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Bolivia

Bolivia Guide. Bolivia Country Profile.

Country Profile: Bolivia.

Interesting Trivia: The geography of Bolivia is unique among the nations of South America, it is entirely enclosed by land. Bolivia is one of two landlocked countries on the continent.

The Plurinational State of Bolivia is a landlocked country in central South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, and Chile and Peru to the west.

Prior to European colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire – the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century. During most of the Spanish colonial period, this territory was called Upper Peru and was under the administration of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of Spain’s South American colonies. After declaring independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar, on 6 August 1825. Bolivia has struggled through periods of political instability, dictatorships and economic woes.

Bolivia is a Democratic Republic that is divided into nine departments. Its geography is varied from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country, with a Medium Human Development Index score, and a poverty level around 60%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin.

The Bolivian population, estimated at 10 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans. The main language spoken is Spanish, although the Aymara and Quechua languages are also common and all three, as well as 34 other indigenous languages, are official. The large number of different cultures within Bolivia has contributed greatly to a wide diversity in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

:: Background of Bolivia ::

Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon BOLIVAR, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825; much of its subsequent history has consisted of a series of nearly 200 coups and countercoups. Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production. In December 2005, Bolivians elected Movement Toward Socialism leader Evo MORALES president – by the widest margin of any leader since the restoration of civilian rule in 1982 – after he ran on a promise to change the country’s traditional political class and empower the nation’s poor, indigenous majority. However, since taking office, his controversial strategies have exacerbated racial and economic tensions between the Amerindian populations of the Andean west and the non-indigenous communities of the eastern lowlands. In December 2009, President MORALES easily won reelection, and his party took control of the legislative branch of the government, which will allow him to continue his process of change.

:: Geography of Bolivia ::

Location: Central South America, southwest of Brazil

Geographic coordinates: 17 00 S, 65 00 W

Area:
total: 1,098,581 sq km
land: 1,083,301 sq km
water: 15,280 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly less than three times the size of Montana
Land boundaries: 6,940 km
Border countries: Argentina 832 km, Brazil 3,423 km, Chile 860 km, Paraguay 750 km, Peru 1,075 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid
Terrain: rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Río Paraguay 0 m
highest point: Nevado Sajama 6,542 m

Natural resources: tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 2.78%
permanent crops: 0.19%
other: 97.03% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1320 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 622.5 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.44 cu km/yr (13%/7%/81%)
per capita: 157 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: flooding in the northeast (March-April)
volcanism: Bolivia experiences volcanic activity in Andes Mountains on the border with Chile; historically active volcanoes in this region are Irruputuncu (elev. 5,163 m, 16,939 ft), which last erupted in 1995 and Olca-Paruma

Environment – current issues: the clearing of land for agricultural purposes and the international demand for tropical timber are contributing to deforestation; soil erosion from overgrazing and poor cultivation methods (including slash-and-burn agriculture); desertification; loss of biodiversity; industrial pollution of water supplies used for drinking and irrigation

Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note: landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world’s highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru

:: People of Bolivia ::

Population: 10,118,683 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 34.6% (male 1,785,453/female 1,719,173)
15-64 years: 60.7% (male 3,014,419/female 3,129,942)
65 years and over: 4.6% (male 207,792/female 261,904) (2011 est.)

Median age:
total: 22.5 years
male: 21.8 years
female: 23.2 years (2011 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.694% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 24.71 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 6.85 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.92 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Urbanization:
urban population: 67% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 42.16 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 45.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.57 years
male: 64.84 years
female: 70.42 years (2011 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3 children born/woman (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.2% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 12,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)

Nationality: noun: Bolivian(s) adjective: Bolivian
Ethnic groups: Quechua 30%, mestizo (mixed white and Amerindian ancestry) 30%, Aymara 25%, white 15%
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Protestant (Evangelical Methodist) 5%

Languages: Spanish 60.7% (official), Quechua 21.2% (official), Aymara 14.6% (official), foreign languages 2.4%, other 1.2% (2001 census)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.7%
male: 93.1%
female: 80.7% (2001 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 14 years (2007)
Education expenditures: 6.3% of GDP (2006)