Bolivia

Article

August 19, 2022

Bolivia, officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia (in Spanish Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia), is a South American state, located in the center of the subcontinent. Its surface is 1 098 581 km². According to the census carried out in 2012, it had 10 027 254 inhabitants. It borders to the north, north-east and east with Brazil, to the north-west with Peru, to the south with Argentina, to the south-east with Paraguay and to the south-west with Chile. Bolivia has as its constitutional capital and judicial Sucre, and as legislative and governmental capital La Paz. Landlocked state, in 2010 it made an agreement with neighboring Peru, thanks to which it obtained the use of the port of Ilo for 99 years. At the economic level, Bolivia at the beginning of the 21st century is a middle-income state; since the election of Evo Morales as President of the Republic, the economy of the Andean country has grown sharply with growth rates on average of 5% (one of the highest in the region) and with a reduction in poverty from 38% to 18%.

History

Pre-Columbian history

This part of the American continent has been inhabited for about 15,000-20,000 years. Numerous cultures flourished in the Andean regions of present-day Bolivia, the most important of which is perhaps the Tiahuanaco, which developed between the 2nd century BC. and the 13th century in the southern part of Lake Titicaca. Much more recent is the Inca dominion, which dates back to the 15th century, whose empire was subdued by the Spanish conquest of Francisco Pizarro also thanks to the internal struggles for power. In the area of ​​the tropical lowlands, in times prior to the Tiahuanaco culture, complex human organizations developed that created and controlled extensive works of hydraulic engineering, in the savannahs and forests of the current Beni region. The culture of the Lomas of Moxos and Baures allowed for the existence of a dense population for almost 3 000 years that managed to live with the periodic flooding of massive tributaries of the Amazon River, such as the Mamoré, Beni and Iténez.

Spanish colonization

The conquest of the Inca Empire by Francisco Pizarro paved the way for the subjugation of Bolivia in 1535 and the creation of the Real Audiencia de Charcas, part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included everything that is currently in Bolivian territory. The distinction with Peru occurred because, by order of Charles V, in 1534 260 leagues were assigned to Pizzarro going from Tumbes to the south, and another 200 leagues to Diego de Almagro to the south of these. Juan de Saavedra who, under the orders of Almagro, arrived in 1535 from the parts of Lake Titicaca, first founding Paria and the year after Tupiza. Gonzalo Pizarro led an expedition in the Altiplano, while Pedro de Anzures founded ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo, the current Sucre. Later, in 1548, Pedro de la Gasca sent Alonso de Mendoza to found Nuestra Señora de La Paz, and in 1559 the Real Audiencia de Charcas was created based in Chuquisaca, dependent on the Viceroyalty of Peru based in Lima. Two years later, downstream, Captain Ñuflo de Chaves founded Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and Viceroy Francisco de Toledo sent to found Cochabamba in 1571, Tarija in 1574 and Tomina in 1575. Potosí was one of the most important cities in the region at that time, the Spaniards had discovered that the surrounding subsoil was rich in precious minerals (mercury, gold, silver and others) and by exploiting the indigenous laborers they converted it into a luxurious city. However, in the last decades of the eighteenth century the city began to depopulate, due to the discovery of even richer deposits in other areas of the Spanish Empire. It was in those years that, after two centuries of dependence on Lima, the Real Audiencia of Charcas came under the jurisdiction of the newborn Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, which was based in Buenos Aires.

From rebellions to independence

The independence of Upper Peru, the name given to the territory at that time