República de Bolivia

Republic of Bolivia

Fast links: Geography of Bolivia, Map of Bolivia, Flag of Bolivia, Music of Bolivia, Cities of Bolivia, Bolivia bug, Photography of Bolivia

General information

National name: República de Bolivia
President: Juan Evo Morales Ayma (as of Jan. 22, 2006)
Area: 424,162 sq mi (1,098,580 sq km)
Population (2005 est.): 8,857,870 (growth rate: 1.5%); birth rate: 23.8/1000; infant mortality rate: 53.1/1000; life expectancy: 65.5; density per sq mi: 21
Historic and judicial capital (2003 est.): Sucre, 204,200;
Administrative capital: La Paz, 1,576,100 (metro. area), 830,500 (city proper)
Other large cities: Santa Cruz, 1,168,700; Cochabamba, 815,800; El Alto, 728,500; Oruro, 211,700
Monetary unit: Boliviano
Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara (all official)
Ethnicity/race: Quechua 30%, mestizo 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%
Religion: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%
Literacy rate: 87% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2004 est.): $22.33 billion; per capita $2,600. Real growth rate: 3.7%. Inflation: 4.9%. Unemployment: 9.2% in urban areas with widespread underemployment (2003 est.). Arable land: 3%. Agriculture: soybeans, coffee, coca, cotton, corn, sugarcane, rice, potatoes; timber. Labor force: 3.8 million; agriculture n.a., industry n.a., services n.a. Industries: mining, smelting, petroleum, food and beverages, tobacco, handicrafts, clothing. Natural resources: tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower. Exports: $1.986 billion (f.o.b., 2004 est.): natural gas, soybeans and soy products, crude petroleum, zinc ore, tin. Imports: $1.595 billion (f.o.b., 2004 est.): petroleum products, plastics, paper, aircraft and aircraft parts, prepared foods, automobiles, insecticides, soybeans. Major trading partners: Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, U.S., Peru, Argentina, Chile (2003).
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 600,100 (2003); mobile cellular: 1,401,500 (2003). Radio broadcast stations: AM 171, FM 73, shortwave 77 (1999). Television broadcast stations: 48 (1997). Internet hosts: 7,080 (2003). Internet users: 270,000 (2002).
Transportation: Railways: total: 3,519 km (2004). Highways: total: 60,282 km; paved: 3,979 km; unpaved: 56,303 km (2002). Waterways: 10,000 km (commercially navigable) (2004). Ports and harbors:Puerto Aguirre (on the Paraguay/Parana waterway, at the Bolivia/Brazil border); also, Bolivia has free port privileges in maritime ports in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay. Airports: 1,065 (2004 est.).
International disputes: Chile rebuffs Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, offering instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile for Bolivian natural gas and other commodities.

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Pre-colonial period

The Andean region probably has been inhabited for some 20,000 years. Beginning about the 2nd century B.C., the Tiwanaku culture developed at the southern end of Lake Titicaca. This culture, centered around and named for the great city of Tiwanaku, developed advanced architectural and agricultural techniques before it disappeared around 1200 A.D., probably because of extended drought (some legends of the Aymará, who claim descendance from the inhabitants of Tiwanaku, indicate that Lake Titikaka rose and flooded the city, causing dispersal of the survivors). Roughly contemporaneous with the Tiwanakan culture, the Moxos in the eastern lowlands and the Mollos north of present-day La Paz also developed advanced agricultural societies that had dissipated by the 13th century A.D. In about 1450, the Quechua-speaking Incas entered the area of modern highland Bolivia and added it to their empire. They controlled the area until the Spanish conquest in 1525.

Colonial period

During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called "Upper Peru" or "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). Bolivian silver mines produced much of the Spanish empire's wealth, and Potosí, site of the famed Cerro Rico - "Rich Hill" - was, for many years, the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. A steady stream of enslaved Indians served as labor force. As Spanish royal authority weakened during the Napoleonic wars, sentiment against colonial rule grew.

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Bolivian culture has many Inca and other Indian influences in religion, music and clothing, such as the well known bowler hats. The best known fiesta is the UNESCO heritage "El carnaval de Oruro". Entertainment includes football, which is the national sport, played in many street corners. Also, zoos are a popular attraction with a diverse population of interesting creatures. Also, Bolivia is full of a variety of festivals, including special dance celebrations, such as the Carnaval de Oruro. Read more about bolivian culture.

Public holidays in Bolivia

January 1 - Nuevo Año (New Year's Day)
February 2 - Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria
May 1 - Dia del trabajo (Labour Day)
August 6 - Dia de la Patria (Independence Day)
November 1 - Todos Santos (All Saints Day)
December 25 - Navidad (Christmas Day)
floating - Good Friday
floating - Corpus Christi

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Geography - Map of Bolivia

Map of Bolivia The geography of Bolivia is unique among the nations of South America. Bolivia is one of two landlocked countries on the continent and also has the highest altitudes. The main features of Bolivia's geography include the Altiplano, a highland plateau of the Andes, and Lake Titicaca (Lago Titicaca), the largest lake in South America and the highest commercially navigable lake on Earth.

Area and location

Bolivia is comprised of 1,098,580km² of territory, of which 14,190km² is water. This makes the nation's size roughly comparable to the size of Texas and California combined, slightly less than three times the size of Montana, or twice the size of Spain. Bolivia is located in the west-central part of South America. It borders five nations with a total of 6,743km of borders; of these, the longest is the 3,400km northeastern border with Brazil. Bolivia also neighbors Peru, with a 900km border to the northwest and shared control of Lake Titicaca. Smaller borders include Chile (southwest; 861km), Argentina (south; 832km) and Paraguay (southeast; 750km).

Geographic regions

Stretching in a broad arc across western Bolivia, the Andes define the country's three geographic zones: the mountains and Altiplano in the west, the subtropical Yungas and temperate valleys of the eastern mountain slopes (the western part of the Amazon Rainforest), and the tropical lowlands or plains (llanos) of the eastern lowlands, or Oriente. The Andes run in two great parallel ranges (cordilleras). The western range (Cordillera Occidental) runs along the Peruvian and Chilean borders. The eastern range (Cordillera Oriental) is a broad and towering system of mountains stretching from Peru to Argentina. Between the two ranges lies the Altiplano, a lofty plateau 805km long and 129km wide.


Although Bolivia lies entirely within tropical latitudes, climatic conditions vary widely from tropical in the lowlands to polar in the highest parts of the Andes. Temperatures depend primarily on elevation and show little seasonal variation. In most locations, rainfall is heaviest during the Southern Hemisphere summer, and yearly amounts tend to decrease from north to south.
Northern lowland areas have a tropical wet climate with year-round high temperatures, high humidity, and heavy rainfall. Daytime highs average more than 30° C all year in most locations. The rain-bearing northeast trade winds, blowing across the Amazon Basin, bring significant rainfall amounts. Rain often falls in brief thunderstorms, sometimes accompanied by strong winds and hail.
Central lowland areas have a tropical wet and dry climate. From October through April, northeast trade winds predominate, and the weather is hot, humid, and rainy. From May through September, however, dry southeast trade winds take control, and precipitation is minimal. During this season, clear days and cloudless nights allow for higher daily maximums and lower nightly minimums than occur during the rainy season. Occasional incursions of strong winds from the south, called surazos, can reach this region during winter and bring cool temperatures for several days.
The Chaco has a semitropical, semiarid climate. The northeast trade winds bring rain and hot humid conditions only from January through March; the other months are dry with hot days and cool nights. Bolivia's highest maximum temperature, 47° C, was recorded here. Surazos also affect the Chaco; their approach is usually signaled by a squall line.
Temperatures and rainfall amounts in mountain areas vary considerably. The Yungas, where the moist northeast trade winds are pushed up by the mountains, is the cloudiest, most humid, and rainiest area, receiving up to 152 centimeters annually. Sheltered valleys and basins throughout the Cordillera Oriental have mild temperatures and moderate rainfall amounts, averaging from 64 to 76 centimeters annually. Temperatures drop with increasing elevation, however. Snowfall is possible at elevations above 2,000 meters, and the permanent snow line is at 4,600 meters. Areas over 5,500 meters have a polar climate, with glaciated zones. The Cordillera Occidental is a high desert with cold, windswept peaks.
The Altiplano, which also is swept by strong, cold winds, has an arid, chilly climate, with sharp differences in daily temperature and decreasing amounts of rainfall from north to south. Average highs during the day range from 15°C to 20°C, but in the summer tropical sun, temperatures may exceed 27° C. After nightfall, however, the thin air retains little heat, and temperatures rapidly drop to just above freezing. Lake Titicaca exerts a moderating influence, but even on its shores, frosts occur in almost every month, and snow is not uncommon.

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Lake Titicaca

Map of Lake Titicaca The most prominent feature of the Altiplano is the large lake at its northern end, Lake Titicaca. At 3,810m above sea level, it is the highest commercially navigable body of water in the world. With a surface area of 9,064km, it is larger than Puerto Rico and is South America's largest lake. Lake Titicaca is also deep, about 370m at its maximum, but with an average depth of 215m; its volume of water is large enough to maintain a constant temperature of 10°C. The lake actually moderates the climate for a considerable distance around it, making crops of maize and wheat possible in sheltered areas.
Lake Titicaca drains southward through the slow-moving, reed-filled Desaguadero River to Lake Poopó. In contrast to the freshwater Lake Titicaca, Lake Poopó is salty and shallow, with depths seldom more than four meters. Because it is totally dependent on seasonal rainfall and the overflow from Lake Titicaca, Lake Poopó's size varies considerably. Several times in the twentieth century, it nearly dried up when rainfall was low or the Desaguadero River silted. In years of heavy rainfall, however, Lake Poopó has overflowed to the west, filling the Coipasa Saltpan with shallow water.

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Flag of Bolivia

Flag of Bolivia The current flag of Bolivia was originally adopted by Bolivia in 1851. The state (and war) flag consists of red, yellow and green stripes with the Bolivian coat of arms in the center. The civil flag (and ensign) of Bolivia omits the coat of arms.
According to one source, the red stands for Bolivia's animals and its liberating army, while the green symbolizes fertility and yellow the nation's mineral deposits.

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Coat of Arms

Bolivian Coat of Arms The Coat of Arms of Bolivia has a central crest surrounded by Bolivian flag, muskets, olive branches, and has an Andean condor on top.
The central crest has a border with ten stars in the bottom, and the name of Bolivia in the top section. Within the border a mountain is depicted, with a sun rising above it, and with an llama standing next to a tree and some wheat. The llama stands on a plain that contrasts with the mountain. The mountain and its contrast with the plains is indicative of the geography of Bolivia. The llama is the national animal, and the items next to it are symbolic of the resources of the nation.
Around the shield there are three Bolivian flags on each side. Behind these are two pairs of crossed muskets that symbolize the struggle for independence. The olive branches are symbolic of peace, and the condor perched upon the shield is symbolic of a willingness to defend the nation and its liberty.
In some depictions of these coat of arms, the two pairs of muskets are replaced by two cannons. Other depictions also have more realistic symbols in the shield.

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Music of Bolivia

Out of all the Andean countries, Bolivia remains perhaps the most culturally linked to the indigenous peoples. Like most of its neighbors, Bolivia was long-dominated by Spain and its attendant culture. Even after independence, Bolivian music was largely based on European forms. In 1952, a revolution established nationalistic reforms granting increased social, cultural and political awareness for the Aymara and Quechua natives. Intellectuals in the country began wearing ponchos and otherwise associating themselves with native cultures, and the new government promoted native folklore by, among other methods, establishing a folklore department in the Ministry of Education.
The trend towards increased cultural awareness of native music, spirituality and art continued into the 1960s. In 1965, Edgar 'Yayo' Jofré formed a quartet called Los Jairas in La Paz. With Bolivian folk music gained popularity throughout the country, Jofré, along with Alfredo Dominguez, Ernesto Cavour, Julio Godoy and Gilbert Favre used traditional music in modified forms to appeal to urban-dwellers and Europeans. Later groups like Wara, Khanata, Paja Brava. Savia Andina and, most especially, Los K'jarkas (of Cochabamba), helped further refine this fusion. Following a close but different path, groups and singers like Luzmila Carpio, Ruphay, Grupo Aymara started touring abroad and gained international praise for their compositions, tunes that have brought indigenous Bolivian culture and history to the world's attention.
Los K'jarkas consists of three brothers, the Hermosas, who play primarily huayno or, more rarely, sayas. These are both dance musics influenced both by native forms as well as African musics imported to Bolivia with slavery. Los K'jarkas are known internationally for their saya classic "Llorando se fué", which was the popular beginning of the lambada dance craze of the 1980s, along with forro and carimbo in northern Brazil. The song was popularized by a French group, resulting in a victorious lawsuit from the Hermosa brothers.
In the 1980s, Chilean nueva cancion (which had arisen from Bolivian fusion music) was imported to Bolivia and changed into canto nuevo, which was popularized by performers like Emma Junaro.
The most common musical instruments are: Read more about bolivian music.

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Major cities

Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, commonly known as simply Santa Cruz, is, with a population of roughly 1.3 million residents, the capital city of the Department of Santa Cruz in Bolivia. Located in the eastern part of the country at 416 m above sea level, the city, though usually warm, experiences chill winds that blow from the Argentine pampas called surazos.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra was first founded on February 26, 1560 by Ñuflo de Chávez who gave the new settlement its name, which means "Holy Cross of the Hills," in honor of his beloved native city in Extremadura, Spain. The original settlement was actually 220 km east of its current location, only a few kilometers south of today's San José de Chiquitos. After conflicts with natives the town was moved to its present position on the banks of the Piraí River in 1592. Some remains of the original settlement can be visited in the Santa Cruz la Vieja ("Old Santa Cruz") archeological site south of San José de Chiquitos (which was founded as a Jesuit mission in 1792).
Santa Cruz is connected by railway to Argentina and Brazil, and connected by a road built in the 1950s to Trinidad, Cochabamba and also has newly constructed paved roads to Camiri-Yacuiba-Argentina and another to Cochabamba. It is also the home of Viru Viru International Airport, one of the largest airports in Bolivia.
As the city was fairly isolated until the early 20th century, Santa Cruz has much colonial architecture, including a 16th century cathedral and numerous Jesuit missions.

La Paz

La Paz La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia, as well as the departmental capital of La Paz Department. As of the 2001 census, the city of La Paz had a population of about one million. La Paz is situated in a chasm below a plateau at an altitude of 3600 meters alongside the La Paz river. Atop the plateau is the city of El Alto, where the international airport is located. The city is located at 16°30' South, 68°8' West (-16.5, -68.1333).
Founded in 1548 by Alonso de Mendoza at the site of the Native American settlement called Chuquiago, the full name of the city was originally Nuestra Señora de La Paz (meaning Our Lady of Peace). The name commemorated the restoration of peace following the insurrection of Gonzalo Pizarro and fellow conquistadors two years earlier against Blasco Núñez Vela, the first viceroy of Peru. In 1825, after the decisive victory of the republicans at Ayacucho over the Spanish army in the course of the South American Wars of Independence, the city's full name was changed to La Paz de Ayacucho (meaning The Peace of Ayacucho).
In 1898, La Paz was made the de facto seat of the national government, with Sucre remaining the nominal capital only. This change reflected the shift of the Bolivian economy away from the largely exhausted silver mines of Potosí to the exploitation of tin near Oruro, and resulting shifts in the distribution of economic and political power among various national elites.


Cochabamba is a city in central Bolivia, located in a valley bearing the same name in the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cochabamba Department and is the third-largest city in Bolivia with a metropolitan population of more than 800,000 people. The name derives from a compound of the Quechua words qhocha, or lake, and pampa, or open plain.
The city was founded on August 2, 1571 by orders of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo. It was to be an agricultural production center to provide food for the mining towns of the relatively nearby Altiplano region, particularly the city of Potosí. With the silver mining industry at its height, Cochabamba thrived during its first centuries of existence. The city entered a period of decline during the 18th century as mining began to wane. However, since the late 19th century is has again been generally successful as an agricultural center for Bolivia.
Currently, Cochabamba is an economically active city and tends to be one of the more socially liberal locations in the nation. Like other large cities in the Andes, Cochabamba is a city of contrasts. Its downtown core, around areas such as Plaza Colón or Plaza 14 de Septiembre, is generally quite modern. There are bright lights, bustling streets, and countless automobiles and internet cafes. It is in these locations where the majority of the city's business and commercial industries are found. An active nightlife is centered around Calle España (Spain Street) and also along a broad tree-lined boulevard called El Prado. As one moves further out from the city-center, however, the communities become less technologically advanced. Cochabamba's outlying neighborhoods often find themselves with higher crime rates and lacking electricity, indoor plumbing, and paved streets.
South America's biggest open-air market, called La Cancha, is open seven days a week in Cochabamba, though the busy market days are Wednesdays and Saturdays. The city is also the home of the Universidad Mayor de San Simón, one of the largest and most prominent public universities in Bolivia, as well as several smaller colleges. Residents of the city and surrounding areas are commonly referred to as Cochabambinos.
Cochabamba is served by Jorge Wilstermann International Airport (IATA code CBB), which handles domestic and international flights. It also houses the headquarters of Lloyd Aereo Boliviano, Bolivia's national airline.

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Bolivia bug

Bolivia bug is a hot topic now a days. After some videos, people started to search for Bolivia bug. In YouTube you could see video (watch here), where is very interesting caterpillar. In fact, it's not a bug but caterpillar of any moth species. To make it more mystery, someone made a mix of 2 videos (watch here). One video is original video of bolivia bug (the caterpillar) and other is a surgery, where doctor take off larva of wasp from head. The kind of wasp is called "tarantula hawk - pepsis" and they sting people rarely.
The real identification of this caterpillar is family Megalopygidae, genus Megalopyge, species (maybe) Megalopyge opercularis

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See also Photography of Bolivia

Source: Wikipedia.
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