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Bolivia Essay, Research Paper

If you don t know anything about Bolivia don t be alarmed, you are not the only one. In my paper I will tell you a lot more than you need to know. Bolivia is actually an interesting country that was the last country in South America to get its independence from Spain. Bolivia has been through many reformations and has been lead by many leaders. It is not an economically stable country and does not have the best living conditions. But Bolivia does supply the world with important minerals, and is a trading partner with the United States. Now that you know a little something about Bolivia,2 and now that you are interested, go on, read the rest of my report, you ll find it interesting and informative. 1.PRE-COLUMBIAN HISTORYBy 600 B.C., a great Andaen Empire had been established between the mountains in Bolivia. The ancient city was called Tiwanaku. Tiwanaku was a great center of trade and religion. The Tiwanaku civilization was established through colonization instead of conquest. The civilization expanded rather quickly after the year 1000 and collapsed around 1200. The Tiwanaku influenced other civilizations as the Aymara and the Quechua. The Aymara were the dominant people of the time until the Quechua came along. The Aymara were not able to stop the expansion of the Quechua. The Quechua which later became the Incas after the name of their ruler got stronger by the end of the 15 century and conquered the Aymara. Even though the Incas conquered the Aymara they were able to keep their culture, their religion and their language. The Incas also offered the Aymara people jobs in the mines or in the army and fully compensated them for their labor. In 1470 several Aymara kindoms rebelled againstthe Inca rule. The Incas completly defeated them. By the beginning of the 16th century, the Incas had fully established their rule over South America. The Incas failed to conquer nomadic tribes in the eastern Bolivian lowlands. The Incas could only defeat the cultures that were based on agriculture. 2.COLONIAL HISTORYFrancisco Pizarro, Diego de Almargo, and Hernando de Luque were the leaders of the discovery of the Inca Empire. In 1524 they sailed south down the Pacific coast of Panama looking for the land of gold. The Spaniards conquered the Inca Empire, which they thought was the land of gold. Many Indian revolts continued afterward but they never regained power. In 1559 Bolivia (Upper Peru at the time) became an important judicial district for the Spanish conquistadors. It was known as the Chacas district. Bolivia became famous in the 16th century because of its rich silver deposits. One deposit in the city of Potosi was so large that slaves and extra mining equipment had to be shipped in from Africa. By 1650 Potosi was the largest city in both North and South America with over 150,000 people. By the end of the century silver production had decreased and people decided to move out of Potosi to other cities like Oruro and La Paz, which became major trading centers. In 1780 Indian leaders in La Paz revolted. The revolts led to Guerrilla warfare in the highlands. The Indians were defeated and the leaders of the groups were executed. This was the last time the Indians tried to gang up and fight for their freedom. Bolivia s first independence movement was in 1809. Pedro Domingo Murillo with help from civilians took over control of La Paz. Murillo s forces were defeated in 1810 and Murillo himself was hung in the middle of La Paz. Bolivia was the last country in South America to escape from Spanish rule. Simon Boliviar, Antonio Jose de Sucre, and Andres Santa Cruz were key figures in the independence. In 1823 Cruz rallied a force together and attacked Spanish troops near La Paz, but they were defeated. In 1824 Boliviar s army defeated the Spanish forces in Peru and decided to do the same in New Peru (Bolivia). The figures rallied a group of soldiers and freed the country in 1825. The country was named Bolivia after Simon Boliviar and Cities were named after Sucre and Santa Cruz. A constitution was made in 1826. After Boliviar did his work he left the country. Santa Cruz reighned as president for the next 10 years. 3.MODERN HISTORYThe Republic of Bolivia is located in central South America. Brazil borders the north and east sides, Paraguay is on the southeast, Argentina borders the south, and it is bordered on the west by Chile and Peru. Bolivia does not have direct access to the sea. The area of Bolivia is 424,165 square miles, making it fifth in size of South American countries. The main land feature of Bolivia is the Andes Mountains, which run north to south across the western part of the country. The highest Andean peaks are Ancohuma at 21,489 feet and Illampu at 21,276 feet. Bolivia is entirely within the Tropics, but because of its varied elevation, it has a wide range of temperatures. In the higher regions the climate is cold and dry with strong winds. In the lower regions the climate is warmer. The average annual temperature in the highlands is about 47. F, in the lower regions the climate is warmer at about 79. F. The population of Bolivia (by the 1989 estimate) was 7,193,000. The population density was about 17 per square mile, which is one of the lowest in South America. About 55% of all the people in Bolivia are Native American, about 30% are mestizo, and the rest are white, from of Spanish descent. About 51% of the people live in rural areas.The official languages of Bolivia are Spanish and two Native South American languages, Quechua and Aymara. Roman Catholicism is the official religion of Bolivia. The constitutional capital of Bolivia is Sucre (95,635), La Paz (1,049,800), is the administrative capital and the largest city. Other important cities in Bolivia are Santa Cruz (577,800),which is a major trade center; Cochabamba (377,259), a farming region; Oruro (195,239), and Potosi (114,092), in the mining district. In Bolivia education is free for students ages 6 to 14 much like public schools here in the United States but there are not enough schools to meet the needs of Bolivia, which has an illiteracy rate of 35%. Bolivia has ten universities. Saint Francis Xavier University which was established in 1624, in Sucre, is one of the oldest in the Americas. The University of San Andres established in 1830, in La Paz, is the largest university in Bolivia with about 37,000 students.

The large Native American population follows the ways of its ancestors with a mixture of Spanish traditions. Clothing is colorful and made for life in high altitudes. Holidays and religious festivals are celebrated by dancing and festivities. The largest mining operations were nationalized in Bolivia during the 1950 s, but the government encouraged private development. Annual budget figures for the late 1980 s showed it was balanced at about $2.9 billion. Agriculture is extremely important to the Bolivian economy because it employs half the labor force. Although now self-sufficient in the production of sugar, rice, and meat. The main Bolivian crops are potatoes, sugarcane, cotton, coffee, maize, rice, and wheat. And a major share of income comes from the growing of coca leaves, the source of cocaine. The lack of transportation has prevented exploitation of the Bolivian forests, which cover more than half the country’s area. Mining is a major industry in Bolivia. Bolivia has been one of the world’s leading producers of tin. Bolivia is also a major world producer of bismuth and antimony. Bolivian mines also produce tungsten, lead, zinc, copper, and silver. The industry accounts for about 11% of the gross domestic product and employs 9% of the labor force. Sugar refining, leather working, tobacco processing, chemicals, paper, furniture, glass, explosives, and matches are also big industries. More than two-thirds of all manufacturing is in La Paz.Natural gas accounted for 36% of export earnings in the late 1980s, and tin provided 13%. Silver, antimony, lead, copper, zinc, tungsten, coffee, and sugar are also important exports. The United States, Argentina, and Brazil are Bolivia’s main trading partners. The unit of currency of Bolivia is the boliviano, 3.07 bolivianos equal U.S.$1. The Banco Central de Bolivia is the main bank in Bolivia. State-owned banks provide credit to small mining operations. Private financial institutions also operate in Bolivia. The total Bolivian railroad trackage is about 2260 miles. Railroads connect the country to ports on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The main line connects La Paz with the port of Antofagasta, Chile. About 25,470 miles of roads exist in Bolivia. The national airline, Lloyd Aereo Boliviano, provides regular service between the major Bolivian cities, with other Latin American countries, and with the U.S. Bolivia’s labor force was 1.7 million in the late 1980 s. Nearly the all labor force, with the exception of farmers, is organized, with most being in unions belonging to the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB). Health conditions are poor in Bolivia. In the mid-1980 s the country had 1 doctor for every 1600 people. The infant death rate is one the highest in South America; malaria, dysentery, and tuberculosis are common, and there was an outbreak of yellow fever in the late 1980s. Hospitals are inadequate in rural areas. In May 1951, the leader V ctor Paz Estenssoro won almost half the presidential election vote. Because no candidate had a majority of the vote, election of a president from among the three leading candidates went to Congress. So that Paz wasn t elected the president of the time, Harriaque Urriolagoitia, put the government under the control of the military and resigned. General Hugo Ballivian was appointed president, but in April 1952 his government was overthrown by Paz and he took the presidency. Throughout the 1950 s and into the 1960 s the Bolivian economy suffered from a drop in world tin prices. The tin mines were unprofitable and the government failed to make it better. The Bolivian constitution prevented the reelection of Paz in 1956, but Vice President Hernan Siles Zuazowon won the election. Paz was reelected in 1960 and in 1961 he pressed for a new constitution that would let the government help the economy. Paz was reelected in 1964, but many of his earlier supporters left him. And the government never did help the economic problems. Paz was overthrown in November after an uprising by miners, and the military took his governments place. In the next two years, the military government made reforms in tin-mining operations, and reopened the industry to private and foreign investment. Barrientos, who was elected president in July 1966, was forced to depend on armed force to stop Communist-led guerrilla movements. The Bolivian army defeated the Communists in October 1967, in battle near the village of Vallegrande. Barrientos was killed in the crash of a helicopter in April 1969 and the military led the government after that. General Juan Jose Torres Gonzales was overthrown by Colonel Hugo Banzer Suarez in August 1971. Banzer stepped down in 1978, and 1979 and 1980 it was handled by the military. By 1982 Bolivia s earnings from tin had gone down, and debt continued to rise. The illegal exporting of cocaine was really the main money-maker at the timeIn October 1982 Hernan Siles Zuazo was made president; he was unable to resolve problems brought on by international banks. Congress made Victor Paz Estenssoro president in August 1985. His government tried to stop the sale of cocaine, but he wasn t successful and it made him very unpopular. Jaime Paz Zamora became president of Bolivia in August 1989. The next presidential election, in June 1993, was won by Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. Bolivia is poor. It is one of the lowest paid of all the nations in the Americas. Bolivia s government tried to make it a better place but it didn t work. But Bolivia has made a lot of progress since its revolution in 1952. The National Revolutionary Movement made major changes. The country started building schools, roads, health care centers. They started to plant crops, and drill for petroleum. And thousands of people moved from rural areas to cities. After reading about Bolivia you should realize that we have a lot here in the United States. The people in Bolivia don t have sufficient schooling, housing, or a stable economy. These people have it a lot worse than we do in the United States. So when you think we have problems here, think about the people in countries like Bolivia and be grateful, not hateful, because we have it a lot better than everybody else.

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