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Bolivia

800px-Flag_of_Bolivia_state.svg

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, Chile by the south west, and Peru by 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. According to Noam Chomsky, Bolivia is the most democratic country in the western hemisphere.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.
 

History

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, Tiwanaku went from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state. Tiwanaku expanded its reaches into the Yungas and800px-Llama_en_la_laguna_Colorada_Potos_Bolivia brought its culture and way of life to many other cultures in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. However, Tiwanaku 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 would not 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.

Colonial period

The Spanish conquest of the Inca empire began in 1524 and was mostly completed by 1533. The territory now called Bolivia was then known as "Upper Peru" and wasColonial-Church-Bolivia 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.

Independence and subsequent wars

The struggle for independence started in the city of Sucre in 1809, with the Chuquisaca Revolution (Chuquisaca was then the name of the city). That revolution, which created a local government Junta, was followed by the La Paz revolution, during which Bolivia actually declared independence. Both revolutions were short-lived, and defeated by the Spanish authorities, but the following year the 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, named Bolivia in honor of Bolívar.In 1836, Bolivia, under the rule of Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz, invaded Peru to reinstall the deposed president, General Luis José de Orbegoso. Peru and 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, Chile's ally, 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 Argentinian expedition and the defeat of the first Chilean expedition on the fields of Paucarpata near the city of Arequipa.On the same field, 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, public outrage over the treaty forced the government to reject it. 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 exile in Ecuador and then Paris, and the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation was dissolved.Following the independence of Peru, Peruvian president General Agustín Gamarra invaded Bolivia. The Peruvian army was decisively defeated at the Battle of Ingavi on 20 November 1841, where Gamarra was killed. The Bolivian army under General 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.

Between 1951 to 2007 the goveremnets ruled by military or by social orginizations. 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 branch could return to the city, but assembly and the government said this demand was overwhelmingly impractical and politically undesirable. The conflict turned into violence, and the assembly was moved to a military area in Oruro. Although the main opposition party boycotted the session, a constitutional draft was approved on 24 November.In May 2008, Evo Morales was a signatory to the UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations. Bolivia has ratified the treaty.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 National Congress.

Cemetery La PazCemetery-La-Paz

Geography & Climate
At 1,098,580 square kilometres (424,160 sq mi), Bolivia is the world's 28th-largest country.It lies between latitudes 9° and 23°S, and longitudes 57° and 70°W.Bolivia was a landlocked nation from 1879 to 1992, from when it lost its coastal department of Litoral to Chile in the War of the Pacific. However, it does have access to the Atlantic via the Paraguay River. Though no ports on the Pacific yet exist under Bolivian sovereign rule, in 1992 a coastal parcel of land was given to Bolivia by Peru. In 2010 this was expanded into a 99-year lease allowing the development of a port and naval station on a 3.6 square kilometer land parcel 18 kilometers south of Peru's port of Ilo. However, since no ports yet exist on this land, Bolivia is in effect still landlocked.Many ecological zones are represented within Bolivia's territory. The western highlands of thebolivia-suggested-itinerary country are situated in the Andes and include the Bolivian Altiplano. The eastern lowlands include large sections of Amazonian rainforests and the Chaco Plain. The highest peak is Nevado Sajama at 6,542 metres (21,463 ft) located in the Oruro Department. Lake Titicaca is located on the border between Bolivia and Peru. The Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat, lies in the southwest corner of the country, in Potosí Department.The geology of Bolivia compromises a variety of different lithologies as well as tectonic and sedimentary environments. On a synoptic scale geological units coincide with topographical units, to begin 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.The weather in Bolivia can vary drastically from one climatic zone to another. The summer months in Bolivia are November through March. The weather is typically warmer and wetter during these months. April through October, the winter months, are typically colder and drier.In the highlands, the weather can be very cold and temperatures frequently go below zero at night, especially on the Altiplano. Snow is common in Potosí during the winter months and sometimes also falls on La Paz and Oruro. In contrast, winter in Sucre, Cochabamba and Tarija on the Cordillera Real is a time of blue skies and comfortable temperatures.The weather in the rainforest is usually very hot and is often very wet. The drier period of the year is May to October. The section of the rainforest that borders the Cordillera Real of the Andes Mountains is a bit cooler, but still very wet. As altitude declines, the temperature rises. Additionally many rivers and aquatic zones will dry up very noticeably in winter and then flood in summer creating an unpredictable landscape.

Culture

Bolivian culture has been heavily influenced by the Quechua, the Aymara, as well as by 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, Incallajta, and Iskanawaya. The country abounds in other sites that are difficult to reach and have seen little archaeological exploration.

Diablada_oruro_fraternidad

The Diablada, dance primeval, typical and main of Carnival of Oruro

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 in recent years and has been performed internationally to wide acclaim since 1994.Bolivian artists of stature in the twentieth century include Guzmán debolivia-street-vendor-bread_79 Rojas, Arturo Borda, María Luisa Pacheco, Roberto Mamani Mamani, Alejandro Mario Yllanes, Alfredo Da Silva, and Marina Núñez del Prado, William Vega.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 the UNESCO in May 2001.Entertainment includes football, which is the national sport, as well as table football, which is played on street corners by both children and adults.

Currency

Bolivian boliviano, also the name of the currency of Bolivia between 1864 and 1963.For July 2011:1 US Dollar = 7.15362 Bolivian Boliviano 1 Bolivian Boliviano (BOB) = 0.13979 US Dollar (USD)

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