Andes Overland

Bolivia

Bolivia general

Geography

Bolivia is situated in the center of South-America with Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Paraguay and Peru as its boarding countries. Bolivia is divided in nine different regions and 337 municipals. Its constitutional capital is Sucre however the largest city is Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The country has a great diversity of sightseeing possibilities and though the country has no coastline it is still one of the most biodiverse countries of the world. The country is divided in the Altiplano Andes, the Amazon and the eastern lowlands, which are in huge contrast with each other.

History

The country that is now known as Bolivia has been continuously occupied for over the past 2,000 years, when the Aymara arrived in the region, settling in Western Bolivia, Southern Peru and Northern Chile. Present-day the Aymara associate themselves with an advanced civilization situated at Tiwanaku, in Western Bolivia. The capital city of Tiwanaku was established 1200 BC as a small agriculturally based village when the population started to grow to urban proportions between AD 600 and AD 800, becoming an important regional power in the southern Andes. By AD 400, Tiwanaku turned from being a locally dominant force to a predatory state and it expanded their culture and way of life to many other cultures in neighboring counties Peru and Chile. They continued to grow due to a surplus resources until AD 950 when a dramatic shift in climate occurred which leaded to a significant drop in precipitation for the Titicaca Basin.

Around 1430 the Inca’s settled down and the Inca’s expansion increased under the rule of ninth emperor, Pachacuti Inca Yupangui. More less 100 years later, in 1545 the Spaniards colonized the country however the indigenous that were living in the lowlands, in the east of the Andes, were never really overruled by them. On the 6th of August in 1825 Bolivia was declared independent and named Republica de Bolivar, after Simon Bolivar, including several consequences. In 1884 Bolivia lost a war against Chile resulting in losing their part of the land to Chile. A couple of decades later in 1932 the country was at war  for three years with its neighbor Paraguay about the possible discovery of oil. During this war 80.000 Bolivians lost their lives and finally Paraguay conquered most of the Bolivian land.

20 years later a revolution took place. The tin mines were nationalized and the agricultural land redivided, but the current presidents Zuazo and Estenssoros kept the communists outside of the country and continued with the help of Washington. In 1964 the army earned their power back resulting in 1967 in the execution of the Argentine Marxist revolutionary and Cuban guerrilla leader, Che Guevara .

Since 9 years Evo Morales is Bolivians president after he got re-elected in 2009.

Populations, language and religion

Bolivia counts about 10.600.000 habitants of which an estimated 67% lives in the cities and 33% on the countryside. The two main indigenous populations are Quechua (30%) and Aymara (25%). Although this is the majority, the European inhabitants (15%) and the mestizo inhabitants (mixture of European and indigenous) 30% are superior on economic, political and social levels. Nevertheless, Morales and the new constitution support the rights of the indigenous. The acknowledged languages of Bolivia are Spanish and 36 different indigenous languages. There are also a few indigenous groups who still prefer to live separate from the European culture. The majority of the Bolivian, an estimated 85% of the population is catholic, whereas the remaining percentage consists of Protestants and some indigenous religions moreover a lot of indigenous people mix up their Christian beliefs with indigenous elements.