Geography Bolivia is bounded on the north and east by Brazil, on the southeast by Paraguay, on the south by Argentina, and on the west by Chile and Peru. Bolivia, along with Paraguay, is the only South American country without direct access to the sea. Going in the northern-southern direction the maximum length of Bolivia is about 1530 km (about 950 mi); its width, in an eastern-western direction, is about 1450 km (about 900 mi). The area is 1, 098, 581 sq. km (about 424, 165 sq.
mi), making it only fifth in size (after Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia) of all South American countries. Land The main physical feature of Bolivia is the Andes Mountains, which extend north to south across the western part of the country. On the west, near Chile, is the Cordillera Occidental, or western range, and on the northeast is the Cordillera Real, the main range of the Andes. The Cordillera Real contains some of the highest Andean peaks, notably Ancohuma (6550 m/ 21, 489 ft) and Illampu (6485 m/21, 276 ft). Regions Bolivia is divided into three distinct regions: the Altiplano; the yungas, a series of well watered and forested valleys embracing the eastern mountain slopes and valleys; and the llanos, or the Amazon-Chaco lowlands. The Altiplano is about 800 km (about 500 mi) long and about 130 km (about 80 mi) wide and lies between the Cordillera Occidental and the Cordillera Real.
The northern part, where the bulk of the population and industry of Bolivia is found, is Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world. Stretching east and northeast from the mountains are the Amazonian plains containing large grassy tracts and dense tropical forests. Much of this region becomes swampland during the wet season (December through February); large areas, however, lie above the flood line and are rich grazing lands. In the southeast separated from the Amazonian plains by the Chiquitos highlands (about 1070 m/3500 ft) are the dry, semitropical plains of the Chaco. Rivers In the northern valleys and plains, the draining system consists of the Beni River and its main partner, the Guapo r River, which forms part of the boundary with Brazil; and the Major River. The Pilcomayo River, the chief river of southeastern Bolivia, flows through the Chaco to feed the Paraguay River, thus eventually draining into the Ro de la Plata.
The Desaguadero River, outlet for Lake Titicaca, feeds Lake Poop (not poo poo) to the southeast. Climate Although entirely within the tropics, Bolivia, as a result of its different elevations, has a wide range of climates. In the higher regions, the climate is cool and dry, but generally good in spite of the cutting winds, the thinness of atmosphere, and the daily extremes of temperature. In the lower region, the climate is warmer. The mean annual temperatures range from about 8. 3 C (about 47 F) in the Altiplano to about 26.
1 C (about 79 F) in the eastern lowlands. Plants and Animals Because of the many variations in elevation, plant and animal species of nearly all climactic zone are found in Bolivia. A coarse grass grows on the largely barren high plateau in the west. The llama, found chiefly on the Altiplano, is an efficient beast of burden.
Alpacas and vicuas also inhabit the plateau, along with monkeys, pumas, jaguars, armadillos, and a variety of reptiles, birds, and insects that are found predominantly in the tropical Amazon Basin. Important Products Deposits of metallic ores are large and varied. Mineral resources include tin, lead, silver, copper, antimony, zinc, sulfur, bismuth, gold, and tungsten. Salt, petroleum, and natural gas are also found. The soil of certain regions, mostly the valleys east of Santa Cruz (the yungas), is extremely fertile. The yearly output of hydroelectric plants in the late 1980’s amounted to 1.
1 billion kwh, 74% of Bolivia’s total Agriculture, Fishing, and Forestry Farming is extremely important to the Bolivian economy, employing nearly half the labor force and accounting for about 23% of the annual domestic products. Bolivia’s agriculture suffers from old farming methods, uneven population distribution, and inadequate transportation. Although, it’s now self-sufficient in the production of sugar, rice, and meat, Bolivia must still import certain foods. The main Bolivian crops are potatoes sugarcane, cotton, coffee, maize, rice, and wheat; a major share of farm income comes from the illicit growing and processing of coca leaves, the source of cocaine. Fishing is a relatively unimportant industry in Bolivia. The lack of transportation has prevented large-scale exploitation of wealth in the Bolivian forests, which cover more than half of the countrys area.
Mining, Manufacturing, and Trade Mining, a major industry in Bolivia, was delayed in the late l 980’s by weak prices in world markets. Bolivia has long been one of the world’s leading producers of tin. In 1952, its three major tin-mining operations were put under the Corpora cin Mineral de Bolivia (COMIBOL). Most of the tin mines are located in the vicinity of Oruro; the annual output of tin in the late 1980’s was about 7000 metric tons. Also mined are tungsten, lead, zinc, copper, and silver Petroleum and natural gas production increased in importance in the 1960’s and early 1970 s; by the late 1980’s Bolivia was virtually self-sufficient in petroleum.
Manufacturing enterprises are on a small scale; industry accounts for about 11% of the gross domestic product and employs 9% of the labor force. Sugar refining, leather working tobacco processing and the manufacture of cement, chemicals, paper, furniture, glass, explosives, and matches are key industries; more than two-thirds of all manufacturing is in La Paz Bolivia has long been dependent on mineral exports. Natural gas accounted for 36% of export earnings in the late l 98 O’s, and tin provided 13%. Silver, antimony, lead, copper, zinc, tungsten, coffee, and sugar are also important exports.
Imports consist mainly of machinery, motor vehicles, electric equipment, and manufactured goods. In the late 1980’s annual imports totaled about $730 million, and exports about $724 million. The United States, Argentina, and Brazil are Bolivia’s main traders Important / lnteresting Places The constitutional capital of Bolivia is Sucre (population, 1988 estimate, 95, 635); La Paz (1, 049. 800), the largest city, is the administrative capital.
Other important cities are Santa Cruz (1987 estimate, greater city, 577, 800), a major trade center; Cochabamba (1988 estimate, 377, 259), in a fertile farming region; Oruro (195439), in the mining district; and Potosi (114092), also in a mineral-producing area. History The territory of Bolivia, a part of the ancient empire of the Incas, was conquered in 1538 by Hernando Pizarro, younger brother of the Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro, who subdued Peru, heart of the Inca Empire. Within the next 40 years, Spanish settlements were formed at Sucre, Potosi, La Paz, and Cochabamba, and numerous silver mines, in which The Native American population was compelled to labor, were opened. For some 200 years, the area, known as the Audiencia of Char cas, was one of the most prosperous and populated centers in the Spanish colonies; Potosi may have been the largest city in the Western Hemisphere.
The area began to decline in the 18 th century. and by the end of it, the mining industry was in a state of stagnation. Revolts in 1809 led to the Wars of Independence. Bolivia declared its independence on August 6, 1825, and took the name Bolivia on August 11. A constitution drafted by the South American revolutionary leader Sign Bolivar, was adopted by a congress at Chuquisaca in l 826.
It put supreme authority in a president chosen for life From the beginning of its national existence, Bolivia was in chronic revolution and civil war. The first president, General Antonio Jose de Sucre, was expelled from the country after holding office for only two years. For a while (1336-39), Bolivia was in a confederation with Peru, but a Chilean invasion brought an effective end to it, increasing the turbulence. Short wars and disputes with both Peru and Chile followed. Boundary Disputes By treaties made in 1866 and 1874 regarding the disputed Atacama Desert, famed for its rich nitrate fields, the 24 th parallel of south latitude was adopted as the Chile-Bolivia boundary line in that region. In addition, various customs and mining concessions in Bolivian Atacama were granted to Chile.
Disputes came between the two countries over the provisions, and in 1879 Chile seized the Bolivian port of Antofagasta. In the resulting struggle, called the War of the Pacific, Bolivia and its ally Peru were defeated by Chile. Bolivia was stripped of its one seacoast possession becoming a landlocked country. A dispute with Brazil concerning the possession of the Acre region was settled in 1903, with a bargain of about 180, 000 sq. km (about 70000 sq. mi) to Brazil in return for a money indemnity and small territorial compensations elsewhere.
The Bolivian government then became involved in boundary disputes with Argentina, Peru, and Paraguay. A peaceful solution of the dispute with Argentina was reached in 1925. Peru and Bolivia settled disputes over the peninsula of Copacabana by appointing in the l 93 O’s a joint decision to decide the border. The Paraguay-Bolivia boundary dispute arose over the Chaco Boreal, a low region lying north of the Paraguay river and west of the Paraguay River and extending to the undisputed boundary of Bolivia. Both Bolivia and Paraguay claimed the entire territory. In July 1932, an undeclared war broke out.
A peace treaty was signed in July 1933. Since the founding of the United Nations in 1945, Bolivia has desired that the General Assembly consider its want to regain a seaport on the Pacific coast and has also approached the matter before the Organization of American States. Chile, opposing Bolivia’s ambitions, alternatively declared Arica a free port in 1953 and granted Bolivia special customs and warehousing areas. Government Bolivia is a republic governed under a constitution passed in 1947.
For purposes, the republic is divided into nine major political divisions, called departments: Santa Cruz El Beni, Tarija, Potosi, La Paz, Chuquisaca, Pan do, Cochabamba, and Oruro. The president is General Hugo Banzer. Executive Executive power is put in a president and vice president, elected for terms of four years by direct popular vote of married persons over the age of 18 and single persons over 21. Neither can be reelected to an immediate succeeding term.
The president appoints the cabinet. Among other presidential powers, is the right to rule by decree. Health and Welfare Health conditions are poor in Bolivia. In the mid-1980’s the country had one physician for every 1600 inhabitants.
The infant mortality rate is among the highest in South America; malaria, dysentery, and tuberculosis are common, and there was a serious outbreak of yellow fever in the late 1980’s. Medical services and hospitals are particularly inadequate in rural areas. Bolivia has a comprehensive social insurance plan, but it covers less than half the working people. Legislature The Bolivian congress is composed of a senate of 27 members (3 from each department) and a chamber of deputies of 130 members.
All are elected for 4-year terms. Political Parties The principal political Parties are the National Revolutionary Movement of the Left (MNR), and National Revolutionary Movement (MNR), and Nationalist Democratic Action (ADN). Local Government Bolivia is divided into nine departments administered by prefects appointed by the President. Each department is divided into provinces administered by sub prefects appointed by the president. Important cities and towns have popularly elected councils. Judiciary and Defense Justice is administered by the supreme court, which is composed of l 2 members elected by the congress to 10-year terms, and by district and local courts.
Military training is common, but in practice only a small percentage of those registered for service are drafted. In the late 1980 s, the combined strength of the armed forces was 28, 000. Economy Although many of the largest mining operations were nationalized during the 1950’s, successive Bolivian governments have encouraged private industrial development and actively sought foreign investment capital. Annual budget figures for the late 1980’s show revenues and expenditures balanced at about $2. 9 billion. Currency and Banking The basic unit of currency is the boliviano equivalent to I million old Bolivian pesos (3.
07 bolivianos equal U. S. $I; 1990). The Banco Central de Bolivia is the sole bank of issue. Several state-owned development banks provide investment credits to small mining and agricultural operations. Foreign and domestic private financial institutions also operate in the country.
Political Instability The period after 1930 was marked by further internal strife. In that year, a revolution overthrew President Hernando Siles, who had governed for two years without convening the national legislature. Daniel Salamanca, elected president in 1931, was overthrown in 1934 by a clique under Vice President Tejada Soriano, who in turn was ousted by a military junta led by Colonel David Toro. Toro was largely successful in his attempts to extricate the country from the desperate conditions resulting from the world depression and the Chaco conflict with Paraguay. He made enemies, however, in influential quarters and in 1937 he was ousted by a group led by Lieutenant Colonel German Busch, chief of the general staff.
In 1938, during Busch’s second term as president, a new constitution was abolished. Busch abolished the new constitution in April 1939, however, and set up a totalitarian state. Four months later he was found dead of a bullet wound, an alleged suicide. General Carlos Quintan illa, who then assumed the presidency, restored the I 938 constitution, and stated that the army would exercise control until new elections could he held. In 1940, General Enrique Pearanda was elected president, and on April 7, 1943 during World War II, he announced state of war against the Axis powers In December 1943, Pearanda was ousted in a coup staged by the National Revolutionary Movement (Movimiento Nacional ista Revolucionario, or MNR), a party that included pro-Axis sympathizers. The new government, headed by Lieutenant Colonel Gu alberto Villarroel, was compelled by economic pressures to maintain good relations with the Allied power.
Villarroel headed a totalitarian regime until he was overthrown and killed in July 1946. The government continually faced opposition from both left and right, and after the discovery of a Communist plot early in 1950, the Communist party was outlawed. Rule by Army In the ensuing two years, the military government succeeded in instituting reforms in tin-mining operations, including reopening the industry to private and foreign investment. Barrientos, who was elected to the presidency as a civilian in July 1966, was forced, however, to depend heavily on armed force to put down Communist-led guerrilla movements concentrated in the mountainous mining regions. The Bolivian army reportedly smashed the rebel forces in October 1967, in a pitched battle near the village of Valle grande. Che Guevara, aide to Cuban Premier Fidel Castro, was captured in that encounter and executed shortly afterward.
Barrientos was killed in the crash of a helicopter in April 1969 and a series of short-lived governments followed, most led by military men. General Juan Jos Torres Gonzales was overthrown by Colonel Hugo Banzer Sure in August 1971. The Banzer regime moved from an relatively moderate position to full military control in 1974. Banzer stepped down in 1978, pending restoration of civilian government, but elections in 1979 and 1980 were each followed by renewed military intervention. By 1982, the countrys earnings from tin production had declined, and foreign debt continued to rise. The illegal export of cocaine was thriving, and the U.
S. was pressing Bolivia to take decisive steps against the drug traffic. In October 1982, Hernn Siles Zuazo was declared as president; he faced several cabinet problems and was unable to resolve problems brought on by international banks After an inconclusive popular election, Congress chose Victor Paz Estenssoro as president in August l 985. His governments attempts to cut down coca production and the sale of cocaine, aided by a contingent of U. S. troops from July to November 1986, were only partially successful and very unpopular.
Jaime Paz Zamora, who finished third in the popular election of May 1989, became president of Bolivia in August after winning a congressional runoff. The next presidential elections, held in June 1993, were won by mining entrepreneur Gonzalo Sanchez de Loz ada. People The population of Bolivia (1989 est. ) was 7, 193, 000. Population density was any about 7 per sq. km (about 17 per sq.
mi), one of the lowest in South America. Roughly 55% of all the people are Native American, and about 30% are mestizo, or mixed blood. The remaining inhabitants are white, mainly of Spanish descent. About 51% of the people live in rural areas. The official languages of Bolivia are Spanish and two Native South American languages: Quechua and Aymara; about 40% of the Native American population speaks no Spanish. Roman Catholicism is the religion of the great majority of the population Education Primary education is nominally free and compulsory for children between the ages of six and 14, but the public schools, though increasing in number, do not meet the needs of Bolivia, which has an illiteracy rate of nearly 35%.
In the late 1980’s about 888, 200 pupils attended primary schools, some 211, 500 attended secondary schools, and about 97, 200 were enrolled in institutions of higher education. Bolivia has ten universities: at Sucre, La Paz (two), Cochabamba, Llallagua, Oruro, Potosi, Santa Cruz, Tarija, and Trinidad. Saint Francis Xavier University (1624), in Sucre, is one of the oldest in the Americas. The University of San Andes (1830), in La Paz, is the largest university in Bolivia with a student enrollment of about 37, 000. Culture In dress, language, architecture, and life-style, the large Native American population follows the ways of its ancestors with an admixture of modified Spanish traditions. Clothing is colorful and suited to life in high altitudes.
Holidays and religious festivals are celebrated by dancing and festivities. The Spanish-speaking population, which is largely European in ancestry, and is educated and better off economically, has adopted some of the Native American customs but generally follows Western traditions. Transportation and Communication The total Bolivian railroad tracks span about 3640 km (about 2260 mi). Railroads connect the landlocked country to ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The principal line connects La Paz with the free port of Antofagasta, Chile. About 40, 990 km (about 25, 470 mi) of roads exist in Bolivia; only a few are hard-surfaced, and many are passable only in the dry season. The national airline, Lloyd Are Boliviano, provides regular air service to the major Bolivian cities, with other Latin American countries, and with the U. S.
About 14, 000 km (about 8, 700 mi) of rivers are navigable by small boats. About 3, 939, 100 radio sets, 447, 500 television receivers, and 182, 400 telephones were in use by the late l 980’s. Bolivia has about 13 daily newspapers. Labor Bolivia’s labor force exceeded 1. 7 million in the late l 980’s. Nearly the entire non-farm labor force is organized, most of it in unions belonging to the Central Obrera Bolivian (COB), the central labor federation.
Peasant unions were established after the 1952 revolution. Important People In May 1951, the exiled MNR leader Victor Paz Estenssoro won nearly half the presidential election vote. Because no candidate had a clear majority of the vote, election of a president from among the three leading candidates fell to Congress. In order to prevent the election of Paz, the incumbent president, Harri que Urriolagoitia, placed the government under the control of a military junta and resigned. General Hugo Bal livin was appointed president, but in April 1952 his government was overthrown by the MNR, and Paz returned from exile to assume the presidency. The Bolivian government embarked on a pro-labor, anti-Communist program, the key features of which were the nationalization of tin mines, the redistribution of land from seized estates, and the diversification Of the economy.
Throughout the 1950’s and into the 1960’s, the Bolivian economy suffered from a steady drop in world tin prices and from inflation. The tin mines proved consistently non-profitable; government efforts to reduce the size of the force employed in the mines and to restrain wage increases met with resistance from on that extended the economic authority of the government and permitted the reelection of an incumbent president. Paz was reelected in 1964, but many of his earlier supporters left him, charging that the MNR was less reformist, and more oppressive than it purported to be. Also, the government policies proved generally ineffective in meeting the existing economic problems.
Paz was overthrown in November in the aftermath of an uprising by miners, and the leftist unions. The Bolivian constitution prevented the reelection of Paz in 1956, but Vice President Hernn Siles Zuazo won the election as the MNR candidate; the result of this election was a continuity of policy. Paz was reelected in 1960 and in the following year pressed for the adoption of a new constitution and his government was succeeded by a military junta headed by his former vice president, Lieutenant General Ren Barrientos Or tuo. There are not many other well known people to speak of. Holidays The people who are in Bolivia are 95% Roman Catholic. Because of this, they have the same religious holidays as American Christians.
As far as national holidays are concerned, they have theyre independence day on the 6 th of August, 1825 from Spain. Sports One of Bolivia’s favorite pastimes is soccer. They have competed in many international championships. Although the most exciting chapter of Bolivias history was written on summer 1994, soccer in Bolivia did not begin the day the national team took to the field in the first qualifying game in July 1993. Soccer has much deeper roots in Bolivia where it is nothing less then a national passion.
Sharing borders with the two-time World Cup champion Argentina, and four-time World Cup champion Brazil, Bolivia’s passion for soccer and its style has resulted in numerous victories in international competition dating back to the South American Championship in 1962. Victories came in the 1957, 1979 and 1993 Paz del Chaco Cups, but the proudest moment came in 1963 in the America’s Cup, the continents most important soccer tournament. Bolivia won the Cup by beating Brazil in the final game. Over the years, Argentina.
Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay have won this prestigious tournament. Bolivia had the privilege of being among the thirteen nations who participated in the very first world Cup tournament in Uruguay in 1930. Bolivia returned to the World Cup action by invitation in 1950 and during World Cup victories in the Eliminator ias of 1994, marked Bolivias first ever qualification for the World Cup Finals. Many teams founded in the early days continue the tradition of Bolivian soccer today. The Strongest, founded in 1908, is regarded as a national treasure and has won many Bolivian national championships. The most successful team today is Bolivar, founded in 1925.
Other clubs of note include Wilstermann (1947), Oriente Petrol ero (1955), Blooming (1946), and San Jose (1942). Each club has won the national championship at least once and has participated in the “Copa Libertadores de America.” Bolivian soccer has had more than its share of heroes. In The late 1920’s And 1930’s, Mario Alberta was remarkable wing who competed in the first World Cup. In the 1940’s and 1950’s, the greatest Bolivian player was midfielder Victor Agustin Ug arte.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Bolivian team was anchored by the likes of Wilfredo Camacho, who symbolized Bolivias clutch performances on the way to victory in 1963 in Americas Cup, and Ramiro Blacutt, who played for Bayern of Munich. During the 1980’s, outstanding players included Erwin Romero, Carlos Arngones, Carlos Borja, and Milton M elgar. Today, young Bolivians idolize the heroes of the 1994 World Cup qualifying round: Marco Antonio Etcheverry (El Diablo) and Erwin P latini. Bolivia is an up and coming force in soccer, whose future rests with a very talented bunch of young players. Bibliography 1.
“Bolivia” Encarta 95 c. 1995 Internet www. country-info/Bolivia / sports /soccer 2081. html 3.
My aunt and uncle Carol and Donald As well as my newly adopted 2 yr. old cousin from Bolivia, Jamie.