Location, Geographical Position Bolivia's
Bolivia is the state on the Western coast of South America. Bolivia occupies the area of approximately 1 098 581 sq. km. (Bolivia, 2015). Bolivia borders on Peru and Brazil in the North, Argentina in the South, Brazil and Paraguay in the East, and Peru and Chile in the West. The assumed height at which Lake Titicaca is located is 3 810 meters above the sea level (“Bolivia map”, 2015). Apart from that, Lake Titicaca is also referred to as the world’s “highest navigable body of water” (“Bolivia map”, 2015). Lake Popo, on the other hand, is salty and is also known as the largest inland lake in Bolivia (“Bolivia map”, 2015). The most important rivers of Bolivia are located in the center and in the north of the country (“Bolivia map”, 2015). Bolivia can be viewed as an example of the so-called landlocked country. Therefore, country’s rivers are of great economic value. Beni, Desaquadero, Guapore, Madre de Dios and Mamore are considered Bolivia’s most significant rivers (“Bolivia map”, 2015).
The western part of Bolivia lies in the mountainous region. Specifically, the west of Bolivia is located in the Andes. Geographically, the scholars distinguish between the Cordillera Oriental (in the East) and the Cordillera Occidental (in the West) (“Bolivia map”, 2015). The rest of the country is covered with rainforests and farmlands. The forms of terrain represented in Bolivia are mountains, plateaus, and plains. Nevado Sajama (6 542 m) is regarded Bolivia’s highest point (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). Rio Paraguay (90 m), in its turn, is commonly referred to as Bolivia’s lowest point (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.).
All in all, the climate of Bolivia is favorable for ecotourism and agriculture. The country lies in one of the most picturesque parts of the world. Hopefully, the authorities of the state will manage to find a balance between the effective economy, effective management of natural resources, and considerable tourism potential.
As of July 2014, an estimated amount of people living in Bolivia is approximately 10,6-10,7 million people (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). An average life expectancy rate for both men and women is circa 68-69 years (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). It is reported that the literacy rates in Bolivia have been increasing recently. Thus, the average literacy rates for both men and women are ranging from 95% to 96% (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). Quechua and Aymara Indians are considered the indigenous peoples.
Indians constitute approximately 60% of the population of Bolivia (“Bolivia”, 2015). Europeans (mostly, Spanish) and mixed ethnical groups represent the rest 40% of the population. Currently, the authorities take efforts to reconcile the parties and to keep stable peace within the country. But most importantly, the racial and ethnical groups in Bolivia start to realize that they should unite in order to overcome the challenges the country is facing nowadays.
Main Sources of Income
The main agricultural products cultivated in Bolivia are coffee, rice, corn, potatoes, sugarcane, soybeans, quinoa, coca, chia, and Brazil nuts (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). Bolivia has large deposits of gold and gas (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). The key industries in Bolivia are handicrafts, jewelry, mining, smelting, petroleum, tobacco, food, and beverages production and manufacture of clothes (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.).
As of 2014, the assumed number of people living below the poverty threshold is 7,3% (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). Approximately 32% of population are involved in agriculture (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). An estimated amount of people who are preoccupied in an industry sector is nearly 20% (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). An assumed amount of people who have preoccupied themselves in services is approximately 48% (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.).
What Bolivia Is Best Known For
La Paz, Bolivia’s so called administrative capital, is located at a height of 3 600 meters (11 800 feet) above the sea level. Hence, La Paz is considered “the world’s highest capital” (“Bolivia”, 2015). In spite of its unfavorably high altitude, the city is suitable for living due to its location not far from the Lake Titicaca, the waters of which make the air warmer (“Bolivia”, 2015).
Bolivia is considered to be almost three times the size of Montana State (Central Intelligence Agency, n.d.). In 1967, Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, also known as Comandante Che, was executed in Bolivia after his attempt to initiate a revolution failed (“Bolivia map”, 2015).
The social climate of Bolivia can be characterized as favorable in terms of the indigenous and alien peoples’ coexistence. Apparently, four ethnical groups manifest themselves most vividly in Bolivia and these ethnical groups are European (Spanish), Aymara Indians, Quechua Indians, and mixed. The most widely used languages in Bolivia are Spanish and the languages of Aymara and Quechua Indians (“Bolivia”, 2015).
CIA report on the language situation in Bolivia reads “Bolivia's 2009 constitution designates Spanish and all indigenous languages as official; 36 indigenous languages are specified, including some that are extinct (2001 est.)” (CIA, n.d.). Specifically, the percentage of people speaking Spanish, Aymara, Quechua, and other languages are as follows 60.7% - Spanish, 21.2% - Quechua, 14.6% - Aymara, foreign and other languages – 2,4 % and 1,2% respectively (“Bolivia map”, 2015).
The Country’s Colonial History
It is believed that the Aymara civilization was conquered by the Incas in approximately late fifteenth century (“Bolivia map”, 2015). In the year 1538 Bolivia was defeated by Spain (“Bolivia map”, 2015). La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, was founded in 1548 (“Bolivia map”, 2015). Nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth century in Bolivia were marked by the War of Independence (“Bolivia map”, 2015). Bolivia achieved independence from Peru and Spain in 1825 (“Bolivia map”, 2015). The War of the Pacific lasted from 1879 till 1883 (“Bolivia map”, 2015). The War of the Pacific officially ended in 1903 (“Bolivia map”, 2015).
The middle of the twentieth century in the South America was marked by internecine feuds and revolutionary movements. People who rebelled against the existing reality fought fiercely. In the early 1980s Bolivia has made a transition from the military regime to the democratic one (“Bolivia map”, 2015). All things considered, it has by all means been a hard-won peace. Evidently, the transformations of Bolivia in social, political, and economic sense continue on to these days.
Current Economic, Social, and Political Problems
Bolivia nowadays is reputed as one of the poorest countries of South America. Smuggling, human and drug trafficking, family planning, and uneven distribution of wealth are listed among the most burning social issues in Bolivia. The state’s current administration is taking steps to reverse the deforestation processes, which may potentially help to improve the state of environment, preserve the rainforests, and the wildlife of the Andes. But most importantly, environmental protection in Bolivia, in particular, will presumably contribute to the development of ecotourism and thus social and economic situation in Bolivia may improve as well.
People of Bolivia fought hard for independence, social and political stability. The authorities should promote harmonious coexistence between the indigenous Indian peoples and local Spanish groups.