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of the name Bolivia
||Bolivia was named
after of the Commander in Chief of the Liberation Army, Simon Bolívar.
on each link below to learn more about the symbols.
- Capital -
Animal - Llama
Flag - Red is
said to recall valor and green indicates fertility. The centered
band of yellow symbolizes the country's mineral resources, and the
coat of arms within that band is topped by a condor.
Bolivianos,el hado propicio or Bolivians, A Favorable Destiny
- Coat of Arms
Flower - The Kantuta Flower, or Cantua
buxifolia, the Sacred Flower of the Incas.
Day - August 6, 1825
Motto - Morir antes que esclavos vivir
English: "To die before living as slaves"
has nine Departments
(Click on map to see it in detail)
Bolivia is divided into nine
departments (Spanish: departamentos). These are, with their capitals
indicated in parentheses:
- Beni (Trinidad)
- Chuquisaca (Sucre)
- Cochabamba (Cochabamba)
- La Paz (La Paz)
- Oruro (Oruro)
- Pando (Cobija)
- Potosí (Potosí)
- Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz)
- Tarija (Tarija)
Each department is further
divided into provinces, or provincias, cantons, or cantones,
and municipalities, or municipalidades, which handle local
the free Encyclopedia,
Bolivia has three official languages:
Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.
The history of the Republic of
Bolivia reflects both its pre-Columbian and its colonial heritage. The
ruins of Tiahuanaco testify to the first great Andean empire.
Bolivians still speak the languages of the Aymara kingdoms and of their
Quechua conquerors; the society remains predominantly Indian and rural,
and only a minority is monolingual in Spanish. Nevertheless, Spain
also left its imprint in the political, economic, and social
spheres. During 300 years of colonial rule, Spain imposed its
institutions on the colony and concentrated on mineral exports, which
are still the backbone of the Bolivian economy. Using forced Indian
labor, the Spanish extracted the mineral wealth--the silver deposits at
Potosí were the largest in the Western world--and shipped it to Spain.
After Bolivia received
independence from Spain in 1825, few of Bolivia's 192 governments have
remained in power long enough to have much of an effect on the people.
Much has been written on the
history of Bolivia. For more detailed information take a moment to
review the essays posted on websites such as The
US Library of Congress, Wikipedia,
Source: US Library of
Second most agricultural country in South
America. Farming technology is mostly still primitive, and there is an
underground economy based on contraband such as coca production. The exploitation
of mineral resources, which accounts for nearly all the country's exports, and
agriculture, which caters mainly to the local market, form the basis of
Bolivia's economy. It is strongly influenced by fluctuations of demand and price
of gas and tin on the world market. Most of the country is under-developed and
poverty is widespread, especially among the rural and mining populations.
Geography and Climate
Landlocked Bolivia sits astride the Andes in the west-central part of the
South American continent. With an area of 1,098,581 square kilometers, the
country is about the size of Texas and California combined, or twice the size of
Spain. Bolivia has 6,083 kilometers of land boundaries, which adjoin five
countries. The country is bounded by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay to
the southeast, Argentina to the south, Chile to the southwest, and Peru to the
In general the climates in Bolivia are dictated mostly by altitude not
latitude. There are basically five separate climatic regions: The Andes
and Altiplano, the Yungas and Chapare, the temperate valleys, the Chaco and the
tropical lowlands of the upper Amazon basin.
Andes and Altiplano:
In the highland region, located in the western third of the country, the weather
does not change too dramatically from season to season. In general it's a cold
weather region. The mountains rise to over 21,300 ft and average between
17,000 and 19,000 ft.
Altiplano means high plain but in reality it's not very flat and is made up of
valleys, small hills and rolling areas as well as salt flats, volcanoes, rivers
and lakes. It is generally cold and windy and mostly treeless. The
vegetation is sparse and mostly made of tough clumps of grass called ‘ichu',
short and tough Thola bushes and ocassional stands of native trees called Quenua.
It has the world's biggest salt flat (Salar de Uyuni) and various others as well
as Red and Green lagoons in the south.
The Yungas and Chapare:
The Yungas and Chapare regions are the eastern side of the Andes that are
between the high Andes mountains and the upper Amazon basin. The geography for
the most part is steep and rugged with a lot of jungle and whitewater rivers,
which are abundant. This region is generally hot and humid.
The Temperate Valleys:
These valleys are generally concentrated in the central and south-central part
of the country have some of the most pleasant climates in the country. The
geographic variety of the rolling hills and temperate climate made this region a
favorite for the Spaniards during the colonial era. They characteristically
don't have the extremes temperature changes that occur daily or seasonally in
other regions. The climate is mild and mediterranean-like. This region is
where the majority of the fruits and vegetables come from and which are
The Chaco Scrub and Plains:
In general the Chaco is known as the desert of Bolivia. It is generally flat
with some rolling hills and valleys and a few rivers that drain the sparse
landscape. Since it's so inhospitable few people live here and so the
abundance of wildlife is varied and abundand.
The Tropical Lowlands:
These regions, which make up most of the Bolivian territory are composed of the
upper Amazon basin in the north and northeast regions and the Parana basin in
the east and south-east region. These tropical lowlands have a variety of
ecosystems and in general they are hot and humid year round.
What is the weather
like in the Region today? Follow this link to The Weather
Underground for the forecast
for the cities visited by our explorers. Or check out this satellite
map from Weather.com.
Try converting the
temperature in your town from Fahrenheit to Celsius.
Most of South America
is in the same time zone. What time is it in different cities in the
region as compared to the time in your home town? Check
Ethnic Groups, Culture and Religion
Bolivia's principal groups were a small number of whites, a larger, more
fluid and diverse group of mestizos, and a majority of Quechua or Aymara
Mestizos and cholos, technically those of Spanish and Indian descent,
constituted 25 to 30 percent of the population. Geographically, this was the
most widely distributed of ethnic groups; economically and socially
Roughly 95 percent of Bolivians consider themselves Roman Catholics,
nonetheless, a much smaller portion participated actively. Roman
Catholicism had its roots in the Spanish conquest; priests accompanied the first
Because of the church's weak rural presence, the vast majority of Indians
followed their own brand of folk-Catholicism far removed from orthodoxy. Indians
saw no inconsistency in mixing modern technology and medicine with folk curers
or indigenous ritual with professed Roman Catholicism. Indigenous rituals and
fragments of Roman Catholic worship were interwoven in the elaborate fiestas
that were the focus of social life.
The Quechua and Aymara pantheon was a mix of Christian and preconquest
spirits and beings. A deity like the virginal daughter of the Inca sun god was
transmuted into a Christian figure, in this case the Virgin Mary. Many of the
supernaturals were linked to a specific place, such as lake and mountain
spirits. The earth mother, Pachamama, and fertility rituals played a prominent
Language served a major role in shaping
ethnic identification and relations. Traditionally, the inability to speak
Spanish had contributed to the vulnerability of the Indians. Mestizos and whites
controlled access to the larger society through their command of Spanish. Until
the latter part of the twentieth century, only minute numbers of Quechua and
Aymara were bilingual; for many of these, competence in Spanish was simply a
step in severing their links to their Indian identity.
Fauna and Flora
Bolivia shares much of the wide variety of flora and fauna found in the four
countries surrounding it. Because of the wide range in altitude, Bolivia has
plants representative of every climatic zone, from arctic growth high in the
sierra to tropical forests in the Amazon basin.
On the Altiplano, the most important animal is the llama, one of
the most efficient carrier animals known; alpaca and guanaco and several
varieties of cavy (guinea pig) are found there, too. Lake Titicaca has
several varieties of edible fish. In the tropical Amazon region are the
puma, coati, tapir, armadillo, sloth, peccary, capiguara (river hog), and
ant bear, as well as several kinds of monkeys. Birdlife is rich and
varied. Reptiles and an enormous variety of insects are found below 3,050
m (10,000 ft).
The chief environmental problem in the
densely populated Altiplano is soil erosion, resulting from poor cultivation
methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture) and overgrazing. Erosion
currently affects 30% of the land in Bolivia. Salinity and alkalinization are
also a significant problem. Inadequate sanitation and solid-waste disposal, as
well as effluents from mining activities, contribute to the Altiplano's
declining water quality, which poses a threat both to fish life and to human
health. Bolivians have 316 cu km of renewable water resources, but only 95% of
the city dwellers and 64% of all rural people have pure water. The main sources
of water pollution are fertilizers, pesticides, and mining.
the free Encyclopedia, InfoPlease.com,
Government of Argentina, Moon Handbooks Argentina
by Wayne Bernhardson 2005,
Lonely Planet Publications Argentina, www.argentinaonview.com, www.Argentinaturistica.com
Kim and Don Greene,
Contributors; publication date April 6, 2006