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BOLIVIA



BOLIVIA

Bolivia is one of the most authentic and diverse countries in South America, known for its safety and stability. It offers a rich cultural legacy, dramatic topography but above all, the hospitality and warmth that Bolivians have towards their visitors.

Bolivia is located in the heart of South America , and is bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Its territory extends from the eternal snow-capped mountains of the Andes to the luxuriant Amazon jungle. Due to its unique attractions and geographical locations it's a country full of contrasts.

LENGTH

1.098.541 Km2 (425.807 square miles)

POPULATION AND PEOPLE

Bolivia has over 10 million inhabitants approximately. 70% of them live on the bleak Plateau in the west.. Between 50% and 60% of the population is of indigenous ascent and most of these people speak either Quechua or Aymara as a first language.

A large majority of today’s population are mestizo, People of Spanish American and American Indian percentage or descent. About 1% of the population is of African heritage. Life expectancy is 66 years.

HISTORY

Bolivia was part of the extended Inca Empire until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors and part of the Alto Peru before it became independent in 1825. After the first Indian revolutions which had started in the late 16th.century, Bolivia was finally liberated by Simon Bolivar and Antonio Jose de Sucre. In the colonial period this region had been the cradle of the silver mines when the city of Potosí was almost as populated as Paris and known throughout the world for its wealth. The reserves of silver were almost depleted. In the 19th century, in the same regions tin was discovered and it became the mainstay of the Bolivian economy until 1985. Bolivia was more than twice the size that it is today, but international conflicts with neighboring countries ended in the loss of large tracts of land and of its seacoast, so that it has become, since 1879, a landlocked country. Since the beginning of its republican life Bolivia has changed presidents as no other country has, mainly because of the difficult economic and social conditions that developed in the country. It’s only a little over 45 years since Bolivia really became a nation where advanced political, economic and social systems were established and at present day Bolivia is a modern country with a fabulous history of culture and traditions.

EDUCATION

School attendance is theoretically compulsory for children under 14. Bolivia’s official illiteracy rate is below 5% and is one of the lowest in Latin America.

ECONOMY

Bolivia suffers from a rugged terrain, which make communications difficult, while its landlocked position hinders export development. Bolivia’s economy is based mainly on agriculture, mining and the exportation of natural gas and oil. Some fabrics are also produced in the country.

Agriculture employs over a third of the population. The most fertile area is located in the department of Santa Cruz where Soya beans, sunflowers, cotton and sugar are produced. Agroindustry is blooming as processing plants are being built.

Mining is an area of considerable investment but it is not very stable due to the variation of prices in the international market. Tin and silver are still produced and gold is also exploited near Oruro and La Paz.

The oil and gas industry provides the government with its largest single source of income. Bolivia Exports natural gas to Argentina, Brazil and there is also an agreement to do so to Paraguay.

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