covered by extensive rain forests containing enormous
biodiversity. The region is below 400 metres (1,300 ft) above sea
Bolivia has three drainage basins:
The first is the Amazon Basin, also called the North Basin
(724,000 km2 (280,000 sq mi)/66% of the territory). The
rivers of this basin generally have big meanders which form lakes such
Murillo Lake in Pando Department. The main Bolivian tributary to
the Amazon basin is the Mamoré River, with a length of 2,000 km
(1,200 mi) running north to the confluence with the Beni River,
1,113 km (692 mi) in length and the second most important
river of the country. The Beni River, along with the Madeira River,
forms the main tributary of the Amazon River. From east to west, the
basin is formed by other important rivers, such as the Madre de Dios
River, the Orthon River, the Abuna River, the Yata River, and the
Guaporé River. The most important lakes are Rogaguado Lake, Rogagua
Lake, and Jara Lake.
The second is the Río de la Plata Basin, also called the South Basin
(229,500 km2 (88,600 sq mi)/21% of the territory). The
tributaries in this basin are in general less abundant than the ones
forming the Amazon Basin. The Rio de la Plata Basin is mainly formed
Paraguay River, Pilcomayo River, and Bermejo River. The most
important lakes are
Uberaba Lake and Mandioré Lake, both located in
the Bolivian marshland.
The third basin is the Central Basin, which is an endorheic basin
(145,081 square kilometres (56,016 sq mi)/13% of the
Altiplano has large numbers of lakes and rivers that
do not run into any ocean because they are enclosed by the Andean
mountains. The most important river is the Desaguadero River, with a
length of 436 km (271 mi), the longest river of the
Altiplano; it begins in
Lake Titicaca and then runs in a southeast
direction to Poopó Lake. The basin is then formed by Lake Titicaca,
Lake Poopó, the Desaguadero River, and great salt flats, including
Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni and Coipasa Lake.
The geology of
Bolivia comprises a variety of different lithologies as
well as tectonic and sedimentary environments. On a synoptic scale,
geological units coincide with topographical units. Most elementally,
the country is divided into a mountainous western area affected by the
subduction processes in the
Pacific and an eastern lowlands of stable
platforms and shields.
Mean annual precipitation in Bolivia
Bolivia map of Köppen climate classification
Los Yungas, La Paz
The climate of
Bolivia varies drastically from one eco-region to the
other, from the tropics in the eastern llanos to a polar climate in
the western Andes. The summers are warm, humid in the east and dry in
the west, with rains that often modify temperatures, humidity, winds,
atmospheric pressure and evaporation, yielding very different climates
in different areas. When the climatological phenomenon known as El
Niño takes place, it causes great alterations in the weather.
Winters are very cold in the west, and it snows in the mountain
ranges, while in the western regions, windy days are more common. The
autumn is dry in the non-tropical regions.
Llanos. A humid tropical climate with an average temperature of
30 °C (86 °F). The wind coming from the Amazon rainforest
causes significant rainfall. In May, there is low precipitation
because of dry winds, and most days have clear skies. Even so, winds
from the south, called surazos, can bring cooler temperatures lasting
Altiplano. Desert-Polar climates, with strong and cold winds. The
average temperature ranges from 15 to 20 °C. At night,
temperatures descend drastically to slightly above 0 °C, while
during the day, the weather is dry and solar radiation is high. Ground
frosts occur every month, and snow is frequent.
Valleys and Yungas. Temperate climate. The humid northeastern winds
are pushed to the mountains, making this region very humid and rainy.
Temperatures are cooler at higher elevations. Snow occurs at altitudes
of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft).
Chaco. Subtropical semi-arid climate. Rainy and humid in January and
the rest of the year, with warm days and cool nights.
Amazon river basin in Bolivia
Bolivia, with an enormous variety of organisms and ecosystems, is part
of the "Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries".
Bolivia's variable altitudes, ranging from 90–6,542 metres
(295–21,463 ft) above sea level, allow for a vast biologic
diversity. The territory of
Bolivia comprises four types of biomes, 32
ecological regions, and 199 ecosystems. Within this geographic area
there are several natural parks and reserves such as the Noel Kempff
Mercado National Park, the Madidi National Park, the Tunari National
Park, the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, and the
Gran Chaco National Park and Integrated Management Natural
Area, among others.
Bolivia boasts over 17,000 species of seed plants, including over
1,200 species of fern, 1,500 species of marchantiophyta and moss, and
at least 800 species of fungus. In addition, there are more than 3,000
species of medicinal plants.
Bolivia is considered the place of origin
for such species as peppers and chili peppers, peanuts, the common
beans, yucca, and several species of palm.
Bolivia also naturally
produces over 4,000 kinds of potatoes.
Bolivia has more than 2,900 animal species, including 398 mammals,
over 1,400 birds (about 14% of birds known in the world, being the
sixth most diverse country in terms of bird species)[unreliable
source?], 204 amphibians, 277 reptiles, and 635 fish, all fresh water
Bolivia is a landlocked country. In addition, there are more
than 3,000 types of butterfly, and more than 60 domestic animals.
Bolivia has gained global attention for its 'Law of the Rights of
Mother Earth', which accords nature the same rights as humans.
Politics and government
Politics of Bolivia
Politics of Bolivia and Foreign relations of Bolivia
The government building of the
National Congress of Bolivia
National Congress of Bolivia at the
Plaza Murillo in central La Paz
Bolivia has been governed by democratically elected governments since
1982; prior to that, it was governed by various dictatorships.
Hernán Siles Zuazo (1982–85) and Víctor Paz Estenssoro
(1985–89) began a tradition of ceding power peacefully which has
continued, although two presidents have stepped down in the face of
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada in 2003 and Carlos Mesa
Bolivia's multiparty democracy has seen a wide variety of parties in
the presidency and parliament, although the Revolutionary Nationalist
Movement, Nationalist Democratic Action, and the Revolutionary Left
Movement predominated from 1985 to 2005. The current president is Evo
Morales, the first indigenous Bolivian to serve as head of state.
Morales' Movement for Socialism – Political Instrument for the
Sovereignty of the Peoples party was the first to win an outright
presidential majority in four decades, doing so both in 2005 and 2009.
The constitution, drafted in 2006–07 and approved in 2009, provides
for balanced executive, legislative, judicial, and electoral powers,
as well as several levels of autonomy. The traditionally strong
executive branch tends to overshadow the Congress, whose role is
generally limited to debating and approving legislation initiated by
the executive. The judiciary, consisting of the Supreme Court and
departmental and lower courts, has long been riddled with corruption
and inefficiency. Through revisions to the constitution in 1994, and
subsequent laws, the government has initiated potentially far-reaching
reforms in the judicial system as well as increasing decentralizing
powers to departments, municipalities, and indigenous territories.
The executive branch is headed by a President and Vice President, and
consists of a variable number (currently, 20) of government
ministries. The president is elected to a five-year term by popular
vote, and governs from the Presidential Palace (popularly called the
Burnt Palace, Palacio Quemado) in La Paz. In the case that no
candidate receives an absolute majority of the popular vote or more
than 40% of the vote with an advantage of more than 10% over the
second-place finisher, a run-off is to be held among the two
candidates most voted.
The Asamblea Legislativa Plurinacional (Plurinational Legislative
Assembly or National Congress) has two chambers. The Cámara de
Diputados (Chamber of Deputies) has 130 members elected to five-year
terms, seventy from single-member districts (circunscripciones), sixty
by proportional representation, and seven by the minority indigenous
peoples of seven departments. The Cámara de Senadores (Chamber of
Senators) has 36 members (four per department). Members of the
Assembly are elected to five-year terms. The body has its headquarters
on the Plaza Murillo in La Paz, but also holds honorary sessions
elsewhere in Bolivia. The Vice President serves as titular head of the
The Supreme Court Building in the capital of Bolivia, Sucre
The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional
Tribunal, the Judiciary Council, Agrarian and Environmental Tribunal,
and District (departmental) and lower courts. In October 2011, Bolivia
held its first judicial elections to choose members of the national
courts by popular vote, a reform brought about by Evo Morales.
Plurinational Electoral Organ is an independent branch of
government which replaced the National Electoral Court in 2010. The
branch consists of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the nine
Departmental Electoral Tribunals, Electoral Judges, the anonymously
selected Juries at Election Tables, and Electoral Notaries.
Wilfredo Ovando presides over the seven-member Supreme Electoral
Tribunal. Its operations are mandated by the Constitution and
regulated by the Electoral Regime Law (Law 026, passed 2010). The
Organ's first elections were the country's first judicial election in
October 2011, and five municipal special elections held in 2011.
Bolivia has its constitutionally recognized capital in Sucre, while La
Paz is the seat of government. La Plata (now Sucre) was proclaimed
provisional capital of the newly independent Alto Perú (later,
Bolivia) on 1 July 1826. On 12 July 1839, President José Miguel
de Velasco proclaimed a law naming the city as the capital of Bolivia,
and renaming it in honor of the revolutionary leader Antonio José de
Sucre. The Bolivian seat of government moved to
La Paz at the
start of the twentieth century, as a consequence of Sucre's relative
remoteness from economic activity after the decline of
Potosí and its
silver industry and of the Liberal Party in the War of 1899.
The 2009 Constitution assigns the role of national capital to Sucre,
not referring to
La Paz in the text. In addition to being the
constitutional capital, the
Supreme Court of Bolivia is located in
Sucre, making it the judicial capital. Nonetheless, the Palacio
Quemado (the Presidential Palace and seat of Bolivian executive power)
is located in La Paz, as are the National Congress and Plurinational
La Paz thus continues to be the seat of government.
Law and crime
Main articles: Law in
Bolivia and Crime in Bolivia
There are 53 prisons in Bolivia, which incarcerate around 8,700 people
as of 2010[update]. The prisons are managed by the Penitentiary Regime
Directorate (Spanish: Dirección de Régimen Penintenciario). There
are 17 prisons in departmental capital cities and 36 provincial
Despite losing its maritime coast, the so-called Litoral Department,
after the War of the Pacific,
Bolivia has historically maintained, as
a state policy, a maritime claim to that part of Chile; the claim asks
for sovereign access to the
Pacific Ocean and its maritime space. The
issue has also been presented before the Organization of American
States; in 1979, the OAS passed the 426 Resolution, which declared
that the Bolivian problem is a hemispheric problem. On 4 April 1884, a
truce was signed with Chile, whereby
Chile gave facilities of access
to Bolivian products through Antofagasta, and freed the payment of
export rights in the port of Arica. In October 1904, the Treaty of
Peace and Friendship was signed, and
Chile agreed to build a railway
Arica and La Paz, to improve access of Bolivian products to
Special Economical Zone for
Bolivia in Ilo (ZEEBI) is a special
economic area of 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) of maritime coast, and a
total extension of 358 hectares (880 acres), called Mar
Bolivia may maintain a free port near Ilo,
its administration and operation[unreliable source?] for a period
of 99 years starting in 1992; once that time has passed, all the
construction and territory revert to the Peruvian government. Since
Bolivia has had its own port facilities in the Bolivian Free
Port in Rosario, Argentina. This port is located on the Paraná River,
which is directly connected to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bolivian military comprises three branches: Ejército (Army),
Naval (Navy) and Fuerza Aérea (Air Force). The legal age for
voluntary admissions is 18; however, when the numbers are small the
government recruits anyone as young as 14. The tour of duty is
generally 12 months. The Bolivian government annually spends
$130 million on defense.
The Bolivian army has around 31,500 men. There are six military
regions (regiones militares—RMs) in the army. The army is organized
into ten divisions.
Though it is landlocked
Bolivia keeps a navy. The Bolivian Naval Force
(Fuerza Naval Boliviana in Spanish) is a naval force about 5,000
strong in 2008.
Bolivian Air Force
Bolivian Air Force ('Fuerza Aérea Boliviana' or 'FAB') has nine
air bases, located at La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Puerto Suárez,
Tarija, Villamontes, Cobija, Riberalta, and Roboré.
Main articles: Departments of Bolivia, Provinces of Bolivia,
Municipalities of Bolivia, Cantons of Bolivia, and Native Community
Bolivia has nine departments—Pando, La Paz, Beni, Oruro, Cochabamba,
Santa Cruz, Potosí, Chuquisaca, Tarija.
According to what is established by the Bolivian Political
Constitution, the Law of Autonomies and Decentralization regulates de
procedure for the elaboration of Statutes of Autonomy, the transfer
and distribution of direct competences between the central government
and the autonomous entities.
There are four levels of decentralization: Departmental government,
constituted by the Departmental Assembly, with rights over the
legislation of the department. The governor is chosen by universal
suffrage. Municipal government, constituted by a Municipal Council,
with rights over the legislation of the municipality. The mayor is
chosen by universal suffrage. Regional government, formed by several
provinces or municipalities of geographical continuity within a
department. It is constituted by a Regional Assembly. Original
indigenous government, self-governance of original indigenous people
on the ancient territories where they live.
Territorial division of Bolivia
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Main article: Economy of Bolivia
Graphical depiction of Bolivia's product exports in 28 color-coded
Bolivia's estimated 2012 gross domestic product (GDP) totaled $27.43
billion at official exchange rate and $56.14 billion at purchasing
power parity. Economic growth was estimated to be at about 5.2%, and
inflation was estimated at about 6.9%.
rated "Repressed" by The Heritage Foundation's 2010 Index of Economic
Freedom. Despite a series of mostly political setbacks, between
2006 and 2009 the Morales administration has spurred growth higher
than at any point in the preceding 30 years. The growth was
accompanied by a moderate decrease in inequality. A surplus budget
of 1.7% (GDP) was obtained by 2012, the government runs surpluses
since Morales administration reflecting a prudent economic management.
A major blow to the Bolivian economy came with a drastic fall in the
price of tin during the early 1980s, which impacted one of Bolivia's
main sources of income and one of its major mining industries.
Since 1985, the government of
Bolivia has implemented a far-reaching
program of macroeconomic stabilization and structural reform aimed at
maintaining price stability, creating conditions for sustained growth,
and alleviating scarcity. A major reform of the customs service has
significantly improved transparency in this area. Parallel legislative
reforms have locked into place market-liberal policies, especially in
the hydrocarbon and telecommunication sectors, that have encouraged
private investment. Foreign investors are accorded national
Young miners at work in Potosí
In April 2000, Hugo Banzer, the former President of Bolivia, signed a
contract with Aguas del Tunari, a private consortium, to operate and
improve the water supply in Bolivia's third-largest city, Cochabamba.
Shortly thereafter, the company tripled the water rates in that city,
an action which resulted in protests and rioting among those who could
no longer afford clean water. Amidst Bolivia's nationwide
economic collapse and growing national unrest over the state of the
economy, the Bolivian government was forced to withdraw the water
Bolivia has the second largest natural gas reserves in South
America. The government has a long-term sales agreement to sell
natural gas to
Brazil through 2019. The government held a binding
referendum in 2005 on the Hydrocarbon Law.
The US Geological Service estimates that
Bolivia has 5.4 million cubic
tonnes of lithium, which represent 50%–70% of world reserves.
However, to mine for it would involve disturbing the country's salt
flats (called Salar de Uyuni), an important natural feature which
boosts tourism in the region. The government does not want to destroy
this unique natural landscape to meet the rising world demand for
lithium. On the other hand, sustainable extraction of lithium is
attempted by the government. This project is carried out by the public
company "Recursos Evaporíticos" subsidiary of COMIBOL.
Once Bolivia's government depended heavily on foreign assistance to
finance development projects and to pay the public staff. At the end
of 2002, the government owed $4.5 billion to its foreign creditors,
with $1.6 billion of this amount owed to other governments and most of
the balance owed to multilateral development banks. Most payments to
other governments have been rescheduled on several occasions since
1987 through the
Paris Club mechanism. External creditors have been
willing to do this because the Bolivian government has generally
achieved the monetary and fiscal targets set by IMF programs since
1987, though economic crises have undercut Bolivia's normally good
record. However, by 2013 the foreign assistance is just a fraction of
the government budget thanks to tax collection mainly from the
profitable exports to
Argentina of natural gas.
The income from tourism has become increasingly important. Bolivia's
tourist industry has grown gradually since about 1990.
The amount in reserve currencies and gold held by Bolivia's Central
Bank advanced from 1.085 billion US dollars in 2000, under Hugo Banzer
Suarez's government, to 15.282 billion US dollars in 2014 under Evo
Foreign-exchange reserves 2000–2014 (MM US$) 
Fuente: Banco Central de Bolivia, Gráfica elaborada por:.
List of airlines of Bolivia
List of airlines of Bolivia and List of airports in Bolivia
Boliviana de Aviación
Boliviana de Aviación (BoA) is a state-owned company and the
country's largest airline. Two BoA Boeing 737-300s parked at Jorge
Wilstermann International Airport.
General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (Dirección
Aeronáutica Civil—DGAC) formerly part of the FAB, administers a
civil aeronautics school called the National Institute of Civil
Aeronautics (Instituto Nacional de Aeronáutica Civil—INAC), and two
commercial air transport services TAM and TAB.
TAM – Transporte Aéreo Militar
TAM – Transporte Aéreo Militar (the Bolivian Military Airline) is
an airline based in La Paz, Bolivia. It is the civilian wing of the
'Fuerza Aérea Boliviana' (the Bolivian Air Force), operating
passenger services to remote towns and communities in the North and
Northeast of Bolivia. TAM (a.k.a. TAM Group 71) has been a part of the
FAB since 1945.
A similar airline serving the
Beni Department with small planes is
Línea Aérea Amaszonas, using smaller planes than TAM.
Although a civil transport airline, TAB – Transportes Aéreos
Bolivianos, was created as a subsidiary company of the FAB in 1977. It
is subordinate to the Air Transport Management (Gerencia de
Transportes Aéreos) and is headed by an FAB general. TAB, a charter
heavy cargo airline, links
Bolivia with most countries of the Western
Hemisphere; its inventory includes a fleet of Hercules C130 aircraft.
TAB is headquartered adjacent to
El Alto International Airport. TAB
flies to Miami and Houston, with a stop in Panama.
The three largest, and main international airports in
Bolivia are El
Alto International Airport in La Paz, Viru Viru International Airport
in Santa Cruz, and
Jorge Wilstermann International Airport
Jorge Wilstermann International Airport in
See also: Rail transport in Bolivia
Bolivia (interactive map)
━━━ Routes with passenger traffic
━━━ Routes in usable state
·········· Unusable or dismantled routes
Bolivia possesses an extensive but aged rail system, all in
1000 mm gauge, consisting of two disconnected networks.
Bolivia owns a communications satellite which was offshored/outsourced
and launched by
Túpac Katari 1. In 2015, it was
announced that electrical power advancements include a planned $300
million nuclear reactor developed by the Russian nuclear company
Water supply and sanitation
Main article: Water supply and sanitation in Bolivia
Bolivias's drinking water and
Sanitation coverage has greatly improved
since 1990 due to a considerable increase in sectoral investment.
However, the country has the continent's lowest coverage levels and
services are of low quality. Political and institutional instability
have contributed to the weakening of the sector's institutions at the
national and local levels.
Two concessions to foreign private companies in two of the three
largest cities –
Cochabamba and La Paz/
El Alto — were prematurely
ended in 2000 and 2006 respectively. The country's second largest
city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, relatively successfully manages its own
water and sanitation system by way of cooperatives. The government of
Evo Morales intends to strengthen citizen participation within the
sector. Increasing coverage requires a substantial increase of
According to the government the main problems in the sector are low
access to sanitation throughout the country; low access to water in
rural areas; insufficient and ineffective investments; a low
visibility of community service providers; a lack of respect of
indigenous customs; "technical and institutional difficulties in the
design and implementation of projects"; a lack of capacity to operate
and maintain infrastructure; an institutional framework that is "not
consistent with the political change in the country"; "ambiguities in
the social participation schemes"; a reduction in the quantity and
quality of water due to climate change; pollution and a lack of
integrated water resources management; and the lack of policies and
programs for the reuse of wastewater.
Only 27% of the population has access to improved sanitation, 80 to
88% has access to improved water sources. Coverage in urban areas is
bigger than in rural ones.
Main article: Demographics of Bolivia
La Paz city centre
Festival in Sucre
According to the last two censuses carried out by the Bolivian
National Statistics Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística,
INE), the population increased from 8,274,325 (from which 4,123,850
were men and 4,150,475 were women) in 2001 to 10,027,254 in 2012.
In the last fifty years the Bolivian population has tripled, reaching
a population growth rate of 2.25%. The growth of the population in the
inter-census periods (1950–1976 and 1976–1992) was approximately
2.05%, while between the last period, 1992–2001, it reached 2.74%
Some 62.43% of Bolivians live in urban areas, while the remaining
37.57% in rural areas. The most part of the population (70%) is
concentrated in the departments of La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba.
In the Andean
Altiplano region the departments of
La Paz and Oruro
hold the largest percentage of population, in the valley region the
largest percentage is held by the departments of
Chuquisaca, while in the Llanos region by Santa Cruz and Beni. At
national level, the population density is 8.49, with variations marked
between 0.8 (Pando Department) and 26.2 (
The largest population center is located in the so-called "central
axis" and in the Llanos region.
Bolivia has a young population.
According to the 2011 census, 59% of the population is between 15 and
59 years old, 39% is less than 15 years old. Almost 60% of the
population is younger than 25 years of age.
According to a genetic study done on Bolivians, average values of
Native American, European and African ancestry are 86%, 12.5%, and
1.5%, in individuals from
La Paz and 76.8%, 21.4%, and 1.8% in
individuals from Chuquisaca; respectively.
Ethnic and Racial Classifications
The ethnic composition of
Bolivia is diverse, and racial
classifications, though outdated, are abundant. There are
approximately three dozen native groups totaling approximately half of
the Bolivian population – the largest proportion of indigenous
people in Latin America. Exact numbers vary based on the wording of
the ethnicity question and the available response choices. For
example, the 2001 census did not provide the racial category "mestizo"
as a response choice, resulting in a much higher proportion of
respondents identifying themselves as belonging to one of the
available indigenous ethnicity choices. Mestizos are distributed
throughout the entire country and make up 26% of the Bolivian
population. Most people assume their mestizo identity while at the
same time identifying themselves with one or more indigenous cultures.
A 2009 estimate of racial classification put mestizo (mixed white and
Amerindian) at 68%, indigenous at 20%, white at 5%, cholo at 2%, black
at 1%, other at 1%, while 3% were unspecified; 44% attributed
themselves to some indigenous group, predominantly the linguistic
Quechuas or Aymaras. Whites comprised about 14% of
the population in 2006, and are usually concentrated in the largest
cities: La Paz,
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cochabamba, but as well in
some minor cities like Tarija. In the Santa Cruz Department, there are
several dozen colonies of German-speaking Mennonites from Russia
totaling around 40,000 inhabitants (as of 2012[update]).
Afro-Bolivians, descendents of African slaves who arrived in the time
of the Spanish Empire, inhabit the department of La Paz, and are
located mainly in the provinces of Nor Yungas and Sud Yungas. Slavery
was abolished in
Bolivia in 1831. There are also important
communities of Japanese (14.000) and Lebanese (12.900).
Indigenous peoples, also called "originarios" ("native" or "original")
and less frequently, Amerindians, could be categorized by geographic
area, such as Andean, like the Aymaras and
Quechuas (who formed the
ancient Inca Empire), who are concentrated in the western departments
of La Paz, Potosí, Oruro,
Cochabamba and Chuquisaca. There also are
ethnic populations in the east, composed of the Chiquitano, Chané,
Guaraní and Moxos, among others, who inhabit the departments of Santa
Tarija and Pando.
There are small numbers of European citizens from Germany, France,
Italy and Portugal, as well as from other American countries, as
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, the United States,
Mexico and Venezuela, among others. There are
important Peruvian colonies in La Paz,
El Alto and Santa Cruz de la
The Indigenous peoples of
Bolivia can be divided into two categories
of ethnic groups: the Andeans, who are located in the Andean Altiplano
and the valley region; and the lowland groups, who inhabit the warm
regions of central and eastern Bolivia, including the valleys of
Cochabamba Department, the
Amazon Basin areas of northern La Paz
Department, and the lowland departments of Beni, Pando, Santa Cruz,
Tarija (including the
Gran Chaco region in the southeast of the
country). Large numbers of Andean peoples have also migrated to form
Quechua, Aymara, and intercultural communities in the lowlands.
Aymara people. They live on the high plateau of the departments of La
Paz, Oruro and Potosí, as well as some small regions near the
Quechua people. They mostly inhabit the valleys in
Chuquisaca. They also inhabit some mountain regions in
Oruro. They divide themselves into different Quechua nations, as the
Tarabucos, Ucumaris, Chalchas, Chaquies, Yralipes, Tirinas, among
Ethnicities of the Eastern Lowlands
Guaraníes. Made up of Guarayos, Pausernas, Sirionós, Chiriguanos,
Wichí, Chulipis, Taipetes, Tobas and Yuquis.
Tacanas: Made up of Lecos, Chimanes, Araonas and Maropas.
Panos: Made up of Chacobos, Caripunas, Sinabos, Capuibos and
Aruacos: Made up of Apolistas, Baures, Moxos, Chané, Movimas,
Cayabayas, Carabecas, Paiconecas or Paucanacas.
Chapacuras: Made up of Itenez or More, Chapacuras, Sansinonianos,
Canichanas, Itonamas, Yuracares, Guatoses and Chiquitos.
Botocudos: Made up of Bororos y Otuquis.
Zamucos: Made up of Ayoreos.
Main article: Languages of Bolivia
Geographic distribution of the indigenous languages of Bolivia
Bolivia has great linguistic diversity as a result of its
Constitution of Bolivia
Constitution of Bolivia recognizes 36 official
languages besides Spanish: Aymara, Araona, Baure, Bésiro, Canichana,
Cavineño, Cayubaba, Chácobo, Chimán, Ese Ejja, Guaraní,
Guarasu'we, Guarayu, Itonama, Leco, Machajuyai-Kallawaya, Machineri,
Maropa, Mojeño-Ignaciano, Mojeño-Trinitario, Moré, Mosetén,
Movima, Pacawara, Puquina, Quechua, Sirionó, Tacana, Tapieté,
Toromona, Uru-Chipaya, Weenhayek, Yaminawa, Yuki, Yuracaré, and
Spanish is the most spoken official language in the country, according
to the 2001 census; as it is spoken bym two thirds of the population.
All legal and official documents issued by the State, including the
Constitution, the main private and public institutions, the media, and
commercial activities, are in Spanish.
The main indigenous languages are: Quechua (21.2% of the population in
the 2001 census), Aymara (14.6%), Guarani (0.6%) and others (0.4%)
including the Moxos in the department of Beni.
Plautdietsch, a German dialect, is spoken by about 70,000 Mennonites
in Santa Cruz. Portuguese is spoken mainly in the areas close to
Main article: Religion in Bolivia
Bolivia is a constitutionally secular state that guarantees the
freedom of religion and the independence of government from
According to the 2001 census conducted by the National Institute of
Statistics of Bolivia, 78 percent of the population is Roman Catholic,
followed by 19 percent
Protestant and 3 percent non-religious.
Association of Religion Data Archives (relying on the World
Christian Database) records that in 2010, 92.5 percent of Bolivians
identified as Christian (of any denomination), 3.1 percent identified
with indigenous religion, 2.2 percent identified as Bahá'í, 1.9
percent identified as agnostic, and all other groups constituted 0.1
percent or less.
Much of the indigenous population adheres to different traditional
beliefs marked by inculturation or syncretisim with Christianity. The
cult of Pachamama, or "Mother Earth", is notable. The veneration
of the Virgin of Copacabana, Virgin of Urkupiña and Virgin of
Socavón, is also an important feature. There also are important
Aymaran communities near
Lake Titicaca that have a strong devotion to
James the Apostle. Deities worshiped in
Bolivia include Ekeko, the
Aymaran god of abundance and prosperity, whose day is celebrated every
24 January, and Tupá, a god of the Guaraní people.
Largest cities and towns
Approximately 67 percent of Bolivians live in urban areas, among
the lowest proportion in South America. Nevertheless, the rate of
urbanization is growing steadily, at around 2.5 percent annually.
According to the 2012 census, there are total of 3,158,691 households
Bolivia – an increase of 887,960 from 2001. In 2009, 75.4
percent of homes were classified as a house, hut, or Pahuichi; 3.3
percent were apartments; 21.1 percent were rental residences; and 0.1
percent were mobile homes. Most of the country's largest cities
are located in the highlands of the west and central regions.
Largest cities or towns in Bolivia
Census 2012, INE
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Main article: Culture of Bolivia
Music of Bolivia and Public holidays in Bolivia
Bolivian children playing tarka
Bolivian awayus for sale in La Paz
Bolivian culture has been heavily influenced by the Quechua, the
Aymara, as well as the popular cultures of
Latin America as a whole.
The cultural development is divided into three distinct periods:
precolumbian, colonial, and republican. Important archaeological
ruins, gold and silver ornaments, stone monuments, ceramics, and
weavings remain from several important pre-Columbian cultures. Major
ruins include Tiwanaku, El Fuerte de Samaipata,
Iskanawaya. The country abounds in other sites that are difficult to
reach and have seen little archaeological exploration.
The Diablada, dance primeval, typical and main of
Carnival of Oruro
Carnival of Oruro a
Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity since 2001
Bolivia (File: Fraternidad Artística y Cultural "La Diablada")
The Spanish brought their own tradition of religious art which, in the
hands of local native and mestizo builders and artisans, developed
into a rich and distinctive style of architecture, painting, and
sculpture known as "
Mestizo Baroque". The colonial period produced not
only the paintings of Pérez de Holguín, Flores, Bitti, and others
but also the works of skilled but unknown stonecutters, woodcarvers,
goldsmiths, and silversmiths. An important body of Native Baroque
religious music of the colonial period was recovered and has been
performed internationally to wide acclaim since 1994.
Bolivian artists of stature in the 20th century include María Luisa
Pacheco, Roberto Mamani Mamani, Alejandro Mario Yllanes, Alfredo Da
Silva, and Marina Núñez del Prado.
Bolivia has a rich folklore. Its regional folk music is distinctive
and varied. The "devil dances" at the annual carnival of Oruro are one
of the great folkloric events of South America, as is the lesser known
carnival at Tarabuco. The best known of the various festivals
found in the country is the "Carnaval de Oruro", which was among the
first 19 "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of
Humanity", as proclaimed by
UNESCO in May 2001.
Entertainment includes football.
Main article: Bolivian cuisine
Bolivia stems mainly from the combination of Spanish
cuisine with traditional indigenous Aymara/Inca ingredients, with the
addition of later influences from German, Italian, Basque, Russian,
Polish, and Arab immigrants.
Artistic and popular references
The 2011 Caroline Alethia novel
Plant Teacher takes place in Bolivia
from 2007 to 2008. The novel explores such themes as politics,
indigenous religions, and narcotourism.
The 2017 video game
Ghost Recon Wildlands
Ghost Recon Wildlands is set in a narco-state
Main article: Education in Bolivia
In 2008, following
Bolivia was declared free of
illiteracy, making it the fourth country in
South America to attain
Bolivia has public and private universities. Among them: Universidad
Mayor, Real y Pontificia de San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca USFX
– Sucre, founded in 1624; Universidad
Mayor de San Andrés UMSA –
La Paz, founded in 1830; Universidad
Mayor de San Simon UMSS –
Cochabamba, founded in 1832; Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René
Moreno UAGRM – Santa Cruz de la Sierra, founded in 1880; Universidad
Técnica de Oruro UTO – Oruro, founded in 1892; and Universidad
Autónoma Tomás Frías UATF – Potosi, founded in 1892.
Bolivia is the first country in
South America in terms of
funds dedicated to public education and is the second in Latin
America, after Cuba.
Main article: Health in Bolivia
See also: Refresh Bolivia
Based on 2013
The World Factbook
The World Factbook estimates,
Bolivia is ranked 161st in
life expectancy with a number of 68.2 years.
Life expectancy for
men is 65.4 and for women is 71.1. A study by the United Nations
Development Programme and
United Nations International Emergency
Children's Fund reported over 230 babies died per day in Bolivia
through lack of proper care. The majority of the population has no
health insurance or access to healthcare. Demographic and Health
Surveys has completed five surveys in
Bolivia since 1989 on a wide
range of topics.
Between 2006 and 2016, extreme poverty in
Bolivia fell from 38.2
percent to 16.8 percent. Chronic malnutrition in children under five
years of age also went down by 14 percent and the child mortality rate
was reduced by more than 50 percent, according to World Health
Gender inequality in Bolivia
Index of Bolivia-related articles
Outline of Bolivia
^ "Moneda de 10 Centavos" [10 Cent Coins] (in Spanish). Central Bank
of Bolivia. Archived from the original on 28 April 2007. Retrieved 28
^ a b "Justia Bolivia :: Nueva Constitución Política Del Estado
> PRIMERA PARTE > TÍTULO I > CAPÍTULO PRIMERO :: Ley
de Bolivia". bolivia.justia.com.
^ a b c d "South America :: Bolivia". The World Factbook. Central
Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
^ . Population of
Bolivia (Plurinational State of) 2018.
^ a b c d "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". International
^ "Gini index". World Bank. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
^ "2016 Human Development Report" (PDF).
United Nations Development
Programme. 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)". Who.int. 11 May 2010. Retrieved
30 August 2010.
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)". UNdata. Retrieved 30 August
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund (October 2016). "List of South American
countries by GDP per capita". World Economic Outlook. International
Monetary Fund. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
^ TELESUR (2 January 2018). "
Bolivia Pegged As Leader In Economic
Latin America for 2017". TELESUR. TELESUR. Retrieved 16
^ "En la última década
Bolivia redujo la pobreza en un 21%" [Bolivia
lowers its poverty levels by 21% in the last decade]. El Deber. 30
November 2011. Archived from the original on 5 December 2011.
Retrieved 30 November 2011.
Bolivia 'One of Three Safest Countries in Latin America'".
telesurtv.net. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018.
Retrieved 16 February 2018.
^ "Simón Bolívar". Salem Press. Archived from the original on 25
August 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
^ "6 de Agosto: Independencia de Bolivia". Historia-bolivia.com.
Archived from the original on 20 August 2011. Retrieved 14 July
^ "What countries are named after individuals or families?".
Blogs.law.harvard.edu. 11 January 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ Caistor, Nick (10 June 2010). "Can Bolivia's indigenous groups dance
in harmony?". BBC News. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ Fagan 2001, p. [page needed]
^ Kolata 1993, p. 145
^ Kolata 1996, p. [page needed]
^ a b McAndrews, Timothy L.; Albarracin-Jordan, Juan; Bermann, Marc
(1997). "Regional Settlement Patterns in the
Bolivia". Journal of Field Archaeology. 24 (1): 67–83.
^ Isbell, William H. (2008). "Wari and Tiwanaku: International
Identities in the Central Andean Middle Horizon". The Handbook of
South American Archaeology: 731–751.
doi:10.1007/978-0-387-74907-5_37. ISBN 978-0-387-74906-8.
^ a b Kolata, Alan L. (8 December 1993). The Tiwanaku: Portrait of an
Andean Civilization. Wiley. ISBN 978-1-55786-183-2.
^ Demos, John. "The High Place: Potosi". Common-place.org. Archived
from the original on 26 December 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ "Conquest in the Americas". MSN Encarta. 28 October 2009. Archived
from the original on 28 October 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
Bolivia – Ethnic Groups". Countrystudies.us. Retrieved 30 August
^ Robins, Nicholas A.; Jones, Adam (2009). Genocides by the Oppressed:
Subaltern Genocide in Theory and Practice. Indiana University Press.
pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-253-22077-6.
^ "Rebellions". History Department, Duke University. 22 February 1999.
Archived from the original on 31 January 2012. Retrieved 14 July
^ McGurn Centellas, Katherine (June 2008). For Love of Land and
Laboratory: Nation-building and Bioscience in Bolivia. Chicago.
^ Rabanus, David. "Background note: Bolivia". Bolivien-liest.de.
Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ Osborne, Harold (1954). Bolivia: A Land Divided. London: Royal
Institute of International Affairs.
^ History World (2004). "History of Bolivia". National Grid for
^ Forero, Juan (7 May 2006). "History Helps Explain Bolivia's New
Boldness". New York Times. Retrieved 26 April 2010. (PDF)
Archived 24 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine., University of
Wisconsin–Madison, Department of Geography
^ Grant, Will (8 October 2007). "CIA man recounts Che Guevara's
death". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
^ "Statements by Ernesto "Che" Guevara Prior to His Execution in
Bolivia". Foreign Relations of the United States, Volume XXXI, South
and Central America; Mexico.
United States Department of State. 13
October 1967. XXXI: 172. Archived from the original on 6 February
^ Boyd, Brian (20 January 2006). "Astroturfing all the way to No 1".
The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013.
Retrieved 7 April 2010.
^ Sims, Calvin (1995-07-01). "INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS;
Utility to U.S. Companies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
^ Ewing, Andrew; Goldmark, Susan (1994). "
Capitalization : The Case of
Bolivia – A Popular Participation
Recipe for Cash-Starved SOEs". Viewpoint. World Bank.
^ "1994 CIA World FactBook". Retrieved 4 March 2010.
^ "Historia de la República de Bolivia". Retrieved 4 March
^ Kohl, Benjamin (2003). "Restructuring Citizenship in Bolivia: El
Plan de Todos" (PDF). International Journal of Urban and Regional
Research. 27 (2): 337. doi:10.1111/1468-2427.00451. Archived from the
original (PDF) on 8 February 2013.
^ "Ethnicity and Politics in Bolivia" (PDF). Ethnopolitics
4(3):269–297. September 2005. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ Lucero, José Antonio (2009). "Decades Lost and Won: The
Articulations of Indigenous Movements and Multicultural Neoliberalism
in the Andes". In John Burdick; Philip Oxhorn; Kenneth M. Roberts.
Beyond neoliberalism in Latin America?. Palgrave Macmillan.
^ "Push for new
Bolivia constitution". BBC News. 6 August 2006.
Retrieved 30 August 2010.
^ "Country Comparison :: Area". The World Factbook. Central
Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
^ "Lake Titicaca". UNESCO. 17 June 2005. Retrieved 12 February
^ Karger, Dirk Nikolaus; Conrad, Olaf; Böhner, Jürgen; Kawohl,
Tobias; Kreft, Holger; Soria-Auza, Rodrigo Wilber; Zimmermann,
Niklaus; Linder, H. Peter; Kessler, Michael (2016-07-01).
"Climatologies at high resolution for the Earth land surface areas".
Scientific Data. 4 (170122): 170122. arXiv:1607.00217 .
^ "Fortalecimiento de las Capacidades locales para enfrentar El
Fenómeno del Niño en Perú y Bolivia" (PDF). itdg.org.pe. Archived
from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2005. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ "Deja 56 muertos "El Niño" en Bolivia". elfinanciero.com.mx.
Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 14 July
^ "LIKE MINDED MEGADIVERSE COUNTRIES" (PDF). Retrieved 6 January
Bolivia es el Sexto País con la
Mayor Cantidad de Especies de Aves
en el Mundo" [
Bolivia is the Sixth Country with the Highest Number of
Bird Species in the World] (in Spanish). Bolivia.com. 10 June 2009.
Retrieved 21 February 2014.
^ Solon, Olivia (11 April 2011). "
Bolivia Grants Nature Same Rights as
Humans". Wired. Archived from the original on 12 December 2013.
Retrieved 12 February 2014.
^ a b "Political Constitution of the State, First Part, Title I,
Chapter One: Model of State" (PDF). Nueva Constitución Política del
Estado. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2009.
Retrieved 14 July 2013. I.
Sucre is the Capital of Bolivia."
^ "Posesionan a cuatro Vocales del Tribunal Supremo Electoral". La
Jornada. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
^ a b "Sucre.", Sociedad Geográfica (1903). Diccionario geográfico
del Departamento de Chuquisaca: contiene datos geográficos,
históricos y estadisticos. Impr. "Bolívar" de M. Pizarro.
^ "Bolivia". Oas.org. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ "Satellite view in Wikimapia of
Bolivia Mar, near the Peruvian town
of Ilo". Wikimapia. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
Bolivia Military Profile 2006". Index Mundi. 2006.
^ Carroll, Rory (28 August 2008). "Bolivia's landlocked sailors pine
for the high seas". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 April
^ Political Constitution of Bolivia, Article 271
^ "Country Rankings". 2013 Index of Economic Freedom. Heritage.org.
Retrieved 30 August 2010.
^ Weisbrot, Mark; Ray, Rebecca & Johnston, Jake (December 2009).
"Bolivia: The Economy During the Morales Administration". CEPR –
Center for Economic and Policy Research.
^ Crabtree, J.; Buffy, G.; Pearce, J. (1988). "The Great
Bolivia and the World
Tin Market". Bulletin of Latin American
Research. Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 7, No. 1. 7 (1):
174–175. doi:10.2307/3338459. JSTOR 3338459.
^ "Economy of Bolivia". US State Government. 23 October 2012.
Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ Hattam, Jennifer (September 2001). "Who Owns Water?". Sierra. 86
(5). Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ "Leasing the Rain". PBS Frontline/World. June 2002. Retrieved 14
^ "Anti-Morales protests hit Bolivia". BBC News. 10 September 2008.
Retrieved 30 August 2010.
^ "Bolivia's lithium mining dilemma". BBC News. 10 September 2008.
Retrieved 26 April 2010.
^ BCB (19 January 2015). "Bolivia: Reservas Internacionales del BCB al
15 de Enero del 2015" (PDF).
^ "Amaszonas". Amaszonas. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
^ "Nearly Forgotten - Nuclear Power in
Latin America - BERC". 5
^ Paz, AFP in La;
Bolivia (29 October 2015). "
Bolivia plans to build
$300m nuclear complex with research reactor". the Guardian.
^ Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia:Plan Nacional de Saneamiento Basico
2008–2015 Archived 28 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.,
retrieved on September 30, 2010
^ JMP 2010 Estimates for
Bolivia Archived 10 November 2010 at the
Wayback Machine.. The estimates are based on the Household Survey
Bolivia Democratic and Health Survey (2008) and other
^ "Principales resultados del censo nacional de población y vivienda
2012 (CNPV 2012) – Estado plurinacional de Bolivia" (PDF). Instituto
Nacional de Estadística (INE). July 2013. Archived from the original
(PDF) on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
^ Heinz, Tanja; Álvarez-Iglesias, Vanesa; Pardo-Seco, Jacobo;
Taboada-Echalar, Patricia; Gómez-Carballa, Alberto; Torres-Balanza,
Antonio; Rocabado, Omar; Carracedo, Ángel; Vullo, Carlos; Salas,
Antonio (2013). "Ancestry analysis reveals a predominant Native
American component with moderate European admixture in Bolivians".
Forensic Science International: Genetics. 7 (5): 537.
^ "Bolivian Reforms Raise Anxiety on Mennonite Frontier". New York
Times. 21 December 2006. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ Fogel, Robert William; Engerman, Stanley L. (1995). Time on the
Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. W W Norton &
Company Incorporated. pp. 33–34.
^ "ボリビア多民族国（The Plurinational State of Bolivia）".
^ "Geographical Distribution of the Lebanese Diaspora". The Identity
^ Constitute Assembly of
Bolivia 2007, p. 2
Bolivia religion". USA: Department of State. 14 September 2007.
Retrieved 30 August 2010.
^ "Ateos en números". InterGlobal. Archived from the original on 5
^ "Bolivia: Adherents". The Association of Religious Data
Pachamama y los Dioses Incaicos". Catamarcaguia.com.ar. Archived
from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
^ "El Tata Santiago, un santo en Guaqui con vena de general".
^ a b c "Country Comparison :: Life Expectancy at Birth". The
World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 11 February
National Institute of Statistics of Bolivia 2012, p. 16
^ "Bolivia: Hogares por Tipo y Tenencia de la Vivienda, Según Área
Geográfica, 2000 – 2009" [Bolivia: Households by Type and Tenure,
According to Geographic Area, 2000 – 2009]. National Institute of
Statistics of Bolivia. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013.
Retrieved 28 January 2014.
^ World Urbanization Prospects, the 2011 Revision. United Nations,
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
^ a b c "Background Note: Bolivia".
United States Department of State.
Retrieved 17 October 2006.
^ Alethia, Caroline. Plant Teacher. Viator. United States. (2011)
ISBN 1468138391. ASIN B006QAECNO.
Bolivia Declares Literacy Success". BBC News. 21 December 2008.
Retrieved 12 February 2014.
^ cg-RSF-rg, teleSUR /. "
Bolivia 1st in Education Investment in South
Amnesty International Report 2007 – Bolivia". Amnesty
International. 23 May 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
Bolivia (Estado Plurinacional)" [
Bolivia (Plurinational State)]
(PDF) (in Spanish). World Health Organization. May 2013.
pp. 1–2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2013.
Retrieved 12 February 2014.
^ "Bolivia". Demographic and Health Surveys. Retrieved 12 February
^ uj-MS-rg, teleSUR /. "WHO Exalts Bolivia's Advances in
Constitute Assembly of
Bolivia (2007). "Nueva Constitucion Politica
del Estatdo" [New State Constitution] (PDF) (in Spanish). Government
of Bolivia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2009.
Retrieved 28 January 2014.
Fagan, Brian (2001). The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Ancient World:
Unlocking the Secrets of Past Civilizations. Thames & Hudson.
Kolata, Alan (1993). The Tiwanaku: Portrait of an Andean Civilization.
Wiley. ISBN 9781557861832.
Kolata, Alan (1996).
Valley of the Spirits: A Journey into the Lost
Realm of the Aymara. Wiley. ISBN 9780471575078.
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