Titicaca, Lake

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Titicaca, Lake

Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, dominating the highlands of southern Peru and northern Bolivia. At an elevation of 12,467 feet, the lake, actually an inland sea, extends 122 miles in length and 45 miles in width. Its massive surface area of 3,200 square miles moderates the climate of surrounding areas. Several inhabitable islands, including the popular tourist attraction of Taquile, dot the lake.

The lake has had a dominating historical influence on the region. Its waters and shoreline have supported fishing and agricultural practices for millennia. Archaeological investigations reveal the existence of complex societies that long ago benefited from the resources and climatic influence of the lake. Technological changes, especially the advent of steam transportation in the late nineteenth century, contributed to the lake's role as a link between southern Peru and northern Bolivia. With transportation and refrigeration, fish products have recently enhanced the regional economic significance of the lake.

See alsoAgriculture .


Emilio Romero, Perú: Una nueva geografía, 2 vols. (1973).

Additional Bibliography

Escandall Tur, Neus and Alexander Areliano. Todo Titicaca. Lima: Terra Firme, 2003.

Salles-Reese, Verónica. From Viracocha to the Virgin of Copacabana: Representation of the Sacred at Lake Titicaca. Austin: University of Texas, 1997.

Stanish, Charles. Ancient Titicaca: The Evolution of Complex Society in Southern Peru and Northern Bolivia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.

Stanish, Charles, and Amanda B. Cohen. Advances in Titicaca Basin Archaeology. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, 2005.

                                      John C. Super