1,098,580sq km (424,162sq mi) 8,274,325
La Paz (804,600), Sucre (202,700)
Quechua 30%, Aymará 25%, Mestizo 30%, White 15%
Spanish, Aymará, Quechua
Roman Catholic 80%, Protestant 15%, indigenous beliefs 5%
Boliviano = 100 centavos
Climate and VegetationBolivia's climate varies greatly according to altitude: the highest Andean peaks are permanently covered in snow, while the e plains have a humid climate. The main rainy season is between December and February. The windswept Altiplano is a grassland region. The semi-arid Gran Chaco is a vast lowland plain, drained by the River Madeira, a tributary of the Amazon.
History and PoliticsThe ruins of Tiahuanaco indicate that the Altiplano was the site of one of the great pre-Colombian civilizations. Before the Spanish invasion in 1532, the Quechua had subsumed the Aymara into the Inca Empire. The Spanish exploited the Andean silver mines with native forced labour. In 1824 Antonio José de Sucre, Simón Bolívar's general, completed the liberation of the country from Spanish rule.
For the next 100 years, corruption and instability plagued the new nation and, in a succession of military reverses, Bolivia lost territory to its neighbours. War with Paraguay (1932–35) cost c.100,000 lives and led to the loss of most of Gran Chaco. During World War 2, the need for tin revived Bolivia's ravaged economy.
In 1941 Victor Paz Estenssoro founded the pro-miner National Revolutionary Movement (MNR). In 1943, with MNR support, the army seized power. From 1952 Paz nationalized the mines and instituted land reforms for the Native Americans. In 1964 a military coup toppled Paz's government. Guerrilla leader Che Guevara was killed in 1967. From 1964 to 1982, Bolivia was ruled by military dictators, most notably Colonel Hugo Banzer Suárez (1971–78). Civilian rule returned in 1982. Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, served as president from 1992 to 1997 and from 2002 to 2003, when he resigned. He was succeeded by Carlos Mesa.
EconomyBolivia is the poorest nation in South America (2000 GDP per capita, US$2600). It is the world's sixth-largest producer of tin, which accounts for nearly one-third of all exports. The collapse in world tin prices brought an increase in coca production, which experts believe may be its largest (unofficial) export. Agriculture employs 47% of the workforce. In 1987 the introduction of a new currency eased inflation.
"Bolivia." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bolivia
"Bolivia." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved May 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bolivia
altiplano (ăl´tĬplä´nō), high plateau (alt. c.12,000 ft/3,660 m) in the Andes Mts., c.65,000 sq mi (168,350 sq km), W Bolivia, extending into S Peru. The altiplano is a sediment-filled depression between the Cordillera Oriental and the Cordillera Occidental. Its lowest point is occupied by Lake Titicaca, the largest high-altitude lake in the world. The lake is drained by the Desaguadero River south across the altiplano into Lake Poopó. The sparsely vegetated region receives little precipitation and has several large salt flats. The bleak plateau has a cool climate throughout the year. Corn and wheat are the principal crops there. Mining is the chief industry in the mineral-rich plateau. One of the world's most densely populated areas, the altiplano contains most of Bolivia's inhabitants; La Paz, the capital, and Oruro are the largest cities. A rail line runs across the altiplano.
"altiplano." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/altiplano
"altiplano." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/altiplano
"Altiplano." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/altiplano
"Altiplano." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved May 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/altiplano