President: Evo Morales
National Anthem : Bolivianos
Currency :Bolivian boliviano
Continent: Americas, South America
- Conventional long form: Republic of Bolivia
- Conventional short form: Bolivia
- Local long form: Republica de Bolivia
- Local short form: Bolivia
- Bolivia was named after its liberator, Simón Bolívar.
- The Incas were the original inhabitants of the region.
- The Incan Kingdom was conquered by the Spaniards in the 16th century.
- The Spanish rulers established colonies in the region in order to exploit the natural resources.
- The Spaniards dominated the native Indians and forced them into slavery.
- The country gained independence in 1825.
- Due to political instability in the nation, Bolivia lost large parts of its mineral rich lands to neighboring countries.
- In 1965, a guerrilla movement led by Maj. Ernesto (Ché) Guevara began a revolutionary war.
- The Bolivian army fought against the guerillas with help from the U.S military.
- Che Guevara was captured and killed on Oct. 8, 1967.
- Civilian rule was established in 1982 after a series of military coups.
- Internal strife made Bolivia the poorest nation in the world.
- Hugo Bánzer became president in 1997.
- Bánzer made considerable progress in wiping out illicit coca production and drug trafficking.
- The eradication of coca drove many farmers to poverty.
- In Aug. 2002, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada became president for the second time.
- Rising inflation and fuel prices led to mass protests by farmers and miners in 2005.
- Bolivian Indian activist Evo Morales of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) became the country's first indigenous president.
- He nationalized Bolivia's energy industry and formed a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution.
- Morales has referred to himself as the “United States' biggest nightmare.”
- More than half of Bolivia’s population consists of Amerindians.
- 30% of Amerindians are Quechua-speaking and 25% are Aymara-speaking.
- The Quechuas are the largest among all the native groups.
- Other groups include Aymaras, Chiquitano and Guaraní.
- 30% of the population is mixed Amerindian and European.
- 15% of the population is White.
- Descendants of the Spanish colonial rulers form the larger part of the white population.
- They form majority of the aristocracy since independence.
- Other whites constitute of Germans, Italian, American, Basque, Croatian, Russian and Polish.
- The Afro-Bolivian community forms more than 0.5% of the population.
- Almost two-thirds of the population survives on subsistence farming.
- Majority of Bolivians are Roman Catholic which is also the official religion.
- A large number of people are Protestants.
- Minority religious communities include Muslims, Jews and Baha’i Faith.
- There are colonies of Mennonites in the department of Santa Cruz.
- About 80% of the people speak Spanish as their first language.
Government and Politics
- Bolivia is ruled by a republican government.
- Administrative divisions consist of nine departments namely: Beni, Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, Oruro, Pando, Potosi, Santa Cruz and Tarija.
- Independence Day (6 August, 1825) is observed as a national holiday.
- The legal system is based on Spanish law and Napoleonic Code.
- Bolivia has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
- The president is the chief of state and head of government.
- Cabinet ministers are appointed by the president.
- President and vice president decided on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term.
- The legislative branch is represented by a bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consisting of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores and Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados.
- The judicial branch is represented by Supreme Court, District Courts, Constitutional Tribunal and National Electoral Court.
- Bolivian culture is a blend of Quechua and Aymara tradition as well as Latin American cultures.
- The cultural development of Bolivia can be divided into three periods: pre-Columbian, colonial, and republican.
- The country is rich in traditional Spanish art forms, architecture and sculptors known as “Mestizo Baroque”.
- Baroque religious music has been appreciated by international audiences.
- Bolivian culture is rich in folklore and folk music.
- Annual folk carnivals are an important part of Bolivian tradition.
- The best known of the various festivals found in the Nation is the "Carnaval de Oruro".
- Football and table football are popular among the youth.
- Bolivia is one of the most under-developed countries in Latin America.
- Political instability, racial conflicts and social disturbances hindered economic growth for many years.
- In 2005, the state energy company was given the exclusive rights to produce and export natural gas.
- Earnings from hydrocarbon exports and higher tax rates have helped the country reduce its debt burdens in recent years.
- The GDP (purchasing power parity) as calculated in 2007 was $39.44 billion.
- 7.5% of the urban population is unemployed.
- 60% of the population is below poverty line.
- Agricultural produce contains soybeans, coffee, coca, , corn, cotton, sugarcane, rice, potatoes and timber.
- Major industries are mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, clothing and handicrafts.
- Export commodities include soybean, soy products, crude petroleum, natural gas, zinc ore and tin.
- Import commodities include plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, petroleum products, automobiles, insecticides and soybeans.
Airports in Bolivia
- Telecommunication services have improved since their privatization in 1995.
- Telephone lines are mostly concentrated in and around major cities.
- The use of mobile cellular phone is rapidly increasing.
- There are 171 AM, 73 FM and 77 shortwave radio broadcast stations.
- There are 48 television broadcast stations.
- Internet facilities are readily available.
- The country has 1,061 airports of which 16 have paved runways.
- Railway lines span over a distance of 3,504 km.
- Roadways cover a distance of 62,479 km.
- Waterways are 10,000 km long and commercially navigable.
- The merchant marines are equipped with 25 ships.
- Major ports and terminals are located in Puerto Aguirre.
- Bolivia has free port benefits in maritime ports in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay.
- There is a large difference between literacy levels in rural and urban areas.
- Literacy levels in rural areas are extremely low.
- Children from poor families are often made to work and earn for the household.
- Males are given preference over females in matters of education.
- The female literacy rate is 80.7% while that for males is 93.1%.
- The country’s literacy level as a whole is 86.7%.
- Bolivia devotes 23% of its annual budget to educational expenditures.
- A comprehensive, seven-year plan of education reform was implemented in 1994.
- The plan decentralized educational funding to meet diverse local needs, improved teacher training and curricula, and change the school grade system.
Bolivia is surrounded by:
- Brazil (north and east)
- Paraguay (south)
- Argentina (south)
- Chile (west)
- Peru (west)
- Bolivia is located in Central South America.
- Its geographical coordinates are 17 00 S, 65 00 W.
- The country covers a total area of 1,098,580 sq km.
- Bolivia is a landlocked country.
- The climate largely varies with the altitude, ranging from tropical to semi-arid.
- The terrain comprises of rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills and lowland plains of the Amazon Basin.
- The highest point is Nevado Sajama standing at 6,542 m.
- Natural resources include tin, petroleum, natural gas, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber and hydropower.
- 2.78% of the land is arable.
- Flooding in the northeastern region is common during March-April.
- Deforestation and industrial pollution are the major environmental issues.
- Bolivia shares control of Lago Titicaca (world’s highest navigable lake) with Peru.
- Bolivia gained complete independence from Spain on 6 August, 1825.
Notable People in the Country
- Painters: Pérez de Holguín, Flores and Bitti.
- Artists: Arturo Borda, Guzmán de Rojas, María Luisa Pacheco, and Marina Núñez del Prado.
Country Famous for
- The country has several ruins of several important pre-Columbian cultures like Tiwanaku, Samaipata, Incallajta, and Iskanawaya.
- Bolivia is also rich in a distinctive style of architecture, painting, and sculpture known as "Mestizo Baroque".
- Devil Dances, at the annual carnival of Oruro are one of the great folkloric events of South America.
- According to a 2008 census, the total population of Bolivia was estimated to be 9,247,816.
- The population growth rate is 1.383% (2008 est.)
- Birth rate: 22.31 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
- Death rate: 7.35 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Bolivia Related Topics:
Bolivia Tourist Attractions:
- Salar de Uyuni
- Valle de la Luna
- The Witches Market
- Coca Museum